So I went. Of course I did. How could I not?
The event was at the Masonic Hall in Bath, which means sitting in a hall lined with banners, under a star-painted ceiling, (the Hall was the original Theatre Royal, in Bath, built in the 1750, which closed as a theatre in 1805, after which it became a chapel, before becoming a Masonic Hall in 1863. It is still a masonic lodge today, but also hosts various events)
Chris did an 'Ask Chris Riddell' event, where we were given index cards on which to write our questions - he then picked cards out to answer.
For instance, the picture above was in answer to a question about the hard work involved in writing a book..
And this is illustrates Chris's experience at a South African event where he went to read the mini book in the back of 'Goth Girl and Ghost of a Mouse' and found he needed glasses, so was loaned some lovely cats-eye glasses by one of the women present, which were effective in being able to see to read, but perhaps not quite so much in relation to the dignity of the position of Children's Laureate!
Chris also spoke about how he first fell in love with drawing (which involved being rewarded, with wine gums and the opportunity draw, during his father's sermons in church, when he was a very small child)
Chris gave the pictures to the children (and one adult) whose questions he picked out to answer, and mentioned that he was planning to keep the unanswered cards, and others from previous events, and to pick out a small selection of the best / most interesting, to illustrate, perhaps on instagram or other social media.
When we arrived at the event, we were given the opportunity to buy raffle tickets in support of Bath Welcomes Refugees, Mr B's charity of the year. And I bought some, as you do.
The prizes included signed posters, a couple of the sketches which Chris had created while waiting for us all to arrive and settle at the start of the event (including this one, showing him on the magnificant Grand Master's Throne)
When the tickets were drawn, the penultimate winning ticket was held by my friend Cheryl, (who bought the next tickets after mine). I was, pf coursed, pleased for Cheryl, and a little envious, but sad I'd missed out by so narrow a margin)
Then the ticket was drawn for the Grand Prize - to have your portrait drawn, live, by Chris. The winning number, 98, read out. Not mine.
Then someone pointed out that the ticket was being held upside down, and it was in fact ticket 86... which was one of my tickets!!
So I then go to sit on a Big Red Chair while Chris drew me, and chatted as he did so. Which was interesting, if a little bit intimidating.
And this is the portrait!
Me, as drawn by Chris Riddell
Chris explained that he often draws people as they might appear if they were characters in one of his books.
(I should perhaps mentioned the the tiara is by way of artistic licence; Chris obviously spotted my inner princess, I rarely wear a tiara in public! )
After the event Chris stayed to sign books and talk to people, which was nice - his new book, Travels with my Sketchbook is just out, so I was able to pick up a copy and have it signed.
Another great evening. This week will take a lot of beating!