Full of “whimsy and menace,” Willow Dawson’s illustrations are conceptual and many-layered, requiring viewers to look and look again. She uses a combination of traditional and digital media and techniques. Her work is inspired by current issues, history, mythology, oral storytelling, symbolism, science fiction, science, and the natural world. She is particularly interested in the variety of ways humans struggle to make meaning out of the everyday.
Willow graduated from The Ontario College of Art and Design Illustration program in 2006. Her illustrations have been published in Canada, the US, the UK, Italy, China and Germany. She has exhibited with Museum London and Library and Archives Canada. She has been a finalist for many prestigious awards including The TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, The Ontario Library Association Blue Spruce and Red Maple Awards, and the recipient of grants from The Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Arts Council, and The Toronto Arts Council. Willow collaborates with award winning, world renowned authors.
She is the author and/or illustrator of several books, most recently White as Milk, Red as Blood (Knopf) by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth, with translations by Shelley Tanaka and a foreword by Philip Pullman. Her highly acclaimed picture book The Wolf-Birds (Owlkids Books) is in its third printing, with a Chinese edition on the way.
“Ferocious. And funny, and moving, and delightful ... illustrated with wonderful freedom and zestful inventiveness.” – Philip Pullman from the foreword of White as Milk, Red as Blood (Knopf).
"Layering beautiful illustrations and storytelling over scientifically accurate concepts, The Wolf-Birds draws readers to the poetry of predator, prey, and scavenger interactions." – Daniel R. Stahler, PhD, Wildlife Biologist, Yellowstone National Park
“Willow Dawson is a marquee Canadian illustrator. Her art is full of whimsy and menace in equal parts.” – Speech Bubble Podcast
Alcuin Society, Winner | TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, Finalist | Ontario Library Association Blue Spruce Award and Red Maple Award, Finalist | Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, Finalist | Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award, Finalist | Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature, Finalist | Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, Finalist | IODE Violet Downey Book Award, Finalist | Toronto Arts Council, Winner | Ontario Arts Council, Winner | Canada Council for the Arts, Winner | New York Public Library’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, Winner | Writers' Trust of Canada, Best Books of the Year, Winner | and more
Knopf | HarperCollins | Scholastic | Faber & Faber (UK) | Bloomsbury Publishing (US) | Penguin Random House Canada | Groundwood Books | Mondadori (Italy) | Marcos y Marcos (Italy) | Hoffmann Und Campe (Germany) | House of Anansi | Kids Can Press | OWL Magazine | OwlKids Books | The Atkinson Foundation | Annick Press | Second Story Press | Top Shelf Comics | McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd. | and more
Miriam Toews | Mariko Tamaki | Cecil Castellucci | Ryan North | Patricia Pearson | Jodi Meadows | Julia Breckenreid | Shelley Tanaka | Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810 - 1886) | Carol Shields (1935 – 2003) | John Thompson (1938 - 1976) | Paulette Jiles | Susan Hughes | Lisa Dalrymple | Helaine Becker | Emily Pohl-Weary | and more
Museum London | Library and Archives Canada
Upcoming: White as Milk, Red as Blood (Knopf) will be featured in The Alcuin Society exhibition at The Embassy of Canada (Tokyo, Japan); Frankfurt Book Fair (Germany), Leipzig Book Fair (Germany), and at venues across Canada, throughout 2019
INTERVIEWS + FURTHER READING (SELECT)
Podcast: Willow Dawson on Speech Bubble (Spotify)
Interview: Willow Dawson on PictureBookers
Blog Post: Working With Text From The Oral Tradition
Author photo by Willow Dawson, 2019