Love picturebook art? You could nab yourself a piece of original artwork or a limited edition print from one of your favourite illustrators to treasure for always.
Imagine having a magnificent portrait of the Gruffalo, complete with “terrible tusks and terrible claws”, or a colourful picture of preschool favourite Maisy and her animal cohorts as a centrepiece in your toddler’s nursery as a lasting memento of childhood.
Apart from adorning your child’s room with delightful decor, buying original artwork can also be a sound investment – not that you’ll ever want to part with it. Instead, it can become a well-loved family heirloom
Online gallery Children’s Book Illustration sells some of the best original artwork from a glitzy A list of contemporary children’s book illustrators, including such greats as Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo), Lucy Cousins (Maisy), Polly Dunbar (Tilly and Friends), Barbara Firth (Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear), Catherine Rayner (Olga da Polga), Anthony Browne (Gorilla) and many many others.
You can see a glittering collection of their work at this pop-up exhibition at Waterstones Piccadilly this October. Come and browse and sneak a close-up peek at the artists’ work. You may even be tempted to snap up something that really catches your eye! Young art collectors are welcome, too.
Why go? To get up close and personal with some well-loved characters and fictional favourites – and maybe even make a purchase.
Who is it best for? Picture book art lovers of all ages.
Top tip Make sure you have time to browse the six floors of Waterstones Piccadilly, which is housed in a beautiful Art Deco building, formerly Simpsons’ department store: it has over 200,000 titles, including a brilliant children’s section on the Second Floor and a Fifth Floor View Bar and Restaurant.
While you’re there Make a day of it. There’s shopping opportunities on your doorstep with the Cath Kidston flagship store at 180 Piccadilly showcasing her signature floral homewares and kids collections, while Fortnum & Mason at 181 Piccadilly is always worth a look, especially just before Halloween when the Food Hall is stocked with some frightening spooky (but always delicious) fare. You’re also perfectly situated for a meander along the River Thames or head across to the Southbank where you’re always guaranteed to find some fun.
Fun fact The first Mr Men book, Mr Tickle, came about when author Roger Hargreaves was asked by his son what a tickle looked like. (Orange, with very long arms, apparently).
Did you know? Eric Carle, author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, founded The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts in 2002. An art-lover’s dream, the Carle houses more than 13,000 objects, including 6,600 permanent collection illustrations. Current exhibitions includes The Art of Eric Carle: From A to Z, chronicling fifty years of the artist’s colourful career.
About Children’s Book Illustration Starting out in the Spring of 2003, Children’s Book Illustration specialises in – as the name suggests – contemporary children’s book illustration. Founder Linda Owen-Lloyd enjoyed a glorious decade working at Walker Books with the best authors and illustrators in the country, marketing their books by any means possible – even if it meant kidnapping half the staff to go out on the road performing! Marriage, two children and a move out of London to Bristol led eventually to the setting up of her online gallery – and the chance to work once again with all those wonderful artists.