The man behind the coversComment on this story
There has always been something in me that enjoys the marriage of words and images – be it in book or film form. Officially, I went to college for a one-year foundation and then did a three-year degree course before beginning the lengthy process of trying to find those who might commission my work.
After two-and-a-half years of visiting countless publishers and design companies, and developing my own children’s book idea, I finally found a publisher who was willing to take the risk.
The resultant picture book was runner-up for the Mother Goose Award, kick-starting my career. From there I was immediately asked to write another book and began to receive offers from other publishers and authors.
If the book is not one I’ve written then typically a manu-script is sent from the publisher and it’s up to me to decide if I like it. If I like the book, I’ll begin by creating sketches and ideas and submitting them to the publisher.
Myself and the publisher will then to and fro with this rough work to decide on characters and composition. At this stage I’m carefully considering the best composition but also aiming for a final painting that will contain as much life and freshness as possible. So I always work roughs out quite small and with the minimum detail. Once we’re all happy, I’ll create the illustration. This final painting will then be sent to the publisher for printing.
When I was asked to draw the cover of the Harry Potter books, the publisher suggested passages from the manuscript. From then on I read the character descriptions and as much of the relevant passages as possible. I started to create drawings based on the images and feelings that were forming in my imagination. It took me about two to three weeks to make a rough copy and the final painting took two to three days.
I have three illustration commissions coming up. There are two books, one working with a friend who is seeking to celebrate the extraordinary life of her mother – a survivor of Auschwitz – and the other a fantasy children’s story with an author and publisher in Greece. – The