Ian Archibald Beck (born 1947 in Brighton) is an English children's illustrator and author. In addition to his numerous children's books, he is also most famous for his cover illustration on Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album. He has sold more than a million copies of his books worldwide
Having attended a local secondary school, Ian Beck was encouraged by the art teacher and headmaster to attend Brighton College of Art where he studied illustration and graphic design, being taught by Raymond Briggs and John Vernon Lord and in 1968 he graduated.
He then moved to London, as a freelance illustrator while working part time at Harrods in the toy department. He gradually built up a clientel, working for consumer magazines like Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, and Homes and Gardens. He also began making advertisements for the recording industry, for artists like Ry Cooder and Richie Havens. He then went into designing and illustrating album covers as well such as Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, for Elton John. He carried on working in the record industry until the early 1980s. He has had many commissions from the Conran Design Group, including packaging, greeting cards, calendars, interior design panels. He also had a commission for murals in a restaurant at Gatwick Airport.
Oxford University Press had seen some drawings he had done for the Radio Times and wanted him to illustrate a project for children for them, which they wanted to publish. His first picture book, Round and Round the Garden, was published in 1982. After the success of this book, others followed and in 1989, he wrote his first story to illustrate, The Teddy Robber. In 1997 his book, Home Before Dark won a gold award in the best toy awards and in 2000 he again won the award, this time for Alone in the Woods. He again won the award for The Happy Bee. He was the Master of the Art Workers Guild in 1999.
He produced his first novel The Secret History of Tom Trueheart, Boy Adventurer, which was released on 1 June 2006, and this is followed by the sequel Tom Trueheart and the Land of Dark Stories, which was published on 6 March 2008.
He is married to Emma Stone, with three children and continues in close touch with children through regular visits to schools and libraries, talking about the creation of his books and reading stories.