Meet the Illustrator

Margot Tomes

At age 14, Margot Tomes told an English teacher that she wanted to illustrate children's books when she grew up. So, not surprisingly, she enrolled in art school after finishing high school. Yet looking back on her life later, she said, "I didn't think I had any talent for art." She thought that if she had gone to college instead of art school, she probably would have been an English teacher.

In fact, Tomes didn't finish art school. When she was 19, she began working in a department store as an "artist for the interior," creating paintings for the children's department. Later, she spent many years creating designs for fabric and wallpaper. Finally, in 1963, a writer asked her to do artwork for a children's book that had just been accepted by a publisher. Tomes enjoyed the experience so much that she soon made illustrating children's books her full-time career.


Margot Tomes had mixed feelings about her work. On the one hand, she illustrated more than 60 children's books, and she took pleasure in improving her painting skills. On the other hand, she said, "Drawing isn't at all easy or fun for me — it's very difficult."

Other Books Illustrated by Margot Tomes

  • Land of Forgotten Beasts
    (written by Barbara Wersba)
  • I Saw Three Ships
    (written by Elizabeth Goudge)
  • Secret of the Sachem's Tree
    (written by F. N. Monjo)
  • Aaron and the Green Mountain Boys
    (written by Patricia Lee Gauch)
  • This Time, Tempe Wick?
    (written by Patricia Lee Gauch)
  • Phoebe the Spy
    (written by Judith Berry Griffin)
  • Where Do You Think You're Going, Christopher Columbus?
    (written by Jean Fritz)
  • What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?
    (written by Jean Fritz)
  • Sarah Crewe, or What Happened at Miss Ninchin's
    (written by Frances Burnett)
  • Chimney Sweeps: Yesterday and Today
    (written by James Giblin)