Illustration and I
To quote Withnail's immortal line (probably the funniest line in film), "we've come on holiday by mistake."
I came into illustration by mistake.
I wanted to be a fine artist and spent years honing my painting skills only to be told to kick start the day job and study graphic design "in case the fine art thing doesn't work out." That was a good move. I left Bristol with a degree in graphic design and advertising and spent the larger chunk of my career rocketing through the design ranks at unprecedented speed to lord it at senior creative director level whilst radiating modesty and humility.
All the time I was desperately snatching away the jobs that required illustration so I could immerse myself in what I knew I loved best - creating images. Okay, it wasn't fine art, but who cares? It's as creative, meaningful and as fulfilling as putting paint on canvas. And just as demanding as you try to get inside the client's mind and produce exactly what they're looking for, but adding that spark that creatives should. Otherwise why pay them?
When the crash hit UK business it hit our agency too. Clients withdrew like alarmed sea anemones and sadly, we all had to go our separate ways.
But lo! What light from yonder bulb breaks! This was my opportunity to do it, to finally go it alone and control what I wanted to do.
So you could say I fell into it by mistake. Or by accident. Either way, I just wanted to quote Withnail and I (my favourite film).
So here I am, working from a home studio in beautiful North Somerset and bringing manuscripts to life for so many wonderful authors and publishers.
I love it. I'm lucky.
And that design background means I have a solid understanding of design software and print processes. Often I am called upon to not only illustrate a story, but design the book and produce the final print ready artwork. Authors like it. Publishers like it. The cat likes it. It's an extremely useful knowledge to have in this industry.
My style? What style do you want? I have been asked to do my own thing or emulate existing styles. And I can honestly say there's been no style to date that I haven't been able to incorporate into a job. No, it's not copying. It's adapting what a client has seen and really likes and putting my own stamp on it too. If it's wrong for the job I'll tell the client and steer them in another direction, one I think works better.
And lastly, "you don't have to say you love me". Sorry. I'm quoting Dusty Springfield now, one of my favourite singers. What I mean is I'm not a primadonna. I can work in a team however big and will change things if they're not right (but tell me nicely).
I hope to become your favourite ilustrator.