I drew throughout school, all the time! – I would draw the methods in physics/chemistry in 3 point perspective and exquisite detail, but writing only a few lines. Spending my lunch breaks copying 2000AD comics (in particular Belardinelli, I think?). My initial skill lay in creating black & white images – which later led to an interest in lino-cuts. Probably due to the great facilities at Westfield School, Yeovil and teacher Colin Browning.
1988, onto a Foundation course at Yeovil College, I focused on Photography (cos it was easy, sorry photographers!) and later did not get a place at University (I wonder why). Again, the college had great facilities and lecturers biased toward print, etching and lino, which I think played a subconscious role in my formative years.
1988, didn’t get in to university took a job at a print company using DTP didn’t know what it was at the time but later found out it was a computer (Apple). This was 1988 when Apple Macintosh first came apparent, so quite a skill to acquire at the time. After 2 years realised it was time to return to education. Following my passion for intricate drawings I enrolled onto the 2nd year of a Technical illustration course at Bournemouth University, Wallisdown. An excellent course which gave me a great insight into the basics of accurate drawing and how things are constructed, perspective etc. alongside traditional airbrushing/water-colouring skills.
In 1991 I wanted to increase my knowledge of illustration further and opted for General Illustration HND at Falmouth in Cornwall, a very renowned course at the time (I believe still is). A superbly commercial course lead by Alan Male, which honed my skills to follow a career in Illustration.
I left in 1993, after many good memories, and a portfolio full of printmaking type work (scraper-board/woodcut) spent a year working on my portfolio and canvassing it around London’s Publishers and Design Groups and Agencies and was finally picked up by New Division, Covent Garden. A good agent who helped me focus my print based skills into commercial illustration – I worked a contemporary woodcut style, but using scraper-board for speed. Worked with clients such as the MET Office, Royal Mail, Landrover, American Express, Abbey National, Nationwide Anglia, and loads of publishers. Fashions moved on, styles changed so I started to develop a very simple 50s style using very early Macs and Freehand, (at the time rubbish and expensive). Worked with Marks & Spencer and Cosmopolitan, Saatchi NY and numerous publishing projects.
1997, I wanted to find out more about life, always wanted to travel and I joined a Raleigh International Expedition, as an Expedition Artist. I often thought about getting into teaching so great opportunity. Went to Patagonia (Chile) worked on community projects, mural painting – encouraging participants to become aware of their surroundings by recording it, painting, drawing, sculpture. I kept a record everyday in a sketchbook – had a fantastic time, a big adventure. Afterwards travelled up through South Amercia (on my own – I wanted too!) – Hitched, bussed, walked, train – Desert, mountains, jungle, city – Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru. I was away for 6 months, a real eye opener, and I relished the opportunity of travel.
Back to England – where I took a job as a part time Adsetter with a local newspaper – and continued illustrating. An opportunity came up for a full time designer at a Yeovil design studio, so I took that – was there for 6 years – all aspects of design, print and web. Still illustrating – 2006, another opportunity came up for a part time Graphics Lecturer at Strode College. This gave me time to focus on my own work and teach which I always wanted to do. I find teaching an incredibly creative vocation – it is a perfect companion to a creative job, turning you into a thinker rather than a doer.
Alongside teaching I continued to grow my freelancing into a small Design Agency, Bean-Creative.co.uk. In 2013 we re-branded as RocketBoxDesign.com. A smart thinking graphics, brand creation and digital design studio based in Somerset. We’ve worked with blue chip clients and exciting local businesses and we’re proud of our work and our client base (thanks!). We actively follow current industry trends, making sure we can pass on the latest technologies be it in digital or print. As well as business development and overseeing all output from Rocketbox I continue to illustrate, unfortunately I’ve had to give up the teaching.
I work on all types of projects, from character design to TV animations – My day job I’m a Creative Director running creative input and the development side of a business, but I like to call myself (if I had to put a label on it) ‘a distiller of information’ – as the realms of Graphic Design and Illustration are so integrated now.
I suppose you want to know what else I do? I have two wonderful little girls (who are a great inspiration to me) I still carry a sketchbook, I play the mandolin and guitar in a bluegrass band, I’m learning the violin (get your earplugs) – I kitesurf, rock climb, keen runner – and I like to keep busy!