Windows into illustration: Richard Collingridge

Published in February this year by David Fickling Books, Lionheart is Richard Collingridge’s second picture book, after the 2012 publication of When it Snows. Here he describes the inspiration behind this cinematic adventure, from classic picture books to Lost and 80s films.

purposefully quite ambiguous with the only obviously apparent resolution being the power of reading. This was nice, I thought, but in retrospect, I wondered if there was an expectation of more of an emotional impact from the story in relation to the atmospheric illustrations.


When I came to starting Lionheart, my second picture book, I had been watching a TV series called Lost (yes, I also didn’t like the ending). My favourite thing about Lost was the character development and especially that of one particular character – John Locke (named after the famous English philosopher). He had had a very hard life, where everything seemed to go against him, including being paralysed from the waist down. Despite all of this, he fought on until he was miraculously able to walk again.

It’s natural for us to be drawn to stories where the protagonist hasn’t got a chance, but due to their bravery and will power, is able to overcome their fear/adversities and succeed. I am an advocate of the philosophy that anyone can do anything if they put their minds to it. And so, the narrative inspiration for my next picture book was born.

The thought process was that in order to overcome something seemingly impossible, you need to be brave, and probably the

our years ago, my debut picture book, When it Snows, was published. For this book I had created a very simple narrative, allowing the pictures to do most of the talking. The plot was

most vivid image of bravery in iconography is a lion. Being English, Richard the Lionheart springs to mind straight away. So that was the protagonist(s) sorted out (although Richard was originally named James for a long time during the creation of the book)!

Then I needed to come up with the antagonist, or in primal terms, a fear. I went in differing ways with this at first, but eventually settled on the unseen fear: the monster under the bed, the shadow in the cupboard or the ghost outside your window. As this was a children’s book, the monster isn’t dwelt upon, only mentioned in passing,

6 Books for Keeps No.218 May 2016

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