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Ed Boxall

As a child

My dad is a vicar, so I grew up in a big, old rambling vicarage, next to a church and graveyard. I’ve always found graveyards peaceful places; not scary at all. I’ve loved drawing and writing since I was a small child. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do as a career. I learnt the alphabet with the book John Burningham’s ABC. John Burningham is still one of my favourite illustrators. When I was a child, I loved going on long cycle rides over the flat, wild countryside where I grew up. It gave me a chance to daydream and think through ideas, something I still do today.

As an adult

I studied illustration in Hull and London. While I was at college, I did lots of jobs: parsnip-packer, manure-tidier, classroom assistant and mural painter. I like doing as much of my work as possible away from my studio. I like writing and drawing in cafés and on trains. Getting on a train and daydreaming with my headphones on is my idea of heaven. I recently became a dad, and my son, Sammy, is the world’s wriggliest, smiliest little baby. I love teaching art and writing and I love to read my stories in schools and nurseries.

As an artist

While I was at college, I made my own series of books called The Marcello Stories, which I photocopied and gave to my friends. They weren’t really stories – they were collections of pictures from my dreams and nightmares. My first book, Francis the Scaredy Cat, was inspired by two things: when I was a child, I had a dream that a big black panther lived in the tree in my garden; and my cat, Robin, who was a bit of a scaredy cat himself. Scoot on Top of the World is a story about that wonderful feeling of running and leaping, and going just a little too far. The Starter books I’ve done have been fantastic fun, a chance to let my imagination run free, like Scoot chasing over the hills!

Things you didn't know about Ed Boxall

  1. I write and perform my own songs.
  2. I do my artwork in a big cellar under my house, which is at the top of a hill.
  3. My wife, Rachel, runs her own small cinema that shows weird and wonderful films.
  4. I have a cat called Daisy.
  5. I like the smell of old musty books.
  6. I love cycling along the seafront in Hastings.
  7. I grew up with lots of pets – geese, rabbits, chickens, cats, dogs, gerbils and a duck called Ludmilla.
  8. I like graveyards.
  9. I make fantastic pancakes.
  10. My favourite food is grilled sardines, but only if I’m eating them on a beach in Portugal.

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