Rebecca Kelly, who publishes under Becky Kelly, is an American watercolor illustrator of over forty books, greeting cards, calendars and children's and baby's products. She was raised in West Virginia and currently lives in Kansas City, Missouri.
Becky Kelly began experimenting with watercolor painting in grade school and often accompanied her father, an architect and painter, on painting trips to the countryside. She won many local art competitions in high school and went on to study painting, illustration, and design at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
After graduating, Kelly accepted a position as an illustrator at Hallmark Cards, leaving in 1992 to pursue freelance illustration. Due to her work's popularity, Hallmark eventually built an entire line of greeting cards and gift-related products under the product line 'Spoonful of Stars by Becky Kelly'. In 2001, she formed Becky Kelly Studios, launching her own line of licensed greeting cards and paper products, published under companies including Marcel Schurman's Papyrus division, Antioch Publishing and Peaceable Kingdom Press.
Over the years she has been a frequent contributor to award-winning children's magazines such as Ladybug magazine, Spider (magazine), Cricket (magazine), and Weekly Reader. She has also worked with educational publishers Scholastic, D.C. Heath, Grolier, and Brown, among others.
Kelly has often worked with writer Patrick Regan to create popular gift books published by Andrews McMeel Publishing that are consistently available at major retailers such as Borders Bookstores in the US, Indigo Books in Canada, and Amazon.com.
Artistic style and themes
Kelly's illustrations often feature children enjoying nature in idyllic, fantasy-touched settings, such as a child sitting on a moon and child fairies engaging with animals. She frequently employs a soft color palette to create gently rich scenes that distinguish her unique style. A recurring theme in her work are the family relationships and friendships in a child's life.
"Becky Kelly creates a world seemingly suspended in time: a world where children dangle their toes in clear running streams; best friends giggle and daydream in the comfortable crook of an ancient tree; and ethereal fairies doze on dewdappled leaves."— Mary Engelbreit, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion magazine, 1998, Feb/March Issue
She has said that her illustrations are inspired by nature, her childhood in West Virginia and the children she observes in her life. She has also cited 1920s and 1930s children's book illustrations, as well as the Impressionists, Carl Larsson and Dutch children's book illustrator Henriette Willebeek Le Mair, as influences.
Awards and honors
- 2009 Gold Seal Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award, for Garden Fairies In-A-Box - PKPress
- 2007 Toy of the Year Award, Creative Child Magazine, for Secret Keeper Box - PK Press
- 2007 Gold Medal Winner, Best Illustrator for Heavenly Skies and Lullabies
- 2007 Bronze Medal, Book with Music/Theatrical Independent Publisher Book Award IPPY Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, for Heavenly Skies and Lullabies
- 2007 Honorable Mention, Children's, New York Book Festival Award, for Heavenly Skies and Lullabies: Illustrated Songbook & CD, Kathy Reilly Fallon (Author), Frank Pellegrino (Author), Becky Kelly (Illustrator)
- 2006 Gold Medal Winner, Illustration, DragonPencil award, for Heavenly Skies and Lullabies: Illustrated Songbook & CD, Kathy Reilly Fallon (Author), Frank Pellegrino (Author), Becky Kelly (Illustrator)
- 2004 Selected as "One of 50 Most Noted West Virginians in the Arts" for the book "Art & Soul: West Virginians in the Arts", 2005, Appalachian Education Initiative. ISBN 978-0-9767021-0-8 Search this book on .
- 1996 Distinguished Achievement Award, Association of Educational Publishers Awards
- "2007 Moonbeam Children's Book Award winners". Independent Publisher. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
- "Announcing the Results of the First Annual Moonbeam Children's Book Awards". Independent Publisher. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
- Becky Kelly, About the artist, beckykelly.com. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- Allene Symons, "New cards mirror trends in caring, reflection", Drug Store News, 1998-06-22. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- 2009 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award Winner for Garden Fairies in a Box, pkpress.com. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- "2007 New York Book Festival Names Winners", newyorkbookfest.brinkster.net. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- "Announcing the 2006 DragonPencil Award Winners", dragonpencil.com. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- Julie Robinson, "daydream & doodles", Sunday Gazette, Charleston, W. Virginia, 2007-11-11. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
- "About the AEP Awards", Association of Educational Publishers
- Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower, Book/CD Review: Heavenly Skies & Lullabies, "This illustrated song book...has some of the most exquisite color drawings, by Becky Kelly, designed to enchant both children and adults alike.", 2006-11-12, robertaonthearts.com. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
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