Bill developed his skills the right way – he’s fanatical about drawing, to the point where he might tell you he has few other interests. However, he does still occasionally dream of running away and joining the circus, so when he’s not drawing he might be found flailing fire, or juggling knives.
With influences like Arthur Rackham, Gerald Scarfe and James Jean, Bill infuses many of his pictures with mythology, mysticism, legend and amazing characters. He also loves the old masters, like Rembrandt, Bruegel and Bosch, and enjoys working in different styles. Late nights at his drawing board are often powered by his rap music collection, with Ludacris, Big Boi, Kendrick Lamar, YG and Busta Rhymes giving Bill energy.
Question: What led you to become an illustrator? Bill: It was more a decision not to do anything else, I don’t think I ever had a clear plan B.Question: Did you study illustration at college? Bill: Kind of, I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The College of Fine Art in Sydney.Question: Where did you grow up? Bill: Cennie Coast, the Central Coast of NSW in Australia.Question: Do you have a childhood memory relating to drawing/art that you hold dear? Bill: Yeah, my dad would attempt to teach the family drawing on Sunday mornings, it was all a bit of a jumble and the lessons didn’t last all that long but it was a lovely idea.Question: Who or What is your biggest inspiration? Bill: I think in terms of work ethic I’ve just always been around hard workers so I think of it as standard. My dad worked very long hours at the bank my whole childhood, so I just assumed that’s what one did. Artistically I’d say Quentin Blake has always been my go to guy. If any drawing I do has half the life as his have, I’m doing ok.Question: How do you get your ideas? Bill: It’s just things that accumulate in the head over time. I can’t say there is a strategy I have, it could be a book or someone else’s art or music, anything. Long walks and good music is always a help.Question: Do you collect anything? Bill: The only thing really is lanyards from corporate conferences I’ve worked at. Not sure why I keep them but I do.Question: Do you keep a Scrapbook? Bill: Nope, Instagram is probably the closest thing though.Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? Bill: Music and Podcasts occupy a lot of my time. But honestly between illustration, finding time to spend with family and friends and paying the rent, my time is pretty full.Question: Tell us about a favourite project you’ve recently completed. Bill: I drew sketches around some photos of puppies to go on a huge tram in Melbourne. I was really excited to see that come to life. And it’s for the Guide Dogs Association so it’s a feel good one too.Question: What would be your dream job/commission? Bill: Either designing a classic character for an animation, illustrating a beloved children’s book or some big public illustration projects Like Quentin Blake’s hospital illustrations in France. Question: Why is illustration such a powerful medium? Bill: I suppose it’s just designed to connect. It can be edgy and different, abstract or traditional but at the end of the day it has to sell an idea. Art doesn’t really have to do that. Also illustration is usually like the handwriting of the artist, instinctual and developed over a lifetime. So it’s incredibly closely reflective of the drawer in that way. Question: What makes a really good client brief? Bill: Tailored to your skillset, open to collaboration, sense of humor. Question: How much of your work is hand drawn? Bill: Well it’s all drawn with my hand, but digitally, probably 80% and traditionally 20%.Question: How do you envisage illustration evolving? Bill: More reference, more 3d, faster, cheaper, a more diverse range of artists. Not sure if VR illustration will take off.Question: Who is your art hero? Bill: Guess.Question: Who is your design hero? Bill: Probably Alphonse Mucha.Question: Who is your musical hero? Bill: Busta Rhymes.Question: If you were not an illustrator, what would you be? Bill: I’d like to think an Architect.Question: If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Bill: The British Museum.Question: If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money? Bill: Build a giant studio and a life time supply of high-end audio equipment and watercolour paper. Oh and charity and all that.