Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Vanessa Brantley-Newton



Vanessa Brantley Newton was born during the Civil Rights movement, and attended school in Newark, NJ. She was part of a diverse, tight-knit community and learned the importance of acceptance and empowerment at early age.

Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats was the first time she saw herself in a children’s book. It was a defining moment in her life, and has made her into the artist she is today. As an illustrator, Vanessa includes children of all ethnic backgrounds in her stories and artwork. She wants all children to see their unique experiences reflected in the books they read, so they can feel the same sense of empowerment and recognition she experienced as a young reader.

​Vanessa celebrates self-love and acceptance of all cultures through her work, and hopes to inspire young readers to find their own voices. She first learned to express herself as a little girl through song. Growing up in a musical family, Vanessa’s parents taught her how to sing to help overcome her stuttering. Each night the family would gather to make music together, with her mom on piano, her dad on guitar, and Vanessa and her sister, Coy, singing the blues, gospel, spirituals, and jazz. Now whenever she illustrates, music fills the air and finds its way into her art.

The children she draws can be seen dancing, wiggling, and moving freely across the page in an expression of happiness. Music is a constant celebration, no matter the occasion, and Vanessa hopes her illustrations bring joy to others, with the same magic of a beautiful melody.



My Journey to Becoming an Illustrator – Vanessa Brantley-Newton shares her journey of being a child born during the Civil Rights movement to becoming an award-winning author-illustrator of multiple children’s books.

An Artist’s Pep Talk: Vanessa Brantley-Newton will take participants through an artistic and meditative journey within to discover what is blocking your success and give you tools to move you forward on your creative path.



Collaging From The Edge
In this hour long class each student is asked to bring any kind of collage paper they can find to share. It can be anything from old news paper, handmade paper, magazines, books, etc. It can even be something you designed and printed out. Take the time to find interesting text or textures and colors.
We will have fun sharing papers and adding them to create a one of a kind collage illustration. Everyone is asked to bring your own art supplies such as scissors, glue sticks, crayons, makers, pastel, anything you want. We want you to be comfortable with the supplies that work for you.  You can even do this on your iPad if you have one.
 Come ready to be inspired and stretched to try something new through collaging from the edge.
Supplies needed for this class,
  • Open heart and mind
  • Collage paper of your choosing
  • Your own art supplies
  • A sketchbook or paper to apply your collage to




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