Award-winning children’s book illustrator Amanda Hall creates engaging images that are bright, busy, and full of wonder.

Amanda Hall’s dream-like imagery has earned her a reputation in the children’s book industry. Her illustrations are rich with movement and vibrate on the page with a modulated, vivid palette. Layer after layer, Hall creates rich, hand-painted shapes that are full and round, building tangible yet fanciful worlds that readers can step into and make their own.

Growing up in the fantastic world of her father’s art studio, Hall developed her creativity amidst the smells of boiling kettles of cow glue and oil paints. She went on to study graphic art and illustration at the Cambridge School of Art where her father, John Hall, was a beloved teacher, artist, and theater designer. Hall works out of her studio in Cambridge, England that is set within the garden of her home. Surrounded by a jungle of flowers, plants, and shadows, she finds inspiration between cups of tea, meals with loved ones, and putting on the occasional cabaret concert. 

Throughout her career, Hall’s award-winning illustrations have  been published by Balzer & Bray, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Barefoot Books, Lion Hudson, and Wisdom Tales. Since 2011, her work has been displayed at the Chris Beetles Gallery in London; the books she has illustrated can be found in the children’s section of bookstores and libraries around the world. 

You have described yourself as an illustrator whose “mind primarily conjures up images rather than words.” Can you describe some of the habits and rituals you use to capture these images for future illustrations? 

When I get a new commission, I familiarize myself with the text and immerse myself in everything I can get my hands and eyes on about the subject. That might involve research via field trips, Internet searches, books, and exhibitions. Then I have to relax and let the ideas come––I find this easiest when I allow my mind to drift. It’s good to have a sketchbook handy to capture the ideas as they bubble up. I can get this same process working with words too and have both written as well as illustrated books, but images come most readily to me.

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