Showcasing wonderful Illustrator Craig Smith
My first chat with Craig Smith was at John Marsden’s Tye Estate in about 2004. Even back then he’d illustrated hundreds of books – I was still writing educational books and had just had Queenie One Elephant’s Story accepted for publication.
I remember thinking what a kind, gracious, quiet achiever he was – still is.
Over the years Craig and I crossed paths at Books Illustrated and Booked Out events and sometimes visited the same schools during Children’s Book Week.
Then in 2017, Allen and Unwin commissioned me to write A Cat Called Trim, the true story of Trim, Matthew Flinders’ devoted and loyal cat. Once I’d completed the research and the writing, Craig was invited to illustrate, so began our work together on this book.
As soon as I’d finished writing, Craig began illustrating the roughs and he pretty much went full-steam ahead with the task. Towards the end of this stage, we both decided that the end-papers should contain maps of Trim’s journeys.
I had borrowed three volumes of A Voyage to Terra Australis from the Kew Library, the third volume containing the maps of Flinders’ journeys.
We spent a whole day with maps spread everywhere across the floors at my place, while we checked minute details of the journeys and specific ships. We are both very proud of the finished book – the front endpapers showing ‘The Ocean Voyages of Trim and Captain Flinders 1799 – 1803’ while the back endpapers show ‘The Voyages of Trim and Captain Flinders 1799-1803 in the region of Terra Australis’. I love these endpapers as students are able to follow the sailings of particular ships with miniature illustrations of each. He was such a pleasure to work with.
Craig has been an illustrator all his working life. He has now illustrated more than 400 books for children, which must be some sort of record.
You can read more about Craig, his books and illustrations, if you visit his website https://www.craigsmithillustration.com/