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Children have an ‘innate grasp’ of how to draw, says Chris Riddell

The Observer political cartoonist said that children have the skill ‘educated out’ of them as they grow older.

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The former Children’s Laureate was speaking on Desert Island Discs (Lauren Hurley/PA)

The former Children’s Laureate was speaking on Desert Island Discs (Lauren Hurley/PA)

The former Children’s Laureate was speaking on Desert Island Discs (Lauren Hurley/PA)

Children have an “innate grasp” of how to draw, according to author and cartoonist Chris Riddell.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the former children’s laureate added that the skill is often “educated out” of children as they grow older.

He told host Lauren Laverne: “I think it is one of those wonderful creative things that you can do that doesn’t really rely on technique.

“It’s not like playing a violin. Anyone can pick up a biro, a pencil and they can draw.

“I think children have an innate grasp of that and then it is educated out of them and they decide they can’t draw and I think that is such a shame and I think that part of my remit as children’s laureate was to push through that.”

(BBC Radio 4/Amanda Benson/PA)

He added that looking at the work of children can help with his own work.

“I think it is good to as an old cartoonist to be refreshed by children’s art,” he said.

He also told the programme that he developed an interest in the arts from a young age and would regularly skip school to go and look around a nearby gallery.

“When I was meant to be doing games I would abscond the minute the games master had gone off to do other things,” he said.

“I’d abscond and go across the river to the Tate gallery.”

Boycott of primary school tests
Riddell said he would skip school to look at art (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Riddell, 57, also works as a political cartoonist for The Observer newspaper.

“It stops me shouting at the radio often, not because the radio coverage isn’t excellent but because drawing a political cartoon is a way of voicing my own thoughts and ideas.

“Sometimes it feels good to draw Donald Trump in a nappy.”

PA