Professor Martin Salisbury

Course Leader, MA Children’s Book Illustration; Director, the Centre for Children’s Book Studies

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences

Department:Cambridge School of Art

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Illustration, drawing and book art

Courses taught: Children's Book Illustration

Martin is an illustrator and author of a number of books on the practice and theory of children’s book illustration. He has been invited to speak on the subject around the world has acted as chair of the International Jury for the Ragazzi Awards at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

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After studying at Maidstone College of Art in the 1970s, Martin worked for many years as a freelance illustrator, producing illustrations for leading UK publishers, focusing particularly on fiction and non-fiction for older children. He taught as a part-time visiting tutor at Cambridge School of Art for several years before accepting a permanent fractional post, then going on take over leadership of our BA (Hons) Illustration programme. In 2001 he designed the MA Children’s Book Illustration course, which has since become a world-leading programme with currently around 150 students from 29 countries.

Martin’s books have been translated into at least ten languages and reprinted numerous times.

Research interests

  • All aspects of the history and creation of children’s picturebooks
  • British Neo-Romantic artists of the 1940s and 50s
  • Visual narrative structures
  • Drawing

Areas of research supervision

Supervising practice-led research in all aspects of children’s book illustration including but not limited to:

  • Picturebook-graphic novel crossover
  • Animal characterisation in children’s picturebooks
  • Postmodern picturebooks
  • Narrative non-fiction
  • The role of ‘place’ in picturebooks


BA (Hons) Illustration

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Elected member, the Art Workers Guild

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • International Jury member for publishing awards and illustration competition, Bologna Children’s Book Fair
  • International Jury member for CJ Picturebook Awards, CJ Picturebook Festival, Seoul, South Korea
  • Member of the advisory committee for the Salon du Livre Illustration Competition, Montreuil, Paris Children’s Book Fair

Selected recent publications


Salisbury, M., 2015. One Hundred Great Children’s Picturebooks. London: Laurence King Publishing.

Salisbury, M. and Styles, M., 2012. Children’s Picturebooks: The Art of Visual Storytelling. London: Laurence King Publishing.

Salisbury, M., 2007. Play Pen: New Children’s Book Illustration. London: Laurence King Publishing.

Salisbury, M., 2004. Illustrating Children’s Books. London: A&C Black.

Invited presentations

Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris

Bologna Children’s Book Fair

Confia Illustration Conference, Portugal

CJ Picturebook Festival, Seoul

Illustratour, Valladolid

Itabashi Art Museum, Tokyo

Universities of Bologna, Padova, Zaragoza, Aalto (Finland), Aveiro (Portugal), Savannah College of Art & Design (USA)