Chris Riddell has been announced as the Children’s Laureate 2015-2017. We’ve already talked about some of the amazing writers and illustrators who have been Children’s Laureate in the past in our blog post here, and it’s really exciting to see Riddell joining them!
Riddell became well-known for his political cartoons in ‘The Economist’ and ‘The Observer’ as well as his illustration work for a staggering number of books written by lots of different authors. His most famous collaboration was with writer Paul Stewart for the young adult fantasy series ‘The Edge Chronicles’ (one of my very favourite series!). He’s also illustrated classics such as Peter Pan, Treasure Island and Alice in Wonderland and written his own books, including the Goth Girl series, featuring an unconventional young woman who goes on pun-filled adventures, and the Ottoline series about a detective. He also collaborated with Neil Gaiman to produce the fantastic fairy tale The Sleeper and the Spindle, the picture book Fortunately the Milk… and the novel The Graveyard Book (see our review here). He even wrote and illustrated a book all about how much libraries (and librarians) have influenced and helped him over the years called Life Changing Books or Librarians I Have Loved.
Riddell says that he has been influenced by the iconic illustrators of famous children’s books such as John Tenniel (Alice in Wonderland) and E.H. Shepard (Winnie the Pooh and The Wind in the Willows). He was also taught by Raymond Briggs, who created The Snowman and The Snowdog. All of these illustrators have styles that are instantly recognisable, and just like them, Riddell’s style is completely unique.
To see some of Riddell’s work, check out Wendel’s Workshop (BOOK ZONE 649.58), a lovely picture book about a mouse who invents a robot to keep his home tidy, with hilarious results.
If you’re interested in illustration and children’s books…
Have a look at some of the great new illustrations for children’s books in Play Pen: New Children’s Book Illustration by Martin Salisbury (BOOK ZONE 741.642).
Learn about how to become a children’s book illustrator in Illustrating Children’s Picture Books by Steven and Lesley Breen Withrow (BOOK ZONE 741.642).
Laugh (or groan) at the terrible puns on Riddell’s website, where he shares illustrations of the hairstyles of Civil War Generals and his sketches.
And don’t forget to have a look at some of the resources in our post on Children’s Laureates of the past.