Evans, Shane W.
Evans, Shane W.
Married; children: one daughter. Education: Syracuse University, B.A. (1993). Hobbies and other interests: Playing guitar, songwriting, traveling.
Home—MO. Office—Dream Studio, 711 E. 31st St., Kansas City, MO 64110.
Children's book illustrator and graphic and Web designer. Hallmark Cards, former card designer; freelance illustrator. Contributor to Disney Channel animated television series Homemade Love. Beans and Rice Productions (MCA Records), creative director and musician, 2001-02. Designer of furniture and clothing; photographer. Presenter at schools, conferences, workshops, and festivals.
Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book designation, and Orbis Pictus Honor Book Award for nonfiction, both 2000, both for Osceola, edited by Alan Govenar; honored at National Book Festival, 2002; International Reading Association Children's Book Award Notable Book designation; Lee Bennett Hopkins Honor Book designation, Pennsylvania Center for the Book, 2004, for The Way a Door Closes by Hope Anita Smith.
Shaquille O'Neal, Shaq and the Beanstalk and Other Very Tall Tales, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.
Quincy Troupe, Take It to the Hoop, Magic Johnson, Jump at the Sun (New York, NY), 2000.
Angela Johnson, Down the Winding Road, DK Ink (New York, NY), 2000.
Alan Govenar, editor, Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper's Daughter, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2000.
Jean Marzollo, Shanna's Princess Show, Jump at the Sun (New York, NY), 2001.
Jean Marzollo, Shanna's Doctor Show, Jump at the Sun (New York, NY), 2001.
Sylviane A. Diouf, Bintou's Braids, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2001.
Doreen Rappaport, No More!: Stories and Songs of Slave Resistance, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.
bell hooks, Homemade Love, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2002.
Jean Marzollo, Shanna's Ballerina Show, Jump at the Sun (New York, NY), 2002.
Jean Marzollo, Shanna's Teacher Show, Jump at the Sun (New York, NY), 2002.
Alice McGill, Here We Go Round, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2002.
Hope Anita Smith, The Way a Door Closes, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2003.
Andrea Davis Pinkney, Fishing Day, Jump at the Sun (New York, NY), 2003.
Doreen Rappaport, Free at Last!: Stories and Songs of Emancipation, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.
Deloris Jordan with Roslyn M. Jordan, Did I Tell You I Love You Today?, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2004.
Catherine Clinton, Hold the Flag High, Katherine Tegen Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Carol Maillard, Still the Same Me, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.
Doreen Rappaport, Nobody Gonna Turn Me 'Round: Stories, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.
Nikki Grimes, When Gorilla Goes Walking, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Catherine Clinton, When Harriet Met Sojourner, Katherine Tegen (New York, NY), 2008.
Jean Marzollo's "Shanna's First Readers" series, featuring Evans' art, was adapted as both a Disney cartoon and the television program Shane's Kindergarten Countdown. Marzollo's 2004 beginning readers Shanna's Animal Riddles and Shanna's Party Surprise, with illustrations by Maryn Roos, are also based on Evans' artwork.
Working primarily in oils, pen and ink, and computer, Missouri-based illustrator and graphic artist Shane W. Evans had received acclaim for the art he has contributed to dozens of books for children. A graduate of Syracuse University, Evans has collaborated on book projects with celebrity authors such as Shaq and the Beanstalk and Other Very Tall Tales by basketball star Shaquille O'Neal, as well as with Deloris Jordan, mother of famous hoopster Michael Jordan. He brings elements of African-American history to life in his work for Doreen Rappaport's three-book series featuring No More! Stories and Songs of Slave Resistance, Free at Last!: Stories and Songs of Emancipation, and Nobody Gonna Turn Me 'Round: Stories. Reviewing Free at Last! for Kirkus Reviews, a writer cited the "passion and power" created by the Rappaport/Evans collaboration, adding that Evans' "glowing, almost monumental oils convey the pent-up anger and sadness" of blacks during the Reconstruction era. In Booklist Hazel Rochman praised the individual portraits, writing that they "celebrate the courage of people who helped break the color line," and Joanna Rudge Long wrote in Horn Book that the artist's "powerful, page-filling paintings of stalwart figures of serious mien, lending drama to the simply described events."
Recalling his transition from graphic design to book illustration, Evans explained to an interviewer for the Brown Bookshelf Web site: "From … child[hood] I was fascinated by the art and as an adult I could see the creative diversity in books for children. I myself never actually thought that I would be doing this as a career; for some reason I just never thought about it. A part of the artist in me didn't think that the work that I was doing [as a graphic and Web artist] fit the ‘model’ for children's books. My illustrating of books actually came
from showing a body of work that I created after I got back from West Africa. It was a very expressive body of work that had an interesting story-telling element to it." Evans still draws artistic inspiration from his travels, and makes a point of experiencing the culture of a region outside the United States at least once every year.
Described by a Horn Book contributor as "formally composed paintings that gently evoke [the] character of both people and place," Evans's work for Alan Govenar's award-winning Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper's Daughter open a window onto the long life of ninety-one-year-old Texas native Osceola Mays. He also focuses on the mid-nineteenth century in two books by Catherine Clinton: Hold the Flag High and When Harriet Met Sojourner. A story of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, an all-black regiment that fought for the Union during the U.S. Civil War, Hold the Flag High centers on the close relationships that existed among the members of the ill-fated fighting force, especially between Ned, the drummer boy, and Sergeant William H. Carney, the first African American to received the Congressional Medal of Honor. In his oil paintings, Evans "capture[s] the mood and action of the battle in a powerful and effective manner," according to School Library Journal contributor Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, the critic adding that "the illustrations convey pain and confusion but [avoid] … graphic violence." An imagined meeting between former slaves and abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth is the subject of When Harriet Met Sojourner, a picture book in which "Evans' dramatic collage-style illustrations evoke the quilts the women worked on, piecing together their history," noted Rochman.
Among Evans' other illustration projects are picture books such as Gorilla Goes Walking, with a text by Nikki Grimes, and Bintou's Braids, Sylviane A. Diouf's story about a young African girl who looks forward to the time when her hair is long enough to be styled like that of the women in her village. Did I Tell You I Love You Today?, by the mother-daughter team of Deloris Jordan and Roslyn Jordan, features Evans's bright paintings alongside a text that illustrates the unconditional love of a mother for her child. Reviewing Did I Tell You I Love You Today? for Publishers Weekly, a contributor wrote that the story's "warmly portrayed characters, generous rounded shapes and velvety, saturated palette will draw readers into … the affection and bustle of family life." In Bintou's Braids African girls and women "with their large expressive eyes and warm demeanor … gracefully move through Evans's …
oil paintings in abundant earth tones and bright African batiks," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor, and in School Library Journal Marian Drabkin maintained that the artist's "oil paintings glow in rich tones of gold, sand, and blue." Evans' art has also appeared in several installments of Jean Marzollo's popular "Shanna's First Readers" picture-book series. Geared for elementary-grade girls, books such as Shanna's Princess Show and Shanna's Doctor Show have been adapted as an animated cartoon that features Evans' art.
Evans' work in children's books is only one facet of his career. In addition to book illustration, he is a graphic artist and Web designer, and he has also been involved in animated film and music production. His Dream Studio, a studio space and art gallery that also serves as a music venue and gathering space for friends and neighbors, is located in Evans' Kansas City, Missouri, neighborhood. In 2002 he was invited by First Lady Laura Bush to speak at the National Book Festival, and he has also appeared on television programs such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, Late Night with David Letterman, and Public Television's Reading Rainbow.
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, February 15, 2000, Michael Cart, review of Down the Winding Road, p. 1118; November 15, 2001, Ha- zel Rochman, review of Bintou's Braids, p. 580; May 1, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of The Way a Door Closes, p. 1590; November 15, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of Fishing Day, p. 602; February 15, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of Free at Last!: Stories and Songs of Emancipation, p. 1076; April 15, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of Hold the Flag High, p. 1451; April 15, 2007, Gillian Engberg, review of When Gorilla Goes Walking, p. 44; October 15, 2007, Hazel Rochman, review of When Harriet Met Sojourner, p. 50.
Horn Book, March, 2000, review of Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper's Daughter, p. 212; January-February, 2002, Anita L. Burkam, review of Bintou's Braids, p. 67; March-April, 2002, Joanna Rudge Long, review of No More!: Stories and Songs of Slave Resistance, p. 231; May-June, 2004, Joanna Rudge Long, review of Free at Last!, p. 346; July-August, 2005, Susan P. Bloom, review of Hold the Flag High, p. 483.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2002, review of Homemade Love, p. 1769; December 15, 2003, review of Free at Last!, p. 1454; May 15, 2005, review of Hold the Flag High, p. 585.
Publishers Weekly, October 29, 2001, reivew of Bintou's Braids, p. 63; December 17, 2001, review of No More!, p. 91; November 18, 2002, review of Homemade Love, p. 59; May 19, 2003, review of The Way a Door Closes, p. 74; December 23, 2003, review of Free at Last!, p. 62; December 6, 2004, review of Did I Tell You I Love You Today?, p. 58.
School Library Journal, May, 2000, Jody McCoy, review of Down the Winding Road, p. 146, and Coop Renner, review of Osceola, p. 182; December, 2000, Jeffrey A. French, review of Take It to the Hoop, Magic Johnson, p. 137; January, 2002, Marian Drabkin, review of Bintou's Braids, p. 97; April, 2002, Lauralyn Persson, review of Here We Go Round, p. 117; December, 2002, Amy Lilien-Harper, review of Homemade Love, p. 97; May, 2003, Mary N. Oluonye, review of The Way a Door Closes, p. 177; February, 2004, Tracy Bell, review of Free at Last!, p. 168; October, 2004, Mary N. Oluonye, review of Fishing Day, p. 65; December, 2004, Tracy Bell, review of Did I Tell You I Love You Today?, p. 112; July, 2005, Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, review of Hold the Flag High, p. 88; October, 2006, Mary N. Oluonye, review of Nobody Gonna Turn Me 'Round, p. 182; May, 2007, Andrea Tarr, review of When Gorilla Goes Walking, p. 97.
Brown Bookshelf Web site,http://thebrownbookshelf.com (February 26, 2008), "Shane W. Evans."
Shane W. Evans Home Page,http://www.shaneevans.com (May 18, 2008).