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Brooklyn Library "Illustrates" Contribution Of Local Artists

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While there's been much attention paid to writers who have called Brooklyn their home, illustrators are now the focus at a new library exhibition. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.

From "Madeline" to "Sharks," some of the most well-known children's book characters were created in Brooklyn. More than 30 illustrators who live in the borough now have a showcase displaying their original work. It's all part of the Brooklyn Public Library exhibition called "Drawn in Brooklyn."

"So many talented and well known illustrators who reside in this great borough of Brooklyn. We basically chose the artists we had worked with before. Many of them are Caldecott winners and Coretta Scott King winners," said Brooklyn Public Library Exhibitions Manager Barbara Wing.

Art work made of watercolors, ink and colored pencils decorate the grand lobby at the central branch. The process of how many illustrators created the pages are laid out in displays in the youth wing. The cases on the second floor balcony highlight some of the artist's inspirations.

Brooklyn illustrator Sophie Blackall, by way of Australia, pointed to her scrapbook collection to jump start her creativity.

"Old scrapbooks from Victorian times though the 1950s, which influence my work in various ways, but it's a kind of book that you don't usually find in a library but nonetheless they're books and they're made of ephemera of little stories from people's lives, fragments that I find fascinating," Blackall said.

Blackall will be leading an art workshop this weekend for the library's Drawn in Brooklyn Family Day Illustrators'' Festival. She will be joined by about a dozen others including Red Hook resident John Marciano who's carried on his family's legacy with the "Madeline" series. They will be doing readings of their latest books.

"All of the books have been ordered not only here at the central library but in all of the branches so many of the illustrators of the favorite books will be here to take out," Marciano said.

Drawn in Brooklyn Family Day kicks off Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The exhibition runs through January 23.

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