When I was a child my dad built some shelves in the cupboard under the stairs and fitted a light, presumably with the intention of filling it with awkward but necessary objects like irons, hoovers and Christmas decorations. But no sooner had he packed away his tool box than I had moved in, taking with me a small chair, a selection of toys, art materials and shutting the door behind me.
Realising they hadn't seen me for a while, a thorough search of the house was conducted and I was discovered, quite happy, chatting to my toys and using a shelf as a drawing table. It was quite clear I wasn't moving out, so dad found another place for the tinsel and the cupboard remained my art den until I got too big to fit.
Not A Proper Job
All through school I had a pencil in my hand. I drew everything from horses to Garfield to portraits of my beloved Care Bear. In my teens I'd draw Madonna from her album covers or models from Just Seventeen magazine. I drew because it was in my bones.
Despite this, my school career advisor declared drawing 'wasn't a proper job' and suggested graphic design instead. Dutifully, I followed this advice and it was fifteen years before I'd pick up a pencil again.
If Money Were No Object
I was working in London, having moved from the North West a few years earlier, designing for television brands such as the BBC... but I always felt something was missing. I couldn't quite put my finger on it until one Christmas when mum asked me, 'If money were no object what would you do every day?'. I answered without hesitation 'draw'.
That conversation was only six years ago but my life now is markedly different. I work as a children's book illustrator from my studio in London which, I'm pleased to say, is marginally bigger than my cupboard under the stairs.