What is your earliest memory? My earliest memory is sitting on my bedroom floor, surrounded by paper, pens, pencils et al in order to draw things. The magic of drawing has never left me.
What influenced you to start illustrating? Probably an intense visual reaction to the folk and fairy tales read to me. The image of Hansel being fattened up for the pot (the witch feeling his fingers to see how things were going) is powerful stuff. I also loved full-on comics as a child.
Who do you find inspiring? The great colourists amongst painters – the post-impressionists, the Fauves, American abstract expressionists. And, of course, those illustrators who can handle colour and colour relationships as well as illuminating the text.
Did you use models when illustrating this book? No, I made it up.
Which books do you recommend? I think children should read anything and everything they can lay their hands on – including comics. There is a rich array of children’s writers and illustrators, all very well known and rightly so. One of my favourite stories is ‘Small Knight and George’ by somebody called Ronda Armitage.
Who do you really admire? I really admire those writers and illustrators that possess that indispensable gift-a sense of humour. Children certainly respond to this.
What are your favourite tools? Favourite tools? Listening to music whilst I work. All art aspires to the condition of music? I think so.
Do you collect anything? I collect lots of recorded classical music from Gregorian chant to the 21st century. Listening to Pop music I find akin to sucking boiled sweets. I also collect lots of my paintings. Other people also collect them as well.
What might most people be surprised to know about you? Rumour has it that I am tall, dark and handsome. Most people would be surprised to know that this isn’t true.
What are you working on next? Right now I not illustrating but working on some paintings. A wholly different discipline but one, along with illustrating, which I love. You are making different sorts of marks.
Read my review of ‘The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch’ here.