Artist, author and award-winning designer Coralie Bickford-Smith is our author and illustrator in the picture for June. Walk into any bookshop and I can pretty much guarantee that you will find the stunning artwork of Coralie gracing book covers. I can spot them a mile off, they are just so distinctively her and I have to admit to having a little swoon over them. 'The Fox and the Star’ was one of our books of the year in 2015, it sits proudly on my book shelves, and I quite simply cherish it, every now and then I enter the pages and fall in love all over again. Coralie’s photos are lovely, I adore her reading space (along with cat), and as I studied William Blake at English A Level, her favourite book cover really made me smile…
(Portrait by Alex McBride)
What is your favourite book cover that you have designed to date?
William Blake has been a huge influence since I was first introduced to his work by my A'level art teacher. If I could go back and tell the 17 year old me that I would end up designing a cover for Songs of innocence and Experience and that it would be for Penguin Books, I think she would have imploded with joy and not really believed that could be possible.
Where do you prefer to read?
I have a reading chair that is upholstered in a crazy pattern called Safari Swirl. It is my favourite spot to read, that is when Max the cat is not sitting on it basking in the sun or using it as camouflage!
Your favourite reading, illustrating or writing snacks and beverages?
Coffee, coffee and yep more coffee! I accidentally acquired this Bart Simpson mug when I was at Reading University. It became my coffee mug of choice and my creative partner ever since. This mug makes me smile and reminds me that failure is ok and that turning up and trying each day is the most important thing.
The book that made you first want to become an illustrator?
Raymond Briggs, The Snowman. I was big into colouring pencils when I first came across this book. I loved those illustrations so dearly that they will be forever etched into my memory. Just thinking about this book makes my mind go straight back to my bedroom where I first read it and the music I was listening to. I have currently lent out my copy to a child who also loves colouring in. So here is a picture of my colouring pencil tin from that era with my favourite coloured pencil instead.
Which bookshelf do you return to again and again?
My reference bookshelf in my study is where I return to again and again. It is filled with my favourite books that inspire me and make me keep wanting to creating new things. This quote sums up how I feel about my collection of books: Books are the quietest and most constant of friends and the most patient of teachers - Charles William Elliot.
Show us a booky photo that makes you beam with happiness?
My partner took this photo of The Fox and The Star in my sisters back garden just before it was published, so this picture makes me beam with happiness! It was the first book that I wrote, illustrated and designed. I never dared to dream that I would get to tell a story of my own.
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