John studied illustration and graphic design at the Cambridge School of Art from 1957-62, and after working as an art director returned there as a part-time lecturer. In 2012, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Anglia Ruskin University for his lifetime contribution to illustration and drawing at Cambridge School of Art.
John uses an old-fashioned drawing pen with 19th century nibs, colouring his work with watercolours.
Classic, humorous illustration is John’s domain, with soft colours and good composition, often plenty of detail and a touch of silliness.
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