Boston Book Festival 2020 Boston Book Festival 2020

Illustrator Draw-Off

Crowdcast 15
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Jeffrey Brown
Once Upon a Space-Time!

Jeffrey Brown is the bestselling author and illustrator of the middle grade Jedi Academy series as well as the Darth Vader and Son series and the Lucy & Andy Neanderthal series. He has written a number of autobiographical books for adults, humorous graphic novels about cats, and parodies like Incredible Change-Bots. The first book in his new middle grade series, Space-Time!, Once Upon a Space-Time!, is a “cavalcade of fun” (Publishers Weekly).

Buy Once Upon a Space-Time!

Sophie Escabasse
Witches of Brooklyn

Sophie Escabasse is a middle grade author and illustrator. She has illustrated several books including Florence Parry Heide and Roxanne Heide Pierce’s Spotlight Club Mysteries series, and the Freestyler Funnies series by Tom Easton. Escabasse's latest work, Witches of Brooklyn, follows the story of a young girl who discovers that magic runs in her family. Kirkus Reviews calls Witches of Brooklyn "a mixture of everyday adventures and enchanting fantasy.”

Buy Witches of Brooklyn

Liz Pichon
The Brilliant World of Tom Gates

Liz Pichon is a British illustrator and children’s author. She has received several awards for her work, including the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Red House Children’s Book Award, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, and many others. Her most famous work, the Tom Gates series, is satirical realist comedy fiction. It follows the story of Tom Gates, a young boy who’s known as the school comedian, homework dodger, rock-star wannabe, and master doodler. Her Tom Gates That’s Me pack includes the acclaimed first three books. School Library Journal says, “The engaging illustrations are plentiful and will delight avid and reluctant readers alike.”

Buy The Brilliant World of Tom Gates

Shannon Wright is an illustrator and cartoonist. Her work has been featured by the Guardian, TIME Magazine, New York Times, Mother Jones, NPR, Google, and Scholastic. Wright’s work tends to focus on social issues like race and gender through joyous personal stories. Wright has illustrated several works, including Mommy Medicine, which won a Parent’s Choice Recommended Award and was included on the Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year List; and Betty Before X, which was named a Best Children’s Book of 2018 by the New York Public Library and the Washington Post. One of her latest books, Twins, tells the story of two twins finding themselves at odds as they enter sixth grade. Booklist says, “Wright's artwork, crisp and colorful, does a masterful job of tracking the twins's emotional arcs through expressive composition.”

Buy Twins

Cagen Luse is an illustrator and entrepreneur. He’s the creator of Lunch Time Comix, a biographical rendering of his family and childhood, which includes the comic strip “The New Normal,” tackling daily life in the pandemic. Installments of the series have been published in the local alt-weekly DIG Boston and various social media platforms. He also runs his own business, 950design, ( that produces hand-made items such as t-shirts, art prints, buttons, and note cards featuring his original artwork. Luse is also a member of Comics In Color (CiC), an organization that promotes comics by and about people of color in Boston who love comics and comic book making.

You might think that illustrating (and in some cases also writing) an entertaining graphic novel for kids is enough of a challenge, but the four talented artists we’ve gathered here have no idea what kinds of challenges we’ve got in store! Host Cagen Luse of Comics in Color will guide our contestants—Jeffrey Brown (Once Upon a Space-Time!), Sophie Escabasse (Witches of Brooklyn), Liz Pichon (the Tom Gates series), and Shannon Wright (Twins)—through a series of zany timed drawing challenges. A hamster doing extreme sports? An over-the-top ice cream sundae? A baby out for revenge? Who knows what they’ll be asked to draw next! Send us your ideas for drawing prompts via Twitter @bostonbookfest or via email at [email protected]. Tune in live to see if your prompt gets picked and to watch the hilarity unfold—and you, the audience, will be the judge of who wins each round and is crowned the victor! This session is sponsored by Candlewick Press and co-presented with Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo, taking place virtually from October 3–25.

All ages