Lauren Child, picture book illustrator and author, was born in England in 1967 and grew up in Wiltshire. After two years at art school, she travelled the world, worked as a window dresser, was an assistant to »Young British Artist« Damien Hirst and designed her own exotic lampshades. On the suggestion of a publisher, she began designs for a picture book and a set of toys. The result was »Clarice Bean, That’s Me« (1999), one of her best-known picture book characters. Since then, Lauren Child has become one of the most successful illustrators in the UK. Her expressive graphical illustration technique, coupled with a pointedly animated language style, captivates her readers from the start. With carefree expression and a fullness of imagination, Child designs kaleidoscopic collages, plays with text and photography, draws bold black strokes and adds pieces of fabrics, tiles, wallpaper and tapestry. The world she creates in her children’s books is a dazzling brightly-coloured universe in which the characters overcome the obstacles of family life in the 21st century with childlike cheekiness. She dives into an everyday world inhabited by loving siblings, wicked rats, snobbish noble offspring and bona fide princesses. »The children’s books that appeal to me always have a character you can believe in – with a very real voice – whether that character is a mouse, a Martian, or a child.«
In 2002 Lauren Child wrote her first children’s novel, entitled »Utterly Me, Clarice Bean«, which has been translated into more than ten languages. Her most successful picture books include »I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato – Charlie and Lola« (2000) which won her the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2002. By means of cunning and trickery, Charlie manages to make his sister, Lola, like the taste of tomatoes, even though she does not eat peas or carrots, definitely not spaghetti and would never ever eat a tomato! These popular characters have also taken British children’s television by storm with an animated series. With equal mischief and tongue in cheek humour, Child tells the story of »Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent« (2004). When, one day, the jelly runs out at a glittering party, it dawns on the son of a respected family that the parental fortune is not doing too well.
In one of her latest projects, Lauren Child masterfully takes collage techniques into a new dimension. For »The Princess and the Pea« (2005) she constructed the interior of a three dimensional doll’s house, in which she positioned fairytale figures so that photographer Polly Borland was able to capture them in image form. By combining staged paper illustrations of a real miniature world with elaborate, artistic still-life photography, she has created a picture-book universe reminiscent of Vermeer.
Lauren Child’s children’s books have won awards internationally, including the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize (2002). The English illustrator Quentin Blake presented her work in the 2004 Magic Pencil Exhibition at the British Library. Lauren Child lives in North London.
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