Spent a couple of days in a primary school last week – based in the school library. Apart from the fact that it was good to be back in a primary classroom (even sitting on the floor with year one) it was interesting to be reminded of all the brilliant children’s book illustrators there are. I always used to remind primary teachers of the wealth of resources and examples of artists’ work they have available in their libraries. However, too often ‘artist’ means dead, white, male, 19th century painters usually from Paris apart from Van Gogh the well known victorian.
Childrens’ book illustrators are artists with work which is probably more accessable to children than Toulouse Lautrec and working from texts can provide a richness and sense of purpose which will stimulate childrens imagination and creativity. The techniques illustrators use are often rooted in a free use of materials that we would love children to emulate.