Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School


Tohby Riddle (1982)

Tohby Riddle is an award-winning cartoonist, writer and illustrator.

Tohby Riddle is an award-winning Australian cartoonist, writer and illustrator. He has written and illustrated numerous well-loved picture books and was the cartoonist for Good Weekend for nearly ten years. In early 2015, Tohby released his newest non-fiction book, ‘The Greatest Gatsby: A Visual Book of Grammar.’

What have you been doing since you left Glenaeon? 

I was at Glenaeon for seven years and after high school I went to art school (Sydney College of the Arts), where two of my Glenaeon classmates turned up (Richard Claremont and Tina Pilger). Unsure of what to do with my artistic inclinations I went on to study architecture (University of Sydney), where I reconnected with another Glenaeon classmate, Simon Parsons. But in the meantime I'd also been trying my hand at cartooning and picture book illustration (and writing). As a cartoonist I ended up doing a weekly cartoon for about 10 years for Fairfax's Good Weekend magazine, and publishing two cartoon collections with Penguin Books. My architectural pursuits gave way to becoming an author of picture books and illustrated books (and working for about five years as an editor). I've created about 15 books over the years and have been lucky enough to win a number of awards and be published in many languages around the world. I've also been invited to speak about my work in places as far flung as Edinburgh, New Delhi and Sharjah (UAE), which has been an amazing experience. My latest title is a non-fiction book, The Greatest Gatsby: A Visual Book of Grammar, which presents the fundamentals of grammar as visual information – to make it more comprehensible and accessible and memorable. It came out with Penguin in April 2015.

How did Glenaeon influence your career choice?

I think my experience at Glenaeon was very influential in my career choices. I found my primary school years intensely formative. It's hard to measure or quantify this, but it seems to manifest in a spirit of doing and making and a particular form of individual expression. It meant that in later life I didn't hesitate to try to create and make things if I felt the urge. And the more imaginative the better. It was somehow second nature to me.

Favourite Glenaeon memories?

My fondest memories of Glenaeon are illustrating various myths of the world in Main Lesson; afternoons of art or woodwork or soapstone carving; and roaming the bush, creeks and caves around the school buildings with my classmates - especially the vast, awesome bamboo patch, which was so mysterious and enchanting with its cool green light and chapel-like spaces.

Future Plans?

My main plans for 2015 are to finish a new picture book and to support my new book, The Greatest Gatsby: A Visual Book of Grammar, with speaking engagements and so on, as it has only been out for a few months. The gratifying news is that many educational people are picking up on its visual approach to grammar and finding it very useful resource for students and teachers too – because there's nothing else out there like it. I think this visual approach to information began developing way back in those Main Lessons of my childhood. Back to Where are they now