Isabel Greenberg

Isabel Greenberg is a London based illustrator and writer, and the author of three acclaimed graphic novels; The Encylopedia Of Early Earth, The One Hundred Nights Of Hero and Glass Town. She is the illustrator of a number of children’s books and has just authored her first picture book The Midnight Babies which is out in 2023 with Abrams Kids.

“I had my daughter Frieda at the end of May 2020.  My memories of that first Lockdown, with the weather strangely, unseasonably warm and the streets eerily quiet, are not bad. I was pregnant, and spent my time walking the local park, scoping out bushes to have emergency pees in, and frankly quite pleased I didn’t have to commute to work as I got bigger and bigger. Midwife appointments were the most exciting moment in the week. Mundane errands like picking up a borrowed cot became epic quests; driving through silent streets, standing at the end of someone’s garden path to receive the cot,  and leaving it sitting in the car for two weeks in case of any germs.

We brought Frieda home from hospital as Lockdown drew to a close, and the summer was a strange blur of doorstep visiting and picnics and take away drinks.

But as winter drew in and the weather turned, and the days got shorter and darker, the vast tracts of time I had to fill loomed endlessly. It was a cold and dull and extremely lonely winter. Park walks with one other mother at a time, babies bundled into snow suits, weighing up the bitter cold of being outside with conversation, against the warmth of home, alone.

As a freelancer I began working again quickly, and the work you see in this exhibition is all from a picture book I created during that Lockdown winter called ‘The Midnight Babies’. The idea came in the long and lonely midnight hours of those early months of Frieda’s life, and tells the story of a band of intrepid babies who set out to defeat their worst enemy; SLEEP. They travel through a series of strange, magical places, trying at all costs to stay awake.”