I live up north. I was born down south. I grew up in the middle.
My favourite colour is blue. The shade of blue can change depending on my mood. Today it's this blue:
Yesterday it was this blue:
At school the only certificate I ever won was for 100% attendance (or failure to catch chickenpox).
I did a degree in Graphics, specialising in Illustration at Kingston Polytechnic.
Most of my working life has been spent playing with pictures and words. My first job was at i-D magazine, where I was allowed to cut up photographs and draw on the pages.
After that I moved to Vogue where you weren't allowed to cut up the photographs or draw on the pages.
But other magazines (Tatler, Harpers&Queen, and GQ) paid me to draw on their pages.
I was forty-five when my first picture book was published. My books tend to be very colourful.
So far, they have been translated into over twenty different languages.
THREE Frequently asked Questions
1. Where do you get your ideas from?
I grow them in boxes. I have lots of half-ideas for stories scribbled down on paper. I keep them all in a box. Every so often I read through my half-ideas and if after a few months I still find the idea interesting I search for the other half of the story.
2. How do you create the illustrations for your books?
I start by drawing everything in pencil. I like using a soft pencil, a 4B is my favourite, as this gives a textured, slightly broken-up line especially when enlarged. Then I may decide to draw some things in ink, using a paintbrush. And finally some elements may be drawn in chalk or wax crayon. The next stage is to scan all the drawings and file them on my computer. I then use the scans to create a digital collage. Each element is coloured digitally so that if I want to, I can change the colours quite easily, without having to start all over again. Gradually I build up several layers of drawings until my collage is complete.
3. What’s your favourite book, of those that you’ve written?
Books need all the enthusiasm and energy you can give them to ever be published. So I always say the book
I’m working on at the moment is my favourite.