The childrens’ author and illustrator, Ian Archibald Beck studied at Brighton College of Art during the mid-1960s.

In addition to his numerous children’s books, Beck is also well known for his cover illustration for Elton John’s, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album which was released in 1973.

Beck was born in Brighton in 1947 and, encouraged by his art teacher and headmaster, attended Brighton College of Art where he studied illustration and graphic design with Raymond Briggs and John Vernon Lord, graduating in 1968.

He then moved to London, as a freelance illustrator while working part-time at Harrods’ toy department and gradually built up a clientele, working for consumer magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan and Homes and Gardens.

He also began designing advertisements for the record industry, for artists like Ry Cooder and Richie Havens and went on to produce illustration for the industry until the early 1980s.

Head and shoulders outdoor portrait of artist Ian Beck

Ian Beck

Beck has had numerous commissions including designs for the Conran Design Group, for packaging, greeting cards and interior design panels and was commissioned to design murals in a restaurant at Gatwick Airport.

Oxford University Press had seen some drawings Beck had done for the Radio Times and asked him to illustrate a children’s book for them. His first picture book, Round and Round the Garden, was published in 1982 and others followed. 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 won the award for a third time with The Happy Bee. He was the Master of the Art Workers Guild in 1999.

Beck produced his first novel The Secret History of Tom Trueheart, Boy Adventurer, which was released on 1 June 2006, followed by the sequel, Tom Trueheart and the Land of Dark Stories, published in 2008 and finished the series with Tom Trueheart and the Land of Myth and Legendsin 2010.

He makes regular visits to schools and libraries to talk about the creation of his books and to read stories.