Helen Cann Illustrator Biography on wisdomtalespress.com

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Home > Children's Authors > Helen Cann

Helen Cann
Photo of Helen Cann

Helen Cann’s illustrations have graced the pages of almost thirty books. Her most recent illustrations for Wisdom Tales are found in Wonder: A Song of the Seasons, written by Julia Key. The text is in the form of musical poems following two children biking through the countryside from the sea to hills, villages, farms, woods, and through the seasons, and also passing through the phases of daylight from dawn to night, finally back home to sleep on a snowy night, with a vibrant moon keeping the journey’s images alive in a child’s dreams. Ms. Cann’s artwork furthers the book’s intent to use our senses to appreciate and fully engage with nature. Wonder also seeks to capture something of the mystery and magic of creation. In each beautiful changing scene, Ms. Cann’s paintings carry us along with the music of the text in the wide embrace of wonder.

Helen’s first book for Wisdom Tales was Feathers for Peacock, a beautiful, lively, and humorous story from the imagination of author Jacqueline Jules. It tells the tale of how Peacock, and all the other birds, got their feathers. Ms. Cann's paintings bring personality to the many different birds, and even to the rather jolly and kind-hearted moon!

Helen Cann has won several international awards and exhibited around the world. She loves to travel and has seen the Northern Lights, slept in an igloo, eaten reindeer with Sami herders, and journeyed 1,300 miles in a sailing boat across the North Atlantic searching for whales. Having painted in studios of all shapes and sizes, she now stirs up inspiration above the sugary smells of a milkshake shop in seaside Brighton, UK.

We had an opportunity to interview Helen Cann, so we'll share with you some of her experiences and thoughts:

photo of Helen Cann as a childIllustrator Helen Cann as a child

Asked about her inspirations and early experiences in art, Ms. Cann told us: “I started to draw and paint as a very small child and always wanted to be a book illustrator.” We assumed that there might have been a particular person who influenced her in those years, but it seems that the drive must have come from within. She told us, “I'm not sure who influenced me to paint. It was something I just had to do...”

Once readers see her work, they will understand Helen’s answer to our question on what are her favorite subjects to paint. She replied, “I love painting and drawing animals, birds and plants; I look for patterns in everything and find so much beauty in the natural world.” Helen’s art was a natural fit for Jacqueline Jules’s tale of animals in a long-ago time and place.

Helen Cann’s illustrations and art have received recognition ranging from awards to exhibitions. Awards for her work include: Little Leap Forward was included in the ‘Diverse Voices’ List (the 50 best culturally diverse children’s books in the UK) and was given a Gold Medal in the Nautilus Book Awards; Brigid’s Cloak was awarded Best Children’s Book of the Year by Bank Street College; and The Lady of Ten Thousand Names won Best Children’s Book of the Year from NAPRA Review. These are just some of the awards her books have earned.

Places where Helen Cann’s art has been exhibited include London, Chicago, New York, London, Birmingham, and numerous other cities in the UK. Helen reminds us that besides her work as an illustrator of children’s books that “I also have a fine art practice, exhibit fairly regularly and you can find my work and more information on www.helencannfineart.co.uk.”

Awards for this Author’s Wisdom Tales Books

  • Feathers for Peacock (written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Helen Cann):
    • Winner in the “Children’s Picture Book: Hardcover Fiction” category of the 2016 USA “Best Book” Awards
    • Silver Medal in the “Interior Design” category of the 2016 Midwest Book Awards

Author Extras & Links

  • As mentioned above, illustrator Helen Cann has her own website. There are many large and beautiful samples there of her illustrations and fine art paintings.
a sample page-spread from the book “Feathers for Peacock”, by Jacqueline Jules and Helen Cann

A sample page-spread from Feathers for Peacock, illustrated by Helen Cann
and written by Jacqueline Jules

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