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Meet Book Illustrator Julie Downing

Learn about the process of illustrating a book with illustrator and artist Julie Downing. See examples of storyboarding, and how Downing's uses a layered technique Learn about how to illustrate a book is made TODAY! Grab a paper and pencil and draw along with the Library and our author/illustrator Julie Downing. 

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Meet Book Illustrator


Julie Downing was born in Denver, Colorado, graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and currently lives in San Francisco, CA, where she can see a corner of the Golden Gate Bridge from her studio window.

Noted for rich, jewel like watercolor illustrations, she has illustrated over 45 picture books. Titles include The Firekeeper's Son by Linda Sue Park, No Hugs Till Saturday, and First Mothers, a biography of all the mothers of the presidents. On First Mothers, Publisher's Weekly said: "Craftily mining the personalities of each woman, Downing contributes watercolor and colored pencil portraits of the mothers on their home turfs, humorously underscoring their many diverse eccentricities."

The art for her most recent book,  Lotus and Feather by Ji-li Jiang, is rendered traditionally using watercolor, colored pencil, ink and then combined digitally.

Julie's work has been featured at The Society of Illustrator's Original Art Show in NYC and has been exhibited at galleries throughout the United States and England.

She has won numerous awards for her work, including a Parent's Choice Award, the New York Public Library Best Books Award, APAAL Best Illustrated Book, and the Irma Black Silver Medal. She was selected to appear in Talking with Artists Too, a book about 12 of the nation’s best Children’s’ Book Illustrators.

Julie also teaches watercolor and Children’s Book Illustration to both graduate and undergraduate students at the Academy of Art University.

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