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Ruth T. Councell - Children's Book Illustrator

Ruth T. Councell - Children's Book Illustrator

Taking inspiration from timeless music, as well as art masters, Ruth has always been an artist. Her art has taken many different shapes: Illustration, botanical art, oil painting, watercolor- both figurative and abstract, fiber art, illuminated letters, and handmade books.

Informed by the works of Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Matisse, and illustrators Maurice Sendak, Tomie DePaola, and Margot Zemach, Ruth also credits Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, and Satie for firing her imagination.

Having studied at the University of Redlands, UC Santa Barbara, Ruth has exhibited her works at the Morton Arboretum, NY; the Botanic Garden, Seabury; Western Theological School, Evanston, Illinois; Straube Center, Pennington, NJ; St. Andrew's Church, Mt. Holly, NJ; and Trinity Cathedral, Trenton.

Ruth gains her inspiration from many sources, including stories, nature, color, and life in general. She has won several awards for children's book illustrations, working in watercolor, oil, acrylic, fabric, wood, and paper.

But for Ruth, her life as an artist had an inauspicious start:

"It had been my life's dream to illustrate children's books,” Ruth recalls. “Living in California, and newly married, I spent all my time building a portfolio to take to publishers. My husband was planning to enter seminary in Cambridge, Mass., so I prepared to visit children's book publishers in Boston. Portfolio in hand, I visited everyone...and was turned down by everyone. I was so discouraged that I did not do any art for a year."

Back in California, Ruth got a part-time job in graphic design and began raising a family. About ten years later, she returned to Massachusetts with work that had significantly matured through continued art classes. She was introduced to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and became a member. With the encouragement of seasoned writers, she took her new portfolio to children's publishers in New York. This time, she received two book contracts in her first two visits.

You can shop for her work here:

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  • Anne Hamilton