Golden Kite, Golden Dreams

One of the neat things about being a part of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is that it not only provides a fantastic support base and introduces me to new friends, it also opens the world of illustration.

If not for SCBWI’s inclusion of both writers and illustrators, I would have never met many of the interesting artists in our local group. I also wouldn’t have attended a beautiful art show.

The OKC part of our state’s SCBWI generally meets once a month at a magical, old-fashioned, wooden-shelved, rolling laddered(!) bookstore called Full Circle Books. Local people, it’s at 50 Penn Place, and if you haven’t been there, please go. Please.

But this month, we were invited to attend a special art show at Oklahoma City UniversityGolden Kite, Golden Dreams: The SCBWI Awards. We were hosted by Mike Wimmer, Department Chair and SCBWI member.

The different pieces of art were fascinating. Pictures representing winners from each year of the Golden Kite awards were on display, along with information about the artists and the books they appeared in. It was interesting to see how styles have changed over the years.

It also struck me how each illustrator truly has their own style. You hear it again and again – how each artist must find their own voice – but when the art was all lined up like that, it was apparent how true it really was. There was so much beauty in those pictures, and each person told it in their own personal way.

The exhibit will be on display at the Nona Jean Hulsey Art Gallery, on the Oklahoma City University Campus, through October 20, and is well worth a visit. The gallery is open 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Golden Kite, Golden Dreams: The SCBWI Awards is presented by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature.

Looking at all the beautiful artwork made me think of some of the beautiful scenes I remember from books. My mind immediately goes to the work of Garth Williams – his black and white drawings in Charlotte’s Web and the Little House on the Prairie books still tug at my heart when I see them – and the deceptively simple beauty of Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I know there’s more that I’ve loved and admired, but for some reason, those two illustrators are the first in my mind when I think about art that’s touched me in children’s literature.

Who are some of your favorite children’s illustrators?

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