Illustration is a broader field than people imagine. If you are looking at this website to commission new work, you probably have an idea in your head of what you would like to see. My job is to turn that idea into a stylish and readable image. Your next concern will be the price and the delivery date – and whether or not you’ll say ‘Wow!’ when you see the artwork.
I’m always happy to talk confidentially about a project, with no obligation on either side. If we proceed, I usually work to an agreed fee, sometimes payable in instalments, depending on the timing and nature of the job. If you prefer, we can agree on a daily rate. Payment is due within twenty-eight days of invoice. The fee includes all roughs, artwork, scanning, preparation and delivery of the final image. Copyright and ownership of the artwork are negotiable.
All the work on this website has been done in the last few years. If you would like to see anything prior to 2010 you can find it all on Peter Gill’s original design for my website.
I left the Royal College of Art in 1978. Quentin Blake was my tutor there, and before that at Manchester, I was taught by Tony Ross. My first jobs were for Frances Lincoln, Radio Times, Harper Collins and Penguin. In 1983 I did the first UK cover of Richard Yates’, Revolutionary Road. The series of Swallows and Amazons books by Arthur Ransome followed, and the 1000th Puffin book, ‘I like this Story’, a compilation by Kaye Webb.
I was also a visiting lecturer to Kingston and Middlesex Polytechnics in life-drawing and illustration. Each year, I organised and led a student field trip – drawing the world as we found it. This was a development of my life-long interest in working on location. Take a look at my art project website, Keep A Sketchpad.
Much of my work depends on the atmosphere of natural phenomena and I felt that to experience and understand it, I needed to leave the city. In 1986 I moved with my family to a small town on the Dorset Coast. By 1994, I was a member of Walker Books, had written and illustrated five of my own books and continued to paint book-jackets for authors like Michael Morpurgo, Penelope Lively and Philip Pullman.
Clients and commissions change with time. As I became more familiar with the landscape it became a substantial part of my work. In 1998, I walked, mapped and illustrated the South Downs National Park and was subsequently asked by the National Trust to do the same for the Jurassic Coast. Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Bristol Downs, Ribblehead Viaduct, Quarry Bank Mill, The Gower Peninsula, Montacute House and many other fantastic properties followed.
Countryside Interpretation, together with the sketchpads I was still keeping, transformed the way I worked. It demanded a balance between overall form and surface detail. By trying to present the idea of a piece of land, I learned how to create an original image of it. I use the same technique today, whether it’s imagining ghosts on a beach or drawing someone I’ve never met.
Before the turn of the millennium, I had been invited to do practical demonstrations of drawing, painting and storytelling in schools, both in this country and the USA and since then, I’ve been a visiting lecturer at the Universities of Plymouth, Bournemouth and once again, Kingston, where I taught location drawing in Central London until 2012.
As the nature of technology and business evolves, commissions seem to come from an ever-more disparate list of clients. Since 2011, I’ve worked on lengthy projects at Chedworth Roman Villa in Gloucester, Durlston in Dorset, Usborne Books, Barclays Bank and an increasing number of private individuals and organizations like the Parochial Church Council and the Fine Foundation.
This year, 2014, I’ve done two new maps for Studland and illustrated a guide to the Bovington Tank Museum, From War Horse to War Machine (Ironically, I also painted the front cover for the first paper-back edition of Michael Morpurgo’s novel in 1990). The drawings I did at the TEST conference in June proved inspirational and I’ve also had two solo exhibitions of my work, one in my home town of Chorley and the other in Portland. Barney the Pirate by Jess Webb will be published later this year.
If you like what you see and have a project in mind, I’d be delighted to discuss it with you.