Sensational Books! is dedicated to making information about the world more accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired. In 2006 we published our first print/Braille book, Sadie Can Count, which won a Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Publishers Association. We have gone on to create tactile pictures for children’s books published by National Braille Press. We have also created pictures for Touch Graphics used in museum guides for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, New York, and the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D. C.
It’s almost magic! Sensational Books! is now selling our new Sensational BlackBoard. Anyone can draw raised line pictures in an instant using standard copy paper and a medium ball point pen on the Sensational BlackBoard.
This raised-line drawing tool allows parents, teachers and students to make fast, easy and inexpensive tactile pictures in the classroom or on the go.
Does making pictures sound like fun? Consider a tactile art workshop. We offer workshops for teachers and students on all aspects of picture making. Look for:
- Sensational BlackBoard - tactile picture making for artists and non-artists
- Approximate Perspective - breaking down how pictures work to convey information
- Expressing Emotions - introduction to self-expression through art
co-owner of Sensational Books!
Ann started sculpting stone when she was 15 years old but it wasn’t until 1992 that she wondered if the low relief slate pictures she was making could be understood by someone who was blind. Answering that question has guided her for many years. She learned through creating and exhibiting artwork nationally, and teaching art at the Colorado Center for the Blind that the answer is a definite and resounding, "Yes!"
As a certified botanical illustrator it is extremely important to Ann that the images she creates are clear and accurate. Ann contributed illustrations to Rocky Mountain Flora by Dr. Wm. A. Weber, a standard in the Rocky Mountain region, and has also taught botanical illustration classes at the Denver Botanic Gardens. In recognition of her life long contributions to the field, Ann was honored to receive the Sydney Parkinson Award from the Botanical Arts and Illustration Program at the Gardens. She continues to work with students who are blind by opening the doors to the Gardens to them and making information about the plants more accessible.
Ann Cunningham has created numerous large scale public artworks for public and private collections in the United States and Canada including: The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs; The National Federation of the Blind, Baltimore; Iowa Department for the Blind, Des Moines; and Pleasure Point Park, Santa Cruz, California. You can find out more information about these and other works of art on the Tactile Art link in the menu above.
In 2012 Ann received the prestigious Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award from the National Federation of the Blind in recognition for the development of the Sensational BlackBoard.
co-owner of Sensational Books!
Charlie’s extensive design and fabrication experience and attention to detail position him as the perfect person to head up development and production of our product line. Charlie’s computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) capabilities combined with his degree in chemistry and biology give Sensational Books! the ability to make highly detailed and accurate scientific illustrations.
All these abilities are complimented by his deep understanding of what qualities tactile images need to possess to make the reader’s experience informative and enjoyable. Many of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) images which we produced for Touch Graphics as well as images used in Sadie Can Count and the museum guides that Sensational Books! helped to produce used these CAD/CAM methods.
He also understands the demands of installing large works of art in public places and has supervised numerous installations in and outside of the US.
Colorado Center for the Blind, Littleton, Colorado;
Touch Graphics Inc., Elkton, Maryland
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado;
The National Federation of the Blind, Baltimore, Maryland;
Iowa Department for the Blind, Des Moines, Iowa;
Pleasure Point Park, Santa Cruz, California