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Michael Foreman

As a child

Michael Foreman was born in the fishing village of Pakefield in Suffolk. His mother ran the village shop, and Michael used to deliver the newspapers. The illustrated magazines that were sold in the shop often inspired him. At the age of fifteen, Michael began to study art and had his first children's book published when he was still a student.

As an adult

Michael is married and has three sons. He spends most of his time in London, but regularly visits St Ives, Cornwall. He finds the sea very inspirational. "I love the sea because its colour can show different times of the day. I like to put in one or two night scenes, which again give you dark blue - and, of course, there are days with blue skies. Sometimes, amid all this blue, I have to go out of the way to put in differently coloured pictures - just to make that surprise when you turn the page."

As an artist

Michael has worked on magazines, book jackets, animated films, TV adverts, and even for the police, sketching criminals described by witnesses. As well as illustrating many of his own books, Michael has illustrated over three hundred books for authors such as Shakespeare, J. M. Barrie, the Brothers Grimm, Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde. Michael has travelled widely - to Africa, Japan, the Arctic Circle, China and Malaysia, the Himalayas, Siberia and New Zealand - to research his books. "I do a lot of research when I'm travelling - I find it thrilling to discover the particular 'art' of different landscapes and work them into a book. But I find I have to travel by myself, otherwise I'm constantly getting involved in other people's impressions of a place... I try to be invisible when I'm travelling, so I tend to listen in on conversations rather than participate in them - I just want to look and draw."

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