Leslie Wood was an illustrator and artist who lived and worked in Manchester, Greater London and the West Country throughout a career that spanned over 50 years.
Probably best known for his illustrative work as the illustrator of choice for The Little Red Engine, first published by Faber and Faber in 1945 and written by Diana Ross.
Leslie was prolific in his output and worked, almost exclusively producing dust jackets, editorial images and front covers for books, magazines and advertising. In the 1980’s he embarked on a set of educational books to help with the early understanding of mathematical concepts and ideas.
Working with his neighbour and good friend Roy Burden a series was developed; count with us from the Big RED Bus. An inspired title and one that linked the success of the Little RED Engine beautifully.
As the landscape changed for Leslie, he balanced being a commercial illustrator with teaching and worked at Epsom Art College in the 1960’s and then Bower Ashton, part of Bristol Polytechnic.
His ability to draw figuratively and to create can be seen in the work produced during his time at Manchester Art School in the 1940’s.
Sketch books, working in metal and stone, woodcuts and paintings all stem from the craft and skills taught and learnt throughout childhood and into Leslie’s early 20’s.
leslie wood artwork was created as a resource, a showcase and an opportunity to share the range of artwork that he produced and collaborated on. There is also an opportunity to browse the range of the work produced as the research has been extensive to try to capture all his published pieces.
Using the illustrations as stand-alone artwork has been an interesting and creative task and one that Leslie would have understood. As an illustrator he always made sure he read and researched, and this is shown in the detail of the pieces. Reading was at the core of his preparation, that and observing the world, the details and the beauty and savage ugly of the different surrounding he found himself in. Leslie made sure that the pieces, regardless of their commission, were beautifully executed and produced. In this they can stand alone and be used and adapted for the modern world and its expectations of art.
leslie wood artwork is to be used and enjoyed. Books can be revisited, found and delighted in for the first time and then purchased through our online shop. Favourite images can be hung in your home, worn on a t shirt or sent to your nearest and dearest to show your involvement in their journey through life. The range of products is developing and growing as more and more of his work becomes known to us.
Manchester Metropolitan University Library Archives houses an enormous and comprehensive collection of Leslie’s work. Original illustrations, letters to publishers and anecdotal scrawls and notes between artist and commissioning editors and publishers.
The collection of Leslie's paintings have also been showcased; together for the very first time. Northern landscapes, Scottish Highlands and Lowlands and water colours of the West Country that became his home for nearly 30 years.
Enjoy and browse; but most importantly observe, watch, listen, feel, smell and taste the world in order to be creative. Leslie would have liked that.