Christopher Silas Neal’s creative journey wasn’t a straight line. Having graduated in 1999 from The University of Colorado Boulder with a BA in Journalism, he went on to work as a graphic designer for a small studio in Boulder, before switching gears to illustration and moving to New York.
Now based in Brooklyn, Silas Neal combines his passions for writing and illustrating, by working full time as an author and illustrator of picture books. His books have won a number of state and national awards, gaining him international success. He also creates book covers for adult fiction, non-fiction, and young readers, as well as art for magazines and newspapers such as Time, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and The New Yorker.
“I really enjoy making images with a sense of magic that illicit an emotional response from the viewer—images that tug at the heart,” he shared with Inky Goodness. His images have a vintage appeal to them, and Silas Neal admits that nostalgia plays a big part in what he finds emotional and comforting.
“Even if I’m referencing an era long before I was born, those old and tattered references add a layer of nostalgia and wonder because they no longer exist,” he notes. “Through my childhood picture books and my Mother’s record collection I experienced art for the first time. They formed the foundation of my creative experience along with music videos and films. So, these childhood pop culture ephemera find their way into my work.”
He adds that like most people, his connection and inspiration are the picture books he read as a kid. “One of my favorites is Frederick by Leo Lionni,” he says. “It’s really simple and poetic. I hope to make books just as beautiful and heart warming as he did.”
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