David McKee (b. 1935 - 2022)
We are deeply saddened by David's passing recently - at the age of 87 he had led a most extra-ordinary life, bringing so much happiness to so many people around the world. Best known for this creation of Mr Benn, King Rollo and Elmer the Patchwork elephant, his books touched the hearts and minds of young and old. A gifted talent and a kind-hearted soul - the world is poorer for his absence.
David McKee studied art at Plymouth Art College and went on to produce illustrations for periodicals and newspapers including Punch and The Times. His first book, Two Can Toucan was published in l964 and is still in print today with Andersen Press, the illustrations redrawn in l985.
David McKee has produced some of the most iconic picture book characters of his generation, including Mr Benn which went on to be one of the earliest animation films produced for television. King Rollo, also animated for television, and Elmer the patchwork elephant are more recent much loved characters, the books of which are now published in over twenty countries.
The Elmer series has recently been translated into Japanese by fellow-illustrator and friend Satoshi Kitamura. David McKee was shortlisted for the world-wide prestigious Astrid Lindgren Award in 2005. He divides his time between London and the South of France, and with his partner Bakhta is a keen collector of African Tribal Art.