How many years have you been a freelance illustrator?
18 years (weirdly today is exactly 18 years since I opened my business bank account).
How did you get started in illustration?
I’ve only ever wanted to draw funny pictures. I can’t have a pen in my hand without doodling a funny face or a monster of some kind. So you could say I got started in illustration the day I picked up my first crayon. The transition from drawing for fun and illustrating professionally happened over several years. I studied art at school and at college. I then did a two year course in packaging design (weirdly), graphic design and illustration. The second year I specialised uniquely in illustration. It was a good experience to work on my illustration and design skills every day, but it was another couple of years after that before I concentrated fully on being a professional illustrator.
What can your work be applied to commercially?
I get asked to illustrate characters, cartoons and scenes to appear on a multitude of different things every day. I illustrate characters or mascots to appear on websites, merchandise and promotional literature regularly. I illustrate scenes for greetings card and postcards or to appear on the top of emailers and flyers/posters/leaflets. I have a regular client at the moment where I illustrate kids puzzles and colouring sheets, and the characters get printed life-size and get placed around UK stores. I’ve illustrated hundreds of cartoon strips, created dozens of different food labels, packaging and pizza boxes, calendars, maps, signs, banners, games and book covers. As long as my style is right then the list is fairly endless really.
Where would you most like to see your illustrations being used?
It’s always nice to see your work out in the real world, so it’s obviously really nice if it’s been used in a large national or international campaign somehow. The bigger the business the wider the reach. I’ve been lucky enough to work on a few projects with a fairly large reach, but it’s sometimes difficult to really get to see your work in action especially when the client is not UK based. I’d really like to work on some children’s books. It’s something I’ve yet to do, but I have a project I’m working on presently so fingers crossed it’ll be the start of many.
What inspires you?
Beautiful and amazing ‘things’. An individual chooses what they see beauty within, and I see it in nature and art and architecture and design and the unique and amazing wonders and one-offs you see every day (as long as you’re looking properly). You need to open your eyes, your imagination, and take some time to appreciate and be inspired.
What are your favourite mediums or tools to use?
My pencil and sketch pad, and Adobe Illustrator.
What do you most enjoy drawing?
Googly eyes and monsters. Commercially, I seem to do more straight up cartoon topics, such as people or dogs. But, give me a pencil and my own time and I am partial to drawing funny monsters with too many eyes. I can’t really draw anything that has a serious topic. There has to be a comic element in there, I just can’t stop myself.
What do you really dislike drawing?
Anatomically correct people. I much prefer less fingers, shorter legs and over developed forearms.
Apart from illustration, what other skills do you have?
I’m good at sitting down for long periods of time. I can lift heavy things.
If you could travel to any place, where would that be?
The moon. How awesome would it be to just sit there and stare at Earth and the rest of the Universe?
What’s your favourite sandwich filling?
Chicken tikka and lettuce from my local sandwich shop.
Cats or dogs?
Dogs, because they are mainly positive and happy all the time. Cats are depressing.
If you were a superhero, what would your special power be?
I’ve always liked the idea of being able to stop time for everyone else, but keep moving around yourself. If you didn’t age when time was stopped I could get loads done and still have time to sit around.