? - ?

Bee Willey

Beatrice Willey was born in central London of Anglo-French parents. Educated at the French Lycée in London, and later moved to France where she spent most of her childhood. As a six-year-old she travelled around the world with her parents on their way to Australia and even at that early age began to draw in her special sketchbook, at such places as Easter Island, Machu Pichu, the Taj Mahal, and Tahiti. Drawing did not feature in the curriculum in France, and she was worked towards a scientific baccalaureate qualification. Bee was brought up with her great cousin’s Fred Rowland Emett’s (1906-1990) illustrations in the house, and loved the brilliant storybooks her mother always had, especially John Burningham 'Seasons', which opened out into lavish posters, with illustrations by Brian Wildsmith (1930-2016), which sparked her children's book collecting. In Paris she visited a Chagall exhibition and decided on a career as an illustrator and had lessons with Lucette de la Fougere (1921-2010), who had grown up in Marrakech and Casablanca, whilst also doing the preparation work for a portfolio, in order to obtain an illustration degree, at that time illustration was not a recognised profession in France, it was an extension of ‘graphic artist.’ Completing her portfolio and applied in the UK to study for a degree in Visual Communication in Corsham, Wiltshire, then returned to London, working on commissions for Decca, EMI, Royal Mail, the South Bank Centre, and many magazines. Bee then illustrated many children's books and their covers, including Edward Lear’s 'Nonsense Rhymes' and 'Nonsense Songs' and Joan Aiken's 'The Wooden Dragon' and has worked with many texts and authors. Bee Willey's work includes several distinguished books with a distinctly international sensibility, and she was shortlisted for the prestigious Kate Greenaway Award for her illustrations in Andrew Matthews 'Bob Robber and Dancing Jane'. Bee, who moved to Bolton Lane, Ipswich in the early 00s, draws, paints, and uses mixed media and collage in her process, which helps build up atmosphere around the characters and is interested in drawing, thinking and education and teaches on the Illustration Degree course in Norwich University of the Arts.
Website: https://www.beewilley.com

Works by This Artist