My aim is always to provide elegant and intelligent images that can communicate quite complex ideas, but also create a mood of pleasantly tongue in cheek fun, whether creating a complex narrative scene or a simple piece of editorial or branding work.
Hand drawn text is the only way to get truly unique typography you know. Text design, with or without background imagery is a speciality that has grown in sophistication in my work in recent years with increased use of digital layering to create more adaptable designs. Clients include Computer Arts Magazine, Amelia’s Magazine and text t-shirt designs for Topman.
When I was proper young, like many tweens of the 90s, I used to make mix tapes. In keeping with the punk DIY aesthetic of the chop and change and take and keep nature of these tapes my cover designs were surreal collages, made from pictures and words found in magazines (how this all translates into the digital era is a whole other topic for another time).
When I grew up and moved to London (2008), I started making alternative valentines cards using the same technique, and the same tongue in cheek surreal juxtaposition made for some love messages that were by turns hilariously obscene, and strangely touching. I’ve been making them ever since and the best of the alternative valentines have been curated into 2 mini zines. The found text look has in recent years crept into other parts of my practice, mainly as a design technique.
My wedding invitations in 2013 took the found text angle to its pinnacle, or so I thought, but more recently I have been commissioned to make text collage pieces for The New Tabloids album design, a 4 page comic story for Soaring Penguin Press, and a sinister found text poem for Amelia Gregory’s new book That Which We Do Not Understand.
I’m excited to see where this technique will take me next, I never get bored of collecting interesting words and combining them with exciting colours and shapes.
Here is a really long love poem written using only found lyrics.
Birds, birds, birds, my words fly like birds, my birds fly like words.
I always seem to be drawing birds.
This is a little more the fine art arm of my work, as I’ve exhibited my bird paintings as an artist (at Webbs Gallery, Northcote Road, The Common Ground coffee shop, The Mill House, Windsor, Fragments) and also sell bird themed paintings at Artfinder, but my avian obsession of course spills over into my illustration work, both personal and commercial. Three of my illustrated books have been themed in part on birds. The original Magpies book of short stories being one, and a compilation of the ongoing series recently recommissioned What Birds are Really Thinking being another. When I designed the illustrated guide to using the internet for art teachers for the Institute of Education (Whose Afraid of The Big Bad Web), I used bird headed anthropomorphic characters. When I doodle in margins I tend to draw birds as well, often seagulls.
So, an obsession? Perhaps. A speciality? Definitely.
Featured in the 2010 book Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, I have done a range of work both live and editorial, mainly around London Fashion Week and to accompany my own reviews for Amelia’s Magazine over the last 4 years. I have been lucky to have the freedom to experiment with this area and evolve my own fresh and fluid style of fashion illustration which is a little more fragmented and whimsical than my narrative or editorial illustrations. I try to draw fashion models that have agency and inhabit their fashion worlds, and blur the boundaries between their try-on identities.
On ongoing, on and off project where I draw from Television, capturing moments of pure wisdom, issuing unscripted from the mouths of celebrities and would be celebrities alike.
TV, like life, is fleeting, we laugh, we cry, we go in the other room to make a cup of tea or read an email and miss stuff. I want to record some of the greater moments and pin them down in the traditional moment capturing method of drawing. Which is better than photographs. Because I say so.