Where do you live/work? What do you love about working/living there? What don't you like?
I live in Bristol and work in a little studio in my flat. It overlooks a lovely communal garden and I often have the window wide open, so it's a great sunny working environment. Bristol is a fantastic city with loads of creative things going on. Recently Aardman (based in Bristol) have teamed up with the local council and organised loads of large customised Gromit Sculptures to go around Bristol this summer. I was lucky enough to get picked to paint one, alongside fellow Plum Puddinger Paula Bowles!
The view from my window.
Park St in Bristol, I live near the top of this!
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
I love the freedom of working for myself, and being able to pick some really fun projects to work on. I split my week 50/50 with a design job and I really like this variety. When it comes to my illustration days, I get to work at my own pace, trying out new things and working on commissions that I am really proud of….also I just love drawing!
How do you work?
I have a couple of styles, but I always like to hand-draw everything first. Then I either go down the traditional route and paint with watercolour and coloured pencil, or I scan in my drawings and manipulate them on Photoshop.
A sneaky peek at my patchwork Gromit!
What's the hardest part of your job?
You have to be very self-motivated, because at the end of the day you are working for yourself, but the harder you work - the better the rewards. I also find I need to be really organised, especially when I have few commissions on at once alongside design work. It can get fairly hectic, so I am a keen keeper of lists to make sure I stay on top of deadlines!
What/who inspires you?
I have a couple of favourite illustrators. I am massively inspired by the 'Golden Age' of Illustration, so artists including Arthur Rackham, Kay Nielsen and Aubrey Beardsley. I also love humour in illustration, so Edward Gorey and Quentin Blake are big favourites. More contemporary goodies include Sara Fanelli and David Roberts. I love reading folk tales and fairy stories, and I am often inspired to draw after reading something that has really stirred my imagination!
What do you like to do when you're not illustrating?
As mentioned in the answer above, I love reading strange stories, and have quite a fairytale collection. I also like to bake yummy cakes. My favourite time of the year is halloween because I LOVE fancy dress and will jump at the chance to make a costume. Previous fancy dress favourites have included a werewolf, a tombstone, an octopus and High Barnet Tube Station.
Me and my friend Lucy in fancy dress!
How did you get into illustration?
I was always interested in Art and Graphic Design, but it wasn't until my Foundation year after 6th Form that I discovered the area of Illustration and found that I could do a degree in it. I studied at The Arts Institute at Bournemouth and had a great time discovering how I liked to work and developing my drawing skills. After leaving uni I was lucky enough to get a few initial commissions that really encouraged me to pursue it as a career, and here I am seven years later.
Any tips for aspiring illustrators?
I think the key is to stay motivated and work hard. Try to keep producing new work as much as you can. Really put yourself out there so that possible clients can find you and make sure that you enjoy what you do.
What's your ultimate dream?
I hope to work on a new picture book sometime in the future, and would love to try and write one myself too. I guess the dream is to complete a book that I am really proud of, but I'm happy doing what I am doing at the moment, so as long as it continues how it is, great!
Me and my partner Dave!