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Friday, July 1, 2011

Spotlight on G. Brian Karas: Illustrator and Author

Back in 1997, when my first story was published in Babybug,  I was a new mom.  I didn't have much experience yet with contemporary picture book authors or illustrators.  I loved the pictures that G. Brian Karas created to go along with my story (to see them, please check out my earlier post, A lucky break), but at the time, I didn't recognize Karas's name.  I didn't realize the illustrations were made by a famous and well-loved children's book artist!

About a year later, Emmalie and I visited the library.  Among other things, we checked out the book Like Butter On Pancakes, written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Karas, 1995.  When we returned home, we sat down to read through our big pile of books.  Immediately, I recognized Karas's delightful style, and his name.  I was thrilled!  I remember showing the book to my husband later that night and shouting, "This is by the same artist who illustrated my story!"  (He thought that was pretty cool, too.)

Since that time, our family has read and enjoyed many of the books illustrated by Karas.  (He's created wonderful pictures for at least 94 books so far!)  Karas has also written a few stories of his own.  (Nine, in all.)  Here are a few of his creations:

The Windy Day, 1998

I Like Bugs, written by Margaret Wise Brown, 1999

The Class Artist, 2001

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!, written by Candace Fleming, 2002

Atlantic, 2002

A Place Called Kindergarten, written by Jessica Harper, 2006

and The Village Garage, 2010

In 2009, while trying to look up one of his books online, I discovered that Karas has his own website:  g Brian Karas.  A contact email was listed there, so I decided to send him a little note, thanking him for illustrating my story.  I really wasn't expecting to ever hear anything back.  Just a few days later, however, Karas replied with a kind, encouraging email.  I still have it. :) 

To learn more about Karas -- and to view more of his illustrations --  please visit the website mentioned above.  Be sure to check out his work at the bookstore and the library, as well!

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