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Marsha Gray Carrington (1954–) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Illustrator, Sidelights

Born 1954, in Richmond, VA; Education: James Madison University, B.F.A., 1977; California Institute of the Arts, M.F.A., 1981. Religion: "Religious Science."


Agent—Jane Feder, 305 E. 24th St., New York, NY 10010.


Illustrator. Visual effects animator for film industry, c. 1983–96; illustrator of children's books, 1997–. mjZOOM (greeting card and gift manufacturer), co-owner. Creator of greeting card and T-shirt designs.


Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Honors Awards

Four Louis awards.


Tres Seymour, Jake Johnson: The Story of a Mule, DK Ink (New York, NY), 1999.

Lezlie Evans, Sometimes I Feel like a Storm Cloud, Mondo Publishing (Greenvale, NY), 1999.

Carolyn Crimi, Tessa's Tip-Tapping Toes, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Megan McDonald, Saving the Liberty Bell, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2005.

Dori Chaconas, Coriander the Contrary Hen, Carolrhoda Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2006.


Award-winning illustrator Marsha Gray Carrington is a partner and creative director at mjZOOM, located in Pasadena, California. In addition to designing cards and animation, she has illustrated a number of children's books, among them Tessa's Tip-Tapping Toes by Carolyn Crimi and Jake Johnson: The Story of a Mule by Tres Seymour. A Publishers Weekly critic greatly enjoyed Carrington's illustrations in Tessa's Tip-Tapping Toes, commenting that her "jazzy, deeply tinted gouaches of lavender and lime and big-headed characters with beady little eyes add oomph to this story about letting yourself go."

In Jake Johnson "Carrington's tongue-in-cheek" acrylic artwork enhances Seymour's story about Farmer Puckett and his wife as well as the titular mule who "won't budge from the yard," stated Booklist critic Kathy Broderick. A Publishers Weekly reviewer also enjoyed the author's illustrations, commenting that her "exaggerated acrylic paintings" bring to life "the saucer-eyed, bucktoothed Jake and his stymied owners, and heighten the tall tale" by Seymour.

Carrington once told SATA: "What is important to me is merely that I continue to 'make things.' My creative self has always been the core of my being, and I cannot remember a time when I was not painting, drawing, or assembling something. My interest gravitates toward imagery that is whimsical, playful, and childlike as well as having a bit of a dark side, which I feel we all have. I am drawn towards children's art, and enjoy creating art for children.

"I began to be inspired by children's books during my graduate studies in fine-art photography. After leaving school, I became involved in the visual effects animation field of the film industry, but my desire to illustrate children's books lingered. I worked for thirteen years on films, but never felt fulfilled creatively in a way that nurtured and developed my own ideas. Finally, that cre-ative voice inside me was not just speaking any more. It was screaming, and I joined the ranks of the struggling artists to follow my heart. I have never been happier.

"Finally I am doing some things that I love, one of which is creating images that speak to children, as well as to the child in me, which is still very much alive—simultaneously curious and enchanted with the world, while still fearing what's under the bed."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, July, 1999, Kathy Broderick, review of Jake Johnson: The Story of a Mule, p. 1955; December 15, 1999, Hazel Rochman, review of Sometimes I Feel like a Storm Cloud, p. 789; March 1, 2002, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of Tess's Tip-Tapping Toes, p. 1140.

Publishers Weekly, March 22, 1999, review of Jake Johnson, p. 91; December 3, 2001, review of Tessa's Tip-Tapping Toes, p. 59; June 6, 2005, review of Saving the Liberty Bell, p. 63.

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