My career as an illustrator started with a BA (hons) in illustration at the University of the West of England and a good foundation in drawing, inspired by my love for animals and nature. During that time, I developed a great affection for the picturesque Cotswolds, Worcestershire and Herefordshire, which led to my illustrations of local towns and villages.
I also undertake work for clients including BBC Wildlife Magazine, the National Trust, the RSPB and the Radio Times. I recently spent a month in Antarctica as Artist in Residence with the Royal Navy on an ice breaking ship. An unforgettable experience!
I was strongly influenced by contemporary illustrators whilst at university and I began to add to my skill in drawing with new painting techniques and the use of found and made textures. Collage has always been a popular illustrative technique and "digital collage" was particularly fashionable during that time.
However, being a traditionalist at heart, I always want to keep that hand drawn and nurtured look to my images; that organic edge you can only get from a hand drawn line or brush stroke. My style really took off from that desire, to use the best aspects of modern technology in collaboration with traditional techniques.
My illustrations are created in a highly unusual way, combining a variety of techniques, both traditional and contemporary. I start working by hand with strong, fluid line drawings, painted textures, water colour washes and found textiles, which I then bring together digitally, layering up all of the hand rendered elements, with the line drawings on top and the colour, textures and washes at varying levels of opacity underneath.
I use as little digital enhancement as possible to create light-play and shadows.
The finished illustration is stored as a detailed computer file, sometimes comprising over 150 layers, meaning that its only output is as a digital print. I print all my illustrations using the giclee technique - a form of archival quality digital printing. My prints are sold in short run limited editions of just 50. The prints are not a copy or scan of an original piece, but an original output for the work in their own right, making them highly unusual and collectible.