Condon, Ken

views updated

Condon, Ken


Married; children: one daughter. Education: Art Institute of Boston, degree.


Office—126 Ashfield Mt. Rd., Ashfield, MA 01330. E-mail—[email protected].


Illustrator, 1981—. Clients include Traveler's Insurance, Fidelity Investments, Cooper's & Lybrand, Hewlett Packard, and Ameritech.


Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild.


Jane Yolen, editor, Sky Scrape/City Scape: Poems of City Life, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1996.

Allan A. De Fina, When a City Leans against the Sky (poems), Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1997.

Monica Gunning, America, My New Home (poems), Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2004.

Andrea Cheng, Tire Mountain, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2007.

Contributor of illustrations to periodicals, including New York Times, Washington Post, Fortune, Runner's World, and Parenting.


A graduate of the Art Institute of Boston, Ken Condon has been a freelance illustrator since 1981. His work has appeared in such publications as the New York Times

and the Washington Post, and his clients include Fidelity Investments, Hewlett Packard, and Ameritech, among others.

Condon has also illustrated a number of well-received picture books for young readers. His debut effort, Sky Scrape/City Scape: Poems of City Life, is a collection edited by Jane Yolen that contains twenty-five poems about crowds, subways, neon signs, and other facets of urban living. The anthology includes Carl Sandburg's "Prayers of Steel," Lilian Moore's "Pigeons," and Norma Farber's "Manhattan Lullaby," as well as poems by Langston Hughes, Judith Thurman, and Felice Holman. To create the artwork for the volume, Condon utilized a variety of media, including charcoal, gouache, oil stick, oil pastel, and chalk pastel. According to Booklist contributor Hazel Rochman, the "rousing illustrations" in Sky Scrape/City Scape, "filled with light and color, express the rumble and rush of city life."

Condon has also created illustrations for Monica Gunning's America, My New Home, another collection of poems. A native of Jamaica, Gunning moved to the United States as a teenager in the 1950s; her work describes the experiences of an immigrant youngster who has come to live in North America. The often-overwhelmed young girl, while confused by the unfamiliar sights and sounds of the city, also finds herself enthralled by such wonders as the Statue of Liberty, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Condon's bright, upbeat urban scenes clearly show that the child does miss home," observed Rochman, and Lee Bock noted in School Library Journal that the illustrator's "rendering of buildings is skillful as are his portraits, which often merely suggest facial features." "Complemented by colorful chalk-and-oil pastels, the poems speak to anyone new to this country," observed a critic in a Kirkus Reviews appraisal of America, My New Home.

A boy helps his family find a peaceful resolution to its conflict in Tire Mountain, a picture book by Andrea Cheng that also features Condon's art. Although Aaron loves the location of his home, which sits next to his father's tire shop, the youngster's mother has grown tired of the noise and smell. When Aaron's mom begins looking for a tidy new house in the suburbs, her son becomes upset at the thought of leaving his favorite play area: the mountain of used tires behind the tire store. After he discovers an empty lot nearby, Aaron devises a perfect solution to his dilemma. Condon's artwork drew praise from several critics, a contributor in Kirkus Reviews remarking that the book's "detailed illustrations are realistically depictive of the city and done in subtle chalky hues." In the words of a Publishers Weekly reviewer, Condon's "warm colors and mural-like qualities feel absolutely right. It's a kid's-eye view of the world, where physical presences offer rock-solid comfort."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, May 15, 1996, Hazel Rochman, review of Sky Scrape/City Scape: Poems of City Life, p. 1587; November 15, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of America, My New Home, p. 575.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2004, review of America, My New Home, p. 1089; July 1, 2007, review of Tire Mountain.

Publishers Weekly, August 20, 2007, review of Tire Mountain, p. 67.

School Library Journal, December, 2004, Lee Bock, review of America, My New Home, p. 130.


Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild Web site, (October 31, 2008), "Ken Condon."

About this article

Condon, Ken

Updated About content Print Article