John loves old stuff in general – guitars, watches, bikes and more – and lives in a 17th century home which also houses his studio. A sense of heritage informs his style, and in 2012 he put together a book called GOD – Good Old Drawing, featuring the work of 100 like-minded creatives.
The authenticity of John’s work extends right down to the tip of his 19th century drawing nibs, and he colors his work his using watercolors.
Funny characters in a classic style are John’s domain, with soft color palettes and strong compositions, often with plenty of detail and a touch of cheekiness.
Question: Do you have any formal design training? John: Cambridge College of Art, where I am now a visiting fellow. Question: What drew you to illustration/design? John: It was the only subject I was top of the class in at school. Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? John: Cambridge: A wonderful cultural city near the country. Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? John: In my garden built mainly in reclaimed material. Question: Do you collect anything? John: Antique clocks and watches, veteran cycles, acoustic guitars, original drawings. Question: Who or What is your biggest inspiration? John: Paul Hogarth, my old tutor and mentor. Question: Tell us about a favourite project you’ve recently completed. John: A series of illustrations for the day the statue of Sir Keith Park was unveiled on the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square. Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? John: Cycling, bluegrass music, folk blues, travelling, logging (that’s trees, not logging on).
Question: What would be your dream job/commission? John: To do a series of drawings in NYC (I’m thinking about doing it). Question: Who are your illustration heroes? John: NC Wyeth, David Lavine, Robert Crumb, Thomas Rolanson. Question: Who are your musical heroes? John: Bill Munroe, Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck, The Stanley Brothers. Question: If you could take a holiday leaving tomorrow, where would you go & what would you do? John: Kentucky, to play some bluegrass music. Question: What do you have bookmarked? John: Bookmarked? My most recent favourite book is 'A Confederacy of Dunces' by John Kennedy Toole. And by the way my most recent favourite film is 'The Piano Player of Earthquakes'. Question: What is your favourite game, computer or not? John: Playing hide and seek with my grandchildren.
The Sunday Times, Penguin Books, Harper Collins, Ladybird, OUP, Saatchi & Saatchi, BBC, Macmillan, The National Trust, The Guardian, New York TimesFavourites
: Dip pens; Hinks Wells, 303, Perry and Co running hand, Higgins Ink, Conte Pierre Noire Pencils
: The New Yorker
: Museum of Modern Art
: Any from my vegetable garden and fish straight from the sea.
: Pearl Paints