World celebrates UCA graduate's creation
The world-famous Where's Wally? series, created by a graduate of the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), celebrates its 25th anniversary this week.
Martin Handford, who graduated in 1980 from UCA Maidstone when it was called Maidstone College of Art, saw his crowd-pleasing book published for the first time on 21 September 1987.
Over the past quarter of a century, more than 58 million Where's Wally? books have been sold in 38 countries.
UCA BA (Hons) Illustration course leader, Jane Cradock-Watson, said: "Where's Wally? has become a global phenomenon thanks to Martin's high quality illustrations and the ingenious visual challenge/puzzle that he brought to books for the first time.
"The illustrations and storylines actively encourage reader participation - making them quite addictive - but they also they feature an improbable male main character which has encouraged young boys, in particular, to spend more time looking at books and to read.
"The highly visual premise, with less reliance on text, means the books translate well across language barriers and cultural differences and appeal to an international audience."
In honour of Wally's 25th birthday, the London Eye will be lit in red and white stripes on 20 September, while in New York the character's iconic colours will be projected onto the Empire State Building.
The author and illustrator said it was at Art College that he learned the craft of illustration and where he developed his colourful style which lost little when printed.
Jane added: "They always say that the years at Art College are the most valuable as it's the time to experiment, make mistakes and try new things so it's great to hear that Martin recognised the value of this.
"He is a very visible example of how it's possible to be very successful in Illustration if you work hard at it."
As a freelance illustrator, his witty and engaging images proved popular with numerous clients but his narrative strength came to the fore when Sebastian Walker offered him the opportunity to pour his imagination into a book which featured a character with a passion for stripes and bobble hats.
UCA has produced a string of famous artists and illustrators, including Tracey Emin, Tony Hart and Rupert the Bear creator, Mary Tourtel.
For more information contact:
David Reilly, Press Officer, UCA
T: 01252 892939