Wildsmith, Brian Lawrence

Wildsmith, Brian Lawrence, 1930–2016, English children's book author and illustrator. He attended the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London (1949–52), and served in the army before becoming an art teacher (1955–57) and book designer (1957–64). In the 1960s and 70s, as color reproduction improved and picture book publishing expanded, Wildsmith published one or two books a year, beginning with his ABC (1962), which won the Kate Greenaway Medal for children's book illustraton. Wildsmith's explosive use of color lent itself to illustrations for such popular children's books as Mother Goose (1964) and Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses (1966). His series about the natural world, including Birds, Wild Animals, and Fishes (all 1967) featured visual storytelling and minimal text. The Owl and the Woodpecker (1971) was the first book he wrote and illustrated. Following the retelling of Bible stories such as A Christmas Story (1989) and Joseph (1997), he returned to painting, inspired by the landscape and light of France, where he lived from 1971. A museum in Izukogen, Japan, is devoted to his art.

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