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1. Owen Gildersleeve

owengildersleeve_istanbulpalaces owengildersleeve_morethanwords1 owengildersleeve_festivebeauty owengildersleeve_brunch1 owengildersleeve_benefit2 owengildersleeve_stargazing 

Owen Gildersleeve is an illustrator and set designer based in London. He uses many paper-craft techniques to create playful and imaginative illustrations. He often collaborates with photographers, animators and stylists. Working with clients such as The Guardian, Ben & Jerry’s and Fiat. His first book PaperCut was published in 2014.

To see more from Owen Gildersleeve’s portfolio visit his website.


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2. How to stretch yourself

Amy Ng blogs at Pikaland, a popular stop for illustration lovers, students and artists who are looking for answers on how to find a balance between art, creativity and commerce.

Here’s a secret about me: I love to exercise. Having been exposed to different sports training while I was in high school only made me love my body more when it’s in movement.

I’ve been on various teams: rhythmic gymnastics, volleyball, hockey, running, mountain climbing, and taekwondo – all at the same time. And when I’m not at school picking up a ball, I’m at home skipping rope and doing mat pilates. Early morning swim runs with my childhood friends remain in my memory as one of the fondest activity we get together for. Being in the water makes me feel as though I’m fully immersed in the moment – as though my body is one with all that is around me. Drawing feels very much the same way.

But age catched up. I found that I could no longer run without feeling it in my knees afterwards. I took cautionary steps to alleviate the pain, but after many years of following Mr. T along with his run, I’ve decided that it wasn’t for me. So now I concentrate on doing yoga flows and pilates stretches instead because it helps me open up my shoulders – hunching over my keyboard or Wacom tablet for long periods on end makes me feel as though a curled up ball of wrangled nerves at the end of the day.

With any yoga pose (or anything at all, really), practice makes perfect. But one particular pose has eluded me for many years – the yoga push up (also known as the four-limbed staff pose). For those who don’t know what a yoga push up is, it’s basically a push up but instead of your arms being the same position as your shoulder when you bring your body down, it’s instead at a 90-degree angle, with your upper arms running parallel to your torso, so that your body weight rests on the middle of your body instead of the top of your body (and your wrists are holding your body weight up at the middle!) I just read that last sentence and oh man, here’s a case when a picture tells a better story.

So I have lousy upper body strength it seems, and no matter how much I try, I fall flat on my face every time – never mind that just getting to that bit was a torture in itself. Imagine this: You’re ready to do a push up. You square your hands, resting your hands firmly on the mat. You take a deep breath, and hope that this time will be it – it’s the time you won’t fall flat on your face because your arms betrayed you. So on to the beginning of the descent – a few inches down – and oh boy! It’s looking pretty good so far. A couple more inches, and your upper hand begins to quiver no matter how tightly they’re tucked away at your sides. Your thigh begins to feel nervous, trembling at intensity of keeping the body parallel to the floor. And during that last pivotal moment when you’ve almost hit that 90-degree angle, your body gives way, and everything – your hands, thighs, torso and all – come crashing down in a tangle of limbs.

I thought to myself there’s no way that I could do it. Some muscles obviously did not get the memo that this is the one thing that is still on my list.

My poor yoga mat almost has an imprint of my face from the many times I’ve landed face first into it. But I still kept at it. Lately, I mixed up my routine a little and instead of letting myself fall, I allowed myself to go as far as I could without diving head-first into the mat. And then, right before I felt that familiar jelly-like feeling creep up my hands, I come up for a cobra pose (here’s what that looks like).

It felt really good. I did a couple more each time.

And today, I tried the yoga push up again on its own, and I was surprised at not landing on my face. In fact, my face was an inch away from the mat as my body balanced itself parallel to the floor. I blinked in surprise. I held myself that way for a few seconds – in disbelief. It was surreal. I did it. And then I did it again. It wasn’t a fluke!

My shoulders were hurting afterwards – as though I had worked out muscles I never knew were there in the first place. It was throbbing with a dull ache, warm to the touch and tight. I felt proud.

I believe that we never stop growing or stretching ourselves. The biggest takeaway for me from this whole exercise (pun intended!) is that it takes time to practice anything at all. Whether it’s yoga, drawing, or doing your own business. You might think that you don’t have it in you, but it’s all there. Every bit of it. You just need to find your way, and maybe you’ll fall down like I did (and I don’t just mean on the mat!) but you’ll soon find the strength you never had.

When that happens, it’ll just take you completely by surprise.

And then you’ll be proud you stuck it out.

[Illustration: Surrender, by fellow yoga-loving illustrator (and IF founder!) Penelope Dullaghan]

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3. PEOPLE by Emily Traynor


Submitted by Emily Traynor for the Illustration Friday topic PEOPLE.

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4. Editorial Submission :: Sarah Ferone

Post by Chloe





Sarah Ferone is a freelance illustrator based in Philadelphia. Sarah Ferone’s background in painting and art history, and experience in designing for advertising has allowed her to develop a distinct, individual style. In addition to editorial, Sarah Ferone also works on packaging and books. Her work often has deep narrative and a beautiful handmade feel.

If you’d like to see more of Sarah Ferone’s work, please visit her portfolio.

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5. The Replacement Theory of The Illustration Portfolio


Are you “building” your Illustration portfolio?

I hear from Illustrators all the time that they are working on “building” their portfolios. This generally means that they are focusing on creating more work so that they can present an expansive collection to Art Directors and other potential clients who visit their site.

Today I’d like to offer an alternative approach.

It’s something that I’m calling the Replacement Theory of Portfolio Design, and it involves making your portfolio stronger, not bigger.

Here’s how it works:

If you’ve just completed a new Illustration that you’re really proud of and want to include in your portfolio, chances are you would normally just add it to the mix. However, I suggest a different approach where you try to determine if there is another, lesser Illustration that you could replace with the new one, thereby strengthening the overall impression you make.

By repeating this step with each new portfolio-worthy piece, you will constantly be weeding out the least impressive work and adding a newer Illustration that makes a real impact.

I’m a firm believer that any images that don’t make an impact actually lessen the effect of the stronger work, so taking the “replacement” approach serves to avoid this by making each new addition elevate your portfolio to a higher level, rather than just a bigger one.

Of course, you’ll have more freedom to operate in this way once you’ve got a portfolio of decent size, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t start thinking along these lines if you’ve only got a handful of pieces to show.

In fact, I’ve just revised my own portfolio by adding 3 new pieces and removing 4 older works. I did this not only because I felt my newer work was stronger, but also because it reflects the type of work I’m actually interested in pursuing at this time. Even though this step has resulted in a smaller portfolio than I’d like, I feel that the work that is there represents my creative vision much more accurately.

The Challenge

With the Replacement Theory, I propose making the editing of your portfolio a regular, intrinsic part of your creative process, and of your business.

Naturally, you don’t necessarily have to remove your least impressive piece if it still adds a great deal to the overall presentation of your work, but it’s a useful approach to keep in mind.

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6. Pick of the Week for HEART and This Week’s Topic



Happy Illustration Friday, fellow artists!

We’re ready to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the wonderful illustration above by Eduardo Guimarães, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of HEART. Thanks to everyone who participated with drawings, paintings, sculptures, and more. We love seeing it all!

You can see a gallery of ALL the entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:


Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the public Gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!


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7. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Emma Rios




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This week’s Island #2 comics anthology features cover and interior art by the great Emma Rios! I first noticed Rios’ art on Marvel titles like Cloak & Dagger: Spider Island, Osborne, and the Firestar 1-shot. Now, Rios is taking her artwork to the next level on her new Image series Pretty Deadly, with Osborne collaborator Kelly Sue DeConnick on writing duties. It’s a supernatural tale that follows Death’s daughter, as she rides through lush and horrifying lands, seeking retribution.

Emma Rios is a Spanish comics artist and illustrator who has made a name for herself here in the States as well as Europe and beyond! She broke into the American comics scene in 2008 with the Boom Studios series Hexed, then worked with writer Mark Waid on the Dr. Strange series “Strange” for Marvel. I see that one of her earlier works is a comic called APB, but apparently that’s not available here in the U.S.

You can see the latest art and follow Rios on her twitter page here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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8. HEART by Sanne Dufft


Submitted by Sanne Dufft for the Illustration Friday topic of HEART.

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9. HEART by Lena Erysheva


Submitted by Lena Erysheva for the Illustration Friday topic HEART.

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10. Miroslav Sasek








Miroslav Sasek was a Czech illustrator and author, who originally trained as an architect, as his parents did not approve of him being a painter. He was most famous for his series of children books. His first This is… book was Paris which was published in 1959, which turned into a collection of 18 books. He was inspired by the great cities of the world including Rome, London and New York. To prepare the books he actually visited the cities and explored, creating sketches of what he saw, until they came to life. His three favourite books from the series include This is Edinburgh, This is Venice and This is Hong Kong.

Learn more about this timeless illustrator at his website.

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11. Inspiration Board for HEART


 Hello fellow artists!

As part of our ongoing efforts to make Illustration Friday more of a community focused on the art of idea generation, here’s our Inspiration Board for this week’s topic of HEART.

You can download, save, drag and drop, print, or do whatever you want with it if it helps you to brainstorm ideas for your illustration.

Let us know in the comments if this is something that you think is helpful or inspiring enough for us to keep doing!

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12. Fun Editorial Illustrations by Dom McKenzie

Dom-McKenzie-INYT-Inequality-final-colour-for-web_550 Dom-McKenzie-Globe-and-Mail-Michael-Colgrass-final-for-web_670 Dom-McKenzie-Big-Issue-BR-Wake-Up-Sir-final-for-web_562 Dom-McKenzie-Big-Issue-Book-Review-Civil-War-final-for-web_670

Dom McKenzie Website >>

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13. HEART by Vicky Alvarez


Submitted by Vicky Alvarez for the Illustration Friday topic HEART.

Vicky Alvarez Website >>

Vicky Alvarez Etsy >>

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14. Illustrator Submission :: Ohn Mar Win

Post by Chloe

















Firstly, I advice you not to look at Ohn Mar Win’s work if you are feeling slightly peckish! Her work is so packed full of delicous looking treats, it will leave you reaching out for a sneaky snack.

Ohn Mar Win is originally from Burma and now lives in the UK and it was this journey that led Ohn Mar Win to drawing as a method of expressing herself, after all, art is a universal language. She is inspired by food and all things retro and vintage. The textural, handmade quality to her work really brings it to life.

If you would like to view more of Ohn Mar Win’s work, please visit her portfolio.

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15. How Illustration Competitions are Judged


[Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from our ebook Inside Illustration Competitions, which is available for FREE here.]

The outcome of an Illustration competition is largely dependent on the judges who view the work and decide which artists deserve to be recognized. Ever wonder how this jury is chosen and how they make these tough decisions?

Since so much depends on the subjective personal tastes of an Illustration competition jury, it’s important to pay attention to the list of jurors any time you’re considering submitting your work, and familiarizing yourself with who’s involved.

With the help of many organizers and judges of all the major Illustration competitions, I was able to get an inside look at what drives the method of assembling the jury.

Jury Selection

It is in the best interest of all parties involved to have a professional, experienced, and esteemed panel of judges to view the artwork and select the best of the best to be featured in the organization’s annuals, shows, and online galleries. In this way, the various competitions maintain their relevance in the industry, encourage a comprehensive collection of high-quality Illustration, and offer Illustrators the opportunity to have their work viewed by the top tier of their target audience.

In most instances, the jury is comprised of some combination of Illustrators, Graphic Designers, Art Directors, Artist Representatives, Educators, and other creative professionals who have made an impact on the Illustration industry. Potential jury candidates are often recommended by Illustrators or past Chairs based on quality of work, talent, years of experience, and standing in the field. In addition, judges are often assigned to vote in categories that are a good match for their particular area of expertise, whether it be publishing, editorial, advertising, children’s books, etc.

One interesting variation on this theme is the competitions run by American Illustration, which limits the selection to only Art Directors and others who are able to actually hire Illustrators.

Another alternative is practiced by 3×3. Because of it’s uniquely international focus, 3×3 makes sure that all judges represent different countries and tries to have one or more Art Directors and Illustrators from each of the primary illustration markets around the world.

Judging Criteria

One of the most intriguing aspects of the judging process is the criterion by which jurors are instructed to select work, or rather, the lack thereof.

Sometimes, the organization running the competition has an introductory meeting to outline the overall purpose and criteria of the selection. However, rather than instruct the jury with specific guidelines, most competitions rely on the experience and aesthetic sensibilities of the jurors involved.

Therefore, each judge votes along the lines of their individual tastes, with a focus on the effectiveness of the image, its ability to solve a visual problem or communicate an idea, its professional execution, and any other strengths they typically look for in a successful Illustration. Jurors are encouraged to take their time and go with their instincts while seeking out Illustration that reaches a higher level of excellence.

“We do not believe in quotas, we ask judges to select the very best pieces in each category.”

– Charles Hively, 3×3

“Jurors are encouraged to make brave choices and [select] images that represent the finest work from the year. Our goal is to recognize work not typically honored by other organizations and publications.”

Mark Heflin, American Illustration

Judges are asked to use their own judgment as to what constitutes creative excellence.”

– Patrick Coyne, Communication Arts

As stated above, due to this personal approach it can be very beneficial for an artist to familiarize themselves with the list of jurors involved, because it can potentially offer some level of insight when choosing which of their pieces to submit.

Voting Method

As expected, the actual steps involved in the scoring process is another area in which each competition is different. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of saying whether each Illustration should be “in” or “out”. Other times the judges are asked to rank each image on a scale of one to ten or some variation thereof.

Here are a few examples of the various voting methods employed:

“Jurors meet as a group and view all images. They first nominate images they like. From there, the nominated images are viewed and voted on individually by secret vote. It only takes one juror to nominate an image in the first round. It takes a majority or better in the second round to get into the book (usually 4-7 votes). All images that were nominated and then received at least 2 votes are presented on the website only.”

– Mark Heflin, American Illustration

“The first round, each Judge adds a dot to the entry. Second round, the judge’s team up to view entries that received the highest votes. Finally, the judges come together as a total group to discuss the final selection.”

– Scott Hull, Artist Representative & Juror

“The Art Directors Club does 3 rounds of judging. Each round is assigned through a point value system with the last round being a medal round.”

– Luke Stoffel, Art Directors Club

“In the professional and children’s show, each judge votes each entry in or out. In the student show, each entry is given a grade 0-4, 4 being the top grade. It takes a majority of votes by the judges to have a piece accepted into the show.

– Charles Hively, 3×3

Get your FREE copy of Inside Illustration Competitions here >>

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16. VIDEO: My Process for Generating Ideas



Illustration Friday Editor and Creative Director Thomas James shares his process for generating ideas for illustration projects. Send us your own process here.

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17. Why drawing is a lot like gardening

Amy Ng blogs at Pikaland, a popular stop for illustration lovers, students and artists who are looking for answers on how to find a balance between art, creativity and commerce.


I started growing my own herb garden last year. 

They’re potted mostly, but that’s because with two jack russell terriers tearing away in my garden they wouldn’t survive on the ground for long. I was inspired by Jamie Oliver picking his selection of herbs straight out a pot when I re-watched past episodes of 30-Minute Meals – and I asked myself why can’t I do that? Supermarkets around me aren’t always stocked with herbs. Well the fancy ones do have them, but they’re far away and I really didn’t want to drive 30 to 40 minutes to a mall just to pick up a few sprigs of rosemary!

So I started my gardening journey by buying packs of compost and potting soil (because using the rather unfriendly looking reddish-clay earth we had in the backyard yielded poor results too many times to be a coincidence), and had plastic cups all ready to go for germinating. I bought seeds of herbs that I liked – and as with anything I start, I did it with gusto.

After I sprinkled over my seeds of sweet marjoram, dill, rosemary and sage – all in individual pots – and stuck ice-cream sticks with the plant’s name on a washi-tape (because markers on wood looks icky when it gets hit by water). I gave myself a pat on the back and stood back to marvel at my handiwork. Hurrah! Then the waiting began. I watered them everyday, and looked at them in the morning, and once again in the evening. Nothing. All that stared back at me was black soil. I had hoped for a glimmer of green to peek through. Nada.

I waited and lowered my expectations. I peeked in nonchalantly (and yet hopeful) for a week before I spotted something popping out from the fresh ground. YAY! A quick glance over my other 3 pots of herbs however, signaled a nay. Maybe they weren’t  ready to come out just yet? Maybe I got some bad seeds? Maybe the ants got to them in the middle of the night. Or slugs munched on them maybe? I don’t know. All I know was that my web browser history is ridden with gardening vocabulary, of the amateur sort, trying to figure out what went wrong.

Which got me to thinking. Creating anything – work, art, writing, etc – is almost like growing your own little garden. The same goes for businesses too.

You can sprinkle your seeds of imagination and ideas and be careful about them – judiciously watering them, feeding them, talking to them – but sometimes they don’t turn out the way you want them to. Which is why you spread them all around, in different pots, in different forms: through seeds, new cuttings, or the bulb of an old sprout. Some may take root and grow upwards, strong and tall. Others don’t take, and end before they can even begin. Some grow new shoots, only to be eaten by a passer-by snail; leaving only the barest of signs of being grisly eradicated before it could fully form.

And once you get these seeds on the ground, all you can do is wait. And water them. And wait again. And this process repeats itself as it grows; needing a complex combination of efforts to not only keep it stable, but to allow it to thrive and bear fruit.

It’s a nod to the universe in so many parallel ways – your labor of love is as complex, and yet while you can control a big portion of it, the rest is up to fate. One hopes for the best, and yet prepares for the worst. It’s a little dance in which you won’t know how it all will turn out; but one thing’s for sure: if you keep those seeds hidden, locking them away from soil and sunshine – you’ll never know how it all turns out.

So toss your seeds – your ideas, imagination and creativity – into the ground. Let them take hold and burst through the ground fresh and alive with hope. And what if it doesn’t turn out? Well, then it’s time to plant new ones.

Just remember to add water and love. And watch out for those sneaky slugs.

[Illustration: Lieke van der Vorst]

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18. Pick of the Week for POINTY and This Week’s Topic


Happy Illustration Friday, fellow artists!

We’re ready to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the wonderful illustration above by Studio Lolo, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of POINTY. Thanks to everyone who participated with drawings, paintings, sculptures, and more. We love seeing it all!

You can see a gallery of ALL the entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:


Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the public Gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!


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19. Idea Generation Image Search for POINTY


Hello fellow illustrators!


As promised last Friday, we are now in full effect taking Illustration Friday to the next level. The natural evolution of a fun weekly illustration challenge based on ideas is a deeper focus on the art of idea generation itself.

Yesterday we shared a stream of conciousness word list for this week’s topic of POINTY, and today we’re sharing some visual inspiration based on a simple image search using some of the words from that list. Use can use the images above to brainstorm for concepts that you might not have considered otherwise, or do some searching of your own!

Have fun!

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20. POINTY by Nate Padavick


I attended last week’s free webinar, Creative Playgrounds, which was sort of a more casual pre-game event for next Monday’s online course Building a Freelance Illustration Business.

During the webinar, illustrator Nate Padavick shared his entry for this week’s Illustration Friday topic of POINTY, and you could almost hear everyone’s heart melt so of course I had to share it.

Hope this inspires you!

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21. Illustrator María Alconada Brooks

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22. POINTY by Joanna Kaufman


Submitted by Joanna Kaufman for the Illustration Friday topic POINTY.

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23. Call for Submissions: Illustrate a Wall Clock


Hello fellow artists!

We know you love a good art challenge.

The folks at Doodlers Anonymous have teamed up with Blik to present this unique opportunity to artists. The challenge is to doodle, draw, or illustrate the backdrop of a wall clock!

Six winning submissions will have their art transformed into 10” wall clocks to be sold through Blik and Doodlers Anonymous. Plus, a portion of the royalties will go to the lucky artists!

Find out more about this fun challenge and how to enter here >>

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24. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Marguerite Sauvage





















French born illustrator Marguerite Sauvage has been invading the comics world of late and she is wowing fans this week with her stunning interior art for the all-new DC Comics Bombshells series! Sauvage is a self-taught artist who actually decided to pursue a career in illustration after earning her degree in Law and Communication. Just some of her clients include such big names as Elle, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Louis Vuitton, L’Oréal, PlayStation, and Apple!

In addition to the interior art on Bombshells and Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #3, Sauvage has been very busy as a comic book cover specialist for such titles as Hinterkind, Wolf Moon, Secret Wars, Howard the Duck, Jem and the Holograms, Thor, and Wayward.

With so much great comics work completed in such a small amount of time(1-2 years..?), I’m excited to see what Marguerite Sauvage has in store for us the next couple of years!

If you’d like to see more of Sauvage’s work and get the latest updates, you can follow her on twitter here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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25. Alice and Martin Provensen

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Alice and Martin Provensen illustrated more than 40 children’s books together starting from the mid 1940s. They have been listed on the New York Times Best illustrated books of the year nine times. Some of these books include; A visit to William Blake’s Inn by Nancy Willard, The Year at Maple Hill Farm which they also wrote and The Glorious Flight. Martin unfortunately died of a heart attack in 1987 but Alice went on to write and illustrate other books for example The Master Swordsman & The Magic Doorway. Their style of illustration is so whimsical and fun! They are such an enjoyment to look at for both adults and children.

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