Former class clown to share inspirational story that led to becoming award-winning artist
Award-winning artist E.B. Lewis, known for his rich watercolors and lush detailed illustrations in more than 50 children’s books, is the guest speaker Wednesday, February 9 at 6:15 p.m. as part of the Dart After Dark series at the Dart Branch Library, 1067 King Street.
A self-described class clown, the 54-year-old Lewis realized as a sixth grader that he needed to straighten up if he was going to make something of himself. With a talent for drawing, Lewis found inspiration from two uncles who were successful artists, and he began taking art more seriously. Ultimately, upon the completion of high school, he enrolled at Temple University's Tyler School of Art.
In the Dart After Dark presentation, Lewis will share his story of inspiration and sacrifice, explaining how a class clown can turn
himself into a serious artist and winner of both the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for Talkin' about Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman and the Caldecott Honor Award for Coming on Home Soon.
Initially, Lewis focused on paintings that sold in galleries around the country, and his work is part of distinguished collections, including the Pew Charitable Trust. It wasn’t until 1993 that Lewis turned his interests to children’s book illustrations, where he immediately found a niche that resulted in praise from publications like Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal and Booklist. School Library Journal praised his art, saying he captured “the warmth and simplicity of the tale through his beautiful watercolor paintings. They bring the story to life, complementing the emotion, expression, and character of the printed words."
Other books illustrated by Lewis include: Margot Theis Raven’s Circle Unbroken: The Story of a Basket and Its People, Nikki Grimes’ Danitra Brown, Class Clown; Angela Johnson’s Lily Brown's Paintings, Clifton L. Taulbert’s Little Cliff's First Day of School, Natasha Anastasia Tarpley’s I Love My Hair!, Natasha Anastasia Tarpley’s Bippity Bop Barbershop,Jacqueline Woodson’s The Other Side and Earl B. Lewis’s This Little Light of Mine.
Dart After Dark is a monthly series of programs being offered by Charleston County Public Library at the John L. Dart Library Branch, 1067 King Street. The programs are held after the branch’s normal 6 p.m. closing time in hopes of bringing the community together and offering them quality programming during the evenings.
In addition to speaking at the Dart Library Wednesday evening, Lewis will visit several schools in the St. Pauls/Hollywood area February 9-11 as part of the
GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness) program sponsored by The Citadel and the Commission on Higher Education. The program’s goal is to go into schools and introduce students to role models who can provide them with encouragement to reach their dreams. Lewis’ visit is part of GEAR UP’s “Authors in the Schools” initiative.