Ian Beck

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Ian Beck
Ian Beck
Born (1947-07-31) 31 July 1947 (age 74)
Brighton, East Sussex, England
Occupation Novelist, Illustrator
Nationality British
Education Bachelor of Arts
Alma mater Brighton College of Art
Genre Children's literature, fantasy
Spouse Emma Stone
Children 3

Ian Archibald Beck (born 31 July 1947 in Brighton) is an English children's illustrator and author. In addition to his numerous children's books, he is also most famous for his cover illustration on Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album. He has sold more than a million copies of his books worldwide.[1]

Early life

Having attended a local secondary school, Ian Beck was encouraged by the art teacher and headmaster to attend Brighton College of Art where he studied illustration and graphic design, being taught by Raymond Briggs and John Vernon Lord[2] and in 1968 he graduated.[3]

Professional life

He then moved to London, as a freelance illustrator while working part-time at Harrods in the toy department. He gradually built up a clientele, working for consumer magazines like Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, and Homes and Gardens. He also began making advertisements for the recording industry, for artists like Ry Cooder and Richie Havens. He then went into designing and illustrating album covers as well such as Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, for Elton John. He carried on working in the record industry until the early 1980s.[3] He has had many commissions from the Conran Design Group, including packaging, greeting cards, calendars, interior design panels. He also had a commission for murals in a restaurant at Gatwick Airport.[2]

Oxford University Press had seen some drawings he had done for the Radio Times and wanted him to illustrate a project for children for them, which they wanted to publish.[3] His first picture book, Round and Round the Garden, was published in 1982.[1] After the success of this book, others followed and in 1989, he wrote his first story to illustrate, The Teddy Robber. In 1997 his book, Home Before Dark won a gold award in the best toy awards and in 2000 he again won the award, this time for Alone in the Woods. He again won the award for The Happy Bee. He was the Master of the Art Workers Guild in 1999.[4][5]

He produced his first novel The Secret History of Tom Trueheart, Boy Adventurer, which was released on 1 June 2006, and was subsequently published in more than twenty languages.[6] This was followed by the sequel Tom Trueheart and the Land of Dark Stories, which was published on 6 March 2008 and the third book in the series, Tom Trueheart and the Land of Myth and Legends on 2 September 2010.[7] He has written three other novels, Pastworld (Bloomsbury,2009), The Hidden Kingdom (Oxford University Press, 2011), and The Haunting of Charity Delafield (Bodley Head,2011).[8]

In 2012 he created a set of drawings of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Little Tich for a hospital ward in Harrow, Middlesex, under the auspices of the charity The Nightingale Project.[9] Beck has produced further drawings in this series, depicting other stars of music hall and early cinema, for a public exhibition entitled The Limelight Pictures that ran from February to June 2013.[10]

He is married with three children and continues in close touch with children through regular visits to schools and libraries, talking about the creation of his books and reading stories.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Mr Beck's big adventure". London: The Times. 2006-05-27. Retrieved 2007-12-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Biography of Ian Beck". Northern Children's Book Festival. Retrieved 2007-12-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Biography of Ian Beck". Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Retrieved 2007-12-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Master of the Art Workers Guild
  5. Biography of Ian Beck
  6. Ian Beck's official website: http://ianbeck.wordpress.com
  7. Tom Trueheart
  8. Ian Beck's official website: http://ianbeck.wordpress.com/about-2/
  9. www.nightingaleproject.org/past-projects
  10. Ian Beck's official website: http://ianbeck.wordpress.com/the-limelight-pictures
  11. Author Information

External links