Graduating in 2008 with an illustration degree from Bath Spa University, I began life as a freelance illustrator producing portraits and conceptual illustrations mainly for editorial clients. The commissions were varied in style and content, however, they were not in the traditional watercolour style that I wished to pursue, so I set about entering open competitions that specialised in representational art, preferably with a watercolour bent.

By entering The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition and the old Bath Art Prize (which I won in 2011),  I was able to develop my own art and compare it to other contemporary watercolour artists. I pushed my abilities to meet the standard required to gain successful entry to art competitions and found a process that allowed me to paint what was in my mind’s eye. These formative years were crucial in forming the groundwork for my career today.

My ‘big break’ arrived in 2013 with a large commission from Galerie Daniel Maghen, Paris. Until that point I was illustrating for magazines and producing private / gallery commissions while working part-time in a Bath gallery. Galerie DM approached me with an offer to paint a series of watercolours based in The Wind in the Willows universe. Thus began my love affair with all things Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad. Curiously I chose not to illustrate scenes from Kenneth Grahame’s masterpiece (I was over cautious when it came to copyright), rather I explored the world on the periphery of the riverbank sometimes hinted at by Grahame. It was a rich seam to mine illustrating an imaginary (alas) world of woodland animals interacting at home, in the trees, city, sea coast, school and even in the air.

The paintings successfully exhibited in Paris mid 2016., followed by another Galerie DM series commission; this time to illustrate Willows properly and I finally became a full-time artist specialising in traditional children’s book watercolour illustration.

At a similar time I also began working with Steve Richardson (Impossible Dreams Publishing Co.) illustrating his award winning book Paisley Rabbit and the Treehouse Contest 2018. After Paisley Rabbit, Steve and I also released an animal retelling of The Night Before Christmas in 2021, featuring a very jolly polar bear called Santa Paws.

Early 2020 and another Willows series was completed for Galerie DM, the artwork was being prepared to be published by Editions Caurette in a new fully illustrated edition of The Wind in the Willows, and then the Coronavirus pandemic reared its ugly head. Everything was put on hold, but I was incredibly lucky to have book commissions underway and an online shop to keep the wolf, dressed as grandma, from the door.

By the time the UK came out of its third lockdown in March 2021, I was finishing my illustrations for The Night Before Christmas, and on the final straight of nursery rhyme illustrations for Books Illustrated Ltd, published in a fine limited collectors edition 25th November 2021.    

You can find me in Calne, Wiltshire, with my wife and two boys, busily painting in an upstairs studio and surrounded by beautiful countryside offering a constant source of inspiration. If you’d like further information about my artwork, published books and calendars, or you’re interested in seeing original artwork, please message me using the contact page.

 


Clients include:

BBC Audiobooks
Books Illustrated Ltd
Editions Caurette
Galerie Daniel Maghen
Guomai Media
Harper Collins USA
Haymarket

Impossible Dreams Publishing Co.
Ladybug Magazine
Netflix Animation
The Times
Tony Potter Publishing
Walkerbooks Australia

 

Awards 

 

2018 Creative Child Magazine - BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD Kids Picture Books category for 'Paisley Rabbit and the Treehouse Contest'.
 

2018 Indie Book Awards - Joint winner of Best Chrildren's Picture Book (6 years and up) for 'Paisley Rabbit and the Treehouse Contest'.

2014 Pound Art Open People's Choice Award

 

2012 Minerva Prize

2012 Bath Artists Society Young Artist Prize

 

2011 Bath Art Prize

 

2011 Agnes Sloan Prize

 

Exhibitions

2021 'Time For Rhyme' book launch, NEC Birmingham

2018 Solo Show, 'Paisley Rabbit', Pound Arts Centre, Corsham

2016 Joint Show with Joe Weatherly, Galerie Daniel Maghen, Paris

2016 Solo Show, Pound Arts Centre, Corsham.

2012 Bath Art Prize Exhibition, 34 Stall Street, Bath

2012 Bath Artists Society Open Exhibition, Victoria Gallery, Bath

 

2012 The Royal Watercolour Society Open Exhibition, Bankside Gallery, London

 

2011 Bath Art Prize Exhibition, The Octagon Chapel, Bath

 

2011 The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, Mall Galleries, London

CHRIS DUNN / BIO

A little bit about me.

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