Laura Carlin

Portrait Laura Carlin
Laura Carlin [© Jake Green]

Laura Carlin was born in Hertfordshire, England in 1980. She graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2004 and has since worked as an illustrator and ceramicist. She has illustrated numerous children’s and young adult books, for which she primarily uses watercolors, acrylics, and colored pencils.

In »The Promise« [2013], by author Nicola Davies, an old lady gives her handbag to a young thief – on the condition that she »plant it«. As it turns out, the bag is full of acorns, and the girl keeps her promise and plants them all. It’s not long before the greenery spreads through the city and begins to change the lives of its human and animal inhabitants. Laura Carlin picks up on this transformation in her illustrations and makes gray, canyon-like streets blossom into promenades decorated with lanterns. The German radio station Deutschlandfunk described the book as »an artfully illustrated and atmospherically narrated lesson about how colorless and lifeless life is without nature. And it gives the reader a clear mission and a first step on the way to bring nature back into city life – namely tree by tree«.

»King of the Sky« [2017] was again written in collaboration with author Nicola Davies. The book is about a little boy who comes to England from Italy. Everything here is strange to him. But then he meets Mr. Evans, a pigeon breeder. The cooing of the birds is similar to that from his home country. He begins to help the breeder and is soon allowed to train his own pigeon for a race. The bird named Sky King makes its way from Rome to England, back home, which is now also the little boy’s home. In her illustrations, Laura Carlin matches the color tones to the main character’s state of mind. Initially still in shades of gray, bold colors dominate by the end of the hopeful story. »Carlin’s warm, nostalgic images create a surprising visual connection between a northern mining region and a sunny southern land«, said the »New York Times«, which placed the English-language edition of the book on its list of the best illustrated children’s books of 2017.

Laura Carlin has received numerous awards for her artistic work, including the Grand Prix of the Biennale of Illustrations in Bratislava for the books »A World of Your Own« [2014] and »The Iron Man« [2011], by author Ted Hughes. Laura Carlin lives in London.

Date: 2022