Ashley Bryan was born in Harlem and raised in the Bronx. He attended the Cooper Union Art School after being rejected by several other schools because he was African American. Though he has created books all his life (starting in kindergarten!), his work was not published until he was 40 years old. In 1962 he was the first African American to write and illustrate a published children’s book. To create his iconic illustrations, Bryan uses a combination of techniques including collage, block-printing, drawing, and Japanese-style brush painting.