Russell Ayto - Illustrator
Russell Ayto was born in Sussex and raised in Oxfordshire, England, where he used to run wild, make things and draw. But not necessarily all at the same time.
He was keen on science too, once accidentally setting fire to his chemistry partner's hair without them noticing. Eventually, he ended up working as a medical laboratory scientific officer in the Department of Histopathology at the John Radcliffe II Hospital in Oxford. Which he successfully managed to not set on fire. It was there that Russell's boss saw one of his paintings and wondered why Russell wasn't doing art ...
So, he left to do art at Exeter College of Art and Design.
A few years later, he moved to Cornwall, where he still lives with his family, illustrating books for various children's publishers and, more recently, writing his own stories, too.
Russell was the art director on the animated short film The Cow That Almost Missed Christmas, produced by the BBC and Baby Cow Productions. His picture book series Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, written by Giles Andreae, was also made into an animated television series.
Russell loves comedy, from Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy to Spike Milligan and Monty Python, and artists such as Picasso, David Hockney, George Grosz, Saul Bass and 18th century English caricaturists.
Today, Russell's wife has declared him to be a very successful recluse, working happily away for days on end in perfect solitude. She has promised to inform the children in the unlikely event that Russell ever manages to emerge from his studio more than once a year to go to the shops.