Brian Wildsmith
Many of your books involve animal characters. Why do you choose to paint and write about animals?
We once had a blind dog that was mothered by a neighborhood dog. I was quite impressed by this and learned that animals show a great deal of compassion for one another.  When I paint animals, I imagine them as a child would. I want children to make personal connections to the animals in my books.

How do you know if your paintings and books hit the mark?
When they were young, my four children always gave me their opinions about my writing and artwork. If they didn't say anything about a book or a painting, I knew I was in trouble. Most of the time when that happened, I just started over again.

Why do you paint with so much detail in your illustrations?     
I believe children appreciate details as well as color. I want to help young people wonder at the world and to become close observers of the beauty and harmony in nature.

How did you get started in your career as an illustrator?
I took some of my paintings to Oxford University Press. They hadn't invited me to submit work, but they were kind and said they'd get back to me. They did, and I illustrated a few book covers for them. I went on from there to write and illustrate over eighty books.

What do you like about living in France?
I grew up in a mining village in Yorkshire, England where it was cold and gray. Today, I paint in a lovely studio in France. The light is clear. From my window, I see luscious green countryside and in the distance, I get a glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea.  A good day for me is when the sun is shining. Like Vincent van Gogh before me, I have found inspiration in the light of southern France.




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