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These Colored Pencil Illustrations Feel Like Classic Storybooks

Rebecca Green provides a natural, woodsy palette to fables both real and imagined.

Charlie Schmidlin

Nocturne. Personal Work, 2015. 11x14 Gouache and Colored Pencil on Paper

Riffing on storybook landscapes and archetypes while adding a lighthearted touch to everyday objects, illustrator and painter Rebecca Green has amassed an impressive variety of works from her Nashville, TN base in a short window of time. Working primarily with gouache, acrylics, colored pencils, and inks, she envisions her subjects—oftentimes animals and children—as expressive forms within muted forest environments, as well as warm, lived-in interiors of homes.


The Great Cape Breton Escape. 11x14" Gouache, Colored Pencil, Graphite on Paper

It all merges to contain, as her website states, “real world events, people, places, and things that shift in perspective to become celebrated as magical components of an ongoing story.” Her work often appears to be an adaptation of some long-lost classic children’s book or piece of literature, but recently appearances have turned into reality. In 2015, Green was approached by the Brazilian publishing house Salamandra to illustrate the Portuguese version of A Little Princess, while the year before that she lent her distinct eye to Folio Society’s reissue of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

A Little Princess. A Princesinha by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Published by Salamandra Publishing House, Brazil. ©Salamandra Publishing 2015. Originals are Gouache and Colored Pencil on Paper

Subsequent work with Harper Collins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Penguin Random House have only furthered Green’s pull into the literary world. But as her consistent output of solo work shows, she is equally invested in experimentation with her own perspective of reality.

“Most of my narratives are based off of real world experiences,” Green explains on her website. “It’s rare for me to just dream up a story that doesn’t have a grounding in my day to day life. If you just start asking and looking, it’s so easy to find inspiration everywhere. Once I take the little piece of inspiration, I start painting and by the time I’m done, most times, the story and the character have morphed so much that it doesn’t seem set in real life at all.”

Finding a Way Out. Personal Work. 11x14" Gouache and Colored Pencil on Paper

In addition to her own work, Green has also dedicated time and resources toward helping other artists toward their goals. Together with friend and illustrator Kayla Stark, she co-founded The Warren, a working studio in Nashville where artists can develop their own projects and take workshops taught by the staff, including Green herself. The first official workshop revolved around animal textures, providing a peek into Green’s process while also offering tips on how to approach an artist’s own unique visual identity—something that’s hard-won, ongoing, and impressive, in Green’s case.  

Superunnatural. Playtime Under Snow. 12x16, 2016. Gouache, Acrylic, Colored Pencil on Wooden Panel

In the Hills of Melgadine. Personal work for the Group Exhibition 'SUPERUNNATURAL' at Giant Robot, March 2016. 12x16, Gouache, Acrylic, and Colored Pencil on Panel

For more information on Rebecca Green’s work, visit My Blank Paper or her Instagram. For information on The Warren and how to apply or sign up for workshops, visit the studio’s website.

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