Roy Gerrard was born in Lancashire, England, in 1935. He studied illustration at the Salford School of Art and then became an art teacher. During that time he painted with oils, but grew to dislike this medium and thus destroyed his work to date. He became an enthusiastic rock climber, but after the"inevitable accident," which immobilized him for several weeks, he began to dabble once again in paints. This time he used watercolor, which he now describes as his "true medium."
Mr. Gerrard states that "whilst researching my various books, I've discovered that every historian has a different opinion on who did what, and where and why, and who the good guys and the bad guys were. So I simply get my facts organized, then feel free to take any liberties that occur to me. The influences on my work are manifold – from the comic book illustrators of my childhood to the English landscape painters of the early nineteenth century, who painted a world which was about to be swept away by the Industrial Revolution. The small remaining pockets of that world act as a trigger and a setting for my pictures"
As a child, Gerrard invented different versions (not necessarily condoned by adults!) of the songs and poems taught to him at school, which "developed into a liking for poetry, which in turn prompted me to write my books in verse. I find it easier to sustain the pace and momentum of a story in rhyme rather than in prose." His work thus results in witty text accompanied by wonderfully detailed watercolors.
In 1979 Roy gave up teaching to paint full-time. His first picture book, Matilda Jane, a story about a Victorian seaside holiday, was published in 1981 in Great Britain and in 1983 in the United States. He and his wife live in Cheshire, England, where he continues to create delightful new picture books.
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