Who or what made you want to become an illustrator?
Since my early days of reading Mr Men and Little Miss Books I have loved to draw pictures to go with a story. Drawing was one of my favourite things to do growing up and I was always inventing characters on paper. I absorbed everything from Nick Sharratt's clean line drawings to Tim Burton's wonky ink creations. The films I loved growing up were realised from the character designs and storyboards of hugely talented artists. I knew from a young age that I wanted to have a creative job. I wanted to be one of the people who visually brought stories to life.
How and why did you decide to pursue illustration as your career?
I decided to persue illustration as a career when I was considering what to do after my A-Levels. I felt that an Illustration degree aligned with my passion for art making and also allowed for many different job pathways.
Did you attend art school or undertake any other formal artistic training?
Yes, I attended Bournemouth Arts University for three years and achieved a 2:1 in BA (Hons) Illustration.
Where do you currently live and where did you grow up?
I currently live in Surrey in the UK. I have also lived in Bournemouth and London. I would love to live in Brighton one day though as I love to be near the sea and there are lots of Vegan goodies there!
Do you have a favourite picture book or recall one of the first picture books you saw?
One of the first picture books I saw was the Kipper book by Mick Inkpen. I vividly remember the little rounded brown dog with his endearing face. Kipper became my childhood favourite and I even had a little soft toy of him!
What was your first commission as a professional illustrator?
My first commission as a professional illustrator was a short picture book called 'Harry gets Healthy'. It was a privately commissioned book to accompany a Kids Fitness website. Unfortunately I no longer have any of the images from it!
What piece of software or hardware could you not live without and why?
I could not live without my MacBook Pro as it allows me to edit my illustrations and to share them on my social media platforms (and my clients of course!)
What is your favourite medium to work with and why?
My favourite medium to work with is paint. I love to paint with acrylic and draw over the top with Charcoal pencil. There is something very satisfying to me about working with traditional methods and I love the combination of the textures.
Tell us about the creation of your favourite character from one of your books.
My favourite character I have created so far is Treepig. He is a tree dwelling creature who lived in the climbing world of a little boy called Jacob.
Talk us through the process of creating one of your latest illustrations or books.
When working on an illustrated book, I get as much info from the client as porrible before I begin. Once I know the story, the format they want the book to be in and we have agreed on a price, I write up a contract for us both to sign. The latest book I did had black and white interior illustrations and a full colour cover.
Once the contract was signed I lsketched out ideas for each illustration. I shared the sketches with the client via email, (I keep in contact with the client at every stage of the process as it is important to keep them up to date and to share ideas.) When the choices were confirmed, I started to make up the final illustrations. I drew/paint them up big so that they could be scaled down without losing quality. I shared them with the client again and after some alterations, they were ready to go and to be put into the InDesign project. I then did the same with the front and back cover, (that took longer as I painted it in full colour using acrylic paint.)
Once all the files were ready to go I put them into the InDesign project. I formatted the entire book in InDesign and saved it out as a PDF, ready to be sent to the printers.
What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time I like to eat, go for walks, practice Japanese and do yoga!
What would you say is a distinguishing feature of your artwork?
Distinguishing features of my artwork are vibrant colours and rough chalky edges of charcoal pencil.
Where do you get the ideas for your characters?
I get inspiration from everywhere. Books I've read, films I've seen, social media and people I've seen whilst out and about! My present state of mind and outlook on life usually effects the kinds of characters that come out too.
What’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Nothing is ever as good, or as bad as it seems.
When you are not drawing, how do you like to relax?
When I'm not drawing I like to relax by going on adventures with my partner Conor. I like to watch films, videos on Youtube and shows on Netflix. I also like reading books on my Kindle.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I love hip hop dance and ballet.
If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be doing?
I like to think that I would be a professional ballet dancer!
What are some of your favourite subjects to draw?
Animals and children are my favourite things to draw. I like the innocence and the expressiveness of them.
Are there any children’s classics you’d love to illustrate and/or re-tell?
Coraline by Neil Gaiman is a book that really gets my imagination whirring. It was orignally illustrated by Dave McKean, another artist I greatly admire. I would love to illustrate Coraline.
Animals feature heavily in children’s books – do you have a pet?
I do have a pet! I have always loved cats and Poppy the three legged cat came into my life 9 years ago. She is usually lounging nearby whilst I am working.