Children’s book artists including Quentin Blake, Shirley Hughes and Chris Riddell have recreated Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman (Penguin Random House Children's) in their own style as part of plans to celebrate the picture book’s 40th anniversary.
The images will be exhibited along with original Snowman artwork at Brighton Museum and will be auctioned to raise money for Briggs’ chosen charity, Chestnut Tree House, a children’s hospice in Sussex.
“The Snowman is a sublime piece of visual storytelling that has entered the imaginations of generations of children,” said Riddell. “I was very lucky to be taught by Raymond Briggs and have boasted about this fact for many years. The Snowman was a huge influence on me as an illustrator as was the insight and encouragement of the man who made him.”
John Burningham, Adam Hargreaves, Helen Oxenbury, Posy Simmonds, Andy Stanton and Ed Vere are also taking part.
The Snowman reimagined by (left-right) Chris Riddell, Quentin Blake and Shirley Hughes
Simmonds said: ““Over the years, Raymond Briggs’ pencil has drawn everything about being human - the comic, the tragic; passion, tenderness, fear, anger, joy, bogeys…slime. In The Snowman, his soft crayons give the story a magical, dream-like effect. Sometimes the pencil lines propel, as in the scenes of flying. Sometimes they stroke, as in the panels of the sleeping boy and the final, poignant image of the melted snowman. A timeless, brilliant book. I admire Raymond greatly.”
The Snowman, a wordless picture book, was first published in 1978 and soon became a Christmas classic. Multiple editions have in total achieved sales of £3.6m since Nielsen BookScan records began in 1998, and an animated TV version is shown in the UK nearly every Christmas.
Publisher Penguin Random House has lined up a range of promotional plans to mark the 40th anniversary, including a novelisation by Michael Morpurgo, a cinematic experience at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, and partnerships with The Royal Mint and Waterstones.
The art exhibition will take place at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery from 4th December – 6th January. The auction will take place online and will also close on 6th January.
(Left-right) Helen Oxenbury, Posy Simmonds and Adam Hargreaves put their spin on Raymond Briggs' classic character