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[1] D W Ovenden (Denys) was a post-war illustrator who worked on many children’s book, natural history titles, as well as the Look & Learn weekly children’s magazine. Many of his excellent gouache illustrations are still in print in field guides to bats, reptiles and amphibians. He also did the majority of the classic pocket sized I-Spy  series covers in the 1950s and early 1960s. This typical dramatic illustration of a diving Hawker Hunter jet (in training colours) appeared on the front of the I-Spy Aircraft book around 1957. It proved a bit of a difficult aircraft to spot as I-Spy changed it over for a more typical scene of an airport a few years later. A list of I-Spy titles can be found on our collectors guide on the site, where you can see more examples of Denys’ work. Denys is now in his Nineties but I have spoken to him a few times and am trying to arrange an interview.

Denys W Ovenden I Spy cover illustrator

[2] Joan Wanklyn. Often credited simply as JW, Joan seems to have illustrated all the 1949 Daily Mail I-Spy series, and her name can be seen in full on a few of the illustration. She later drew I-Spy Horses in the News Chronicle colour series.
Joan Wanklyn (1924 – 1999) was a natural history illustrator well known for her equine studies but she began illustrating children’s books after the War as well as writing and illustrating others under her own name. It is probably her work on these which drew her to the attention of Big Chief I-Spy. She was for many years the official regimental artist of the Royal Artillery and left their association a bequest, out of which they award an arts bursary each year to a child of a serving soldier. There is a useful biography and list of Joan’s work on the Jane Badger site.

Joan Wanklyn, I-Spy artist 1949 era

I Spy at the Zoo animals

[3] Martin Henley • did illustrations in at least two of the 1965 super I-Spy books, On A Car Journey and Abroad.

[4] Brian Wilson (Watson?) • illustrated Ships And Boats in the 1965 super I-Spy books series.

[5] Kingsley Sutton • worked on Sport, and is credited with the cover of the second edition, and also Men At Work: Building, Antique Furniture, Town Crafts all circa 1955.

[6] Ayres • the surname can be seen in some of the News Chronicle books and the early Daily Mail editions but is otherwise not identified.

[7] D. Roberts • illustrated three sets of the i-Spy tea cards; Out & About, People In Uniform, Men At Work, and did some of the album covers for the cards.

I would appreciate any further information on the artists.