feature profile of Chris Riddell in Times Saturday Review by Alex O’Connell
Riddell, 54, has become one of the most successful and sought-after children’s book illustrators of his generation, as well as an accomplished children’s writer and The Observer’s spiky political cartoonist. His two series for 7 to 11-year-olds — the Ottoline and Goth Girl books, in which he creates words and pictures — are immensely popular and it’s impossible to walk into even the smallest bookshop and not find at least ten examples of his work on the shelves.
“I only ever write to give myself something to illustrate,” he says, speaking on the phone from his studio in Norfolk, his working retreat from his main home in Brighton, where he lives with his wife, the printmaker Jo Burroughes. “It sounds facetious but it’s true. I love words, I am a reader and the reading will sometimes inspire me to draw something. When I read on my own I have to collaborate with myself.”