When did you know you wanted to be an illustrator?
I was always drawing as a kid, but ended up doing a 3D design course at university. Half way through the course I saw some of the illustration work displayed, thought ‘That’s for me!’ and transferred courses.
Where do you find your inspiration? Music, art, films, your friends?
All of the above, but just everyday things as well. Inspiration is a hard thing to quantify, but I think a lot of it’s subconscious for most people. We all have a sort of library of visual symbols we associate with things. The trick is that other people recognise them too.
What materials do you prefer to work in and why?
I work on a Mac, with some drawing. I find the speed at which work needs to be turned around has made a computer a necessity.
What attracted you to where you live? Do you think your location has influenced your style?
We live in Brighton. The attractions are obvious – it’s a cosmopolitan place, by the sea, and near the South Downs. I love the work of illustrators who lived in the area, such as Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden, and looking at their work is an inspiration.
You illustrated the Madrid & Barcelona autumn/winter 2013 edition of SHOP. Do you have any good memories of travelling in Spain?
I’ve been to both cities, but Barcelona more, as I have a friend who lives there. It’s an amazing, quirky place, and never sleeps!
Where did you start when designing the cover for SHOP Madrid & Barcelona? How did you arrive at the final illustration?
It started with trying to find a metaphor for shopping in the cities. We went through several ideas and in the end it was the art direction that really helped with this. The suggestion was the idea of famous buildings as bags of items.
See Neil Webb's illustrations here
Did it turn out as you expected?
It did kind of turn out how I envisioned it. The tricky part was making the buildings simple but giving them enough detail to also be recognisable.
What should SHOP readers not miss when they visit Madrid, Barcelona or your home town?
The Sagrada Família in Barcelona shouldn’t be missed. In Brighton I think the South Downs are pretty spectacular, and sometimes overlooked as people head straight for the sea.
Which five items will you never travel without?
Camera, sketch pad, water, iPhone and toothbrush.
And finally, what would be your dream commission?
I’d like to do more covers for classic 20th-century fiction. With travel to the appropriate location for research all covered by the fee, of course!