Stephen Biesty

Stephen Biesty (born 27 January 1961) is a British illustrator. Biesty is considered a master of cross section. He frequently collaborates with Richard Platt, who writes the text for the majority of his books, which have covered a wide range of informative cross sections aimed at adults and children, all published by Dorling Kindersley.

Biesty's work has found great success, notably his ''Incredible Cross Sections'' (1992) is an international bestseller with over one million copies in print worldwide. Other Biesty books written by Platt include ''Man-of-War'' (1993), ''Castle'' (1994), ''Incredible Pop-Up Cross-Sections'' (1995), ''Incredible Explosions'' (1996), ''Incredible Everything'' (1997), ''Incredible Body'' (1998) and ''Absolutely Best Cross-Sections Book Ever'' (1999). Since 1999 he has also illustrated the ''Millennium Dome Pop-up Book'' (1999), ''Gold: A Treasure Hunt through Time'' (Meredith Hooper) (2002), and ''Rome'' (Andrew Solway, Stephen Biesty) (2003). ''Castle'' was later made into the educational video game ''Castle Explorer'', as was ''Man-of-War'' which was made into ''Stowaway! A tour of an 18th century Man-of-War''. Some have compared Biesty's ''Incredible Cross Sections'' to fellow British illustrator Martin Handford's ''Where's Wally?'' series; for instance in ''Man-of-War'' there is the challenge of spotting the stowaway. Biesty uses paper, pen, ink and water colour paints. He never uses a ruler, drawing everything freehand.

Biesty describes his work as follows:

There's really no end to the amount of detail you can include. I don't use a computer and I don't think I ever will. I draw with a pencil initially and then I work on top of that with ink, usually a Rotring needle-point pen, but sometimes I use a fine brush which gives the line a little variety, a little texture. Then of course I add colour and atmosphere with watercolour washes.


I always put figures in. As an illustrator you quickly catch on to the fact that nobody's going to look at it if there's no human interest. When you start including figures, you can begin to create a sense of atmosphere. You can show how people relate to a space and you can explore the realities and practicalities of the place, how people lived, how they adapted to their surroundings, how they slept, how they ate.
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by Biesty, Stephen
Published 2006
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by Biesty, Stephen, 1961-
Published 2017
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by Platt, Richard
Published 1996
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by Platt, Richard
Published 1994
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