A Child Among Us


© Durga Yael Bernhard

Back in the 90s, I was commissioned to create this poster for an international adoption agency called A Child Among Us.  Located in Connecticut, this agency was ahead of its time, spearheaded by a woman with a strong vision.  She wanted an ocean of children from many lands, in every size, shape and color – a dream assignment for an artist like myself.  I was already known for my images of mothers, babies, and families, and had recently published my second calendar, titled simply Mother & Child.

I worked in two different scales – large figures become a swell of land or the horizon-line of a city; small villages and farms grow along the curve of a spine or the arc of an arm. Parents hold babies and toddlers. Children run and play, tumble and ride in a donkey carts.

Binding it all together is a two-toned blue background.  Ultramarine halos around the edges of every figure bring it into relation with the cobalt-blue background. I played around with structure – a central star with two toddlers above and below; around that, four bold figures each at a diagonal, creating a cradle roughly shaped like a diamond around the center.  Many small elements reach in from beyond the edge of the picture. It almost got too busy!

I distributed the colors somewhat evenly, like a quilt.  I tried not to think too much as I grappled with this wheeling structure – and strove to maintain some sense of spontaneity and lightness.

My client loved the illustration.  I believe it served her well for a number of years.  It was a great assignment – the kind that used to come along before the recession began – and I enjoyed it very much.

Wishing you a very good week.

D Yael Bernhard
Author / Illustrator of:
LOVE IS – a unique crossover book for all ages
THE LIFE OF AN OLIVEExplore the life of a 2000-year-old olive tree
JUST LIKE ME, CLIMBING A TREE: Exploring Trees Around the World
NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN – A Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review;
winner of the Sydney Taylor Award and National Jewish Book Council Award
THE DREIDEL THAT WOULDN’T SPIN – A Toyshop Tale of Hanukkah
WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING – A Children’s Book Council Notable Book
A RIDE ON MOTHER’S BACK – An American Bookseller Assoc. Pick of the List
– and more!


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