Kadir Nelson has been drawing his whole life! He began painting seriously when he was only eleven years old, learning from his uncle, who was also an artist. After graduating from high school, he studied at the prestigious Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY on an art scholarship.
He published his first children's book illustrations in 1999 in Brothers of the Knights which is a revision and retelling of the traditional story of the "Twelve Dancing Princesses" by Debbie Allen. Since that time, he has illustrated over twenty books for children and won numerous awards, including two Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards, two King Illustrator Honor Citations, and two Caldecott Honor Citations. Most recently, We Are the Ship, which Mr. Nelson both wrote and illustrated, was named the Sibert Award Winner as the most outstanding children's information book published in 2008.
According to Mr. Nelson's webpage, he has "always been an artist. It's part of my DNA."