A VISIT from a celebrated illustrator has inspired young creatives to get drawing.

In anticipation of illustrator Nick Sharratt’s appearance at Durham’s Gala Theatre earlier this week, Durham County Council libraries ran a competition to encourage young creatives to draw their own characters, inspired by his books.

The prized drawing was by Albie Arnell, five, for his entry based on Nick’s drawings and his own beloved family cats.

Albie and his family won tickets to see Nick at his fun-filled Right Royal Drawalong, where he showed budding artists how to sketch favourite characters like Tracy Beaker and Timothy Pope.

Councillor Joy Allen, cabinet member for transformation, presented Albie with his prize. She said: “Children and adults alike instantly recognise Nick’s style and he is a real inspiration.

“Albie did a wonderful illustration, inspired by his furry friends at home. Competitions like this celebrate the imagination of young people, as well as encouraging them to engage in reading and drawing.”

Linda Dobson, principal library manager, said: “As part of the competition, we offered special drawing sheets which children could pick up from their local library, encouraging families to come down to explore and make use of these wonderful, free spaces.

“We have lots of things going on in our libraries for all ages and for all interests, so we urge families to go and see what their local library is up to.”

Joining council-run libraries is free. Members have access to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books including toddler, children and teen titles. They can also download a huge range of eBooks and eAudiobooks for free by logging into the BorrowBox app. Libraries also offer regular Toddler Time sessions, where little ones can listen to stories, sing songs and do crafts.