SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Russ Cox of Pittsfield, and Hazel Mitchell of Detroit, two children’s book illustrators working from their studios in central Maine, recently received top honors for their artwork at the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ conference held in Springfield.

Cox took three first-place awards with his Mother Goose poster, including Published, People’s Choice and the Richard Michelson Emerging Artist Category. His print will hang in the DZain Gallery in Dorchester and the R. Michelson Gallery at North Hampton.

He now has his own studio, Smiling Otis Studio, in Pittsfield, where he specializes in illustration, flash animation and logo design. He has also done illustrative work for McDonald’s Restaurants and Crayola. His work can be found at smilingotis.com.

Mitchell took a second place award in the People’s Choice Award for a detailed drawing of a young boy looking out at the world. Originally from Scarborough in Yorkshire, England, Mitchell attended art college in the United Kingdom and then joined The Royal Navy. She also ran her own print business in England before moving to the U.S. and eventually establishing a studio in Detroit. Her current publishing clients include Charlesbridge, Makinac Island Press, Kane and Miller,

Freespirit, Beacon Publishing and Reading A-Z. She recently illustrated “Hidden New Jersey” by Linda Barth, “How To Talk To An Autistic Kid” by Daniel Stefanski, and is working on a new series of books for publication later this year.

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