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Gillian Tyler (1963-2024)

Gillian Mary Tyler (1963-2024)

Gillian Tyler began her career as a wildlife artist and etcher, but turned to illustrating children’s books when she realised that bringing characters from stories to life was what she really enjoyed. She has illustrated books for Allan Ahlberg and Michael Rosen.

Born in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, on 3 January 1963, Gillian Tyler grew up in the village of Thurnscoe, in the heart of a coal-mining district. Unlike the rest of the men in her family, who were all coal miners, her father had trained as an electrical engineer in the army, and rose to the position of chief engineer within the Yorkshire Electricity Board. Her mother trained as a medical secretary but gave this up to look after her four daughters.

Gillian was the second eldest of the four sisters, who were all ‘obsessive about making things’; she remembered writing and illustrating her own books, putting on plays, and making their own clothes. Since her grandmother had been both a seamstress and a milliner, their home was always full of resources for Gillian to use, and she was both industrious and prolific in her creations from a very young age.

As a child, Gillian was fascinated by nature and collected various wild animals from the surrounding fields, filling the house with baby hares, birds, mice and caterpillars, and making these animals the subject of her paintings.

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