It’s all about visual story telling...

 

This is my primary goal, whether I am doing images for a picture book, a magazine, an ad campaign or a book cover.

As a kid I developed a love of imaginative drawing more as an antidote for boredom than anything else.  My father, a Navy pilot, flew us all around the country in a small plane on weekends and family vacations.  While I loved the places we would go, getting there could take many long hours.  During these times my parents encouraged me to put ideas and drawings into sketchbooks to help pass the time.  

Before long I fell in love with this activity and started drawing in sketchbooks all the time.  Superhero’s and Peanuts cartoons were my primary inspirations.   I kept at it through out Junior High and High School and after graduation I went to a Community College not far from where I lived in California.  I didn’t really have a clear sense of what I wanted to pursue or study  but I did continue to pursue drawing and took every drawing class I could, in addition to my other courses.

 

While there I met some pretty amazing artists, who inspired me to think seriously about a career as an illustrator.  One of my instructors told me about a school in Pasadena called Art Center College of design, so I decided to take some night classes they offered.  Soon thereafter I applied and got accepted into their Illustration program.

The three years I spent at Art Center were incredible and life changing.  Shortly before graduation I was offered a Children’s book project from a major publishing house.  This happy event set my feet firmly on the path I continue to travel on today.

Along the way I have had the opportunity to work with most of the major publishing houses and some of the best children’s writers working today; Laura Numeroff, Eve Bunting, Paul Robert Walker, Mary Pope Osborne, Margaret Peterson Haddix and Nancy Farmer to name a few. It's very gratifying to contribute to a child's experience with a book and humbling to hear how much they liked it.

Even though I have illustrated more than 20 children's books, I still feel very much like that kid in the back of the airplane, gazing out the window at the limitless blue, dreaming up new things to sketch. 


 

all content © 2018 james bernardin