|Betsy Lewin [Author Site]|
Iíve always loved to draw and can't remember ever wanting to be anything
but an artist, but my mother (a kindergarten teacher) is responsible for
my love of children's books. She read to my brother and me every night:
Winnie the Pooh, The Adventures of Babar, Uncle Remus, and all the fairy-tale
books. The illustrators Ernest Shepard and A. B. Frost were among my earliest
heroes. Later on, when I started illustrating for children, I realized
how strongly I'd been influenced by the gentle watercolors of Beatrix Potter
and the ener-getic line and zany humor of James Stevenson and of Quentin
"I grew up in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, a little town nestled in an Allegheny valley, and the wooded hills near my home were fertile ground for a child's imagination, full of magic and mystery. There in those woods I played with all of my book friends, from Winnie the Pooh to Robin Hood. I even found the exact tree where Pooh lived under the name of Sanders!
"My father was Irish and a natural storyteller. His wonderful stories of his own childhood in a Pennsylvania mining town were filled with hilarious turns and wacky accents. I inherited his sense of humor, and I hope it's evident in my art.
"After graduating from Pratt Institute where I studied illustration, I took a job as an assistant art director at a greeting card company in New York, which led to freelance work doing illustrations for several card companies. Then I began to write and illustrate stories for childrenís, magazines. When an editor at Dodd, Mead & Company asked me to expand one of those stories into a picture book, I jumped at the chance. I've been doing picture books ever since and loving every moment.
"My art is usually humorous, drawn in pen with watercolor washes as in Yo, Hungry Wolf!, and What if the Shark Wears Tennis Shoes?. But I also paint in a naturalistic style as in Walk a Green. Path, in which I express my love for the natural world through paintings and poetry. The lush garden landscapes of Childe Hassam, the inti-mate flower portraits of John La Farge, and the magical woods of my childhood all inspire me.
not at work on our books, my husband, artist Ted Lewin, and I love to travel
to exotic places around the world gathering material for new books and
paintings. At home we each work in our own studio. Ted's is on the top
floor and mine is on the second floor of our brownstone house in Brooklyn.
Besides the usual clutter of pencils and pens, paint tubes and brushes,
draw-ing paper, and, of course, books, we surround ourselves with mementos
of our travels: peacock feathers from India, Herero dolls from Botswana,
galimoto toys from Namibia and Brazil, brass pots from Egypt, postcards
and snapshots, and count-less stones and seashells and bits of cloth that
transport us back to lands we've visited. Our two cats, Slick and Chopper,
can usually be found napping on our drawing tables."
"A round-the-world tour of forests and -plants, familiar and exotic.
From her houseplants to giant lily pads in the Amazon River, from Brooklyn
to Australia, Lewin transports viewers through lush watercolor paintings
to an appreciation of the green world. The illustrations strikingly portray
the variety and grandeur of plants and encourage readers to view their
own surroundings with renewed attention."
"Lewin draws readers into a celebration of the green path with brief
poetic- reflections and full page watercolors of growing things encountered
around the world. She ably demonstrates the range of her medium. Watery
brushstrokes of heavy, muted, overlapping bluegreen evoke a tropical vista,
accompanied by her comment, 'The rain forest holds its breath, waking for
the downpour.'... Regardless of the visual focus, however, most of the
writing is intensely, compactly personal, giving readers the impression
that they are tagging along Lewin's trail.... An invitation to the flora
of the world, wherever it may be found, for artists, poets, and naturalists."
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books
Ted and Betsy Lewin arrive in the Okavango Delta of Botswana in February--the
rainy season. Because there is always water in the delta, it is rich in
animal life: hippos, Cape buffalo, lions, leopards, wildebeest, lechwe,
giraffes, and some seventy thousand elephants! It is the elephants that
Ted and Betsy have especially come to see. As they
In Elephant Quest, Ted's realistic paintings and Betsy's field sketches illuminate the real-life adventure story of this exhilarating and often dangerous trip to the Moremi Reserve.