Gallery Gives Illustrators Top Billing

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A Mary GrandPre illustration from “The Carnival of the Animals.” GrandPre is the illustrator of the Harry Potter series. This and other works are begin shown at Chemers Gallery.
Illustration by Raul Colón from “Once Upon a Time.”

I have a soft spot when it comes to children’s literature.  I am the lady (sucker?) who drops a cool hundred at every book fair, guaranteed … I just can’t say no.  With a library that holds more than 1,000 picture books alone, our boys have been fortunate to grow up with the imaginations of many gifted word-weavers.

While I am in awe of the talent these writers possess, what really brings their stories to life are the illustrations that accompany the words on each page.  How many times have I heard “let me see the picture” from whichever child is sitting farthest from the book?  Too many to count!

Chemers Gallery in Tustin agrees with me, and is doing its part to make sure these artists are unsung heroes no more!  Through Dec. 17, the gallery is hosting its 20th Annual Children’s Book Illustration Show.

An annual celebration of those who bring beloved stories to life, this event showcases original illustrations by the featured artists.  The artwork, totaling more than 300 original pieces, is currently on display in the gallery, and is available for preview and purchase.  Additionally, through Nov. 26, you can pre-order books from a selection of more than 50 titles, and the folks at Chemers will arrange for the illustrators dedicate and sign them for you.

The whole event will culminate on Dec. 3, from 1-5 p.m., when all of this year’s illustrators will be on site at the gallery.  Throughout the day, the illustrators will provide lectures and art demonstrations for attendees, as well as sign copies of their books purchased at Chemers.  There will also be fun for the kiddos with face-painting, balloon art and more!

Robin Preiss Glasser from “Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy.”

This year’s illustrators include:

  • Mary GrandPre – In addition to the Harry Potter series, GrandPre has illustrated seven children’s books featuring lyrical story interpretations in a style she calls “soft geometry.”
  • Robin Preiss Glasser – The No. 1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of the Fancy Nancy series, Glasser’s illustrations will be available for purchase for the first time ever.
  • Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson – Husband-and-wife team Johnson and Fancher have illustrated and designed more than 35 children’s books, including “Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played with Puppets” and “Casey Back at Bat.”
  • Elisa Kleven – Kleven, author and illustrator of the Paper Princess series and “The Friendship Wish,” creates mixed media collages that bring life to her stories and characters.
  • Raul Colon – A prolific children’s book illustrator, Colon has been recognized with numerous awards from The Society of Professional Illustrators. Joining him at the show’s kick-off event will be local author Rueben Martinez, who collaborated with Colon on “Once Upon a Time: Traditional Latin American Tales.”

Karen Raab, owner of Chemers Gallery says, “We are thrilled to bring back our five most popular children’s book illustrators for an afternoon of fun festivities and art appreciation.  Our show and book signing provides a unique opportunity for fans, both young and old, to interact with their favorite illustrators who have helped bring beloved stories to life.”

In addition to connecting the kid in all of us with some great artwork and talented artists, Chemers is also giving back to the community.  A portion of the proceeds from this year’s art sales will go to Chapman University’s College of Educational Studies’ K-12 literacy programs.

Chemers Gallery in the Enderle Center. For details, please call 714-731-5432 or visit

Elisa Kleven from “Carousel Tale.”
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  1. There’s a typo in the third paragraph – I hope the gallery is doing ‘it’s’ part…although it might bring a bigger crowd if it isn’t a typo…

    Anyway – children’s book illustrations are (for the most part) fantastic, and there are some amazing artists who’s work will be shown at this gallery!