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Live Sketches Illustrate Author’s Talk

  • Chris Riddell - live drawing (1)
  • Chris Riddell
  • Chris Riddell - live drawing
  • Chris Riddell - hall
  • Chris Riddell - drawing
  • Chris Riddell - with Jr Girls

There was a buzz of excitement in the Great Hall as pupils in Years 5, 6 and 7 assembled to hear about ‘Guardians of Magic’, a new book by author, illustrator and former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell. Library staff organised this special event for Boys’ and Girls’ Division pupils in the Junior and Senior Schools.

Throughout his humorous talk, Chris produced a number of amazing live sketches as he talked about his writing and drawing process. He mentioned the strange ideas that end up in his “Naughty Drawer” only to be pulled out and expanded later: the map that inspired ‘Guardians of Magic’ was one of these. He also described his first experiences of drawing, some of his current projects and his previous work, particularly his illustrations for ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’ and his ‘Goth Girl’ series.

He encouraged all of the aspiring writers and artists to carry a sketchbook wherever they go and shared lots of his own sketches. These included some of his daily “visual diary” sketches, which he started this summer. He described the process of drawing as “therapeutic” and a good way to feel better. He said this was particularly the case with some of his more topical and political cartoons. He also shared pages from a “magic” law library book from 1945, including the story of how he got it and why it is particularly magical, and images in his ‘Mournful Eye’ sketchbook.

Finally, he took the audience on a tour around the map at the start of ‘Guardians of Magic’ and explained the unusual inspirations behind some of the place names. For example, the town of Beam came from the line about a “beamish boy” in his favourite poem, ‘Jabberwocky’ by Lewis Carroll, although in his book the character is a “Beamish girl”. He also discussed the book’s main characters Zam, Phoebe and Bathsheba and brought his talk to a close with three readings to introduce them.

Pupils left the Great Hall keen to get their hands on copies of ‘Guardians of Magic’ and a lucky few had the opportunity to speak to Chris before going on to their afternoon lessons.

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