Award-winning author and illustrator Catherine Rayner was born in Harrogate and now lives in Edinburgh. She has a BA Hons in Visual Communication and Illustration from Leeds College of Art and Edinburgh College of Art. Much of her inspiration – and occasionally modelling! – for her illustration comes from her pets: her horse Shannon, guinea pig Marvin, dog Ellie, cat Ena and goldfish, Bruce. However, it was animals of a slightly larger kind who were the inspiration for her first picture book, Augustus and His Smile – Catherine drew many of her initial sketches of him whilst watching the tigers at Edinburgh Zoo.
In 2006 Catherine was awarded the Best New Illustrator Award at the BookTrust Early Years awards and was also short listed for the V&A Illustration Awards 2006. Augustus and His Smile was selected as one of five picture books to be featured and recommended on Channel 4's 'Richard and Judy Christmas Party' in December 2006. Since January 2007, Augustus and His Smile has been nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal and short listed for the 'Read it Again' Cambridgeshire Picture Book Award and the English 4-11 Award 2007. Catherine also regularly exhibits her art work in galleries all over Scotland and also illustrates her own range of cards.