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Ron Lightburn was born in Cobourg, Ontario, but moved to West Vancouver at an early age. He spent his youth playing along the shores of the Pacific Ocean. He also loved to draw and produced his own comic books, which he sold to classmates at his elementary school. Later, he studied at the Alberta College of Art in Calgary, then settled in Victoria, where he worked as a commercial illustrator and gallery artist. During this time, he often walked past the offices of Orca Book Publishers on his way to the local art supply store. One day, he decided to stop in to ask about picture books; within a few weeks, he was working on the award-winning Waiting for the Whales.
In creating his artwork, Mr. Lightburn starts from a series of rough illustrations or "studies," before completing his final works in coloured pencil on toned or coloured paper. He uses models, photographs and authentic locations to inspire his pictures and bring them to life. His ability to create realistic images and use imaginative techniques to influence tone and mood resonates with his readers and helps them feel a connection with the characters and story.
In 1997, Mr. Lightburn and his wife Sandra moved to the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. His paintings and drawings can be found in the collection of Library and Archives Canada, and other corporate and private collections across Canada and the United States. Ron Lightburn is the recipient of many major awards. He has illustrated a number of award-winning picture books and has worked on over sixty book covers.