Original picture book artwork by Helen Craig is available for purchase from Children's Book Illustration together with a selection of Angelina Ballerina artist's proofs.
Helen Craig has donated her entire Angelina Ballerina archive to Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children's Books, with the exception of just seven illustrations which she has given to her grandchildren. It is these seven illustrations from which she has made 2 or 3 artist's proofs (available from Helen's Prints page) with the possibility of creating a small print run of about 25 of each at some future date.
Helen Craig spent her childhood in a remote part of Essex living in a tiny thatched cottage with no electricity or running water. Her father was Edward Craig, the writer and designer for theatre and films; her grandfather was Edward Gordon Craig, also a theatrical designer and producer and the son of
Dame Ellen Terry. She loved drawing but "I felt rather overwhelmed by this wealth of talent around me," and never thought of it as a profession and did not attend art school. Instead she was apprenticed at the age of 16 to a firm of
commercial photographers and later worked as a portrait photographer in her own studio in London. She lived in Spain for three years and it was there that she began drawing seriously and making ceramic sculpture.
She started illustrating children's books in 1969 - while bringing up her small son alone - and has since then completed over sixty, including sixteen titles about her popular mouse character Angelina Ballerina. Helen usually
works in watercolour but she illustrated The Yellow House using etchings and aquatints. Her retelling of Aesop's fable The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse was shortlisted for the 1992 Smarties Book Prize and she enjoyed the characters Charlie and Tyler so much that she wrote Charlie and Tyler at the Seaside.
Helen now lives just outside Cambridge. She collects children's books, new and old, and hopes one day to find time to do other work - painting from life and sculpture.
‘This is the man who picked up the sack...’
‘This is the man with the awful grump...’
‘..and searched and searched the dump...’
‘and fell on the pile with a bit of a bump...’
‘This is the driver who would not come back...’
‘This is the man who drove them home...’
‘This is the dog who smelled the smell...’
‘This is the dog who pushed him in.’
‘This is the boy who took the bus...’
‘Find my bear!’
‘Here I am’
‘This is the bear who went to the dump...’
‘This is the bear who fell in the bin.’
‘This is the bear all lovely and clean...’