Bridget is a bilingual award-winning illustrator and author of well over two dozen picture books published in many countries. Her new picture book, MO’s BEST FRIEND, A STONE-AGE STORY (Otter Barry Books 2024) is a fictional story with some inspiring Stone-Age facts, in which little Mo overcomes her fear and her family’s and introduces a first dog into our human family.
YOU, ME and OUR WHOLE WIDE WORLD (Walker Books UK ) explores all that we many different humans share in common, including growing.
Bridget uses a variety of books including Tiz & Ott’s Big Draw (Tate UK) to inspire children to empathise with the characters they draw and to create their own stories.
She also runs colour mixing and painting workshops inspired by her art school teaching. Bridget believes in the power of pens, pencils, and paints – and picture books – to open our minds and share all that we have in common.
A LONGER ‘ABOUT ME’
Writing an ‘about me’ page is a bit like drawing a maze… It is easy to go off the page, especially as you get older and the maze grows more complicated.
Ever since my first picture books were published in the 1990s, I’ve been sharing my love of stories and pictures and the act of making them with children – and adults too. I’ve visited many schools, libraries, bookshops and been invited to festivals in the UK, France and even China for the Beijing Bookworm festival.
I am proud to be a member of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators for Stories and Literacy CWISL . For some years I worked as the the first SCBWI International Illustrator Coordinator and was on the Board of Advisors for the SCBWI. I co-ran several SCBWI@ Bologna ‘Day Before’ Festivals , gave illustration workshops across Europe and the US and hosted events with the likes of David McKee, Tony Ross and Marjane Sartrapi at Parsons Paris School of Design where I taught for over a decade .
Now my children are grown up I am lucky to live and work between Cambridge, London and France and am happy to travel more and also offer online workshops. In the UK I have an enhanced DBS for schools that require it, and I follow The Society of Author’s fee guidelines. Well, that’s the organisational bit out of the way!
I am also a practicing artist and am slowly building another site for my paintings and sketches. Now my old site bridgetstrevens.com has gone, I will add that archive of over 20 picture books I have illustrated and sometimes also written which were published in the US, France, Australia and across the world. So watch this space for news of bridgetstrevensmarzo.art
I love colour and painting and observational drawing too and visual literacy has long been a passion of mine. I have always encouraged children and adults to ask questions, and find ways to encourage them to empathise not only with the characters in my books but also like to inspire them to create characters of their own however ‘simple’ they might me, make their characters meet each other, then find the words to go with them.
A little backstory – my London born dad John Strevens worked hard to earn a living as a professional artist and portrait painter. He met my Catalan-Spanish mum when he was in his 50s. Most of her family fled from Franco’s Spain to France. Their adventures with me as a child travelling to the USA and across France and Spain taught me so much. I truly believe in the power of pens, pencils, paints – and picture books – to open our minds and share all that we have in common, whatever our age.
I was the first in my family to have finished school and thanks to good state school teachers I got into King’s College, Cambridge University, where I ran life classes in the art room and co-hosted the student Kettles Yard association. I moved to Paris soon after, took the exams and was admitted into the Beaux Arts in Paris (ENSBA). That said, I learnt – and earned – more from copying old master paintings in the Louvre, and translating art books including Claude Monet’s Letters and a big biography of Matisse.
My secret love since childhood had always been illustrated books and I taught myself a lot from studying my own collection of books I loved by artists as diverse as Edward Ardizzone , Mary Blair, and E.H. Shepherd and in France, Boutet de Monval and Andre François. I also tend to enthuse a lot about some contemporary illustrated books – French ones especially when I give talks to art students.
Reading the classic US book about book illustration by Uri Shulevitz, Writing with Pictures helped me plan out my first projects and I landed my first commission from Little Brown UK to do a series of picture books starting with Toto in Paris. I thought I had ‘made it’ as most young author-illustrators do, when first published. I learnt later, even after I received my first award from France, and had a book I had illustrated chosen for the prestigious Original Art Show in New York, that a children’s book career has many ups and downs. That said, I was lucky to be commissioned regularly across different genres for the French publisher Bayard’s wonderful and picture-rich monthly children’s magazines.
I also taught design and illustration for over a decade at the well known US-founded art school, Parsons Paris. Alongside that more sophisticated scene, I also worked for some years with 5 year olds every Wednesday at the APARC kindergarten class in Chantilly near Paris, inspiring them each week to tell their stories with the pictures they drew. That experience prepared me well for school visits and festivals later.
If you still want to read more about me – and/or see my previous books ( Im sharing a few illustrations on the sample art page), here are some interviews:
If you’ve time, here are some rambling replies, more pics of my work wall and more on a rich and diverse blog about children’s books Ms Marple’s Musings