When did you know you wanted to be an illustrator?
Honestly, I never considered illustration as a viable career choice until I was well into my foundation degree. I spent the majority of my time in education hoping everything would fall into place by itself – which it looks like it did.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I don’t have the time these days to voluntarily hunt down inspiration; I let it find me. It sounds lazy, I know. I therefore can’t be particularly picky when it does find me. It can manifest itself in any form; best to keep an open mind and a keen eye at all times.
Which materials do you prefer to work with and why? Do you have a favourite pen or paper?
I did have my favourites, but sadly that part of my life has faded away, as everything I do now is digital. It doesn’t mean I don’t still get a thrill from touching expensive papers and smelling coloured inks.
What attracted you to where you live? Do you think your location has influenced your style?
I’ve had the luxury (some would disagree!) of having lived in London my entire life. I grew up just outside Croydon in south London and now live in Chiswick in west London. Although the former was my home for 22 years, the latter feels ‘right’.
You illustrated the cover for SHOP Berlin for autumn/winter 2013/14; do you know Berlin well?
I’ve never been! I’ve always wanted to go, it’s definitely on my list of the top five places I want/have to visit, but sadly I never have the time for holidays, unless it’s skiing, of course.
Where did you start when designing the cover for SHOP Berlin?
I already had the specific items of furniture I had to include; I simply had to draw the elements together and tie in Berlin and its shopping experience. And what better way than to show an attractive woman with shopping bags in tow against a Berlin skyline?
Did it turn out the way you expected?
More or less. I know my limits now, which can help me to visualise an image before I’ve even started the roughs. Although I have a love/hate relationship with illustrating furniture (the technicalities are both a curse and a boon), I can’t help but marvel at the finished thing and the furniture designer who created it.
You also designed the cover for SHOP Lebanon. Could you tell us a little about that?
When I was asked to illustrate the Lebanon cover, depicting a woman in a body of water surrounded by traditional soap-making ingredients, I dipped into my somewhat morbid fascination with women and suicide in classical literature – notably the depictions of Ophelia and the Lady of Shalott in the paintings of Waterhouse and Millais. Although I had to tread lightly and steer my illustration into a thing of beauty, I wanted the illustration to serve as an homage to some of my favourite classical painters.
What should SHOP readers not miss when they visit your home town?
I have an obsession with refreshing my wardrobe (bordering on a serious issue needing help), so Selfridges and Liberty are my go-to destinations for clothes, although I’ve developed a penchant for online shopping of late, something Mr Porter can accommodate far too well for my liking. For everything else, though, Covent Garden and Spitalfields Market are favourites of mine.
Which five items will you never travel without?
Asthma inhaler, Tom Ford’s Oud Wood fragrance (I like to smell good), my trusty blue 0.7mm Pentel mechanical pencil (the sexiest looking pencil around), an assortment of painkillers and my Field Notes notebook.
And finally, what would your dream commission be?
Probably to help launch or create a collection with one of my favourite fashion labels: APC, YMC, Burberry, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen and so, so many more. It’s either that or help design a window display for Selfridges, Harrods or Liberty – there would probably be no coming down from that high.