JACKSON HOLE, WYO – National Museum of Wildlife Art today announced this year’s Bull-Bransom Award goes to Heidi Smith for her illustrations in the book Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth, written by Kate Gardner.

On winning the award, Ms. Smith said, “I really love animals, so it is an absolute honor and privilege to have received the Bull-Bransom Award, and to have had the pleasure of illustrating Lovely Beasts!”

Cover of ‘Lovely Beasts.’ (Courtesy)

Smith added she has plans to travel to Jackson Hole in spring 2020 to lead educational programming for elementary school students.

Museum Trustee and Bull-Bransom Award Founder Lynn Friess started the annual award in 2010. It came together partly because of Mrs. Friess’ teenage years spent working in a library, and noting that children’s books with eye-catching illustrations were always in high demand.

“The Bull-Bransom Award is the only award of its kind in the United States and is coveted by those artists who create wildlife illustrations for youngsters’ books,” Friess said.

“The Bull-Bransom Award recognizes the best in illustration aimed at children addressing wildlife and nature,” said Museum Curator Dr. Adam Harris. “With climate change and endangered species in the news on a regular basis, this award tackles contemporary concerns as it hopes to inspire artists to look to the great outdoors for inspiration.”

Gorilla illustration by Smith for ‘Lovely Beasts.’ (Courtesy HarperCollins)

The Bull-Bransom Award is named after Charles Livingston Bull and Paul Bransom, who were among the first and finest American artist-illustrators to specialize in wildlife subjects.

Combining tradition and technology, San Francisco-based artist Smith created the illustrations for Lovely Beasts with charcoal pencil and Adobe Photoshop. The illustrations match charming stories of animals with common misconceptions about them. Spiders, for example, are often thought of as being “creepy,” but also spin delicately intricate webs.

HarperCollins Publishers describes Lovely Beasts as, “A stunning debut picture book that encourages kids to look beyond first impressions by sharing unexpected details about seemingly scary wild animals like gorillas, rhinoceroses, and more.”

Other finalists for the Bull-Bransom Award this year included: Alison Oliver for illustrations in Moon, Daniel Salmieri for illustrations in Bear and Wolf, Brenden Wenzel for illustrations in Hello Hello, and Brian Floca for illustrations in Hawk Rising.