Where is your favourite place to find inspiration? Have you got a routine?
Inspiration? It varies. Cycling to the studio for example, which involves crossing Tower Bridge and enjoying the view. Those moments just before you get out of bed is always a good time for ideas. Spending time in a good bookshop or just going for a walk. I always illustrate in my studio where I’m surrounded by a small group of creative types who are also in the throes of finding inspiration.
Have you got a preferred method, materials you keep going back to or a favourite subject matter?
I haven’t really changed the way I work for years. I’m still in love with black ink and a decent brush. For me, it’s all about the idea, the drawing and the line. Subject matter changes all the time but as long as there’s a character caught in a slightly awkward situation, then I’m happy.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to start creating their own art?
Make art about things you enjoy drawing. Art has to be a response to something that resonates with you. When I was a kid I enjoyed reading comics so I started making my own out of a love for the colours, the drawing and the storytelling. They weren’t very sophisticated but it was a start.
Do you have a regular drawing routine?
Not really. I’m not very disciplined in that way. If anything, my day starts with a cup of tea before I put pencil to paper.
Who would you love to collaborate with most (anyone living or dead) and why?
I would have loved to have collaborated with Keith Haring (80’s graffiti artist) and Jack Kirby (Marvel Comic artist who created the likes of the Incredible Hulk and The Fantastic Four). It would have been incredible to have worked in the studio of Fred Quimby who produced the classic Tom & Jerry cartoons from the 1940s and ’50s. Perhaps not collaborate as such but definitely to have had the opportunity to learn from the greats.
Which is the best recent book you’ve read?
The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers, a dark brooding tale set in 18th-century Yorkshire; it’s all about the rise and fall of a gang of Coiners – the makers of fake coins from the melted down clippings of real coins. Their punishment was a one way trip to the gallows, just as the landscape was about to change forever by the impending Industrial Revolution.
What or who inspired you to become an illustrator and why?
Hergé, the creator of Tintin, as well as Goscinny & Uderzo, the writer and artist behind Asterix the Gaul, had a big influence on me. When I came across their books as a kid, I was totally knocked out and I thought ‘that’s for me’.