Lee studied at Falmouth School of Art and then at Bournemouth School of Art, specialising in illustration.
For Lee, creating an image is very much about colour, texture and a sense of rhythm. He likes to think that the things he draws can almost dance across the page, or have a soundtrack of their own. Naturally, he listens to music while he works. Usually, a piece begins as a sketch and is progressed into digital form via his graphics tablet.
Textural and painterly, as a consequence of his approach Lee also describes his style as rhythmic. Although he works digitally, his aim is for the finished illustration to look as natural as possible – like a screenprint or hand painted sign. Music, folklore and Latin culture are major sources of inspiration for Lee, in particular the striking imagery surrounding Dia di los Muertos.
Lee's engaging illustrations for the RHS Gardens were recently shortlisted in the Advertising Category of the prestigious AOI Awards 2016. The posters were used for a series of events taking place across the RHS gardens and used as posters, flyers, press ads and onsite banners.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Lee: Drawing was my first love, if you are lucky, try and do what you love. Question: Do you have any formal design training? Lee: Yes, I went to Falmouth School of Art and Bournemouth school of Art and Design. Question: Where are you originally from? Lee: Falmouth, Kernowfornia (Cornwall). My family come from a little village called Port Navas in the Helford river, close to Falmouth. Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Lee: Ashburton (Devon) in the foothills of Dartmoor. We always used to come up from Cornwall to Dartmoor on day trips, it's a world of its own; rugged, raw, wild and untamed, like the sea, I find it very inspiring. Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? Lee: I'm in the Attic on St. Lawrence Lane in Ashburton. It's a visually voracious jumble of books, records, cds and doodles. It's much like how my head would look if you took a peek inside it.Question: Who or What is your biggest inspiration? Lee: Latin American culture, Mexican Dia de los Muertos, art, short films, long films, the sea, books and music!Question: How do you get your ideas? Lee: By immersing myself in music and any one of the above, or going for a long walk. Question: Do you collect anything? Lee: Ideas, I keep them in jars and feed them until they grow wild and free.Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? Lee: I have many - I run a club arts night called The Rambunctious social club, creating sets, interactive art and DJ-ing.Question: Tell us about a favourite project you've recently completed. Lee: A really cool small editorial job for HOT RUM COW - illustrating a piece called 'Rum, Reggae and Duppies' about the 'supernatural' qualities of Rum and Jamaican ghosts and how they have influenced Reggae music. The subject matter was right up my street! Question: What would be your dream job/commission? Lee: To design all posters, artwork, giant 3D stage sets etc for a full scale immersive show or festival, music or theatre.Question: Who are your illustration heroes? Lee: Edward Gorey, Maurice Sendak, Eduardo Munoz Bachs.Question: If you were not an illustrator, what would you be? Lee: A one man Mexican Mariachi band.Question: If you could live anywhere, where would you go? Lee: Colonia, Uruguay - lovely colonial town by the sea, full of old streets, sea smells, great music and art.Question: If you could travel back in time which period would you visit & why? Lee: The time of the Mayans. Their culture fascinates me, especially the art, witness the Mayan hieroglyphics and stelae, the original colours of all the temples.