Bowman, Leslie W. (Leslie Bowman)

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Bowman, Leslie W. (Leslie Bowman)


Born in CT. Education: Attended Rhode Island School of Design.


Home—Minneapolis, MN. Agent—Libby Ford, Kirchoff/Wohlberg, 866 United Nations Plaza, No. 525, New York, NY 10017. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected].


Portrait artist and children's book illustrator. Has also worked as a courier for Federal Express.



M.J. Engh, The House in the Snow, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1987.

Elizabeth Borton de Treviño, El Güero: A True Adventure Story, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1989.

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, The Canada Geese Quilt, Cobblehill Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Marc Harshman, Snow Company, Cobblehill Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, The Night the Bells Rang, Cobblehill Books (New York, NY), 1991.

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, The Fiddler of the Northern Lights, Cobblehill Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Debra Page, Orcas around Me: My Alaskan Summer, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 1997.

Marc Harshman, When the End of Summer Is Near, Cobblehill (New York, NY), 1999.

Marc Harshman, Snow Company, Quarrier Press (Charleston, WV), 2002.


Nancy Ruth Patterson, The Christmas Cup, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Marilyn Levinson, The Fourth-grade Four, Holt (New York, NY), 1989.

Deborah Chandra, Balloons and Other Poems, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1990.

Gloria Whelan, Hannah, Knopf (New York, NY), 1991.

Dennis Haseley, Shadows, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1991.

Gary Paulsen, A Christmas Sonata, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 1992.

Jeff Daniel Marion, Hello, Crow, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1992.

Gloria Whelan, Night of the Full Moon, Knopf (New York, NY), 1993.

Dick King-Smith, The Cuckoo Child, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1993.

Deborah Chandra, Rich Lizard, and Other Poems, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1993.

Alice Ross and Kent Ross, The Copper Lady, Carolrhoda Books (Minneapolis, MN), 1997.

Jane Buchanan, The Berry-picking Man, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2003.

Kathleen McAlpin Blasi, A Name of Honor, Mondo (New York, NY), 2006.

William Loizeaux, Wings, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2006.


Leslie W. Bowman is an accomplished portrait painter who has illustrated books for such esteemed authors as Gary Paulsen, Gloria Whelan, Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, and Dick King-Smith. "I have been drawing as long as I can remember," Bowman remarked on her home page, adding that her childhood experiences growing up in

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Connecticut allowed her to develop "a love of light and form and texture." As a teenager, Bowman discovered her talent for portraiture and later studied illustration and photography at the Rhode Island School of Design. After a move to Minnesota in 1971, she established a home studio and, with the help of Caldecott Award-winning illustrator Stephen Gammell, began providing artwork for children's titles. Bowman's first effort, creating artwork for The House in the Snow by M.J. Engh, was published in 1987.

Shadows, a story by Dennis Haseley, concerns Jamie, a young boy who is sent to live with his overprotective aunt after his father dies tragically in a fire and his mother must look for work. When Jamie's paternal grandfather arrives, he teaches the youngster how to cast hand shadows on the wall while helping the boy gain a greater understanding of his father. As a Publishers Weekly reviewer stated, Bowman's "minimally drawn characters work well to illuminate" the novel's "most intriguing element—the relationship between Jamie and his grandpa.

Bowman also served as the illustrator for Deborah Chandra's Rich Lizard, and Other Poems, a collection of twenty-four verses about life's ordinary pleasures, including cotton candy, soap bubbles, and a pair of comfortable shoes. Complimenting Bowman's black-and-white illustrations, Horn Book reviewer Nancy Vasilakis stated that "the well-designed pages reflect the mood of the poems with empathic intelligence."

The Fiddler of the Northern Lights, one of several picture books Bowman has illustrated for Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, follows a young boy and his grandfather as they skate upriver one winter to catch a glimpse of a magical musician who commands the shimmering lights of the Aurora Borealis. "Bowman's soft, dreamy illustrations complement the magical elements of the text," noted Booklist contributor Kay Weisman, and a critic in Publishers Weekly observed that the artist's "understated, realistic watercolors transform the somber woodlands with curtains of light." The Copper Lady, a work of historical fiction by Alice and Kent Ross, centers on a Parisian orphan who stows away on a ship and helps save the Statue of Liberty during a terrible storm. "Watercolors rendered in soft shades of browns and grays complement" the work, according to Booklist reviewer April Judge.

Bowman's art also appears in Debra Page's nonfiction picture book Orcas around Me: My Alaskan Summer, which focuses on the author's family members and their trade as commercial salmon fishermen in the North Pacific. "Bowman's handsome sun-bleached watercolors vibrantly capture" a fisherman's life on the water, observed Linda Perkins in her review for Booklist. Horn Book contributor Roger Sutton remarked that Bowman's illustrations, "designed to blend gracefully with the textblocks, are appropriately washed and dappled," and a Publishers Weekly critic noted that the artist "contributes spare, somewhat pale watercolor illustrations that evoke both the ocean's wild openness and the family's warmth."

In Jane Buchanan's The Berry-picking Man, nine-year-old Meggie grows increasingly annoyed by her mother's attempts to help Old Sam, a former mental patient who enjoys picking wild strawberries. Referencing the book's sensitive theme, a critic in Kirkus Reviews noted that Bowman's illustrations "mimic the theme of seeing beyond the black and white to understand the whole picture."

Set during the summer of 1960, Wings, a middle-grade novel by William Loizeaux, centers on a young boy's efforts to rescue and nurture a baby mockingbird. "The flowing narration, alight with visual detail, is reflected in Bowman's soft pencil illustrations," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor, and Booklist critic Carolyn Phelan concluded that the artist's "drawings illustrate this graceful story with sensitivity and subtlety."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, November 15, 1996, Kay Weisman, review of The Fiddler of the Northern Lights, p. 594; August, 1997, Linda Perkins, review of Orcas around Me: My Alaskan Summer, p. 1903, and April Judge, review of The Copper Lady, p. 1910; August, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of The Berry-picking Man, p. 1980; September 1, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Wings, p. 129.

Horn Book, September-October, 1993, Nancy Vasilakis, review of Rich Lizard and Other Poems, p. 613; January-February, 1998, Roger Sutton, review of Orcas around Me, p. 94; September-October, 2006, Joanna Rudge Long, review of Wings, p. 591.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2003, review of The Berry-picking Man, p. 747; August 15, 2006, review of Wings, p. 847.

New York Times Book Review, July 14, 1991, Lawrie Mifflin, review of Hannah, p. 25; October 20, 1991, Liz Rosenberg, review of Shadows, p. 53; December 13, 1992, review of A Christmas Sonata, p. 35.

Pastel Journal, April, 2005, Loraine Crouch, "How Leslie Bowman, of Minneapolis, Got in Touch with Her Talent and Her Art."

Publishers Weekly, May 17, 1991, review of Shadows, p. 63; September 7, 1992, Elizabeth Devereaux, review of Christmas Sonata, p. 69; March 8, 1993, review of The Cuckoo Child, p. 79; November 8, 1993, review of Night of the Full Moon, p. 77; November 11, 1996, review of The Fiddler of the Northern Lights, p. 74; June 23, 1997, review of Orcas around Me, p. 92.

School Library Journal, June, 1991, Katharine Bruner, review of Shadows, p. 106; November, 1996, Martha Rosen, review of The Fiddler of the Northern Lights, p. 87; September, 2006, Susan Scheps, review of Wings, p. 211.


Leslie W. Bowman Home Page, (July 20, 2007).

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