Jen Keenan

Jen Keenan - Designer

New York, NY, USA

Award-winning art director and illustrator with 14+ years of publishing experience. Let's make something beautiful and bold together!

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Jen is a multi-disciplinary artist and award-winning art director with over a decade of publishing design and illustration experience. Her debut art show took place in the brown linoleum speckled halls of her elementary school at the ripe age of 7. She has been doodling and dabbling in various creative mediums ever since.

Jen is friendly, communicative, and genuinely strives to understand the meaning and importance behind a manuscript in order to visually capture the true essence of the story. She specialized in illustrating/designing book covers for YA and MG as well as adult Fiction and lifestyle. She also specializes in designing and art directing children's picture books.

She has designed and/or art directed many children's books earning honors such as the Caldecott Medal, Caldecott Honor, Society of Illustrator's gold, NYT bestseller list, Sibert Medal, Coretta Scott King Award, Golden Kite Award, AIYLA award, Society of Illustrator's original art show placement, and many starred reviews.

She has experience working for Macmillan Children's, Nickelodeon, Hachette Book Group/Little Brown Young Readers, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, HMH, Levine Querido, Pippin Properties, Food Network, Random House Penguin, Sterling, and Workman Publishing. She has also taught workshops at Highlights Foundation, SCBWI and SVA.

When she is not doodling and designing, she spends a lot of her time fixing up an old house on a hill in the Catskills with her husband, dog and cat. She is very excited to make an attempt at gardening this spring.

To collaborate, please get in touch!

Children’s Non-Fiction
Cooking, Food, Wine, & Spirits
DIY & Crafts
Fashion & Textiles
Contemporary Fiction
Contemporary Romance
Middle Grade
Young Adult


  • B.A. Syracuse University


  • Society of Illustrators Gold
  • Print Magazine Gold
  • Caldecott Medal
  • Caldecott Medal Honor

Work experience

Art Director/Illustrator

June, 2006 – Present (almost 16 years)

FREELANCE ART DIRECTION, ILLUSTRATION, DESIGN / Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Levine Querido, Nickelodeon, Pippin Properties, Amazon Children’s Books, Sterling Publishing, Workman Publishing, Food Network, Mental Floss Magazine. Client wedding, branding and events.

Art Director

Macmillan Publishing Group
November, 2018 – April, 2021 (over 2 years)

Responsible for the art direction of Roaring Brook Press, FSG, F&F, and Holt 4 color titles— from artist research and artist care, to high-concept design and production. Lead a team of full-time and freelance designers. Focussed on fostering growth and design excellence, process training, promoting diversity, and creating a positive, collaborative, and inclusive work environment with the goal to create beautiful, meaningful children’s books.

Associate Art Director

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
November, 2015 – November, 2018 (about 3 years)

Direct, design and manage award-winning children’s picture books, board books, occasional middle grade and novels. Art direct and manage junior designers, illustrators and freelance designers. Find and hire illustrators, research trends in the market, review portfolios and teach at industry events.

Associate Art Director

Sterling Publishing
November, 2010 – November, 2013 (about 3 years)

Art direction, design, production, color correcting, and press checks. Management of junior staff, freelancers, illustrators, budget and book schedules.


Workman Publishing
August, 2008 – November, 2010 (over 2 years)

Design, production, press checks, photo-shoots, book and calendar design.

Portfolio (21 selected works)

Art Is Life: The Life of Artist Keith Haring

Brown, Tami Lewis, Negley, Keith

A Burst of Light: and Other Essays

Lorde, Audre, Keenan, Jen, Sanchez, Sonia

Be Amazing: A History of Pride

Napoles, Desmond, Glynn, Dylan

I Dream of Popo

Blackburne, Livia, Kuo, Julia

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

Noble Maillard, Kevin, Martinez-Neal, Juana

Black Is a Rainbow Color

Joy, Angela, Holmes, Ekua

The Rescuer of Tiny Creatures

Manley, Curtis, Cummins, Lucy Ruth

Doll-E 1.0

McCloskey, Shanda

We Believe in You

Ferry, Beth, Idle, Molly


Dyckman, Ame, Santoso, Charles

Two Many Birds

Derby, Cindy, Derby, Cindy

Pinkie Promises

Warren, Elizabeth, Chua, Charlene

Dishwasher's Big Job (The Big Jobs Books)

Weinberg, Steven, Weinberg, Steven

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