When did you know you wanted to be an illustrator?
I studied painting at art school in Australia, which I loved, but after I graduated I realised that most of my favourite artists were comic-book artists, graphic novelists and illustrators, and that all I was really interested in was drawing, so it seemed a logical choice.
Where do the ideas for your illustrations come from?
I get a lot of inspiration off the internet – I love trawling Tumblr for interesting images. I also get lots of inspiration from my friends and the people around me where I live and work. I live in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol, where I also have my studio. I’m surrounded by creative people; there are so many artists round here because of all the studios.
Which materials do you prefer to work with and why? Do you have a favourite pen or paper?
I'm not that fussy these days. I think it’s good to get out of your comfort zone with materials and play around with new techniques and materials you’re not used to. But if I’m being fussy, then I usually use a basic mechanical pencil with 0.5B lead and some kind of watercolour paper. I really like using watercolours and watercolour pencils, because the results are a little out of your control and I like that. I try to do as much work on paper as I can before I scan and image and edit it on the computer. I find the less I do on the computer, the more pleased I am with the end result. I like things that look pretty handmade.
What attracted you to where you live? Do you think your location has influenced your style?
I live in Bristol, in the UK. I moved here from London because it’s a better lifestyle for me down here than in London. It’s more affordable, greener and the pace is a lot more chilled. I can afford to live here and rent a really nice studio five minutes on foot from my house. I don’t think the city has really influenced my style, although graffiti and street art is a big thing here, and I have started to dabble in that scene a little. Not so much graffiti, but doing murals using spray paint, and doing some legal street art.
Do you have any great memories of travelling in Italy?
I remember going there when I was a little kid with my family. I must have been about eight or nine. Our family rented a big villa in Tuscany, and I remember the warm air in the huge garden, which was full of greenery, insects, flowers and secret pathways into the woods. We went to Milan and Florence as well, and Venice a few times. My memories are hazy – it was a long time ago and I was very young. But I remember eating a lot of gelato, and getting pretty excited about feeding breadcrumbs to the pigeons in Piazza San Marco in Venice.
Where did you start with when designing the cover for SHOP Italy?
I researched images of Veronica Lake and Grace Kelly, and 1940s fashion imagery. Finally I found a striking image of a 1940s model wearing a dress that really accentuated her small frame. I sketched it out, and then redrew the image several times, adjusting the hair and dress to exaggerate the proportions.
Did it turn out the way you expected?
I’m very happy with the result. I love the elegance of the model and her huge hair and dress. It’s very strong but also fragile and feminine.
What should SHOP readers not miss when they visit Italy or your home town?
I’m not sure about Italy as I haven’t been there in so long. I don’t really do a lot of clothes shopping in Bristol – I think London is a lot better for clothes. If I had to recommend a few places in Bristol, there are some good vintage shops around: Billie Jean on Gloucester Road, RePsycho, also on Gloucester Road, and Urban Fox in the old town centre. To be honest, I am a big fan of American Apparel; we have a small store here in Cabot Circus. I’m almost always wearing some vintage stuff and something from American Apparel.
You also illustrated the cover for SHOP Copenhagen for autumn/winter 2013/14. Where did you start with the design?
I started by researching pictures of 1960s fashion shoots that focused on knitwear. The aim of the illustration was to create an image of a model wearing a really warm and fluffy oversized turtleneck, with a 60s-era feel to the image and colours inspired by the Copenhagen neighbourhood of Nyhavn. I’ve never been to Copenhagen but I would love to go! There’s so much great stuff happening there creatively and the lifestyle seems fantastic.
Did the illustration turn out as you expected?
I’m very happy with it – it’s a combination of elements from a few different reference images and sketches, combined into one image. I love the textures and the warm colours.
What five items will you never travel without?
Phone, iPod Touch, diary/notebook, BB cream and lip balm.
And finally, what would your dream commission be?
Doing a cover for the New Yorker magazine.