I was born in Leicester, England. In my early years my parents moved around the city, therefore I went to several schools. I stayed at my final school for four years and really liked it. The things I enjoyed most were sports—in particular football — and art.
My most unusual pet was a grass snake given to me by a bus driver. It was crossing the road in front of his bus and he stopped to rescue it. I took it home and kept it in a large wooden box filled with straw and I used to take it for walks in the nearby woods. One day I was clearing out the box to replace the old straw with clean straw and I found what I thought was a dead snake. Sadly I continued to empty the box to get rid of it and then, to my surprise, I discovered a shiny bright new snake. What I had found was the old skin of the snake—it had shed this and had a great new look. Eventually I released the snake into the woods where it belonged.
As a child I was always drawing pictures—for some mysterious reason I have drawn since my early memories and have never stopped.
I left school at the age of fifteen and was offered a place at Leicester College of Art, where I studied Graphics for three years, this was followed by a postgraduate year. In order to find work I moved to London and taking my portfolio of work I went to many interviews. Gradually I built up a reputation as an illustrator and was offered a variety of work. This resulted in me producing pictures for calendars, greetings cards, posters, magazine articles, book jackets, advertising campaigns, record covers, and animated films. After a few years of living and working in London I moved back to a village in Leicestershire.
My first children’s book was based on idea created by myself and all of the illustrations were completed and then the writer and poet Christopher Logue was commissioned to write the words. This book was published in 1976 and was the winner of the Gold Medal Award from the Society of Illustrators in New York. This was the first of a series of three children’s books where I was given total freedom to invent the stories and create the pictures. I have now worked on more than fifty books (adult and children’s). Some of these are written and illustrated by me, some are collaborations with the writer, some are written for me and some are already written and I am asked to illustrate them. At present I am commissioned to work on several publishing projects.
The way that a book evolves is that I produce pencil sketches and thoughts and these are then discussed with the publisher. When an illustration idea is agreed I then produce a finished piece of color artwork. My materials are CS10 board, colored pencils, pencils, watercolor paints, andacrylic inks.
One Thing You Might Not Know About Me:
I like bad jokes:
Question: What do you call a skeleton lying in bed?
Question: What is the difference between a bison and a buffalo?
Answer: You can’t wash your hands in a buffalo!