Where the Magic Happens

Sneak inside notable illustrator Christian Robinson’s home studio in Oak Park.
illustrator christian robinson

Pops of color. Pieces of patterned paper. Tools both techy and elementary. A happy greyhound rescue named Baldwin basking in a sunlit spot. An occasional spider creeping out from a corner. Welcome to Christian Robinson’s creative space: a converted garage at his Oak Park home, where he’s been dreaming, creating and experimenting for the past two years. Robinson has worked on more than a dozen picture books for children, both as illustrator and author. His illustrations for No. 1 New York Times best-seller “Last Stop on Market Street” earned him a Caldecott Honor, and for “Josephine,” a Coretta Scott King Book Award. Most recently, he illustrated the jacket for “Sunny Day: A Celebration of the Sesame Street Theme Song,” which was a dream come true for a lifelong “Sesame Street” fan.

While most of Robison’s work is made with acrylic paint, paper cutouts and collage, he admits: “I’m always on the hunt for old scraps—sponges, toothbrushes, string, rocks, whatever.”

What brought this incredible talent to Sacramento? “I love Oak Park’s history of being a place where people of color have been able to establish themselves and start businesses,” says Robinson, who grew up in Los Angeles and had previously lived in San Francisco for seven years. “I’m always blown away with the diversity and inclusiveness of this city. If you look at the line at Gunther’s—it looks like one of my illustrations. I’m inspired and empowered by that.”

The Eames coat rack—a gift from his boyfriend John—inspired many illustrations in the book “Another.”

To learn more about Christian Robinson and his work, visit theartoffun.com.

christian robinson illustratior
“Before moving to Sacramento, I had always worked out of my bedroom or shared artist spaces,” says Robinson. “Having my own space here is my dream situation. It’s just me and the spiders.”