Brian Wildsmith was raised in the mining village of Penistone, near Sheffield. He won a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art, where he studied for three years, then spent his National Service teaching music at the Royal Military School of Music. After his time in the Army, he became an art master, but soon gave up teaching to pursue his life-long ambition of becoming a painter.
He believes that children like good illustrations and well-designed books and are much better able to understand "difficult" art than some adults acknowledge. He says: "Picture books give an opportunity for a marriage between painting and illustrating, and the challenge of designing each page is very stimulating. I believe that beautiful picture books of the right kind are vitally important in subconsciously forming a child's visual appreciation, which will bear fruit later in life."
Brian's work is both provocative and stimulating and he now enjoys a world-wide reputation as one of the greatest living children's illustrators. He is particularly popular in the USA, Europe and Japan. In Leningrad he was responsible for all the sets and some of the costumes for the film The Blue Bird, based on Maurice Maeterlinck's famous play, and in 1996, as a celebration of Brian's special relationship with Japan, Oxford University Press published Katie and the Dream-Eater written by Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado of the Japanese Imperial Family. Brian has published over 70 books with OUP over his career.
Brian's hobbies include music, cricket (he has played League cricket for Yorkshire and won cricket colours for University College, London), and tennis. He is married with four children and now lives in the South of France.
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I went to the zoo, and I thought... If I were an eagle, I would fly to the moon. Read the first page