Helen Cann
Illustration, Brighton Brighton and Hove United Kingdom
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Brief Summary
I am best known for my children's illustrations having provided illustrations for over 30 books, however I am also increasingly working as a fine artist and commissioned for drawing, chalk boarding and mapping projects. 

Additionally I have been involved in creating collaborative festival projects ranging from designing and painting large scale wheeled cabinets for an arts festival, to working as an artist in residence in a pop-up restaurant, to making a large scale projected stop motion animation.  I am based in Brighton, UK.
Brighton White Night 2010/2011:
Peacock events/ Fat Pebble Media - a stop motion animation created for an exterior projection on Brighton Youth Centre.
Draw (a Big Draw/Campaign for Drawing event) and BANG - large scale props developed and created for live outdoor drawing event.

Brighton Fringe Festival 2010:
Residence pop-up restaurant (City College) - live painting event.

Brighton Adult Education Festival 2010
Art and Esol; creation of a film of migrants' experience of speaking a language other than their own.

Barefoot Books,
WB Eerdmans,
Wisdom Tales,
Miles Kelly
Lion Hudson,
The Children's Museum of Manhattan,
Oxford University Press,

MAPPING clients:
ONCA Gallery,
University of Sussex,
Ingrid Plum Music

Duke of Yorks Cinema
[email protected] Cinema

Professional Experience

E-mail:  [email protected]

Web:     Paintings, Drawings and Maps - www.helencannfineart.co.uk
              Children's Illustration – www.helencann.co.uk

Twitter:  @helen_cann
Instagram: @helencannart

I am an established illustrator and my watercolour and collage images have been published in over 30 high quality children’s gift books in over 15 different countries.  I have exhibited my illustrations around the world and won a number of awards. 
In 2014, 'Little Leap Forward' was included in the Diverse Voices List - the best 50 books in the UK to celebrate cultural diversity since 1950.

2013 'Picture This', Riverside Gallery, Richmond.
2006 'Stories from the Silk Road' , Chicago Institute of Art, Chicago
2002-2004 'Imagine' (touring exhibition) - Blakesley Hall, Birmingham; Holburne Museum, Bath; Guildhall Gallery, Guildford; Manchester Art Gallery
2000 'The Contemporary British Illustrators', The Illustration Cupboard, Downstairs at the Air Gallery, London


Barefoot Books:
The Raiders; The Snowstorm; The Shipwreck; Dance Stories; Little Leap Forward; Fireside Stories; Forest Full of Stories; The Lady of Ten Thousand Names; A Calendar of Festivals; The Family Quartet; Heroic Children

Wisdom Tales:
Feathers for Peacock

WB Eerdmans for Young Readers:
Brigid's Cloak; Manger

Miles Kelly: Call of the Wild

Lion Hudson:
Baboushka; On that Christmas Night; On that Easter Morning; St Nicholas; The Bible, A Children's Book of Prayers; Celtic Prayers

OUP: The Snow King

Parragon: Picture Atlas

Kingfisher: Classic Christmas Stories

I also regularly exhibit my fine art work and collaborate in arts events.  In my paintings, I am specifically interested in verbal and non-verbal rules of communication.  This may be through using language and lettering itself in my work and how rules of lettering, context and content effect understanding to studies of the “rules” followed by different social groups, in dress code, taste, movement and language.

In mapping projects I look at how we locate ourselves using more than physical geography.  Stories, (personal, folkloric, anecdotal and historical) help us to describe a place and I annotate my maps with these.  I recently took part in an artist residency sailing 1300 miles across the North Atlantic tracking whales (in conjunction with ONCA Gallery and Pangaea Expeditions).  The resulting piece became part of the exhibition 'The Whale Road'.


2015 The Whale Road , Onca Gallery, Brighton
2015 Correspondence, Prestamex House, Brighton
2014 Wood-100, Onca Gallery, Brighton
2013 Down to the Bone, Onca Gallery, Brighton
2012 Islington Contemporary Art and Design Fair
2012 Making Tracks, Onca Gallery, Brighton
2011 ‘HOUSE Open’, The Regency Townhouse, Brighton
2010 ‘HOUSE Open’, The Regency Townhouse, Brighton

DRAWING AND LETTERING projects include:

2014-2016 Chalkboards and event display for Duke of Yorks and Dukes at Komedia cinemas, Brighton.

2014 Making of a sketchbook prop for the BBC production of Mapp and Lucia.


2011 ‘Welcome to Youthtopia’ A large black and white mural animated in collaboration with Fat Pebble Films and used as an outside projection for White Night, a city wide arts event.  Design of flyer and poster for Peacock Lounge and BYC.

2010 ‘Enlightenment – Cabinets of Wonder’. A project funded by Brighton and Hove council and The Big Draw.  An all night event bringing life drawing to the Brighton community.  The event included 3 hand painted cabinets exhibiting life models pulled by volunteers around the city as well as a static theatre.  It was also part of the Big Draw festival near London Bridge and won a Highly Commended award from the Big Draw. Project Management, design and painting of a cabinet, design of map.  In collaboration with Draw.

“Art and Esol” A project funded by Brighton and Hove council teaching English through art to migrants living and working in Brighton culminating in the making of a film short shown throughout the Adult Learning Festival. In collaboration with Alice Flight.

TALKS include:

2016 'Sketchbooks', Loughborough University
2015 'Inspiration', Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce
2009 WOMAD 'Little Leap Forward'.


Post- graduate diploma in Art
Bachelor of Art (Honours) 2i in Visual Art, UCW               


Awards and Recognition
Recent Children's Book Illustration awards:
2015 - 'Little Leap Forward' included in the Diverse Voices list  -  the best culturally diverse children's books in the UK for the past fifty years. Compiled by 'Seven Stories' the UK national centre for stories.
2012 - Gold medal, Junior Library Guild (US) 'The Raiders'
2011 - Junior Library Guild, Fall Selection for The Raiders.
2010 - Gold Award, Nautilus Book Awards, New York for Little Leap Forward.
2009 - Junior Library Guild, Fall Selection for Little Leap Forward.

Fine Art:
Highly Recommended by The Big Draw.  'Enlightenment - Cabinets of Wonder' a collaboration with 'Draw Brighton'.

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