17 January 2020
Emily Balsley is an illustrator and maker driven by her passion to create. Whether drawing, painting, or crafting, Emily embraces experimentation and loves to explore new mediums and methods. While she can usually be found in her colorful studio in Madison, Wisconsin, Emily recently packed up her materials and brought her creative expertise to the community as Artist-in-Residence at the Madison Bubbler. We were delighted to catch up with Emily about the importance of art in community and the wide variety of projects she explored during her residency.
31 October 2019
Alexandria Neonakis was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, an Eastern maritime Province where she spent most of her time outdoors among forest landscapes and the beautiful coastal Atlantic. These days, she can be found on the opposite coast where she lives in Santa Monica, California. During the day, Alex works as a full-time Concept Artist at the game development company, Naughty Dog. Pulling inspiration from childhood memories, nature, animated films, and classic illustration, she combines characters with lighting, strong color direction, and staging to help sell a moment. These skills especially shine through in her recent picture book, This Is My Room! (No Tigers Allowed!), which published with Simon & Schuster in May 2019. In this ever-relatable tale, JoJo is ready for her first night all alone in her very own room, but a menagerie of animals have other ideas. We were thrilled to catch up with Alex and glean a glimpse into her creative process that brought this charming and fun picture book to life!
25 September 2019
Meet Grandude—a super-cool grandfather who is an intrepid explorer with some amazing tricks up his sleeve. Grandude is a one-of-a-kind adventurer! Now, meet Kathryn Durst—the fabulous Bright Artist behind the gloriously colorful illustrations of Hey Grandude!, Sir Paul McCartney’s debut picture book. After a long-awaited release, Hey Grandude! hit the shelves this month on September 5th with Puffin Books in the UK and Random House Books for Young Readers in the US. Since making its way into the world, Hey Grandude! has been embraced by children, adults, and Beatles fans alike and quickly earned a spot on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Between the excitement of the release and a trip to London to join Paul himself at Waterstones for an unforgettable launch event, it’s safe to say it has been quite the month for Kathryn! It was such a delight to catch up with her for an inside look at all of the hard work that went into the making of this magical book.
23 August 2019
Rachael McLean lives and works on the East coast of Austrailia with one of the world’s most beautiful beaches as her backyard—it’s no surprise then that she is inspired by all things bright, colorful, and whimsical! Using clean shapes, bold colors, and subtle textures, Rachael is a master at creating characters and illustrations that are fresh, fun, and oh-so-adorable. We were delighted to catch up with Rachael on the blog to discuss her nontraditional path to becoming an artist and the magical debut of her first author/illustrated board book, My Best Friend Is a Unicorn!
15 August 2019
Grab your backpacks and sharpen those pencils because it’s that time again…back to school! This month, we went behind the scenes of New York Times bestselling picture book, Raise Your Hand, published by Penguin Workshop and illustrated by our talented artist, Marta Kissi.
29 July 2019
It has been an exciting year for Bright artist Julianna Swaney, and we wanted to catch up with her to discuss the making behind her latest picture book, We Are the Gardeners, published with Thomas Nelson in March 2019. In this #1 New York Times Bestseller, Julianna teamed up with HGTV’s Fixer Upper costar, lifestyle powerhouse, and author Joanna Gaines in bringing the Gaines family’s first children’s book to life! Told from the communal voice of Joanna and Chip’s four grown children, We Are the Gardeners is an autobiographical story of the lovable family’s own adventures in cultivating their home garden. In her signature organic, nature-themed style, Julianna illustrates this family’s spirit of hard work and the restorative power of nature with her enchanting watercolors, inviting readers to enjoy the beauty a thriving garden provides.
03 May 2019
Written and illustrated by Bright artist Zoe Persico, Georgia’s Terrific, Colorific Experiment, published by Hachette/Running Press, is Zoe’s debut author/illustred picture book, which transforms science and art into an explosive, colorful tale of a science lover stuck in a family of artists. A master of gorgeous and unexpected color combinations, Zoe enchants the reader with rainbows, streaks, shapes, and swirls on every spread. We spoke with Zoe on the blog previously about the technique behind her unique color palettes, so we were excited to catch up for a peek behind the curtain into her inspiration, process and debut experience.
13 March 2019
Illustrator Mechal Roe joined Bright in the summer of 2018, which is almost hard to believe considering all that she has accomplished in her short time with the agency. She teamed up with Senator (and Presidential candidate!) Kamala Harris for Superheroes Are Everywhere, a big-hearted picture book about the importance of community and kindness (Philomel Books, January 2019). She is also publishing two author-illustrated books with Doubleday Books for Young Readers: Happy Hair and Cool Cuts, both focused on self-esteem, particularly for children of color.
08 February 2019
Ebony Glenn joined Bright in 2016, and since then, her star has risen to incredible heights. Most notably, her illustrations appeared in Mommy’s Khimar, which published in April 2018 with Simon & Schuster, and in nonfiction picture book Brave Ballerina, which just published last month in January 2019 with Henry Holt. She recently completed an artist’s residency at AIR Serenbe, which gave her the time and space to focus on artwork for another upcoming book. We talked to Ebony about the exciting year that she has had and what she has coming up next.
11 October 2018
In a word, amazing. I know how tough the industry is and how many wonderful artists are already out there doing beautiful work, so I deliberately ensured that I kept my expectations realistic and hoped for maybe one or two projects in my first year so that I could start building my professional body of work. I was pretty blown away when I was offered a run of six educational books in the first month, and I was really excited to get my teeth into multiple projects. But nothing could compare to getting to work with HarperCollins, specificially art director Chelsea Donaldson who was responsible for the project coming together! It was a dream come true, and one that also allowed me to take the plunge and quit my job to work as an artist full time, which was always something that I wanted but assumed I would have to wait years to do. Now I’ve worked on over ten books and I have to keep pinching myself to make myself believe that this is really my career, now. I’ve been incredibly lucky and am so grateful to Bright.
01 October 2018
Since he joined Bright just a year ago, life has been a whirlwind for illustrator James Lancett. His illustrations have graced the covers of James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein’s Max Einstein series, as well as Alesha Dixon’s Lightning Girl. And things won’t be slowing down for him anytime soon! We asked James to reflect on how his life has changed since he became part of the agency and give us a peek behind the scenes at his process and studio.
10 August 2018
Summer Color, written by Diana Murray and illustrated by Bright artist Zoe Persico, is a joyful romp through the varied color pallette of summer. Zoe is a master of creating gorgeous and unexpected color combinations, so we were excited to talk to her about how she used those skills, as well as her love of nature, to create the outdoor scenes that make the book such a joy to read again and again.