How did you get into illustration and when did it become a career for you?
I’ve enjoyed drawing since I was a child and just never stopped really. I always knew I wanted to get into the creative industries so I’ve been doing design and illustration jobs since I left university in 2005. But last year I thought I’d finally take the plunge and work part time as a freelance illustrator.
How would you describe your style and how did it develop?
I would describe my style as ‘cluttered fun’. I used to love looking at the minute detail in children’s books by Martin Handford and Anthony Browne, so I want to create illustrations that are equally absorbing. I think art should be something you can stare at for hours, so I try to add in as much detail as possible, as well as a lot of humour.
What was the idea behind your cover illustration?
Without alpacas, Saltaire would probably not exist and their image can be seen all around the village. So I made this cover in recognition of their importance to Saltaire. Plus I thought it would be amusing to cram a few dozen alpacas onto an A5 page.
Is there a project or piece of work you’re particularly proud of?
I produced a map of Europe with every country drawn as its national symbol. So England is a lion, France is a rooster, Russia is a bear and so on, for every country in Europe. It involved a lot of research and creativity to fit the illustrations to the shape of the countries but I was really pleased with the end result.
What’s your relationship with Saltaire?
I was born in Bradford so I grew up visiting Saltaire and Shipley Glen. It’s always felt like a special place to me, so now I live and work from here. I think it’s a great location for artists too.
Do you have any interesting projects on the go at the moment?
I’m just adding the finishing touches to a huge illustration of Salt’s Mill, where every window is occupied by a famous Yorkshire person. So that’s 219 hand drawn characters, but still a mere fraction of the great figures produced by this county!