Patrick Benson was awarded the prestigious Mother Goose Award in 1984 for his illustration to William Mayne’s Hob Stories. He contributed to the important Tail Feathers from Mother Goose, The Opie Rhyme Book published to raise funds in order for the Bodleian Library in Oxford to purchase the important Opie Collection of Children’s Books. He too has a prior association with Roald Dahl, illustrating The Minpins in 1991.
Quentin Blake began his career as an illustrator for Punch magazine in 1949 while still at school and illustrated the first of many children’s books in 1960. He has illustrated over 200 books as well as providing illustrations for many editions of the popular BBC children’s television programme Jackanory. Mr. Magnolia, written and illustrated by him won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1980. Quentin Blake had a long–standing working relationship with Roald Dahl which began with The Enormous Crocodile in 1978 and he became Roald Dahl’s principal illustrator as well as good friend. He was awarded the OBE and was made a Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 1988.
Raymond Briggs has been a full–time illustrator and writer since 1957 after studying at Wimbledon School of Art and the Slade. He believes firmly that illustration must have a literary basis; its content should be based on thought and feeling. He is best known for his characteristic picture books such as Father Christmas, 1973, Fungus the Bogeyman, 1977, The Snowman, 1978 and the more sombre works such as Gentleman Jim, 1980 and When the Wind Blows, 1982. He is at work on an autobiographical picture book which he claims will be his last. He was awarded the Kate Greenaway medal for The Mother Goose Treasury, 1966 and again in 1983 for Father Christmas.
Babette Cole has just been awarded the Kurt Maschler award for the best illustrated children’s book of the year for Drop Dead. She contributed to Tail Feathers from Mother Goose, The Opie Rhyme Book in 1988. She has illustrated works such as Joan Aiken’s Mice and Mendelson, 1978 and J. Slater’s Grasshopper and the Unwise Owl, 1979, as well as writing and illustrating several of her own books including Basil Brush of the Yard, 1977, Nungu and the Hippopoptamus, 1978, Princess Smartypants, 1986, and Prince Cinders, 1987.
Bert Kitchen was born in 1940 and studied textile design at the Central School of Arts and Crafts. He has worked in a variety of fields including animated films, background painting for films and television and illustration. He started illustrating children’s books in 1983 and in 1988 won the International Graphics Prize at the Bologna Book Fair for Animal Numbers.
Posy Simmonds began to contribute a weekly satirical comic strip “The Silent Three” to the Guardian newspaper in 1977, some of which have been collected into book–form. She has illustrated a wide–range of books and magazine and newspaper articles. Mrs. Weber’s Diary, written and illustrated by her, was published in 1979.
Lane Smith was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1959. He cites his childhood as a major influence on his work. “I’ve always loved the more macabre side of things, probably because I had such a well–adjusted childhood. Halloween was my favorite time of year, and it’s still my favorite theme.” He claims the Monty Python films, Madmagazine, comic books, Tex Avery cartoons and Disney films as other influences. He studied illustration and moved to New York in 1984. He has collaborated with the author Jon Scieszka on several successful books, of which the first was The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, 1989.
Ralph Steadman began studying art through a correspondence course while working for an advertising agency and continued his studies at the London College of Printing. He has worked as a caricaturist, sculptor, painter and printmaker. He was voted “Illustrator of the Year” by the American Institute of Graphic Art in 1977 and has won several awards for his books including the WHSmith Illustration Award in 1987 for I, Leonardo and in the same year the Italian Critica in Erba Prize for That’s My Dad. Strongly influenced by George Grosz and Saul Steinberg, his work often explores themes of fantasy and nightmare. Amongst his finest works are Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, published in 1967 and 1972. He has illustrated books by Ted Hughes, In the Little Girl’s Angel Gazem, 1972 and The Threshold, 1979, Bernard Stone, Emergency Mouse, 1978 andInspector Mouse, 1980, Hunter Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, 1972, and Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, 1985.
Fritz Wegner was born in Vienna but came to England in 1938. He studied at St. Martin’s School of Art and has worked since as an illustrator contributing to books, magazines and stamp designs. His contribution to Tail Feathers from Mother Goose, The Opie Rhyme Book titled “The Woman and her Pig” is typical of his style of fine and detailed small pen and ink drawings with handwritten captions or text. He has illustrated amongst others Leon Garfield’s The Strange Affair of Adelaide Harris, 1971, A. Maurois’s Fattypuffs and Thinifers, 1971 and Alan Ahlberg’s Heard it in the Playground, 1989.
Christopher Wormell began wood–engraving in 1982 with no formal art training. The majority of his illustrations are in this medium. His first commission was for a dust jacket for Faber. Much of his work is for advertising but he has illustrated several books relating to wildlife and the countryside including Henry Williamson’s The Story of a Norfolk Farm, 1986, R.S. Thomas’ A Blackbird Singing, 1989 and I. Niall’sTrout from the Hills, 1991.