My style is largely driven by intricate pen and ink work, executed with a fine-nibbed mapping pen and acrylic ink that I have refined over many years, and I now often execute the same style on an iPad. I am now starting to combine this technique with bold and textured backgrounds, exploring the juxtaposition of the realistic cross-hatch pen work with unrealistic, fantastic slabs of colour. I am interested in creating work that both backs off and zooms in – so from a distance a piece may evoke a strong mood or reaction, but when closer some parts are in intricate detail, drawing the viewer in.
As for subject matter, I am drawn to the old, the aged, and the falling apart. I believe this is in part due to my technique, which seems suited to layering textures – old buildings, crumbling stone, rust, flaking paint, rotting wood, majestic skies. I also find something both majestic and hopeless in these subjects – the abandoned cars and boats, and the ancient or derelict buildings and structures seem to me to be both desperately sad and at the same time gloriously defiant and standing firm. You may be done with us, they say, but we are going nowhere, and we’ll outlast you.
Since graduating from University in 1993 with a joint degree in Illustration and History of Art, I have been working as a graphic designer alongside regular illustration work.
A note on creating digital art
Many of the pieces on this website have been created on an iPad, using the art app Procreate. While the practice of drawing is the same, merely substituting paper for screen, the ease of being able to grab an iPad and sketch instantly and with freedom is something that I find liberating and is resulting in a greater output of work.
My personal take on creating art digitally is that I use it as a medium like any other. I like to think the iPad pieces and the pieces created with a traditional mapping pen look largely the same, because I employ the same technique regardless, albeit enjoying the ‘undo’ capabilities on the iPad.
I use an art app called Procreate on an iPad Pro. I usually use the Technical Pen setting on the fine nib setting, and then proceed to make thousands of marks on the screen in exactly the same way I would with a mapping pen on a piece of paper. Using the piece “Abandoned in the Woods” as a reference, I created a blank ‘canvas’ at the full size of 50 x 70cm, then zoomed in on areas to work on it. The app keeps track of my time and work, and this piece took over 62 hours and 302,353 pen strokes to complete.
Once the piece is completed, I will send it off to be printed as a giclee print. This is the same method employed when prints are made from a painting, but instead of the ‘original’ being scanned or photographed to create a digital file to create prints from, I am starting with a digital file.