Hi, I'm Andy
The early years…
From as early as I can remember I’ve been doing creative-type things.
With regard to writing, books have always been a big part of my life and my brothers and I were forever creating fictional worlds, in our heads or on paper.
And as to humour, I vividly recall an early foray into this on my first day at school. The previous year a friend had cried on his first day at school so I thought it would be funny to produce some mock tears when I started. Dropping my mouth to mimic sadness I told my mum that I didn’t want to go to school. Once I’d got the desired shocked look from her I blurted out, “Only joking!”
As for drawing, I have always loved this, be it sketching the animals in London’s Natural History Museum as a child or copying my favourite cartoon characters. One thing is for certain, I was never destined to be far from a pencil.
Becoming a Cartoonist
Having received a general grounding at art school I set my sights on becoming a cartoonist. I had an early boost as a teenager by winning a national competition run by the Athena greeting card company and had four designs printed but had to wait another few years before actually going freelance.
This happened when I was made redundant from the art department I was working in and I used the small redundancy settlement to rent desk space in a trendy Covent Garden creative environment. Six months down the line (and with my redundancy money all but gone) I had begun to establish myself as a cartoonist and with the added bonus of securing an agent in the form of Linden Artists.
Over the years I moved studios a few times and during that period both my portfolio and my experience grew.
In the heart of London
Being in the heart of London meant I was able to pick up some really interesting work including being licensed to draw Hagar the Horrible for Skol lager’s three year national advertising campaign back in the late 1980s, producing the character merchandise material for the Telebugs TV series, almost becoming the illustrator for Rosie and Jim (that’s another story!), illustrating the cover for The Tony Blackburn Sensational Joke Book, drawing for national children’s comics (and a couple of Woolworths ads which appeared in them) and being involved with the initial creation and design of the Kellogg’s Honey Nut Loop bee, no less!
In time I switched agencies and was represented by Beehive Illustration. This opened me up to the whole word of digital illustration and producing work for publishers around the world.
Over the years I’ve also worked with many of the major Christian publishers and organisations producing illustrations for their books and publications.
One of these is the Salvation Army’s weekly comic, ‘Kids Alive!’ for which I’ve scripted and drawn their back page cartoon for more years than I’d care to remember.
Since 2012 my wife Jane and I have been leading what is now Revival Church Billericay so inevitably I’ve had to dial down my freelance illustration.
As for publishing, well, that’s another story!
Although my illustration output is now based around an iMac, my method for producing illustrations still owes a lot to my early ways of working.
I begin any illustration by roughly sketching things out on layout paper and when I’m happy with it I’ll trace over it onto smooth art paper with black fibre tip pen which has replaced the dip pen I once used.
Dip pens were a firm favourite (and perhaps still are) for cartoonists and it was to Poole’s wonderful pen shop in London’s Drury Lane to which I went to buy my nibs.
In the old days I’d have then coloured the line work up using a paint brush and inks but now I scan this into into my iMac ready to be worked up in Illustrator and Photoshop.
*Because of my focus on publishing projects I’m now unable to accept freelance illustration commissions.