We've been finding just so much inspiration at work from the compilation Play Pen: New Children's Book Illustration by Martin Salisbury. It's irresistible bright yellow cover (with a bold Marc Boutavant illustration) holds inside some of the most creative and appealing talents working today, and many of them might not be familiar to you.
Boutavant, for instance, is a French artist who's work is simply amazing. His happy illustrations have appeared in The Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Martha Stewart, et al; but his work featured in Play Pen (including this spectacular drawing for a jigsaw puzzle) are from lesser known sources.
Other favorites include: Meng Chia Lai with her eerie, messy and child-like non digital pieces; Kveta Pacovska's bold, funky, almost deconstructivist work; the vivid woodblock prints of Isabelle Vandenabeele; and the outstanding paper collages from Istvan Schritter; I could go on and on.
The greatest thing about this book is seeing all the unique voices. Sure there are trends (retro, paper cutouts, photo montage to name a few), but it's nice to see so many people working in their very own styles, which is sometimes a rarity in the art world.