Award-Winning Illustrator Christian Robinson Visits Hamlin

On Tuesday, the Hamlin School welcomed renowned illustrator, Christian Robinson. Mr. Robinson grew up in Los Angeles but now resides in the Mission district of San Francisco.

“Christian Robinson is a 2016 Caldecott Honoree and also received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for his art in Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña (Putnam, 2015).”

Developing immediate rapport with Hamlin students, Robinson asked the girls which book they would like him to read. The overwhelming choice was Gaston, which he read with his vibrant, colorful, book illustrations projected onto the big screen behind him.

Mr. Robinson went on to speak about his methodology as an artist. He emphasized the importance of starting small to tell a big story, sharing that he sometimes makes many mistakes with his sketches before getting an illustration just right. He spoke about his joy of research, explaining how he often checks out books from the library to look at inspiring images for his work. He then talked about the unique perspective of the artist stating, “we all see the world differently, so we draw the world differently.”

During the question and answer period, Mr. Robinson revealed that some books take four months to create and that a one page illustration can take a few hours or a week to complete. When asked about how he became an illustrator, he spoke about drawing from a young age and later studying animation at the California Institute of the Arts.  He also explained why he became illustrator, “I enjoy it, it makes me happy, I like to tell stories.” At the end of his presentation, Mr. Robinson offered to spontaneously draw any animal that a Hamlin girl requested. This led to the fantastic creation of a horse, alpaca, hissing cockroach, and a bunny.

Perhaps Christian Robinson’s most poignant words for Hamlin students were, “If you like to draw, you are an illustrator right now.”

Below is a video of Christian Robinson speaking about his new book, Little Penguins (By author, Cynthia Rylant):

For more information about Christian Robinson, please visit:



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