Alan Aldridge (born 1 June 1943 in London) is an English artist, graphic designer and illustrator.
Aldridge was born in East London and now lives in Los Angeles, California. Four of his children are fashion photographer Miles Aldridge and models Saffron Aldridge, Lily Aldridge and Ruby Aldridge.
Aldridge's illustration for Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison typifies his early style.
Aldridge first worked as an illustrator at “The Sunday Times Magazine.'' After doing some freelance book covers for Penguin Books, he was hired in March 1965 by Penguin's chief editor Tony Godwin to become the art director of Penguin. Over the next two years as art director, he especially focused on science fiction book covers and introduced his style which resonated with the mood of the time. In 1968 he moved to his own graphic-design firm, INK, which became closely involved with graphic images for the Beatles and Apple Corps.
During the 1960s and 1970s, he was responsible for a great many album covers, and helped create the graphic style of that era. He designed a series of science fiction book covers for Penguin Books. He made a big impression with his illustrations for The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics book. He also provided illustrations for The Penguin Book of Comics, a history of British and American comic art. His work was characterised by a flowing, cartoony style and soft airbrushing – very much in step with the psychedelic styles of the times. His work includes the 1971 anti-war poster entitled A great place for hamburgers but who'd want to live there!
In the theatre, in February 1969 he designed the graphics for controversial Jane Arden play Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven at the London Arts Laboratory, Drury Lane.
He is possibly best known, however, for the picture book The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper Feast (1973), a series of illustrations of anthropomorphic insects and other creatures, which he created in collaboration with William Plomer, who wrote the accompanying verses. This was based on William Roscoe's poem of the same name, but was inspired when Aldridge read that John Tenniel had told Lewis Carroll it was impossible to draw a wasp in a wig. Illustrations produced in collaboration with Harry Willock.
Aldridge also created the artwork for Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy by Elton John in 1975.
Honours and awards
A retrospective Alan Aldridge – the Man with the Kaleidoscope Eyes featured at the Design Museum in London from 10 October 2008 to 25 January 2009, and was reviewed as “The trip of a lifetime”.
“Aldridge was the 'Guv'nor'….no one comes close to matching his influence on illustration in the 20th Century!…” – Sir John Betjeman, The Times Literary Review, 1975.
“His Royal Master of Images to Their Majesties The Beatles.” John Lennon in 1968.
Nicknamed himself “The Man with the Kaleidoscope Eyes” after a line in the Beatles' song “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”.
Was known in the 1960s and '70s as “the Graphic entertainer”.
Over the years Aldridge has won many awards for his work, among them Whitbread Children's Book Award (1973).