UK’s new Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell advocates a sketch a day

New Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell

Congratulations to Chris Riddell, the UK’s new Children’s Laureate! Chris is the author of the prizewinning Goth Girl series, and a collaborator with Quentin Blake, Michael Rosen, Neil Gaiman and Russell Brand on works such as Barnaby Grimes, GulliverMuddle Earth, Ottoline and the Yellow Cat, Pirate DiaryThe Edge Chronicles, and The Sleeper and the Spindle.

Chris Riddell Children's Laureate illustrator workng in his studio
Chris Riddell 2015 Children’s Laureate

He is devoting the 2-year post to promoting creativity and visual literacy, the joy of artistic drawing and doodling. He spoke to the Guardian, saying:

“I want to show how much fun you can have drawing … I want to bring drawing back to the basics, make it about the pleasure that it can afford and remove the notion that it’s some kind of precious or difficult activity. It’s another way of telling a story.”

He plans to post a daily drawing and encourage others to do the same. His YouTube channel offers insights into how his illustrations come together.

“Do you have hands? Excellent. That’s a good start. Can you hold a pencil? Great. If you have a sketchbook, open it and start by making a line, a mark, wherever. Doodle. Take a line for a walk, as Paul Klee said. Lose your inhibitions about drawing and just do it.”

Inspiration in a Norfolk Studio

Chris Riddell Children's Laureate illustrator at work in studio
Chris Riddell at work in his studio

The Observer‘s political cartoonist, adult and children’s book illustrator and author Chris Riddell writes from studios in Brighton and Norfolk. He has described the pleasure of writing in his converted outbuilding Norfolk studio, where he can take himself off to –

“sit in quiet contemplation in my flower meadow. It is one of my favourite places in the world. White and blue campion, ox-eye daisies, and skylarks flying overhead. It also has the most spectacular sunsets.”

Similarly, in an Independent interview in March, 2015:

“I am currently in my studio in Norfolk, looking out onto the woods as I sit at my desk. I’ve just spotted a Muntjac deer and its impossibly tiny fawn!”

Norfolk Artist – Jo Riddell

Chris is married to Norfolk raised and educated, artist in-her-own-right, Jo Riddell. As well as studying at Great Yarmouth Art School, Jo has a Brighton University B.A. in Illustration. She also worked in children’s books, publishing some twelve books over the course of a decade. She has since returned to printmaking and painting where she has found:

“a welcome freedom to express herself, inspiration coming from family, found objects, and the landscapes of Sussex and Norfolk.”

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