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Grahame Baker Smith   Biography

  Grahame Baker Smith book covers
Grahame Baker Smith

Grahame taught himself to paint and draw whilst living in Oxford in his early twenties. Drawing had been a great interest to him as a child but as a young adult it flared into a passionate and all-consuming activity. He was offered a place at Berkshire College of Art and Design and joined the course in the third year as he'd already covered the first two years independently.

On leaving college in 1986 with portfolio in hand he went to London to look for work. Commissions from magazines, design groups and publishers soon followed and his career in illustration began. However, a growing dissatisfaction in executing work only to commission led him to writing ideas for self-initiated book projects. This, and a desire to expand his media skills incorporating digital techniques and processes, ushered in many months of sessions with a computer - often cradling his new-born daughter in the other arm.

As a result, Photoshop became an indispensable part of the palette which was as important as sketching or brushes and pens. The layering and melding of drawing, traditional media, organic textures and digital techniques has been a creatively liberating experience. This new approach resulted in a commission from Robert Plant to create images for his 'Mighty Rearranger' and 'Nine Lives' albums and interactive animations for Robert's website.

Grahame has also illustrated three picture books for Templar: the Greenaway short-listed Leon and the Place Between, written by Angela McAllister; the self-written FArTHER which won the Kate Greenaway medal in 2011 and was listed on the USBBY's 2014 Outstanding International Book List, and Winter's Child, another Angela McAllister story.

He has also illustrated many books for the Folio Society including the V&A Award short-listed Pinocchio and Oscar Wilde's Selfish Giant and Other Stories. He's illustrated a set of ten stamps commemorating the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and a book written by Zana Fraillon about a refugee camp called Wisp which is longlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2020. Then, for a complete change of mood, The Wind in the Willows, for Templar.

More recently he's worked on a monumental project for Walker Books about life on Earth called Life! The First Four Billion Years. Also a four-book series for Templar, the first of which is The Rhythm of the Rain, and the second is about the wind.

Grahame lives in Bath, Somerset, with his wife and three children.