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“Lovely Beasts” Wins Bull-Bransom Award

May 30, 2019


Thursday, May 30, 2019

This year, the Bull-Bransom Award goes to Heidi Smith for her illustrations in the book Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth, written by Kate Gardner.

On winning the award, Ms. Smith says, “I really love animals, so it is an absolute honor and privilege to have received the Bull-Bransom Award, and to have had the pleasure of illustrating Lovely Beasts!” In the spring of 2020, Ms. Smith will travel to Jackson Hole to lead educational programming for elementary school students.

Museum Trustee and Bull-Bransom Award Founder, Lynn Friess started this annual award in 2010. It came to be partly because of Mrs. Friess’ teenage years spent working in a library, and noting that children’s books with eye-catching illustrations were always in high demand. Now, Mrs. Friess says, “The Bull-Bransom Award is the only award of its kind in the United States and is coveted by those artists who create wildlife illustrations for youngsters’ books.”

Combining tradition and technology, Ms. Smith created the illustrations for Lovely Beasts with charcoal pencil and Adobe Photoshop. The illustrations match charming stories of animals with common misconceptions about them. Spiders, for example, are often thought of as being “creepy,” but also spin delicately intricate webs.

HarperCollins Publishers describes Lovely Beasts as, “A stunning debut picture book that encourages kids to look beyond first impressions by sharing unexpected details about seemingly scary wild animals like gorillas, rhinoceroses, and more.”

“The Bull-Bransom Award recognizes the best in illustration aimed at children addressing wildlife and nature,” says Museum Curator, Dr. Adam Harris. “With climate change and endangered species in the news on a regular basis, this award tackles contemporary concerns as it hopes to inspire artists to look to the great outdoors for inspiration.”

The Bull-Bransom Award is named after Charles Livingston Bull and Paul Bransom, who were among the first and finest American artist-illustrators to specialize in wildlife subjects.

Other finalists for the Bull-Bransom Award this year included: Alison Oliver for illustrations in Moon, Daniel Salmieri for illustrations in Bear and Wolf, Brenden Wenzel for illustrations in Hello Hello, and Brian Floca for illustrations in Hawk Rising.

Heidi Smith lovely beasts cover

Left Photo: Heidi Smith
Right Photo: Lovely Beasts Book Cover

The National Museum of Wildlife Art, a nonprofit founded in 1987, is a world-class art museum holding more than 5,000 artworks representing wild animals from around the world. Featuring work by prominent artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, Robert Kuhn, John James Audubon, and Carl Rungius, the Museum’s unsurpassed permanent collection chronicles much of the history of wildlife in art, from 2500 B.C. to the present. Built into a hillside overlooking the National Elk Refuge, the Museum received the designation “National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States” by order of Congress in 2008. Boasting a Museum shop, interactive children’s gallery, Palate restaurant, and outdoor sculpture trail, the Museum is only two-and-a-half miles north of Jackson Town Square, and two miles from the gateway of Grand Teton National Park.

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