Brett Helquist

Brett L. Helquist (born in 1966) is an American illustrator best known for his work in the children's books A Series of Unfortunate Events.[1] As such, his illustrations for that series have appeared in multiple media, including the books, the audio book covers, and the calendars.


Helquist was born in Ganado, Arizona, and grew up in Orem, Utah with his six sisters. As kids, they didn't go to many art museums. He says his love of art came from all the comic books he read.[2] Helquist served as a Mormon missionary in Hong Kong, then earned a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from Brigham Young University in 1993. Prior to entering the illustration program at BYU, Helquist studied as an engineering student.[3] He took a year off during his time as an engineering student to take a job in Taiwan, illustrating a textbook.[4] The experience helped him switch to studying illustration and the visual arts. From there, he worked closely with Utah artist Robert Barrett.[4]

Helquist has lived in New York City since 1993.[5] Immediately after graduating from BYU, Helquist was an intern for illustrator Robert Neubecker.[2] For six years, he worked as a graphic designer, drawing for magazines and newspapers in his downtime.[6] He has been published in the children's magazine Cricket, and The New York Times. He is represented by Steven Malk of Writers House in New York City.[7] In August 2017, Helquist donated several boxes filled with early sketches of his illustrations for A Series of Unfortunate Events to BYU's Special Collections department.[8] These sketches were displayed at BYU in fall 2017.[6]

In February 2019 Brett was the Artist Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker at the 37th annual Life, the Universe, & Everything professional science fiction and fantasy arts symposium.[9]


Besides the thirteen A Series of Unfortunate Events books, Helquist has provided illustrations for nearly 50 books, varying from children's books to young adult novels.

Children's BooksEdit

  • Milly and the Macy's Parade (2001), ISBN 0-439-29754-0
  • A Christmas Carol (2009), ISBN 0-061-65099-4
  • The Three Musketeers (2011), ISBN 0-062-06013-9
  • The Fort That Jack Built (2013), ISBN 1-419-70795-7
  • Groundhog's Day Off (2015), ISBN 1-619-63289-6
  • Bear's Big Breakfast (2016), ISBN 0-062-26455-9
  • Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports (2017), ISBN 0-763-67308-0
  • The Nutcracker Mice (2017), ISBN 0-763-68519-4

Middle Grade BooksEdit

Young Adult BooksEdit

Helquist produced new cover illustrations for a reprint of the 1954–1976 "Green Knowe" series by Lucy M. Boston (Harcourt, 2002; retaining the original interior illustrations by the writer's son Peter Boston):[10]

He also produced new illustrations for a reprint of the 1981-1991 "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" series by Alvin Schwartz (children's author) (Harper & Row, 2011)

Helquist also wrote and illustrated Roger, the Jolly Pirate, ISBN 0-06-623805-6, published in 2004, Bedtime for Bear, ISBN 0-060-50205-3, published in 2010, and Grumpy Goat, ISBN 0-061-13953-X, published in 2013.


  1. ^ Portfolio, Brett Helquist, retrieved 7 February 2012
  2. ^ a b Helquist: FAQs, retrieved 21 February 2010
  3. ^ Gleeful in a Grim Business, Spring 2005
  4. ^ a b Nielsen, Erica. "BYU grad illustrates 'Lemony Snicket's'". The Universe. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012.
  5. ^ Astle, Randy (April 2010), "Interview: Brett Helquist", Mormon Artist (9)
  6. ^ a b Hale, James (7 September 2017), BYU extends Mormon illustrator's 'Unfortunate' exhibit one more month
  7. ^ Brett Helquist, Writers House Literary Agency, retrieved 21 February 2010
  8. ^ BYU grad, 'Lemony Snicket' artist Brett Helquist donates book's sketches to BYU, 19 August 2017
  9. ^ "Life, the Universe, & Everything 37: The Marion K. "Doc" Smith Symposium on Science Fiction and Fantasy" (PDF). LTUE Press. 1 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Green Knowe – Series Bibliography". ISFDB. Retrieved 2015-01-20.

External linksEdit