I have been working as an illustrator ever since my high school art teacher recommended that I show some of my drawings and paintings to the art studio manager at publisher D C Thomson & Co Ltd. Thankfully, this gave me the opportunity to work in a studio full of extremely talented and creative people for the next 30 years, illustrating for a huge variety of publications in an equally huge variety of styles.
The very first illustration I had published was for The People’s Friend. It was for a Children’s Corner story about a little pixie, and the magazine were kind enough to allow me to keep the original watercolour artwork. It then hung on my grandparents’ wall for the next few years!
I’m delighted that all these years later, I’m still working for The People’s Friend amongst some other clients. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed illustrating many fiction stories, features, children’s stories and the Will & Wag cartoon strip.
Upon receiving the commission, I’ll read the story and begin thinking about how best to capture the feel of it in an illustration. Stories set in the past can require a considerable amount of research, as it’s important to depict historical details as accurately as possible – though if I’d lived through as much history as my young nephew seems to think I have, I wouldn’t have to do so much homework before I begin!
My working methods have changed over the years, as I’ve gone from working in pencil, watercolour, acrylic paints, dyes and inks to working largely digitally nowadays. One thing that has never changed, however, is the thrill of seeing my artwork printed in the pages of The People’s Friend!