About the Illustrator, G. Brian Karas

From bedtime lullabies to westerns, classroom dramas and comedies to hip hop renditions of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, G. Brian Karas has illustrated a wide range of books for children. His over seventy books have won many awards and honors, including the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor in 1997 for his first book as author illustrator, Home On The Bayou. The Class Artist, also written and illustrated by Mr. Karas, was a Smithsonian Magazine’s Notable Book for Children in 2001 and received the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio 2002 Best Book Gold Award. Car Wash by Sandra and Susan Steen received a Blue Ribbon from the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books in 2001 and Saving Sweetness by Diane Stanley was a Capitol Choices Noteworthy Book for Children in 1996, received a Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon in 1996, and was a School Library Journal Best Book of 1996.

G. Brian Karas’ artwork for the 2003 Texas Reading Club features Bunny Brown and Jack Jones from The High Rise Private Eyes series by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by G. Brian Karas and published by Greenwillow Books.

Here’s what Brian has to say:

“My sister taught me my first drawing lessons. I was 5. We drew pilgrims. I caught on quickly and drawing became a passion. I moved on from pilgrims to funny portraits of my sister (who didn’t think they were so funny). I became a confident artist at a young age. My first setback was in Kindergarten when after having a week to produce the best work we could, all I had to show was a meager 3- inch cut-out tipi. My teacher was not impressed but there was no way for her to know that the little tipi was really the outcome of a week- long attempt to construct a three dimensional life-size tipi. I just couldn’t figure it out and was too deflated to explain it all to her. It may have been a message that my future was in illustration and not sculpture. I recovered and held the title of Class Artist throughout my school years, yet I never considered art as a career. But I did go to art school and quite early on decided which direction to go in. Another passion of mine was reading and though I was beyond children’s books by that time I still remembered vividly the different worlds children’s books took me to and the wonderful characters I met. The images from those books were etched in my mind, they still are, and I thought that I would like to do nothing more than try to create as vivid an impression for someone else. Illustrating children’s books also gave me a great excuse to spend my adult life back in all those wonderful places with all those wonderful characters in children’s stories. I went to Paier School of Art in Connecticut and was fortunate to have many fine teachers who were children’s book illustrators. They gave me a good background in the field of publishing for children. Although at times it can be frustrating, slow, and always a challenge, I can think of no occupation more rewarding.”

Brian grew up in a small town in Connecticut. After college, he lived in Kansas City, New York, and Phoenix. He has worked in many interesting studios including a sewing factory-turned artists co-op in New York City, a sculptor’s loft on Seattle’s waterfront, a Frank Lloyd Wright house in the desert, and a small cottage on the grounds of an old lodge on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix. Brian now lives in the Hudson Valley of New York with his wife, Sue, their two children, Bennett and Zachary, their large dog, Otto, and small cat, Lucy.

Selected Children’s Books Written and/or Illustrated by G. Brian Karas

  • Bebe’s Bad Dream by G. Brian Karas. Greenwillow, 2000.
  • Car Wash by Sandra Steen. Putnam, 2002.
  • Cinder-Elly by Frances Minters. Viking, 1994.
  • High-Rise Private Eyes: The Case of the Puzzling Possum by Cynthia Rylant. Greenwillow, 2001.
  • Home on the Bayou by G. Brian Karas. Simon & Schuster. 1996.
  • I Know an Old Lady by Jonathan London. Scholastic, 1995.
  • Like Butter on Pancakes by Jonathan London. Puffin, 1998.
  • Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Denise Fleming. Simon and Schuster, 2002.
  • On the Trail With Miss Pace by Sharon Phillips Denslow. Simon & Schuster, 1995.
  • Princess Fishtail by Frances Minters. Viking 2002.
  • Raising Sweetness by Diane Stanley. Putnam, 1999.
  • Sleepless Beauty by Frances Minters. Viking, 1996.
  • Saving Sweetness by Diane Stanley. Putnam, 1996.
  • The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort. Henry Holt, 2000.
  • The Windy Day by G. Brian Karas. Simon & Schuster, 1998.


Texas Reading Club 2003 Programming Manual / Mission Possible Spy Book!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011