As an illustrator and writer John Butler has produced more than 60 children’s picture books published in over 20 countries. John began his career working in a number of London studios having studied to become a teacher of art. He became a freelance illustrator in 1975 after an extended trip to West Africa.
He has produced work for US and UK advertising agencies, (Saatchi, BBDO, J. Walter Thompson), design companies, (Conran, Marks and Spencer studios), and newspapers and magazines, (Time, Sesame Street magazine, The Sunday Times). Publishing, however, has been the primary source of his commissions from publishers such as Penguin, Walker Books, Orchard Books and Templar in the UK and Simon and Schuster, Viking and Peachtree in the USA.
John has always been passionate about painting and drawing, and having had an enjoyable career in illustration he now feels the time has come to explore the wider freedom of fine art. His illustration work has always been centred on wildlife and conservation and this strong theme is reflected in his paintings. Working primarily in oils, light and the play of light in its infinite form play a key part in his observations. While figurative artists from the Renaissance to the impressionists have been a strong influence on John’s work, the School of London artists such as R.B. Kitaj, Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Howard Hodgkin and Leon Kossoff have been the most influential.
- Im Wald / Im Garten / Im Zoo / Auf dem Bauernhof Stiftung Buchkunst (Book Art Foundation) Germany – 2018
- If You See a Kitten chosen as a gold medal selection by Dolly Parton’s Imagination library in the UK – 2015
- My Snuggle Bunny awarded the Gold Mom’s Choice Award for Children’s Picture Books: Bedtime Stories – 2013
- When Anju Loved Being an Elephant selected as a Teachers’ Choice AwardsSM for Children’s Books WINNER. This award is sponsored by Learning Magazine. Teacher teams from across the United States judged the entries – 2013
- Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading Elementary Book Award List (a children’s choice award) – 2012-2013
- Skipping Stones Honor Awards List, short-list 2012
- Kansas National Education Association Reading Circle Catalog selection, 2012
- Creative Child Magazine My Snuggle Bunny granted “Book of the Year” and “Product of the Year” – 2012
- Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Book Award (Gold Book Award) (USA) – 2011
- Booktrust Early Years Award for Best Baby Book (short-list) – 2005 and 2004
- Southampton Best Books to Share – 2004
- Bank Street College of Education New York included two of his books in the Best Children’s Books of the Year – 2004 and 2002
- Florida Reading Association Children’s Book of the Year (Silver medal) – 2003 and 2002
- Norfolk Libraries Children’s Book Award – 1998
- The Federation of Children’s Book Groups Award (short-list) – 1997
- The Sheffield Children’s Book Award (Highly commended) – 1997
- BP Conservation Award presented by Sir David Attenborough – (Commended) – 1995
- The Children’s Book Award (short-list) – 1994