A Late-Night Visit with Illustrator Lee White

h1 December 3rd, 2012 by jules

Fall Walk

This evening I’m handing the blog over to illustrator Lee White, who’s here to share some artwork, including his illustrations for Sophie’s Fish, written by A. E. Cannon and released by Viking in March. Lee, who lives and teaches in Portland (the Art Institute of Portland), has illustrated many picture books and is currently writing his own stories as well.

Sophie’s Fish, which received a starred review from Kirkus, tells the story of Jake, a young boy who promises to babysit his friend Sophie’s fish. The balance of the rest of the book is him worrying himself ragged over everything that could go wrong while taking care of this fish, all wrapped up with a very funny punch line of an ending. All that creative worrying in between Sophie’s request and the final page is quite entertaining, and observant readers will have fun spotting White’s fish all throughout the illustrations. Kirkus, calling it “visually offbeat and beautiful,” wrote:

“Watercolor dominates the mixed media, inventively complemented by collage and drawing. Lines dance playfully around the shapes they’re meant to outline, sometimes sliding off a shape’s edge, sometimes bleeding into the watercolor. Tidbits of collage, sometimes of patterned paper, are fascinating yet never loud.”

There’s lots more from the book below—I’ll close this post with illustrations from the book—but I’ll open with some illustrations from White’s portfolio. (Why not open with random pieces? His work is beguiling.) [Note: The font and text in some of the spreads below from the book are slightly different from the spreads as they appear in the final printed version.]

Enjoy the art.

Lite Bike
(Click to enlarge)

Horn Man

Midnight Ride

Octopus in Waiting

Swan Thief
(Click to enlarge)

Date Night
(Click to enlarge)

Sunday Drive

Umbrella Flight



Snow Giraffe
(Click to enlarge)

Bird Apartment

Button Lady

Heart Blower

(Click to enlarge)


Spreads from Sophie’s Fish


“A girl at school named Sophie asked me to babysit her fish
when she goes to stay at her gram’s house this weekend.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

“‘Jake,’ Sophie said, ‘will you take care of Yo-Yo?’ I’ve never met Yo-Yo,
but I said okay. How hard can it be to babysit a fish?”

(Click to enlarge)

“EXCEPT! Now that I’m waiting for Sophie to bring Yo-Yo to my house,
I am very worried. Very. I don’t know anything about taking care of fish!”

(Click to enlarge)

“FOR EXAMPLE! What if Yo-Yo gets hungry and wants a snack?
What kind of snacks do fish like to eat?”

(Click to enlarge)

“What if Yo-Yo gets sleepy after playing games and wants me to read him a naptime story? What kind of stories do fish like to hear? What if Yo-Yo gets cold while listening to a naptime sotry and wants me to cover him up with his special blanket?
Do fish care if their special blankets are all wet?”

(Click to enlarge)

“Will I call Sophie’s gram on the telephone and say, SOS!”
(Click to enlarge)

* * * * * * *

SOPHIE’S FISH. Copyright © 2012 by A. E. Cannon. Illustrations copyright © 2012 by Lee White. Published by Viking, New York. All art here posted with permission of Lee White.

15 comments to “A Late-Night Visit with Illustrator Lee White”

  1. lovely

  2. *Long whistle*. I have a new person to add to my favourite illustrator’s list. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Oooh… What an admirable sense of light.

  4. I reviewed Sophie’s Fish this spring loving the illustrations but I have to say Heart Blower and Snow Giraffe are amazing (well they all are but those two…WOW)

  5. Wow! I loved looking at Lee’s work. As the author, I did handsprings of joy when I learned that he was illustrating my manuscript.

  6. Hats off! Just beautiful. The compositions are spot on and esp. in Snow Giraffe, I appreciate the balance of color.

  7. While these illustrations are indeed gorgeous I am most excited to learn of a new book, perfect for a little worrier in my life!

  8. Wowsa! Stunning work. 🙂

  9. I’m such a fan of Lee White’s work! Great to see him featured here.

  10. Lee’s work always catches my eye, particularly Swan Thief. Gorgeous!

  11. Really beautiful work. So fun to look for patterns and written words and all the other intriguing things in Lee’s illos. I am in awe.

  12. Oh goodness, what amazing art! Thanks for introducing me to this wonderful artist!

  13. Lee White can do it ALL! I just love his work.

  14. […] The above image is from illustrator Lee White and is re-posted here from this earlier 7-Imp post. […]

  15. Brilliant! A story in every picture.

Leave a Comment

Should you have trouble posting, please contact sevenimp_blaine@blaine.org. Thanks.