This was posted on to a lovely blog, Questioning Creatives. It gives you a potted history of where I’ve come from. But it’s the work not this that speaks for me.

The journey so far...

About me.

Well I’ve got 5 minutes… so here goes…

I live in Lancashire UK.

I was born at an early age and have been working as an illustrator for most of my professional life.

I left college in the late 60′s with a LSIAD ( Licentiate, Society Of Industrial Artists and Designers) college diploma and a one length swimming certificate under my belt, under my arm and after my name.

I walked straight into an advertising job in Manchester after 4 months trying, on the understanding I could make a brew and not get in everyone’s way.

I spent the next 10 years working in and around the Manchester advertising industry, working my way up from small accounts to bigger small accounts.

I then went freelance. For the first couple of years creating TV storyboards, illustrating for all kind of accounts from Pritt Stick ( I created the character) to tons of brewery accounts – there’s a lot in Manchester, also comic pages for Danger Mouse, Disney and Transformers.

When did you decide you wanted to be an illustrator?

I’ve no idea, it kind of happened, I’ve always been interested in drawing and I was encouraged by a secondary school teacher, Neville Turner, to go to Art College. I developed my skills during the first 10 years in agencies.

Would you recommend studying at art school?

From personal experience, yes most definitely. I got the chance to find out what made me tick and discover what it was all about. I was fortunate I had a good team of tutors who changed me from a neanderthal to an arty neanderthal.

I would say from experience that you need to check out any college that appeals, find out how it’s run, what the tutors backgrounds are, and if the local council supports art education.

How long was it before illustration became your primary form of income?

I think previous answers cover that one, I suppose you have to decide between drawing for yourself and drawing for money. Once I worked that one out, I was off and running.

Could you describe you typical day?

Most of my work now is in publishing and there’s a lot of it. The work dictates my day.

I start about 9am and work until 6pm. I sometimes work in the evening.

I walk the dog, some of my best ideas come when I’m away from the desk.

What do you wish you’d know when you first started out?

That it’s not a Doris Day world.

What’s the best thing about being an illustrator?

Drawing. Meeting clients, some of them are very nice!

What’s the worst thing about being an illustrator?

Any self employed person will say that insecurity, no security and low pay are main ingredients to a trip to the funny farm.

I’m used to it.

If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be?

Goodness knows. A pirate?

It would have to be something in the creative world, it’s how I’m wired.

Any other tips you could share?

As a self employed individual in business, be on time with any job, learn to draw ( not on a computer)

Get a good accountant and life partner ( my wife is very patient ) Talk to a client, not by email, but by phone, or better yet go and see them.

Get a dog.


All content and imagery Copyright John Haslam 2013. Website by Numbers&Lines