Carol Heyer: Children’s Book and Fantasy Illustrations

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Other Mediums

Award-winning, full-time illustrator and writer Carol Heyer has had much more than five minutes of fame. Not only has Carol established herself as a production designer and writer of feature films, but she has also written and illustrated 28 children’s picture books. Even more stunning is that more than 2 million of these books have been sold to date. I’ll pause here to let that number sink in. . .

Carol’s art has appeared on everything from book covers to bookmarks. Her clients include Scholastic and Penguin Putnam, and her biography appears in “Who’s Who of America” as a contemporary author. So, why am I still writing? Let’s get to her incredible illustrations!

Dairy cows weigh a little less than a ton, so I don’t see what’s so unrealistic about them floating in mid-air with the same ease (and general shape) of fish in water. OK, that’s sarcasm. :) In her illustration below, however, Carol takes the normal and mundane task of a farmer’s wife hanging clothes to dry and creates a quirky, dream-like setting with these floating fish-cows.

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What’s even better is the deadpan expression on the woman’s face as she patiently waits for the cows to drift by so she can continue her chores. Best yet may be the cows’ laidback expressions, as if they are used to soaring wherever the wind takes them. Wavy hills and cottony clouds in the background complete the fun-filled theme with style and depth, making for a picture perfect (although clearly one-of-a-kind) day at the farm.

Carol continues to show vast originality and variance in style when it comes to her illustrations. Below, we see a toad dressed in perhaps a type of African ceremonial garb balancing deftly atop a lily pad. Clearly, there’s a story here, and I must say I’d love to know what it is!

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In the background, we’ve got black silhouettes of exotic animals, such as elephants and a giraffe, as well as fainter tribal symbols covering the entire illustration. The massive sun plays games, baking the desolate savanna with its rays, yet all the while smiling approvingly at this particular toad, allowing it to flourish in a cool blue pool of rippling water. Any way you slice it, this is a greatly imaginative illustration.

Lastly, I’m absolutely loving the character and detail in this final illustration below. Fantasy and illusion come together with a hint of mystery in the simple act of this woman sweeping.

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Behind her a cauldron boils, various herbs hang to dry, and a skull rests amidst waxy candles and sticky spider webs. From the (three-eyed?) frog in her pocket to the curled shoes and spells handwritten on paper curling with age, everything about this woman and her home screams “witch!”

It sets an eerie, awesome tone that I think children would find fascinating—especially if it was a page straight out of spooky book (which, knowing Carol, it very well may be).

From Dinosaurs to A Christmas Carol to Let’s Read About Abraham Lincoln, Carol’s expertise in creating children’s literature and corresponding imagery is always a sight to see! Visit her website, and be sure to take a look at her blog as well, for frequent updates about her latest work.


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