Margot Thompson — Illustrator

Margot Thompson headshot


Planet Ark, 2013
Tree of Life, 2013
Biomimicry, 2011


Margot Thompson is an illustrator and designer. Most of her illustration work has been for magazines, but she has also illustrated several books for children.

Margot started drawing when she was very young, mainly because her older sister was already drawing and so Margot joined in. Her earliest “works” were crayon drawings of princesses. Because she wanted them to be life-size or even bigger, Margot would tape sheets of paper together in long rows and make giant princesses.

During high school and university, Margot focused on another love: science. She received a degree in biology from the University of Toronto. Rather than working in science, though, she decided to study art at the Ontario College of Art and Design. This led to a career as a freelance illustrator and as a designer at the Royal Ontario Museum, keeping her very busy.

Q & A

Toronto, Ontario.

May 24th.

Where do you live?
Toronto, Ontario.

Do you have any pets?
I have a cat named Chico.

What is your favorite book?
Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy.

What is your favorite movie?
The Deerhunter.

What are your hobbies?
Hiking, bike riding, tennis, reading and playing the cello!

When did you start drawing?
Probably when I was about 2 years old.

What was your schooling or training?
I studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design.

How did you get involved with children’s books?
I started illustrating magazine articles and then did two children’s books about five years ago.

What is the thing that you like the most about creating children’s books?
I like working with the strong color used in children’s books.

Where do you work?
I work as a designer at the Royal Ontario Museum and as a freelance illustrator at home.

How do you create your artwork?
Acrylic on canvas — sometimes I scan my paintings and adjust them in Adobe Photoshop.

Do you have any tips for young creators?
Practice a lot, and don't be afraid to create your own style.

What is your favorite childhood memory?
Probably traveling around Canada in the summer with my family. Once I stood beside a group of wild horses in Nova Scotia.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I didn't know for sure, but I always thought my job would relate to art.

What is the weirdest or most interesting job you have ever had?
I did a couple of pop-up books. They were interesting to do, not weird!



2012 - Information Book Award, The Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada, Commended
2012 - Green Earth Book Award, Newton Marasco Foundation, Short-listed
2012 - Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Short-listed
2012 - Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Winner
2012 - Outstanding Science Books, National Science Teachers Association, Winner

Planet Ark

2014 - Information Book Award, The Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada, Long-listed
2014 - Green Earth Book Award, The Nature Generation, Short-listed
2014 - Top 10 Books on Sustainability for Youth, Booklist, Winner

Tree of Life

2007 - Alberta Children’s Choice Rocky Mountain Book Award, Short-listed
2006 - Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award, Short-listed
2005 - Silver Birch Award, Ontario Library Association, Short-listed
2005 - Skipping Stones Honor Award, Skipping Stones Magazine, Winner
2005 - Green Earth Book Award, Runner-up
2005 - Teacher’s Choice List, International Reading Association, Winner
2005 - Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award, Short-listed
2005 - Independent Publisher Book Award, Winner
2004 - Best of the Best Books List, Chicago Public Library, Winner
2004 - Book of the Year Award - Silver Medal, ForeWord Magazine, Winner
2004 - Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence, The Editors' Association of Canada, Winner
2004 - Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award, ASPCA, Winner