Cartoonist, illustrator of children’s books
Chris Riddell was born in 1962 in Cape Town, South Africa where his father was a “liberal Anglican vicar” and was opposed to the system of apartheid. The family returned to England when Chris was one year old, where he spent the rest of his childhood with his sister and three brothers who are now living in South Africa, Brighton, England, and Egypt. Chris displayed artistic talent from an early age, and was encouraged in this by his mother. (She gave him paper and pen to keep quiet during father’s sermons.) As a child, he admired the work of John Tenniel, the first illustrator of Alice in Wonderland, and W. Heath Robinson. At Brighton Polytechnic he studied illustration; one teacher was Raymond Briggs, an earlier winner of two Greenaway Medals. In 2002 he named as influences Tenniel and E. H. Shepard, the first illustrator of The Wind in the Willows and Winnie the Pooh.
Riddell worked as an illustrator at The Economist news magazine beginning in the 1980s and at The Observer newspaper from 1995.
As of 2002, Riddell and his wife Joanne Burroughes, an illustrator and print-maker, lived in Brighton with three children.
His brother Rick Riddell, a secondary teacher in the Alice Smith School, died in February 2012.