After studying at the Batley College of Art – where art history was one of his favourite topics - Philip worked in education, advertising and design before becoming a full-time artist in the 1980s. He has honed and developed his style ever since.
Besides nature, Philip is inspired by history, music, ghosts, poetry and the sky at night – particularly when the darkness is unpolluted by electric lights. English folk songs, American string bands and Victorian music hall tunes often fill the air while he paints.
Philip has a distinctive watercolour style, but loves experimenting with the medium. Often working in monotones, he’s able to accentuate the contrast in his imagery while at the same time drawing out crucial details.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Philip: When I was a boy at junior school I used to draw intricate battle scenes; pike and musket and smoke. Mr. Watmough said I could be a commercial artist. I didn't know such things could be. Question: Do you have any formal design training? Philip: A three year graphics course at Batley College of Art & Design. Many years ago. Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Philip: In Worcestershire between Pershore and Evesham by Bredon Hill. We have no street lights and on a clear night those constellations can give you a real fright. That's one good reason to be here. Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? Philip: At the bottom of the garden, a lovely 'shed' 12ft square the last time I measured it. Radio 3 is on. Question: How do you get your ideas? Philip: Depends on the job of course but I have a deep well of magic and romance to draw on. Question: Do you collect anything? Philip: Books mainly, history, arts, esoteric things. I have an almost complete collection of Thorne Smith novels! Also vintage packaging and LP's. Italian masks but nothing too fancy. Question: Do you keep a scrapbook? Philip: I used to tear pages out of non-expensive magazines for picture reference, I have boxes of them, which I don't need any more, full of desperately old fashioned looking people. I can't bring myself to throw them out.
Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? Philip: I sing and play my old guitar, mainly for my own amusment these days, Old Time Country Music, English folk, Victorian songs, all sorts. Question: Tell us about a favourite project you’ve recently completed. Philip: The Mary Portas Shop! Feature in the Telegraph magazine has been and IS a joy. Country Life's best London and country shops too. Question: What would be your dream job/commission? Philip: A 20 volume guide to Architectural Follies and the stories behind them. Question: Who is/are your art hero/es? Philip: Andrew Wyeth, J. Singer Sargent, John Piper. Question: If you were not an illustrator, what would you be? Philip: (Wealthier ha ha!) A museum curator, the V&A would be good. Or some kind of specialist in the depths of the British Library. Question: Have you any hidden talents? Philip: I can mix vintage cocktails, and I can draw storyboards! Question: If you could travel back in time, who would be the one person you would want to meet? Philip: My grandad was at the Battle of the Somme in 1916, in ordinary life he was a grocer, and such a gentle person, I can remember sitting on his knee. I would like to go and have a chat with him to cherish the word pictures which have simply evaporated away.
The Folio Society, Conde Nast, Waitrose, The National Trust, The Independent, Telegraph Magazine, Country Life, Favourites
: wooden tea huts - on hot days
: Birmingham Museum and Art
: Fresh local eggs and real chips
: A nice cup of tea
: My son's band I Like Trains