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Ian Beck - Author
Ian Beck was born in Hove on the Sussex coast in 1947. At the age of thirteen, after seeing an exhibition of drawings for the Radio Times, he was fired with enthusiasm about illustration and began attending Saturday painting classes at the nearby Brighton College of Art.
Ian left school at fifteen and went immediately to Brighton to study art full-time. There he was taught by both Raymond Briggs and John Vernon Lord.
Ian has worked in many fields of illustration. He's been involved in the record industry, and painted the cover of one of the most popular records of all time: Elton John's 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road'. One of Ian's titles, Lost in Snow, was made into an animated film for TV and his books have now sold a million copies worldwide.
Q & A with Ian Beck
1. When did you first start to write stories or draw?
I drew incessantly as a child, but came late to writing stories. 2. In general, where do your ideas come from?
From life or from other stories. 3. What made you write this book?
The main character of Tom Trueheart popped into my head and refused to go away, he demanded to have his stories told.
4. What have you enjoyed most about working on this book?
The process of trimming changing and cutting the book from the first draft, and working with the editor and designer on the whole book, design, illustrations, layout etc. 5. What is your earliest memory?
Being sent to bed early in summer and looking enviously out of the bedroom window at other children playing happily in the sunlit street. 6. What did you enjoy most at school?
At school I enjoyed Art classes and drama, I managed to appear in two Shakespeare productions at school which gave me a lifelong love of Shakespeare.
7. Of all the places you have lived, where have you felt most at home and why?
Where I live now in the western suburbs of London surrounded by the song of blackbirds and near the Thames. 8. Is there a particular holiday destination that you have visited that you would love to return to?
A little seaside town in France called St Jacut De La Mare.
9. Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your pets, past or present?
We have no pets at the moment, although we have had two very nice Hamsters over the years.
10. What would you say is your greatest talent?
Noticing things in detail and long term patience. 11. What new skill – it can be anything at all – would you love to learn?
Although much too old I would love to surf the beaches of Cornwall.
12. What is the most unusual job you have done?
Singing as part of a cabaret group in restaurants in Soho.
13. What is your most treasured possession?
A beautiful and immaculate copy of Now We Are Six by A A Milne which was given to me for a birthday present many years ago.
14. Is there a particular book, author, or film that had a great impact on you in your childhood?
Book: The Just William stories by Richmal Crompton. Film: Forbidden Planet.
15. What are your hobbies?
Listening to film music and going to the cinema as often as possible.