Adam studied illustration and animation, and received a BA followed by an MA from the Edinburgh College of Art. As a student he won a competition to create a short film for MOMI and Channel 4, and once his career producing animated commercials was under way, he became an illustrator as well. He has regular columns in the UK and the US.
Adam draws instinctively and always looks for ways to improve his technique and new things to try. He believes every commission should start with a pencil in one hand and an eraser in the other, and is never afraid to erase whole areas of a drawing if they aren’t right. He loves working in ink on paper and then shifting into Photoshop to bring the piece together.
Charmingly designed characters that seem to have a real sense of curiosity about them are at the center of Adam’s work, which is lively and active, and usually has a soft and approachable color palette.
: What drew you to illustration/design? Adam
: At college I started using a dip pen after my brother came up for a visit and left one behind, I bought a bottle of Winsor & Newton black ink and started drawing with it. I enjoyed the quality of the line, I suddenly felt like I was able to be a part of that illustration tradition that I’d loved since I was a kid, inspired initially by the work of Ronald Searle in the Down With School book series. Question
: Do you have any formal design training? Adam
: I went to Edinburgh College of Art where I studied a B.A and then M.A in Illustration and Animation. Going on the course was a fantastic experience and gave me the opportunity to experiment and develop my work. Question
: Where are you originally from? Adam
: I grew up in Cambridge, but then at sixteen my family moved over to America for three years, I went to High School and worked in the local cinema as a projectionist. This was great fun, but the old projectors were always breaking down. If a Woody Allen film broke the audience would get out their newspapers and wait patiently, but if it was a horror film they would come looking for the projectionist. Question
: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Adam
: After leaving college I moved to London with my girlfriend, now wife, however when we had our first child we decided to move out and we both knew Cambridge well and it was commutable to London, so it was an easy decision. Question
: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? Adam
: I work from home in the back room, here I have a controlled, ever changing collection of visual debris, postcards, tickets, magazine cuttings and my drawings all mixed together, stuck to the walls and strewn across my desk, it’s something I’ve done since college and I find it inspires me. Question
: How do you get your ideas? Adam
: I’m constantly drawing in sketchbooks. Question
: Do you keep a scrapbook? Adam
: I started one recently, as my sister gave me an original silver jubilee scrapbook that she’d found in a charity shop. It’s in pristine condition and completely unused.
: What would be your dream job/commission? Adam
: I’ve already had one of my dream commissions, which was illustrating the cover of Wind in the Willows for Puffin books. I’d also love to design characters for a modern Ealing comedy title sequence. Question
: Who are your art heroes? Adam
: Eric Ravillious, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. Question
: Who are your illustration heroes? Adam
: Edward Ardizzone, Cyril Kenneth Bird, Andre Francois, Osbert Lancaster, Ronald Searle, Jean-Jacques Sempe and Ben Shahn. Question
: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Adam
: Measure twice, cut once. My Grandad was always saying that. Question
: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Adam
: I’d visit Peter Blake’s studio. Question
: If you could live anywhere, where would you go? Adam
: Paris. Question
: If you could take a holiday leaving tomorrow, where would you go & what would you do? Adam
: Paris, I love it because it’s so visual. Question
: Do you have any pets? Adam
: I had a dog called Mat the Dog, he was collie king Charles cross from the local dogs home. I miss him. Question
: If you won the lottery what would you do with the money? Adam
: I’d set up a free art school for people who really loved drawing and experimenting. Question
: Would you continue to illustrate? Adam
: Yes. Question
: If you could travel back in time which period would you visit & why? Adam
: 1940’s London, it fascinates me. Question
: What do you have bookmarked? Adam
: songsfromtheshed.com Question
: What’s your favourite quote from a song or book or someone? Adam
: "Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit."
- Napoleon. Question
: What’s your favourite scene or line from a film? Adam
: "'Rowan, Rowan, it was a stray bomb, thank you Adolf,' All my life nothing quite matched the perfect joy of that moment, my school lay in ruins, and the river beckoned with the promises of stolen days." The final scene of Hope and Glory by John Boorman.