Day Two is “How you started...”.
I was always very clear and certain about what I wanted to be, from quite an early age I was determined to be an .... archaeologist.
I followed this idea through school and college and eventually ended up with a place at university to study it. At this point I realised that I was spending all my time trying to figure out how to use Photoshop (or Paint Shop Pro back then) and thought about changing direction. I managed to talk my way on to an Art course with a sketchbook of drawings and then ended up getting a place to study Illustration at Falmouth University.
Whilst in the third year of my degree course I was commissioned by Cornwall Today magazine to illustrate a story in each issue. This was my first commissioned work and taught me a lot about working to a brief and a deadline (I had to post my work to the publisher on CD’s because there were no easy file-sharing services back then). My first story was called Tales From The Titanic.
Some of the work for the magazine was included in my degree show along with a book I made as a kind of sequel to Charles Causley’s poem By St Thomas Water. I was particularly pleased with the battered leather cover I made. It started life as a leather handbag that I found in a charity shop. I seem to remember cooking it under a grill with candle wax on it to get the weathered look!
At my degree show in 2003 I picked up a three book deal to illustrate a series of Cornish stories for Will Coleman and was invited to go to Oxford University Press for an interview. I travelled up to Oxford and partly due to the work I’d already had published by Cornwall Today I signed a two book deal with them. Ever since then I’ve been illustrating children’s books.