Byron Glaser (1954-) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1954, in Los Angeles, CA; companion of Don Cappelli (a psychotherapist); Education: Graduated from Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, CA). Politics: "Left of center." Religion: "Believer."
Office—Higashi Glaser Design, 524 Wolfe St., Suite 1, Fredericksburg, VA 22401.
Illustrator and designer. Grey Advertising, New York, NY, art director, 1982-85; Higashi Glaser Design, Fredericksburg, VA, and New York, NY, president, 1986—. Exhibitions: Work included in permanent collection at Musé des Arts Decoratifs, Montreal, Canada.
Rappahanock Council against Sexual Assault (board member).
Best New Product Award, New York International Gift-show, 1986; Best Construction Toy designation, Parents magazine, 1994; Toy of the Year designation, Family Fun magazine, 1996; Best Public Service Announcement designation, Los Angeles Animation Festival, 1997; several honors from American Institute of Graphic Arts.
(With Marty Neumeier) Action Alphabet, Greenwillow Books (New York, NY), 1985.
(With Sandra Higashi) Zoloco: The Yippee-Yahoo, Boo-Hoo, Koo-Koo Book about Feelings, H. Abrams (New York, NY), 2002.
(With Sandra Higashi) Love + Peace, Zolo Inc. (Fredricksburg, VA), 2003.
(With Sandra Higashi) Zolo A-B-Z: An Alphabet Book, H. Abrams (New York, NY), 2003.
(With Sandra Higashi) Bonz Inside-Out!: A Rhythm, Rhyme, and Reason Bone-anza!, H. Abrams (New York, NY), 2003.
Edgar Allan Poe, The Cask of Amontillado, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 1980.
Edgar Allan Poe, The Pit and the Pendulum, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 1980.
Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-tale Heart, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 1980.
O. Henry, The Gift of the Magi, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 1980.
O. Henry, The Last Leaf, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 1980.
O. Henry, The Ransom of Red Chief, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 1980.
Jack London, To Build a Fire, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 1980.
(With Sandra Higashi) Bryan Jeffery Leech, John Jeremy Colton, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1993.
(With Sandra Higashi) Omri Glaser, Round the Garden, Abrams (New York, NY), 1999.
Also designer, with Sandra Higashi, of "Hello Kitty" book series, including Hello Kitty, Hello World, Abrams (New York, NY), 2000. Designer of book covers for "Mad Libs" game-book series.
Byron Glaser is an illustrator and designer who, with design partner Sandra Higashi, created the award-winning Zolo and Curious Bonz line of toys. Their business, Higashi Glaser Design, now provides services to a variety of companies, including the Cartoon Network and Sanrio, maker of the popular "Hello Kitty" products. Glaser and Higashi have also collaborated on the artwork for Zolo A-B-Z: An Alphabet Book, Bonz Inside-Out!: A Rhythm, Rhyme, and Reason Bone-anza!, and other picture books.
Glaser and Higashi made their illustrating debut with the 1993 story John Jeremy Colton, written by Bryan Jeffery Leech. The work focuses on the title character, an eccentric man who moves into a village and upsets his new neighbors by painting his house in brilliant, dazzling tones. Reviewers commented especially on the book's design, a "riotous presentation" in which the lines of text roam freely across the pages, creating a "visual free-for-all on each spread," according to a critic in Publishers Weekly. Glaser and Higashi used more than twenty different typefaces in the work, and at times the reader must turn the book upside down or sideways. As the illustrators told Michael Karol in Graphics Arts Monthly, "We thought it would be fun to not only let the type express the mood, but weave, wind, jump, and fall, to accentuate the action."
Glaser and Higashi teamed again for Round the Garden, a 1999 tale inspired by Glaser's son, Omri, who wrote a poem about the water cycle for a school assignment. After a teardrop falls from a child's eye, it evaporates and returns to the earth as a raindrop, landing in a vegetable garden where onions grow. The cycle is completed when the onions cause the gardeners to cry. "Solid candy-colored pages alternate with nicely composed spreads," wrote Booklist contributor Gillian Engberg, and a Publishers Weekly critic praised the "boldly hued, digitally created full-bleed illustrations."
In 2003 Glaser and Higashi published two works based on their toy products: Zolo A-B-Z: An Alphabet Book and Bonz Inside-Out!: A Rhythm, Rhyme, and Reason Bone-anza! In Zolo A-B-Z readers are guided through the alphabet by Ozlo, a colorful, oddly shaped, Zolo-inspired canine. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that several of the layouts "bubble with cheeky, twitchy charm." Bonz Inside-Out! contains songs, riddles, and activities featuring the angular Bonz characters. Though School Library Journal critic Christine A. Moesch found the text "uninspired" and the artwork "disappointing," a reviewer for Publishers Weekly felt that the illustrations "create a chic veneer."
Glaser told Something about the Author: "My business partner and lifelong friend Sandra Higashi and I started our company by first designing a toy—not exclusively for children but one that appealed to them as well as adults. Our toy, called Zolo, opened many doors, and a lot of those doors led into the nursery. We love designing and making things for children, maybe because we think of ourselves as children at heart. Sandra and I have formal backgrounds in graphic design and illustration, so we naturally approach all of our art from a broad conceptual viewpoint as well as an intuitive visual expression. Whether it's designing a landmark clock for F.A.O. Schwarz, an interactive CD-ROM to help teach reading skills, or an identity for a campaign for children's rights for UNICEF, the process is the same.
"Creating a book is by far the most challenging and the most rewarding task. We are always working on new ideas for books, and they can take many different forms. One of our books sprang from a 'round' poem written by my son when he was in the first grade. It was our publisher who recognized that it would make a wonderful book. We illustrated the poem in a way that would expand it to tell a bigger story. Our book Zolo A-B-Z was especially rewarding in that we were able to create an environment for our toys, give them life, and tell a story at the same time."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, June 1, 2000, Gillian Engberg, review of Round the Garden, p. 1908.
Communication Arts, March-April, 1993, "Sandra Higashi and Byron Glaser," pp. 118-121.
Graphics Art Monthly, August, 1994, Michael Karol, review of John Jeremy Colton, p. 99.
Horn Book, March-April, 1986, Mary M. Burns, review of Action Alphabet, pp. 195-196.
New York Times, December 2, 1985, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of Action Alphabet, p. C16.
New York Times Book Review, May 14, 2000, Laura Simon, review of Round the Garden, p. 32.
Publishers Weekly, November 22, 1985, review of Action Alphabet, pp. 52-53; February 7, 1994, review of John Jeremy Colton p. 87; April 24, 2000, review of Round the Garden, p. 89; January 27, 2003, review of Zolo A-B-Z: An Alphabet Book, pp. 257-258; August 4, 2003, review of Bonz Inside-Out!: A Rhythm, Rhyme, and Reason Bone-anza!, p. 78.
School Library Journal, November, 1985, Joan McGrath, review of Action Alphabet, p. 75; May, 1994, Elizabeth Hanson, review of John Jeremy Colton, p. 98; January, 2004, Christine A. Moesch, review of Bonz Inside-Out!, p. 116.
Curious Pictures Web site, http://www.curiouspictures.com/ (August 16, 2004), "Byron Glaser and Sandra Higashi."
Zolo Inc. Web site, http://www.zolo.com/ (August 16, 2004).*
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