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Brita Granstrom

As a child

I grew up in Sweden, on a farm by a lake. I did not have many children living around me to play with, so I had to make my own games and stories. My mum has always encouraged and supported my interest in painting and drawing (she always thought I was the best!). She protected the kitchen with plastic and let me and my brothers go crazy with fingerpaints. Without a television to distract us, we made all our Christmas presents (at least one year!).

As an adult

After a long education, and working as a freelance illustrator, I met my partner, Mick Manning, and we started making books together. Now we’ve got three boys, live by the sea and spend a lot of our time on the beach. We also spend some of the year in Sweden. As often as I can, I like to go outdoors and paint like mad, with tubes of acrylic on big boards. That gives me a great boost, and lots of new ideas.

As an artist

I love my work as an illustrator! I’ve done many books with my partner, Mick Manning. Sometimes I work with other authors, like Judy Hindley, Joyce Dunbar and Kathy Henderson. My first book was Ten in the Bed, published by Walker Books in 1996. The rough stage of a book is the most important for me, to get all the energy and movement into the picture. I see the sea from my studio window, and have nesting seagulls stomping on my roof as I work.

Things you didn't know about Brita Granstrom

  1. I learnt to drive on a frozen lake.
  2. At twelve, I was a champion cross-country skier.
  3. I fax my mum in Sweden every day.
  4. I have a very loud sneeze!
  5. I designed my own house in Sweden.
  6. I worked for a flying doctor in Africa – and drew real operations in the "bush".
  7. I named my youngest son after a Viking god.
  8. I climbed Mount Kenya.
  9. I gave a Highland cow a haircut on BBC TV.
  10. At fourteen I cut a deal with the headmistress – to paint a huge painting for the school corridors instead of typing lessons.

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