At the age of about 5, I discovered that the good old colouring pencil could be very useful (especially when it came to getting you out of trouble.) Back in the '70's, when things in our house were tough financially, my Grandad kindly gave my parents some wallpaper, with an egg and spoon pattern, to freshen up his grandson's bedroom.
The temptation was just too much, and one night, after staring at the eggs and spoons, I decided to see how much I could tear off! I must have felt guilt, even at that age, because to disguise my deed, I found my favourite pencils and set about carefully colouring the missing chunks of pattern. Fortunately, my parents and grandad found it amusing!
My naughty doodles started to appear everywhere, including some very old books (treasured by my parents) in which I added a little more action to the photos! I'm sure I convinced myself, at the time, that I would be adding something worthwhile to the book!
Carrying on through school life I'd love to copy my favourite comic heroes and then adapt them and place them in my own comic strips. Kids' escapism, I suppose! Eventually, I stumbled across the art of the 'caricature'...
...School out of the way and I decided that my only direction was to follow art further and so joined art college in '82 and studied every aspect you could think. One lesson even included drawing a model with your eyes shut! It was supposed to train your eye/hand co-ordination but, I can tell you, it was a real shock when you looked down at your drawing pad!!
I came away from art college with a 'BTEC Higher National Diploma' and then it was time to find a 'real job'! After a brief spell for a contract firm in Bristol Illustrating aircraft parts for BAe and Rolls Royce I found myself eventually employed working for the RAF as a civy. It was here that I became friends with an incredible caricaturist who would become one of my mentors, called Dave. Dave was a real character who, as a leaving gift, presented me with a very flattering caricature!
I then went on to join one of the country's leading RAF Training Command Centres. Being a part of the team there really opened my eyes up to what could be achieved through media design. I worked on a huge variety of projects that included: illustration/cartooning, design for print, exhibitions, web design, multimedia, marketing and corporate project management. Oh... and not forgetting caricatures for various RAF Officers and Civilians!
After being gradually pushed down the administration route and further away from a creative job, my heart was telling me that I didn't want to let go of my artistic skills (many artists literally have a pencil glued to their hand!). A greeting card publisher seemed to fit the bill and enabled me to continue getting my creative fix by illustrating a cute teddy bear character. Yes, I know, from Illustrating fighter aircraft to fluffy teddies? Variety or what?!
Today, I am gradually building the main passion in my working life... 'Tony's Toons'.
My goal is to keep supplying my customers with unique caricatures and hope that they bring their recipients years of laughter! 'Let's make 'em giggle'!
A short, minute long video with me describing my passion for what I do. Filmed at the stunning 'Wellington Barn' near the town of Calne in Wiltshire.
Thanks to James, from 'Design Sheep' for creating it.