When did you know you wanted to be an illustrator?
I spent most of my time at school in the art department and was always drawing in my spare time, but I didn’t really realise you could actually make a living as an illustrator. I did a degree in history before going back to art college, so it took me a bit of time to decide what I wanted to do!
Where do you get your inspiration?
Films, old magazines, sleeping (I solve loads of problems when I sleep), listening to music when I work, going away, Google images.
What materials do you prefer to work with? Do you have a favourite pen or paper?
I mostly work on the computer, but I generally have a notebook and pen – Edding’s are good – in my bag to draw ideas. I screenprint sometimes too, which is a good opportunity to get a bit messy.
Where do you live? What attracted you to that city? Do you think it has influenced your style of illustration?
I was born in London and still live there. It’s a hard place to leave, but I wouldn't necessarily want to. It’s comforting to know that you have everything on your doorstep if you need it. I’m not sure if London has influenced the work I do – perhaps it means that it’s more graphic and ideas-based than it would be if I lived in the countryside.
You illustrated the cover for SHOP Rome for autumn/winter 2013/14. Do you have any great memories of visiting Rome?
Pizza, ruins, the Spanish Steps – everything you could want!
How did you start designing the cover for SHOP Rome? Could you describe how you arrived at the final illustration?
I always start by jotting down ideas and doing small sketches of things that I think are immediately emblematic of the subject. So, for Rome, there were obvious things, like the Colosseum, ruins and so on. The brief clearly wanted an elegant portrayal of Rome, so I did a couple of different roughs that married some of these ideas and then the final idea was selected from these roughs by the editor who commissioned me.
Did it turn out the way you expected? Was there anything challenging about it? What was the best part?
I think and hope so! The challenge of producing an illustration is working to a brief – but trying to bring something unexpected to it as well. The best part is working with the people who commission me and I think that process makes for a better illustration.
You also illustrated the cover for SHOP Paris Luxury for autumn/winter 2013/14. Where did you start with the design?
The brief on this one was quite exact, so I had a pretty strong starting point. There were several different elements that needed to be included and so it was more about trying to get the composition working well together.
Did it turn out the way you expected?
I think it did. The challenge was making the composition work well. We wanted to include the buildings around the square, the shopping element and the column, so it was a case of getting all the elements in without it seeming overcrowded.
It was fun working on a busy ‘scene’ illustration for one of the covers. Most of the illustrations I’ve done for SHOP have been a bit more conceptual or involved marrying a couple of ideas, so this was a bit different.
Do you have any great memories of travelling to Paris?
I really like Paris, and I have a couple of friends who are from there who have tipped me off about some good places to visit. There are a couple of lovely restaurants that I like to go to, but just wandering around the parks or sitting having a beer and people watching is good enough.
What should SHOP readers not miss when they visit your home town? Which are your favourite places to shop in the city?
A walk from Tate Modern down to the South Bank, some of the old pubs hidden around the city, Postman’s Park near Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Columbia Road Flower Market, Lamb’s Conduit Street and Liberty.
What’s always in your bag?
My bag is a dumping ground for everything, so it’s more a case of what’s not in my bag. But there will usually be a notebook, pens, some water and some lip salve somewhere in there.
And finally, what would be your dream commission?
I’m trying to start animating bits of work. It’s a bit of a slog teaching myself, but it would be great if I became proficient enough to produce a piece of animated work to commission.