What is your background in illustration?
I was always a keen art and graphics student. During my art foundation diploma course I learned more about commercial illustration and I went on to study for a BA honours degree in illustration at the University of the West of England in Bristol. Those three years were a great time to experiment, gain more skills and insight, and develop more of a visual style.
Where do the ideas for your illustrations come from?
It all depends on the brief. Often editorial work means reading the article you’re illustrating and picking key points that might visualise well on paper. Other times I might seek some sort of some visual pun or simple representation of a subject that works to portray the idea. Sometimes I’m given a particular concept or theme to work with, which is a nice change, but ultimately it’s down to you to think up and thumbnail some sketches!
Which materials do you prefer to work in and why? Do you have a favourite pen or paper to work with?
My work is predominantly digital and made using Photoshop, but within that realm I use many scanned textures and handmade brushes to help the imagery look more tactile and handcrafted. I like to create colourful, graphic work that might be subtly humorous or insightful to a viewer.
What attracted you to where you are based? Do you think it’s influenced your illustration style?
I’m based in London, although I lived in Bristol during my time at university. I really enjoy the vibrancy of the city and the fact that it’s such a hub of activity. There’s always an art exhibition or event worth visiting. I wouldn’t say it’s influenced my style of illustration, but I have worked on several London-themed commissions over the years so it’s definitely seeped into some projects.
Do you have any great memories of travelling or living in London – and any tips for SHOP readers?
I’ve lived in London since I was a child, so I know the city well. A great recent memory is the Olympics being in town, and being able to stroll down the street to watch the road cyclists race past, or hop on the Tube to catch another sports event. As for a tip, the centre of town is more compact than you might think. Don't assume you have to get the Tube, it’s often quicker on foot or by bike!
Where did you start when designing the cover for SHOP London?
I knew from the off that the cover required a Monopoly board, with the focus being on Mayfair. I initially roughed up some potential layouts, using various different viewpoints, and, after one was approved, went on to mock up a coloured version.
Did it turn out the way you expected?
There were some challenges in terms of having to get approval at every stage from both the publisher and Hasbro, the Monopoly trademark owner, as I would be representing their brand in the illustration. After some tweaking of colour and composition, and the refining of the human characters in the image – and their clothing! – the cover came together nicely, which was really satisfying.
You illustrated a feature on Mayfair’s hidden boutiques and venues for SHOP. What should SHOP readers not miss when they visit London?
I like to wander through central London using the side streets and lesser-known roads, as you’ll often find a great store or independently run outlet selling art or clothing which you would never have known about otherwise. Also, as I’m a guitar lover, the odd walk down Denmark Street with its range of music shops is always welcome.
And finally, what would be your dream commission?
I’d like to illustrate a vibrant billboard advertising campaign or maybe even a New Yorker cover!
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