British illustrator, Tony Ross has worked with Paula Danziger, Francesca Simon, David Walliams, and even the revered Roald Dahl and has published well over 2000 children’s picture books.
Ross did not start off as an illustrator, though. Even when he knew he was born to draw, he still ventured into something else. He probably thought his purpose in life was to be a fine artist.
Moving on, his career as an illustrator came when he was a senior lecturer in art at the Manchester Polytechnic. Being the only one who could draw at the polytechnic, he was made the head of the illustration course and that was when he tried illustrating for the first time.
Since then, Ross has worked as a cartoonist for Punch and has also gone on to illustrate children’s books such as Horrid Henry and Little Princess Books. Both of these books have been adapted into TV series, by the way.
Here Are Intriguing Facts About Tony Ross
1. He was born in London Shortly Before the Second World War Erupted
Antony Lee Ross was born on August 10, 1938, in London, England. His father was Eric Turle Lee Ross, a conjuror and businessman who worked at Magic Circle as a magician. His mother was Effie Griffiths Ross, a homekeeper.
The British illustrator did not grow up in London because while he was still quite young, the Second World War started. With the bombings and threats to lives, he and his parents had to move up north and settle in Cheshire.
He grew up being a naughty boy who would play tricks on his parents. In his old age, the London man admitted that he owed his parents an apology for being a pain to them from when they were 30 until their death.
2. Illustrating Didn’t First Come to Him
Oh, at first, Tony didn’t even give illustration a thought even though it was something that was evident in his family history. His great-grandfather was an illustrator who illustrated for Charles Dickens and had publications in the Punch.
From a very young age, The Cheshire-bred artist knew how to draw and would draw Adolf Hitler for fun. In fact, drawing, according to Tony, was the one thing he was good at, in school.
While growing up, he attended Helsby Grammer School and then graduated to further at the Liverpool School of Art and Design. At this point, things were finally coming into perspective for the artist but it still took time.
When he finished his studies, Ross took on many jobs which included being a cartoonist, graphic designer, and then an art director at an advertising agency. Do remember that he also worked as a cartoonist for Punch, at a point in his life.
He worked with Andersen Press where he spent a long time re-telling stories of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
It wasn’t until Tony found himself heading the illustration group at Manchester Polytechnic when he was a senior lecturer in art that illustration finally happened.
Being the only one who could draw, he was saddled with the responsibility of heading the group. It was then that he tried out illustrating because he needed to practicalize what he would be teaching.
3. Ross has worked with Quite a Number of Renowned Writers
Tony Ross is credited for bringing to life, characters from writer’s heads, and putting them in pictorial forms for the numerous children’s books he has illustrated for. As such, he has worked with many of the big names in this industry.
For one, he worked closely with Paula Danziger to bring to life, the Amber Brown series. He has also worked on a number of books with David Walliams who is credited for books such as Gangsta Granny which was made into a film, The Demon Dentist, and Ratburger.
Additionally, he has worked with Anthony Horowitz as well as renowned writer, Roald Dahl on Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Magic Fingers.
A plus to his resume is the work on the Dr. Xargle series by Jeanne Willis as well as Harry The Poisonous Centipede series by Lynne Reid Banks, and the Horrid Henry Series by Francesca Simon.
4. He is also an Author
This children’s book illustrator did not limit himself to illustrating. He has also delved into writing, albeit late and not as prominent as his illustrating career.
He is credited for working closely with his partner, Wendy, a writer, on the children’s book Little Princess Books.
Apart from that, the former Punch employee is the author of A World in Your Ear. The story in the short book series is completely fiction and all made up.
He revealed that his awful childhood doesn’t allow him to draw inspiration from them and so he has to make things up. Most of his books are about 1500 words or less.
5. Tony Ross is Thrice divorced and has 3 Daughters
Outside his world of drawing, this author has been married 3 times. He has also been divorced as many times as he has been married.
Ross refers to himself as a gypsy and while one’s knack for moving from place to place tends to put strains on relationships, we do not quite know if this is the reason for Tony’s divorces.
He however revealed that his marriages were all happy and none of his ex-wives had faults. The 3-time divorcee confessed that he was at fault and he wasn’t the easiest person to get along with. This may have caused the end of his marriage, after all.
His first wife’s name is Carole Jean D’Arcy with whom he adopted his first child, Phillapa.
The second woman to have married this 85-year-old man was named Joan and he adopted her son as his stepson. The boy’s name is George. They also had a daughter named Alexandra.
Tony’s third marriage was to Zoe with whom he had a daughter named Katherine.
In total, the children’s book illustrator had 3 daughters and one stepson from his 3 marriages.