Philomena O'Neill still remembers the absolute joy that she felt as a child
whenever she got her hands on an illustrated book. “I had to look quickly at all the pictures before I read the words,” she recalls, “then I would slowly enjoy the pictures again.” At five years of age, she knew she wanted to be an illustrator and pursued her goal in a “single-minded fashion.” After more than
fifteen years as a working illustrator, she is rewarded with the same sense of joy whenever she illustrates a story.
Born in Ireland and raised in West Africa and Canada, O'Neil is adept at
capturing cultural details in her characters. Working primarily in watercolor and liquid acrylic, Philomena is best known for her ability to render children and animals with character and gentle humor. She finds it important to paint positive, warm, detailed images for new generations of children. “I love the idea of a . . . child carefully pouring over my pictures, captured by the same magic I felt as a child.”
O'Neill was a cowinner of the Don Freeman Grant Award from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. A citizen of Canada and Ireland, she resides in Seattle, Washington. She is married and the mother of four children who were raised in an old farm house with a wide variety of pets. She enjoys
trips to the beach with her husband, reading, gardening, and walking her dogs.
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