Award-winning illustrator and author R. Gregory Christie had a childhood love of comic books which inspired him to draw. He attended art school and worked at the Guggenheim Museum book store and as a security guard while developing his illustration portfolio and debut picture book. In 1996, at age twenty five, he received a prestigious Coretta Scott King Award for The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children, and would go on to illustrate many books inspired by African American history and heroes.
In addition to his work for The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and other publications, he has created art for animated shorts, and he is the creator of the United States Postal Service’s Kwanzaa Stamp.
Blending realism with the abstract, Christie’s direct painting style and compelling portraits have been featured on album covers for the world’s greatest jazz artists and recordings. They include Justice System: Summer in the City (1994); Joe Sample: Old Places, Old Faces (1996); George Benson: A Song for My Brother (1996), and Coltrane: The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings (1997), which showcased four of Christie’s illustrations. He noted, “I try to capture the emotion of the music with a strong presence, something of power.”
Illustrations by R. Gregory Christie
Bardhan-Quallen, Sudipta and R. Gregory Christie. The United States v. Jackie Robinson. New York: HarperCollins, 2018.
Christie, R. Gregory. Mousetropolis. New York: Holiday House, 2015.
Cook, Michelle. Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change. New York: Bloomsbury, 2008.
Corey, Shana and R. Gregory Christie. A Time to Act: John F. Kennedy’s Big Speech. New York: NorthSouth Books, 2017.
Duncan, Alice Faye and R. Gregory Christie. Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968. Honesdale, PA: Highlights, 2018.
Grimes, Nikki. One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance. New York: Bloomsbury, 2017.
Johnson, Dinah and R. Gregory Christie. Black Magic. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2010.
Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux and R. Gregory Christie. Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshall. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books, 2008.
Paasewe-Valchev, Mayonn and R. Gregory Christie. The Leopard Behind the Moon. New York: HarperCollins, 2021.
Parsons, Karyn and R. Gregory Christie. Flying Free: How Bessie Coleman’s Dreams Took Flight. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2020.
Parsons, Karyn and R. Gregory Christie. Saving the Day: Garrett Morgan’s Life-Changing Invention of the Traffic Signal. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2021.
Powell, Patricia Hruby and R. Gregory Christie. Lift as You Climb: The Story of Ella Baker. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2019.
Richards, Beah E. and R. Gregory Christie. Keep Climbing, Girls. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2006.
Rockliff, Mara and R. Gregory Christie. Sweet Justice: Georgia Gilmore and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. New York: Random House Studio, 2022.
Sherman, Patrice and R. Gregory Christie. The Sun’s Daughter. New York: Clarion Books, 2005.
Weatherford, Carole Boston and R. Gregory Christie. Freedom in Congo Square. New York: Little Bee Books, 2016.
Woelfle, Gretchen and R. Gregory Christie. Answering the Cry for Freedom: Stories of African Americans and the American Revolution. Honesdale, PA: Highlights, 2016.