Who or what made you want to become an illustrator?
When i was a kid, I always wanted to be a comic book artist, specifially a Spider-Man comic book artist. It was only after leaving college i did my research and realised that it wasnt comics that was my passion, but illustration.
Where do you currently live and where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Birmingham, UK. I now live not too far outside of Birmingham in a large village called Pelsall.
Was creativity part of your childhood?
I absolutley loved drawing, I spent most of my younger years drawing Spiderman and then Street Fighter 2 characters.
Who or what have been some of your major artistic influences?
My favourite comic book artists were Andy & Adam kubert, Leinil Yu and Jim Lee.
Favourite childrens book illustrators are Jon Klassen, Lee White, Matthew Forsythe and Beatrice Blue.
Some of my favourite current artists/illustrators are Marco Bucci, Amelie Flechias, Sinix, Nikolai Lockersten, Lois Van Baarle.
What piece of software or hardware could you not live without and why?
Definitely an iPad Pro with the apple pencil and procreate, life changing for me it was my introduction to digital art.
What is your favourite medium to work with and why?
I love procreate but my absolute favourite is still coloured pencils and paper.
Do you keep a sketch book?
Of course! some of my best work is in sketch form that no one will ever see.
Do you offer more than one style, if so – talk us through the different approaches and the audience you are targeting for each.
Yes, i have a few different styles depending on the need, my cute style and my spooky black and white style, or anywhere in between if required.
Where do you get the ideas for your characters?
So many places, nature, pintrest, my own kids and the darkest depths of my imagination.
Outline your dream project.
It would be a dream come true to illustrate a Julia Donaldson book.
Have you visited any schools to speak or hold workshops?
Yes, I was invited to a school in Birmingham, where I read my self published book to three classes, and cut the ribbon on the opening of the school library, it was a fantastic experince, it also gave me a small glimpse into the amazing work school teachers do all day!
What advice would you offer someone just starting out as a children’s illustrator?
Apart from the obvious practice, practice, practice, learn from the best. Marco Bucci has amazing free content on youtube where I personally learnt a lot.
Do you have a favourite soundtrack you listen to when you’re working?
I dont even know the names of the songs i listen to! i normally search for a 'creative playlist' someone else has done all the hard work and I can just focus on the drawing. My current playlist is 'Sinix's drawing mix' on spotify.
Are you an author/illustrator?
Im an illustator with author aspirations. I have a few stories bubbling away that I'm slowly working on.
Which project are you most proud of?
I did a childrens book called "Hatch and the Magic Stars" for a company called Bubble and Dream, the whole premise is based on getting your child a better nights sleep and it was just a lovely project to work on. I still work with them now for seasonal promtion illustrations.
When you are not drawing, how do you like to relax?
I have two young daughters that keep me busy but when they're asleep theresnothing better than watching a film / TV series with my wife.
How do you overcome a creative block?
People will hate this, but its not something I generally suffer with. If I'm struggling I will switch to a personal project or just doodle some crazy characters.
What are some of your favourite subjects to draw?
Really cute characters and really scary monters.
Animals feature heavily in children’s books – do you have a pet?
We have a cat, Pepper. One day I hope to persuade my wife to get a dog, It's a long term project.
Are there any children’s classics you’d love to illustrate and/or re-tell?
The very hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle and Where the Wild things are by Maurice Sendak.