Illustrator Spotlight: Carson Ellis

Illustrator Spotlight: Carson Ellis

Jena Murray
Nov 16, 2012

Some of our readers might be familiar with the band, The Decemberists, and have noticed the pure and fantastical album art that has accompanied all seven of their albums, which is the cover art of the band's lead vocalist and songwriter, Colin Meloy's wife, Carson Ellis.

What most fans do not realize, is that Ms. Ellis is also the acclaimed illustrator of several books for children, including Lemony Snicket's The Composer is Dead, Dillweed's Revenge by Florence Parry Heide, and The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.

In recent years, Meloy and Ellis have joined forces once again and become the ultimate author/illustrator team for epic fantasy-adventure in children's literature. In 2011, they published Wildwood as the first installment of The Wildwood Chronicles, where the female heroine, Prue, bravely journeys into the Impassable Wilderness to save her baby brother.

This fall, the second installment of the critically acclaimed chronicles was published, Under Wildwood. Each book contains exactly 98 wistfully imaginative and playful, yet elegant illustrations by Carson Ellis, each one perfectly drawing the reader deeper into the depths of Prue & Curtis' endeavors to save themselves and their friends from the dark and hidden underbelly of Wildwood.

Ellis works out of her home studio just outside of Portland, OR and nestled between the high hillsides of Forest Park (the largest city park acreage in the United States) and the western bank of the Willamette River. Some say this is quite near the Impassable Wilderness and I have to agree.

• Learn more: Carson Ellis's website

(Author photo: Carlie Armstrong/

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