We started out in the Spring of 2003 as Images of Delight with about 20 illustrators on our list. We spent the first few years putting on exhibitions of rarely seen original published artwork by the likes of Anthony Browne, Axel Scheffler, Jill Murphy and Barbara Firth to name a few. In 2010 the business name was changed to Children’s Book Illustration and we launched a fully e-commerce website which enabled us to reach a global market. We now have over 40 illustrators from the U.K. and beyond, and although the gallery is predominately an online business, we still thoroughly enjoy putting on exhibitions.
We’re a small team comprising myself, Linda Owen-Lloyd, art consultancy expertise from Louise Power, design from Floron Florenzo and the accounts are looked after by Charis Munday.
About the artwork
Most of the artworks we have available are the original published pieces from children’s books. Some, however, are preliminary drawings or sketches, and others are what we call an alternative - that is, an original piece of artwork that didn’t end up in the published book for whatever reason.
We do sell some prints as well and you’ll find further information about them on the separate prints page.
A good investment?
“Book illustrations are becoming the watercolours and drawings of the 21st Century” says Emmeline Hallmark, a
specialist at Christie’s in London. On the whole, if you’re buying the original published artwork from a successful
book by a well-known illustrator, it’s invariably a good investment. When I say successful, it could be in terms of
sales, or in terms of critical acclaim. However, I always tell my customers that they should only buy what they like.
After all, the picture is possibly going to hang on their walls for the rest of their lives. The preliminary drawings
can be equally as good an investment. Recently, our exhibition of Anthony Browne’s preliminary drawings from some of
his classic picture books was an outstanding success. The “behind the scenes” drawings reveal the technical skill of
the artist in a way the finished piece sometimes hides. The alternatives aren’t as highly valued, but from those
illustrators, like Axel Scheffler, who don’t sell any of their published work, it can still be a good investment.
Is there much on the market?
This varies from illustrator to illustrator. Some are loath to sell their work comparing it to parting with their
babies! So when they do, it has a rarity factor and the price does reflect this. Others are quite happy to let their
artwork go, seeing it more as a release from something they have spent up to a year (or more in some cases) working on.
Either way, each piece is unique and unless a print has been made of it, there’s only the one available.
Where would you hang a children’s book illustration?
Most of the pictures would be happy in any room of the house or office and they always invite a response from the
observer, generally a large smile. Those children who have them bought for their bedrooms are very lucky indeed!
How should I get it framed?
If you trust me to judge for you, I can get the artwork framed by Bristol based framer Joe Cashman who has worked
with me for the past 7 years. Just call to discuss the details. However, sometimes it’s easier to get it done yourself
and although the frame depends on personal taste, you should always use an acid-free mount card to prevent discolouration
of the art paper. Personally, I prefer a simple frame that doesn’t detract from the illustration, and generally I like to
give the image plenty of space to breathe.
An identical twin and the youngest of five girls, her childhood was a whirl of activity. After graduating from Bristol University in 1986 with degree in History, she started work in the frenetic world of trade fashion magazines and then moved swiftly into P.R. in the fashion industry itself. A welcome redundancy in 1989 left her to follow a passion and she went travelling the world for two years. She came back to the U.K. and got a lucky break by being introduced to the children’s book publishers, Walker Books Ltd, by her friend Louise Power. She enjoyed a glorious decade working 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.
Louise is a freelance Art Consultant, with over 30 years’ experience working with illustrators, initially with Camden Graphics, a greetings card company, and currently with Children’s Book Illustration and Walker Books Ltd. She works with some of our greatest established illustrators, caring for and archiving their original artwork as well as nurturing and developing new artists and students into the world of children’s publishing.