He won a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art where he studied for three years. For a while he taught music at the Royal Military School of Music, but then gave it up so that he could paint full time.
He has deservedly earned a reputation as one of the greatest living children’s illustrators. In 1962, he published his first children’s book, ABC, for which he was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal, Britain’s equivalent to the Caldecott Medal. He was also a runner up for this medal for The Owl and the Woodpecker.
Wildsmith has said: “I believe that beautiful picture books are vitally important in subconsciously forming a child’s visual appreciation, which will bear fruit in later life.”
In 1994, the Brian Wildsmith Art Museum was established in Izukogen, a town south of Tokyo, Japan. Almost one and a half million people visited a traveling exhibition of his work in 2005. Eight hundred of his paintings are on loan to the museum.
Brian is married, has four children, and currently lives in the south of France.