So this is the bit about me, how i got here, where i think i am, and the credit due.

I was an artist from birth. Thats the bullshit.

I always found drawing easier than other things at school, like learning to spell your name, adding fractions together, discovering what chemical substrate was in the conical flask on the front bench. These were things i didn't thrive to master, but i loved the fact i understood very early on, that the sky met the ground and that a hand was more troublesome to draw than a circle with sticks. In my teenage years i covered my bedroom walls with wierd drawings of people, girls and monsters, fantastical nonsense, more a test of my ability than my knowledge of the world.

My art teachers troubled over my direction, artist or illustrator, and as you might imagine, at the age of 15, i didn't really see the difference. In fact, i thought if they both exist then i would be both, and so even though my parents were called into school for a meeting with the teachers and the head, we all decided for me to just carry on.

With a GCSE in art i decided i needed to follow a more concrete career, and so chose architecture. And on the strict advice of my physics and maths teacher to do nothing of the sort, i took both into A level, with Art obviously as a backup. I managed to squeeze passes in all, and re-affirmed everyones belief that i was no architect. So i went on to do a Foundation in Art and Design at the close by city of Lincoln.

At the end of this i applied for the much hallowed college of Central Saint Martins, for a painting degree, but on the night before my parents drove me down for my interview, i threw out all of my painting work, and decided i was a sculptur. Central Saint Martins didnt agree, and i was left without a second choice, so considered a year at home. It wasn't long before i itched for university and so scoured the clearing process and wound up in Cheltenham and Gloucester. That didnt work, and after getting throttled by my landlord, i took a flat in the east of London, and reapplied for a Printmaking and Book Arts course at Kate Moss's old college of Croydon.

Croydon was good, but i wanted to paint, so while still on the course i took another flat in Surbiton, with an old college friend, and pushed for a place at the university in Kingston. They didn't want me, but undeterred, i made a space for my self in the studios there, and painted daily without the knowledge of the dean, and with all the help of my peers and Kingston's practicing tutors.

I took a BA HONS in Fine Art Printmaking at Croydon, and for my final show at the Painting Rooms off Tottenham Court Road, showed several very black black paintings, suspended from the wall by long steel spikes.

Painting over.

I played in a band, lead guitar, we got close, had major labels at our gigs, Cyclones, didn't quite happen. And in 2006 while supplementing a meagre income as a technician at a major gallery, i decided to do something with what i knew i definitely had....drawing.

I tattooed leather for Annette Olivieri, an italian designer in Ladbroke Grove, just ink on leather, which lead to a pair of victorian dinner gloves i did, being bought by Yoko Ono. I thought i was onto something and so pursued fashion. I did a collection of prints for Annette, travelled the Paris Fashion Week fairs and landed a deal to design ladies shoes for Newkid. Alongside this i collaborated with the brilliant Victoria Grant, Milliner, on a hat collection for Harrods. After three collections of shoes and a collection of hats i realized something was wrong, and after my mother suggested fashion had made me bad, i turned my head and began to work on an illustration portfolio.

Its always embarrassing starting out, what comes from the hand you know so well is deceivingly poor, and it took a couple of years before i was happy enough to start approaching agents. In 2008 i had very little interest, in 2009 my band released another single, in 2010 i had a small break through. Two agencies showed the kind of interest that blows you away, they replied to my emails. They liked my work, but had no need for my services, but suggested i keep in touch.

One year later after sending a portfolio which contained the second published book in the "Anna and the Witch's Bottle" series, i got a call back, and Illustration Ltd offered to take me on.

So i was an illustrator after all.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn share Follow