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Professor Martin Salisbury


Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Cambridge School of Art
Areas of Expertise:
Illustration, drawing and book art
Research Supervision:

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 and has acted as chair of the International Jury for the Ragazzi Awards at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. He is Director of the Children's Centre for Book Studies at ARU.

[email protected]


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-based 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
  • Chair for the Jury for the Bologna Ragazzi Awards
  • 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
  • Member of selection board, Irish Children's Laureate

Selected recent publications


Salisbury, M., 2023. Illustrator's Sketchbooks (London and New York: Thames & Hudson).

Salisbury, M., 2022. Drawing for Illustration (London and New York: Thames & Hudson).

Salisbury, M., 2021. M. Šašek (‘The Illustrators’ series) (London and New York: Thames & Hudson).

Salisbury, M., 2017. The Illustrated Dust Jacket: 1920-1970 (London and New York: Thames & Hudson).

Salisbury, M., 2017. The Snail that Climbed the Eiffel Tower and Other Work by John Minton (Norwich: The Mainstone Press).

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).

Recent presentations and conferences

Invited presentations

Shanghai Book Fair

Javeriana University, Colombia

Tsinghua University, Beijing

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)