Atholl McDonald (born 1961) Atholl McDonald was asked to illustrate the character of Noddy for BBC Books in 1993, and went on to illustrate over 70 children’s books, mostly featuring licensed characters, including The Animals of Farthing Wood, Bob the Builder, Mr Blobby and the Telly Tubbies. Enid Blyton’s ‘Noddy’ is one of the most recognisable icons in British culture. ‘Noddy’ began when David White, the managing director of the publishers Sampson Low and Co. was keen to begin a new series of books with Enid Blyton. His aim was to create a popular character for younger children with bright and colourful illustrations. The first book, Noddy Goes to Toyland was published in November 1949, with illustrations by Harmsen van der Beek. Other illustrators of ‘Noddy’ include Robert Tyndall and Mary Cooper.
Atholl McDonald, an identical twin, was born in Queens Park, Glasgow, on 30 January 1961.
The son of an advertising artist, Atholl was an enthusiastic draughtsman from an early age. After leaving school he studied art at Loughton College in Essex for two years, and then went on to work in his father’s studio. Atholl recalls that although he had ambitions to do more illustrative art, the majority of work was magic marker visuals for sales promotion. After briefly earning a living as a sand sculptor, he worked successfully as a freelance artist. In 1990 he was asked to produce some sample ‘Noddy’ illustrations for a promotion involving the BBC which led to his appointment as artist for the ‘Noddy’ merchandise. Atholl started working with manufacturers, illustrating ‘Noddy’ for hundreds of different products from greetings cards to bed linen, and the BBC offered him more and more work on other characters. This increase in demand inspired Atholl to start up ‘Character Image’, a studio service employing other artists, working with big licensing companies on a wide range of popular cartoon characters. In 1993, BBC Books began to publish ‘Noddy’, and the Enid Blyton Estate contacted Atholl to illustrate them. He jumped at the opportunity, fulfilling a long-held wish to illustrate children’s books, and and made the decision to concentrate on book illustration, and work from home full time. Atholl has now illustrated over seventy books, mostly licensed characters, yet Noddy remains his favourite. His latest project has been illustrating a series of books called The Adventures of Daisy and Tom by Rose Waterstone. He is also currently working on his own book, the story of a boy and his pet dragon. Atholl recalls showing his illustrations to his young son’s class. When the teacher asked if there were any questions, a small boy put up his hand, ‘Do you have a proper job?’ Atholl replied ‘No...and hopefully I never will!!!’ Noddy Noddy was created by Enid Blyton in 1949. Over 60 years later, Noddy is still one of the nation’s best-loved children’s characters, seen not only in books, but on television and merchandise. Noddy first appeared on the television in 1955, the show based on the little wooden boy with a nodding head continues to appear to this day, making it one of the longest running shows in British television.