On Tuesday (9th June) the name of the new Children’s Laureate was announced at a ceremony at the British Academy of Film & Television Awards in London so – of course – Ardagh and Elwick were invited. Walker Books PR guru Paul Black was also present but his name badge looked suspiciously homemade so the phrase “gate-crasher?” did spring to mind.
It came as no surprise to Ardagh and little surprise to many others that Malorie Blackman’s successor is Chris Riddell. Chris has a special place in the annals of Ardagh & Elwick history because he drew an official portrait (entitled Elwick & Ardagh) which sits on Elissa Elwick’s desk in her studio.
This might be a good time to explain why the dynamic duo go by the name of Ardagh & Elwick rather than Elwick & Ardagh. Here’s an official statement:
“After much discussion, we agreed that Ardagh should come before Elwick because:
1. When spoken, ‘Ardagh and Elwick’ could be mistaken for ‘Ardagh Anne Elwick’ the famous Victorian female wrestler and butterfly collector.
2. Ardagh comes before Elwick in the alphabet.
3. In order of height, Ardagh is taller than Elwick.
4. Ardagh is older than Elwick
5. Ardagh has bigger feet than Elwick.”
Chris Riddell was delighted to receive a hug from Ardagh after the ceremony but would probably have preferred one from Elwick because she didn’t look as though she’d just spent an hour in a sauna with her clothes on.
Chris is a fabulous author and illustrator and an extremely popular choice for Laureate. The only discord came from an unidentified author who shouted, “It should have been me!” and was ‘helped’ from the room by Booktrust staff.
Authors and illustrators are often asked where they get their ideas from. It’s an impossible question to answer but we think you have to look no further than our very own Elissa (Elwick) to realise whom the inspiration for THIS particular character is. Hmmmmm.
ELWICK AND ARDAGH
AND ANOTHER THING…
The other day, I was discussing some of Elissa’s pencil sketches with her and thought that they were working brilliantly – OF COURSE! – except that, in one particular drawing, Floss wasn’t squeeeezing her cat, Podge, quite as much as the text suggests. (That’s the picture on the left.)
I envisaged this simple suggestion would take a little while for Elissa to put into practice but, just a few minutes later, she came back with the revised sketch (right).
The reason why I’m posting them here, side by side, is that I love the economy with which such a skilled artist/illustrator – yup, that’s Elwick – can change the whole expression of a character/feel of a picture. Just by changing her eyes with a few simple lines and slightly moving one of her arms up a bit, Floss has gone from hugging Podge to holding him tight for a real cuddly, squeezy hug.
And that – at the micro-level – is what I love about being a (taller, hairier) part of Ardagh & Elwick: we discuss anything and everything and do what we can to make it JUST right.