Author Archive

Short Reports Round-up

Note: these are the last contributions to Picture Book Report’s Short Reports series. Hopefully I didn’t omit any in searching through my emails! While I’m condensing them into one post, they’re all great work and you ought to take a peek at the talented illustrators’ websites for more. Thank you again contributors!

Hansel and Gretel
Illustration by Erin Tripp

The Road
Illustration by Kai Schuettler

Illustration by Colleen Frakes

Many Moons
Illustration by Wilson Swain

Dr. Bloodmoney
Illustration by Ellen van Engelen

Illustrations by Frank M Hansen

February 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm 2 comments

All Good Things Must Come to an End.

Hi everyone,

Meg here, with an important message. Today marks our one-year anniversary of the project. It’s really hard to do this, but I think Picture Book Report is going to retire.
In the year that we’ve done this, a lot has happened. People have moved, mourned losses, found amazing projects stemming from this one, and just managed to knock out beautiful art on a pretty consistent basis. I’m ridiculously proud. But at the same time, the reasons for starting Picture Book Report were simple: make good work, get people excited about illustration, and get talented people good work. All those nails have been hit. For me, it led to a few projects but it also has led to me at the current day questioning what is my next step as an illustrator. I have a lot of work to do to find that out, but I hope one day it does mean more books and illustration. I know for me, Alice will be completed– I’d like to eventually put it into some kind of published form. I will continue to post it on my own portfolio/blogs/etc so please keep checking in with me!
I am proud to have started something that hadn’t really been done before– it led to interesting avenues, wonderful storytelling, and charming takes on classics and new books alike. It seems to have resounded well, with many fans staying along and enjoying the work, and creating their own in response. Incredible. In its current incarnation though, it needed to be stronger to survive. The up-side of this is that our contributors have been busy with real work, which you’ll see in the future and love like I will. Regardless, the biggest thing I have taken away from the project is this: be bold; take risks and do things that you will love, and the world will love it too.
To our Short Reports contributors- thank you so much. I still have entries I haven’t posted so what I will do next week is post them to share. Unfortunately running the blog was harder than I expected, so I thank you for your patience– but I’ll share the ones I have next week and end with a roundup of our contributing illustrators and what to look forward to from them next Friday, Feb 11.
To our readers– thank you, thank you, thank you. We have loved the support and the responses and the cheering on. The next things you see from these illustrators will be astounding, I promise you.


February 1, 2011 at 11:27 am 12 comments

We’re all mad here!

Hi everyone and a belated happy new year! We’re starting 2011 out right with more lovely illustrations for Picture Book Report– I do hope you’ll enjoy and continue to read along!

Posted by: Meg Hunt
Book: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
(purchase on Amazon)

(click to enlarge)

…when she was a little startled by seeing the Cheshire Cat sitting on a bough of a tree a few yards off.

The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good- natured, she thought: still it had VERY long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.

`Cheshire Puss,’ she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. `Come, it’s pleased so far,’ thought Alice, and she went on. `Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’

`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.

`I don’t much care where–’ said Alice.

`Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.

The Cheshire Cat is one of the more distinct characters of the book, but I chose to take a little liberty and keep him more playful looking rather than dangerous– based on its speech, he seemed more teasing than toothy lounging about in his tree…


January 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm 4 comments

Serpent! Serpent!

[Apologies are in order-- it seems we've all had a lot to deal with as of late so posting is not as smooth as I'd want for you dear readers! I'm posting this a day late, as I had a related Alice deadline (can't show yet though, but I think you'll like it), and of course a little out of order. (the Pig Baby illustration from last month technically comes after this one. The last illustrations for Alice will all be in order!)

As this year winds to a close and the holiday approaches, it's likely that we will take a winter vacation in December and see what to do with the project in 2011! Thanks again for staying with us and enjoying our experiment. -meg]

Posted by: Meg Hunt
Book: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
(purchase on Amazon)

[click to enlarge]

‘And where HAVE my shoulders got to? And oh, my poor hands, how is it I can’t see you?’ She was moving them about as she spoke, but no result seemed to follow, except a little shaking among the distant green leaves.

As there seemed to be no chance of getting her hands up to her head, she tried to get her head down to them, and was delighted to find that her neck would bend about easily in any direction, like a serpent. She had just succeeded in curving it down into a graceful zigzag, and was going to dive in among the leaves, which she found to be nothing but the tops of the trees under which she had been wandering, when a sharp hiss made her draw back in a hurry: a large pigeon had flown into her face, and was beating her violently with its wings.

Poor Alice; no sooner does she sort out how to stop being three inches tall does she lose sight of her body and get assaulted by a pigeon. No one said Wonderland was easy, I suppose! Of course, with belligerent Queens, Mad Hatters and confusing Cats to come, Alice rather has her work cut out for her.

November 9, 2010 at 5:28 pm 1 comment

‘Rather a handsome pig, I think.’

Posted by: Meg Hunt
Book: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
(purchase on Amazon)

[Hopping around a bit here-- the next scene I intended to share was with the Pigeon, but due to some computer woes and my move this week, I went a little out of order and am sharing a little scene this time. Next month we ought to be all sorted out with a hopeful bonanza of illustrations, so thanks for bearing with me!]

Alice was just beginning to think to herself, `Now, what am I to do with this creature when I get it home?’ when it grunted again, so violently, that she looked down into its face in some alarm. This time there could be no mistake about it: it was neither more nor less than a pig, and she felt that it would be quite absurd for her to carry it further.

So she set the little creature down, and felt quite relieved to see it trot away quietly into the wood. `If it had grown up,’ she said to herself, `it would have made a dreadfully ugly child: but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think.’

The trouble with Alice is that there are just so many scenes I would like to illustrate; I could draw her all day! This scene with the Duchess’ baby was not one of my original line-up, but I just couldn’t resist. Alice encounters the home of the Duchess, populated by frog and fish footmen, an especially violent cook who uses far too much pepper, and a certain Cheshire Cat who will show up again soon.  She winds up taking the baby out of the peppery household to do it some good and hopefully stop its snorting, only to start noticing it has become awfully porcine in the process!
Such is the strangeness of Wonderland; but of course there are still disappearing cats, flamingo croquet and mad parties to encounter. How far-fetched could  a shape-changing infant be in this situation?

October 11, 2010 at 2:28 pm 5 comments

Short Reports: Owen Freeman vs. Mary Poppins

Meg here! We’ll be starting up next month’s round of posts October 11th, but in the meantime I’ll be trying to post throughout the next couple of weeks with some Short Reports. Please enjoy!

“Jane and Michael and Mary Poppins spread the crumbs in a circle on the ground, and presently, one by one at first, and then in twos and threes, the birds came down from St. Paul’s.”

My mother read us the the Mary Poppins books when we were young, and ever since I’ve always had a fascination with the very real but still fantastical settings where the story takes place.  Also, the original pen and ink illustrations by the incomparable Mary Shepard (daughter of E. H. Shepard) in the books stayed with me much longer than the glimpses I saw of the Disney movie.
This scene is from the “Bird Woman” chapter of the first book by P.L. Travers where the children and Mary Poppins take the bus through the city to see the bird woman at St. Paul’s Cathedral. I especially like re-reading this chapter because it is an largely unchanged place where the story and the actual city intersect.

My name is Owen Freeman, I’m an illustrator from Los Angeles currently working in London. You can see more work at my portfolio.

September 27, 2010 at 11:45 am 2 comments

Announcement: Emily Carroll joins in the fun!

Hi everyone, just a brief note from Meg here– this summer’s been topsy-turvy for many of our contributors so please forgive our posting! We’re very happy to announce another contributor to ‘tag-team’ in and keep the flow of storytelling going– please welcome Emily Carroll!

Emily contributed to our Short Reports series with a lovely scene from Brave New World, and will be continuing that story with a post later today. If we run into snags where contributors are having trouble keeping to the schedule, I’d like to open this up to another additional contributor or two, so our roster may change over the coming weeks. And of course, more Short Reports are coming– if you are interested in being a contributor or adding to the Short Reports, please feel free to email me.

Thanks for sticking with us and please enjoy the work of our lovely new contributor!

September 9, 2010 at 11:06 am Leave a comment

Short Reports: Lesley Barnes vs. The Firebird

Hi everyone, just Meg here– I’m currently out of town at a wedding, so I unfortunately ran low on time to share the next scene in Alice with you.  Expect a double dose of Alice October 11, but in the meantime please enjoy a lovely pair of scenes from Lesley Barnes! (More scenes from the Firebird are on her portfolio, so please check them out!)

Ivan was left holding a shimmering feather, but the Firebird had escaped and was winging away into the distance. Dropping the feather from one hand to another like a hot potato, Ivan went to fetch his horse, for he meant to go on with the hunt. Though he had caught only a painful blister instead of the Firebird, the feather lit a path through the darkness, making a splendid torch.

The illustration is from the Russian folk tale ‘The Firebird’. I recently discovered a vintage picture book called ‘Tales from Russia’ and flicking through the pages I rediscovered ‘The Firebird’. The story has everything you would want from a fairytale – golden apples, Russian Royalty, an incident with a waxed moustache, a talking wolf and of course a thieving shimmering Firebird….

It was very difficult to choose just one passage to illustrate but finally I decided upon depicting Ivan (the Russian Prince) chasing the illusive Firebird – using its firey tail feather as a torch to light his way in the dark. I liked the way I could illustrate a tiny ‘flavour’ of the majesty of the Firebird (the single flaming tail feather) without completely giving away what the bird looked like – in the story the bird is extremely hard to grab hold of, so I wanted to keep that illusive quality in the image……the idea of the hunt.

I couldn’t stop drawing this! So I thought I’d work on this piece too. It’s the next bit in the story when a magical wolf jumps out at the prince. Enjoy!

September 6, 2010 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

Short Reports: Rich Tu vs. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

“This is a revisionist portrait of the character Old Deuteronomy from T.S. Eliot’s book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (popularized by the Broadway play Cats). I always wanted to rethink the imagery of this book (well, really the play) because when I was a kid I used to see the commercials for Broadway’s Cats on New York television and see the actor all dolled up as O.D., being presented as this triumphant Messianic figure akin to Moses and quite honestly, I hated it. When reading the text you understand that O.D. is very very old, almost ancient. He’s seen a lot of war and grief seen and outlived a lot of other cats including his loves. Now if I were an ancient cat I don’t think I would be standing around looking like Moses all the time. I would probably be beat up and sick, have liver spots (I anthropomorphousized him somewhat), weird hairs, and sad at having to carry the weight of seeing everyone around me die and outliving them. It would be a curse. Why couldn’t I have died with my friends in war or something? If O.D.’s a Messianic figure, I view him as a tortured Christ having to make difficult decisions and feeling that painful weight, literally on his head. Also, technically he’s a Pekinese, but hairless cats are much more human to me. Often times I look at a cat and can’t get an emotional hold on it, but not so with a hairless.

Rich Tu is an illustrator and designer based in NYC.  He received a Masters Degree in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in 2009. His clients and collaborators include The New Yorker, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, The Institutional Investor, Tokion Magazine, Slam Magazine, Death + Taxes, SWINDLE Quarterly, The Believer, National Public Radio, Alfa Romeo, and Bombay Sapphire Gin.

He was nominated for the Swatch Young Illustrators Award in 2009 and has been included in the Society of Illustrators and American Illustration annuals. View more of his work at and his blog

September 3, 2010 at 10:30 am 4 comments

Short Reports: Sashiko Yuen vs. The Story Sisters

Meg and Claire looked at each other. They could hear the clock over the stove, ticking. They could hear doves in the courtyard. They wanted this moment to last forever. The sunlight was orange. They had to remember that. Meg would make certain they did. She fetched a piece of paper and wrote down the word orange, then folded the paper in half. They could cut up pears and and write down all the colors of the light and listen to people laugh and smell the blooms on the chestnut tree and forget about the rest of the world. They wanted to stay in their grandmother’s apartment always, but instead they would have this memory of sitting in the kitchen, being happy.”

I chose to illustrate The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman. I love Alice Hoffman’s stories. They’re based in real life but the worlds she weaves are magical. She combines a lot of fantasy and drama elements. The imagery is so rich, dark, romantic, and poetic. While I’m reading her novels a lot of images take over my mind. It’s actually hard to read her books without constantly putting them down to sketch.

The scene I chose to illustrate is of the one of the Story sisters. There are three sisters: Elv is a rebel and the oldest, Meg is the middle child, and Claire is the most optimistic (and the youngest). I wanted to depict Meg in the scene where the sisters are in Paris. There’s a lot of tragedy in this book, but this moment was memorable. The one moment Meg was happy and hopeful. I took a bit of liberty in symbolizing this moment as a locket. A deep and personal treasure to remember and reflect upon this memory.

Sashiko Yuen just graduated with a BFA in Art + Design. In university she studied painting, illustration, bookmaking, and couldn’t stop reading graphic novels. She currently spends her days writing short stories and painting strange pictures. And you won’t stop her till she’s dead. She drinks lots of tea and smells old books while nobody is looking. You can find her work at but she honestly updates her flickr more often: And her shop is here: (which she is always working to improve).

September 2, 2010 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

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