Pirates and Monsters! Ooo-Arr!!
I thought maybe a brief introduction might be worthwhile.
I'm a freelance illustrator and concept artist living and working in Buxton, arguably the highest town in England and almost in the UK's very lovely Peak District.
I worked for eight years in the computer games industry, at Codemasters, Warthog and Eurocom, before going freelance in 2006. Stuff's been a bit mad since then, and I've worked for some fantastic clients in games, film and children's publishing. As a kid my two big goals in life were to write and illustrate my own book and to design stuff for a movie.
With those two big goals in mind, I've been working on and off for the last two years on a major movie project with Aardman Features (sooooo exciting!!), although I can't show even the teeniest morsel of work, because it's all hush hush. What isn't hush-hush is that the project is a stop-motion movie adaptation of Gideon Defoe's "Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists!" For anyone who's not read the book, try and grab a first edition while you still can! I've got three, and one of them is signed by Gideon! Woohoo!
Gideon's pirates are a daft bunch of hopeless ham-lovers who stumble across a young Charles Darwin and astound the scientific community of Victorian London with a funny looking parrot. Gideon wrote the book to impress a girl, so he deserves everybody's support.
And just to complete my life's ambition, my first picture book, 'The Pirate Cruncher' was published by Templar in September 2009. Here's the blurb from the back of the book:
I was sailing one day and what did I see?
And Island of Gold in the Scurvy Sea!
With a fiddle-de-dee,
There'll be treasure for me!
Fiddle-de-dee, across the Sea!
But there's one small thing I forgot to share-
There's also a MONSTER waiting there...
And that about sums it up. It's not a long book, it has a moral and some grown-ups might find it scary.
The launch of the book coincided with Arena's 'Pirate Party' at the Discover centre in Stratford, East London. The event was part of the Big Draw, and the place was swarming with mini-pirates drawing on every wall and floor, which were thankfully covered in paper. Some other Arena artists did some amazing work and demonstrations, including Matt Buckingham, Alex T.Smith and Adam Stower. Here's a picture I liked from the day.... I'm the funny looking fella with the pirate hat and something in my eye, and the little girl is called Siwan and is a particularly fearsome pirate of London Town. Oooo-Arrr!
So life's been pretty pirate-y for me in the last few years (you can throw in fourteen months at Eurocom working on a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' video game too), but then I used to be a pirate once, so I've got a decent excuse. One day I might even post some pictures.
But after all the pirates, it's sci-fi next! Picture book number two is in the works and it's going to be full to the brim of laser guns, aliens, robots and spaceships! Yeh!
And maybe the odd space-pirate...