Well, you've read my lad's version, but here's some smidge of reality...
I was bloody hopeless at school. Well, apart from the Art and English stuff... Oh! and Biology but I guess that's because you got to draw cow's hearts, frogs giblets and stuff.
I started illustrating way, way back in the 1980's and it seems a slightly different universe to me now. I ran and worked in lovely mucky, paint splattered studios, full of art whiffs, spray, turps, paint, charcoal and, well, grubby artists. Now, when I think about it, I also can't believe how many wonderful artists, art directors and designers I met over that time.
In the late 90's, I, like so many others, started fiddling around with Photoshop and Illustrator. Up until that moment I had painted almost everything, acrylics mostly, which, in all honesty, I loved. But once I got going, well, for all of us it was a whole new world opening up. Not only could I draw characters but I could animate them, make 3D models of them, have them talk, run, skip, BLOW THEM UP! So I joined a design agency for several thoroughly enjoyable years doing exactly that. Suddenly it was all clean chrome and the gentle hum of Macs, the only smell coming from coffee and whiteboard markers. This was the first time as a creative I had worked as a team and it was outrageously good fun. It's not something that illustrators often do, seeing how other people work, collaborating, sharing deadlines, staring collectively into coffee at 3 in the morning, sharing the genuine thrill of creating something wonderful and totally new.
I oddly found myself doing more and more drawing. Unlike the pre digital days, where drawing would take up 15% of the time and painting the rest, the new shape of things meant I could colour up fast and spend far more time on the sketching and composition phase. I remembered what it was I loved as a 12 year old copying Commando comics and experimenting with pencil weights and charcoal. I found myself more and more drawn to working on imagery for young children and teenagers. This, no doubt, has a lot to do with having children of my own, but also has a lot to do with rediscovering that sitting in a tree house, sucking your thumb and playing with Lego is pretty hard to beat.
So happy I left the agency world and threw myself into a world of children's Illustration. I signed up with the wonderful Bright Children's Illustration Agency in London and have since worked on some incredible projects and with some really special people.
These days I work from home in East Sussex with my wife and two sons. I'm a tragic endurance sport nut. So in 2014 I was one of four cyclists to take part in the Race Across America, The Spinhalers - the UK’s only 4 man team, We covered 3,000 miles in just 7 days and raised over £60,000 for Asthma UK. A couple of years later, 2016, I had a crack, with a buddy of mine, at swimming the English channel under the team name The Swimhalers. Sadly we got held up by weather a couple of miles off the French coast. To be fair...we were gutted.
This year I hope to continue fundraising for Asthma UK by having another crack at the channel....let's see how we go:)