Britain’s New Children’s Laureate Is A Pen and Pencil Artist

Chris Riddell knows drawing.

He’s illustrated more than 100 children’s books, among them the Edge Chronicles, Muddle Earth, Goth Girl and Ottoline series. He has worked with some of the biggest names in fantasy fiction, including Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. And he’s even been a political cartoonist for 20 years.

Now he’s been named Children’s Laureate of the UK.

Chris Riddell

As part of the job, Riddell has said in interview that he wants to encourage kids to see drawing as something fun they can do every day. He has promised to keep a Laureate’s Log in which he will document his work with a daily drawing.

“I want to put the joy of creativity, of drawing every day, of having a go and being surprised at what one can achieve with just a pencil and an idea at the heart of my term as laureate. I want to make sure people have fun whilst addressing fundamental issues I care about passionately,” he said, according to the BBC.

Last year, Riddell told the Guardian that he prefers to draw in pencil because art pens create “mechanical-looking lines.”

From the paper:

Riddell draws in pencil, inks over the lines with a brush, and adds colour, often blue and yellow, last: “I’m not a painter by any stretch of the imagination; I’m a dyed-in-the-wool traditional illustrator, and I begin with black and white. If I need colour, I add it over the top. There’s a calligraphic element to it … it’s about the texture of lines on the page.”

He occasionally posts photos of his sketches and drawing instruments to his Instagram page.

He appears to be a fan of the Lamy scribble mechanical pencils, Palomino Blackwing and Faber Castell pencils, the Uni Pin drawing pen, and the Kuretake million years writing brush. If you like to know more about these or any other pencil brands then check out our Wooden Pencils Brands Ultimate Guide.

Here you can see him explaining the Goth Girl storyline and showing how he creates the illustrations for the books.

We applaud the selection of Riddell as Children’s Laureate. He is a wonderful artist who has spent most of his life communicating with children in compelling ways, so he could not be a better choice for instilling a love of drawing in kids.

If you’re an artist with a taste for the whimsical, be sure to follow Riddell’s work as an illustrator and laureate.

Photo of author

Tony Bridges

As a seasoned journalist and freelance writer, I've spent over three decades telling stories and exploring the world through the written word. With a passion for writing instruments, I found my niche at The Pen Vibe, a blog that shares our collective fascination with pens, pencils, and other tools that have shaped the art of writing.

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