Benjamin Chaud

Carson Ellis

Gary Kelley

The Original Art- Featured Artists
The Original Art

October 22, 2014 - December 30, 2014


The Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators is proud to present The Original Art, an annual exhibit celebrating the fine art of children’s book illustration, on display from October 22 through December 30, 2014.


Founded in 1980 by illustrators’ agent and art director Dilys Evans, this exhibit showcases the original art from the year’s best children’s books. The 2014 exhibit features 166 books selected by a jury of outstanding illustrators, art directors, and editors.


Gold and silver medals were awarded by the jury to three artists for their outstanding books. This year’s Silver Medal winners are Carson Ellis for Wildwood Imperium (HarperCollins Publishers / Balzer + Bray) and Gary Kelley for Harlem Hellfighters (The Creative Company / Creative Editions). The Gold Medal winner is Benjamin Chaud for The Bear’s Song (Chronicle Books).


Each year, The Original Art honors artists with the Lifetime Achievement Award  for their distinguished accomplishments in children’s book illustration. The 2014 awards go to Lane Smith and the late Arnold Lobel.


Lane Smith’s offbeat humor and unusual point of view have led to the creation of his own books, such as Grandpa Green, a Caldecott Honor Book, It’s a Book, a New York Times bestseller (both Roaring Brook), and John, Paul, George, and Ben (Hyperion). He has also illustrated work by other authors, notably Jon Scieszka. Among their bestselling collaborations are The Stinky Cheese Man, a Caldecott Honor Book, and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (both Viking). Four of his works have been designated New York Times Best Illustrated Books, and in 2012 he was named a Carle Honor Artist for lifelong innovation in the field of children’s books.


Arnold Lobel (1933-1987) wrote and/or illustrated nearly one hundred books for children. He won the Caldecott Medal for Fables (HarperCollins), and Hildilid’s Night by Cheli Duran Ryan (Macmillan), which he illustrated, was a Caldecott Honor Book. But he is probably best remembered for his beloved Frog and Toad series (HarperCollins). Frog and Toad are Friends was a Caldecott Honor Book, and Frog and Toad Together was a Newbery Honor Book. Among his other acclaimed works are The Book of Pigericks, Whiskers and Rhymes, and popular I-Can-Read series featuring Mouse, Owl, and Uncle Elephant.


Created in 2005, the Founder’s Award  celebrates the most promising new talent in children’s book illustration. This year, Mike Curato will be awarded the prize for Little Elliot, Big City (Henry Holt), the first in a projected series of three titles featuring Elliot, a spotted elephant. “To have been juried into this exhibition is alone a major achievement and should be celebrated,” says Dilys Evans. “To be selected by the Founder’s Award jury as the most promising new talent is a tremendous vote of confidence in an artist’s ability and future in the field of children’s book illustration.”


The Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony  will be held at the Society of Illustrators (128 East 63rd Street, NYC) at 6:00 pm on Thursday, October 23rd. Tickets are on sale for $25 members/ $30 nonmembers. A prix-fixe dinner is available by reservation only in the Society’s historic Hall of Fame Dining Room immediately following the awards ceremony.


Each year, the Society hosts special programming to coincide with The Original Art and celebrate children’s books. This year, the Society is excited to announce a special event with illustrator Gary Kelley, who will lead an informal conversation and presentation on his award-winning book Harlem Hellfighters. On November 8, the Society is partnering with the Inkwell Foundation for a workshop led by illustrator Carin Berger and Materials for The Arts. Children from New Alternatives for Children will make 3-dimensional projects. And on December 8, the Society will host “Reading Pictures,” an event open to librarians that includes a gallery talk and presentation by prominent illustrators E. B. Lewis, Barbara McClintock, and Melissa Sweet. More information can be found at

Click here to see a full list of this year's featured books.