I was born in Great Yarmouth in 1949 and grew up in Norfolk and a coastal village called Caister-On-Sea. I enjoyed storytelling and was able to read from the age of four, making short work of Enid Blyton before moving on to Captain W.E. Johns, The Eagle and Dan Dare! It was Frank Hampson's work, the illustrator of Dan Dare, and the later Frank Bellamy who also initiated my love of drawing and illustration.
Presents at Christmas after my fifth birthday were invariably books, and I had read most of the literary classics before becoming a teenager. An enthusiastic English teacher at school introduced me to modern literature but also to the genres of Science Fiction and the Political Thriller, including spy stories by John le Carre and a certain Mr Ian Fleming. An art teacher at the same school encouraged my desire to draw which eventually led to my applying for entry into a school of Art and Design and on to a career of Design and Architecture.
In September of 1972 I went to Swaziland to join a United Nations project establishing Industrial Estates for entrepreneurs, and I fell in love with the people, the history and the red dirt of Africa. I came into contact with the great story telling traditions of the Southern half of that wild and magical continent and rediscovered within myself the need and desire to also tell stories. Many an evening was spent around braais and campfires, with companions from near and far, drinking wine and reading out or listening to the works of Credo Mutwa, Herman Charles Bosman and Bessie Head. I would also be lucky enough to meet many black South African artists, playwrights and musicians who used their talents to tell of their struggle with the insanity of apartheid and who still kept their incredible sense of humour that makes Southern Africa so vital and alive.
In 1990 I became a Lecturer in Industrial Design at the Cape Technikon (now the Cape Peninsular University of Technology) in Cape Town. There I met John Skotnes a sculptor and jeweller whose father Cecil Skotnes and sister Pippa Skotnes were part of the great South African tradition of painting and sculpture. John would become a lifelong friend and fellow traveller in the journey of the New South Africa. In the 'Prague Spring' of the Rainbow Nation, John and I developed a Drawing for Design course which taught students of all races and nationalities how to draw and use drawing as a means of communication. I still fervently belief now as I did then, that drawing is as essential as the three Rs and should be the fourth R in anybody's education.
In 2006 I returned to England with my wife Heather and my son Adam for personal reasons other than, but parallel with, the growing tide of violence in my adopted country. Settling in Oxfordshire I began to explore the city of Oxford, and realising that once again I wanted to tell stories I applied, and was accepted, for a place on the university's Creative Writing Course. It was there I realised the parallels between the creativity of writing and drawing, and how they can be taught to anyone willing to learn by demythologising the creative process and giving a student of any age the tools of self expression.
Four years ago I set up an Architecture and Design practise with Anna Dulnikowska-Przystalska and also began to write a book of historical fiction about the Bayeux Tapestry. Both are works in progress as is a desire to continue to teach drawing and to create a drawing course for those who wish to explore, with growing self-confidence, their inner muse.