I’m a writer, artist, and illustrator who lives in East London. I originally studied sculpture at the Slade School of Art, which was a rather grand place with a big marble staircase, but I was always in the basement drawing and writing stories. I think my tutors thought my work was far too humorous to be taken seriously! Some years later I went back to college to take a course in children’s book illustration at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. This was a really amazing experience with fantastically talented fellow students, and we were even encouraged to be funny. I finally felt as if the slipper fitted.
I was delighted to be a recipient of the Sebastian Walker Award when I left college, and then I was given a commission to make my first book,Too Many Toys. Fortunately I love toys as I really had to draw an awful lot of them to finish the book. It was great to have an excuse to spend hours drawing in the Museum of Childhood and Pollocks Toy Museum, two of my most favorite places in London.
The story of Too Many Toys is based on me and a much-loved teddy I had when I was young called Jupiter. I even had the same pudding basin haircut that the little girl Lulu in the book has, though I don’t think I had quite as many toys. Jupiter still sits in my studio and watches me draw, although his knitted trousers are now a little bit moth-eaten.