“I like to think of pictures as a sort of invitation to another world,” notes award-winning illustrator H. B. Lewis. “I see my job as a creator of these images as being responsible for the care and support of that world.” The renowned artist, whose work has appeared on everything from billboards to magazine covers to a U. S. postage stamp, now focuses primarily on the worlds of feature films and children’s books. Have you seen Antz, Lilo & Stitch, or Ice Age? If so, then you’re probably already familiar with H. B. Lewis’s work.
H. B. Lewis—also known as “Buck”—also illustrated My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. A hilarious tale of Christmas magic that warns readers to be careful what they wish for, My Penguin Osbert showcases H. B. Lewis’s fabulous artistic style. “Osbert and Joe had to be created, and then I had to find the world for them to live in together,” he says. “The end result is what you see in My Penguin Osbert.” The dreamy, light-filled illustrations bring to life Joe’s holiday dilemma—what is he to do when he gets exactly what he wants for Christmas (a living, breathing, black-and-white penguin named Osbert)—while encouraging readers’ imaginations to take flight. The artist says he prepared to create the chilly arctic scenes by “taking repeated baths in ice-water and eating lots of sardine sandwiches.”
Fans of H. B. Lewis designed all the lead characters for the primetime animated television show Father of the Pride.. He also wrote and illustrated the award-winning children’s book Winnie Mae and has contributed to several films, including Cars, Ratatouille, and Robots. Although he says that “now it’s all art art art!” H. B. Lewis also enjoys vintage racing—he has a 1969 Porsche 911S—mountain biking, and surfing.
The artist splits his time between Los Angeles and a small cottage in Marin county where he goes to “breathe some fresh air.” He says his three nieces and his girlfriend’s three nieces all consult on his projects: “They help advise me about what works and doesn’t work.”