Let’s launch a children’s book illustration career right here, today, on this very blog, shall we? The other day, while preparing a post to help you with your holiday shopping, I stumbled across the work of an immensely talented young woman who has a shop on Etsy. Her name? Brigette Barrager.
Because she is reportedly tired of hearing how much her illustrations resemble some of the work by the late great Mary Blair, I will instead point out the fact that Brigette’s illustrations feel fresh, hip, and playful. I love her use of color, and I love her caricatures of both people and animals, their exaggerated features adding so much to their personalities.
Looking at her sketches, it’s clear she can craft complex characters with just a few strokes of the brush or pen. Even her singular drawings (like this napkin doodle) suggest a larger narrative.
I have never met Brigette personally and I know little about her beyond what I’ve been able to read on the web, but I’ve seen enough at this point to know that this woman is hot stuff. (I’m referring here to her art, but it’s also true that Brigette herself is completely adorable.)
She graduated from CalArts in 2007 with a BFA in Character Animation. She appears to be gaining recognition in the animation world, but has only illustrated one book so far.
And what book is that? A staple-bound, 8" x 8" format movie tie-in for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the cover of which features a still from the movie rather than a sampling of Brigette’s wonderful interior art (see sample pages below from The Weather Report: with Sam Sparks written by Alison Inches, published by Simon Spotlight, August 2009).
I think Brigitte deserves opportunities much finer than this. In an October 2008 interview she said, "I would really, really like to do a graphic novel in the future, and a children’s book or two." I know this is still the case, as I wrote to Brigitte before posting this, JUST to confirm it. She is NOT looking for an agent, but, yes, she would love to hear from publishers.
For the sake of all of us who enjoy seeing this level of talent on the pages of the books we read, I’m hoping you’ll contact this woman. Take a look at her blog, review the work in her portfolio, see the art she’s posted on Flickr, buy up the items in her Etsy store, and get in touch. After she’s done amazing work for you and sold tons of books/won lots of awards, you can thank me. Preferably with original art or hmm… Maybe a high-paying job as a talent scout who trolls Etsy looking for undiscovered genius? That’d be fine too.
As for the Etsy items that first made me go, "Oh, WHAT FUN! Who is this woman??" That would be the Miss Librarian Paper Doll. Get yours here.