Joshua Brunet, assistant professor of art at Oklahoma Baptist University, will be showcasing his original artwork this fall for Madeleine Dunphy’s “Cat in the Night” children’s book in the Oklahoma Baptist University Art Gallery. The show is now open and will run through Sunday, Nov. 4, concluding during Homecoming weekend.
Brunet will host a formal show opening and gallery talk Aug. 28 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Located west of Kickapoo and south of University Street, the gallery in the Art Building is also open to the public during regular hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“Cat in the Night” was published in 2016 by Web of Life Children’s Books and was honored as a “Children’s Choice” book by the International Literacy Association and Children’s Book Council. “Cat in the Night” is currently available on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
The gallery features Brunet’s original art, as well as process sketches and studies for “Cat in the Night.” Elementary school groups are encouraged to visit the gallery to see how a book is designed and created. With both his early sketches and the final illustrations, audiences will have the opportunity to see how changes were made throughout the illustration process to get the final product, which is the published version of the book.
“As a commercial artist, the majority of my work is viewed by the public as printed material, like a book or pamphlet,” Brunet said. “Going through the process of preparing my original images for public viewing brings added life to my projects and provides me with greater opportunities to see how others react with my images exactly as they were created. I wanted to put together an art show of my original illustrations as well as developmental work to show students and the community the process of creating and illustrating a children’s book.”
A review from School Library Connection describes “Cat in the Night” as a “wonderful story” that is “beautifully illustrated” by Brunet. In the book, Rusty the cat wakes up as his owner, Gwen, is going to sleep. He slips out the window to explore the neighborhood, meeting other animals and fending off another cat intruder.
According to School Library Journal, “Observant readers will delight in spotting the ‘intruder’ in a number of scenes, which builds suspense and anticipation. Brunet’s gorgeous, full-spread illustrations perfectly set the moonlit tone. The depictions of cats and other animals are realistic, with lots of details for readers to pore over and discover.”
Brunet has been a freelance illustrator for more than 15 years and has worked for a number of magazine publishers, such as Focus on the Family and LifeWay Press. Brunet has illustrated four children’s books, including “When Pigs Fly” in 2011 (Borderstone Press); a collaboration with folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary called “I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog;” “When Butterflies Cross the Sky” (Picture Window Books); and most recently, “Cat in the Night” (Web of Life Children’s Books).
Brunet is married and has four children. He and his family live in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
For more information about studying art and design at OBU, visit https://www.okbu.edu/fine-arts/art-design.