Can you describe your working methods?
A sense of authenticity is essential when illustrating travel, so initially I do a lot of work on location. For London Sketchbook this involved appointments that included Paul Smith, Norton and Son's tailors on Savile Row, Globe Trotter suitcases and many others, but I also visited a lot of public spaces, museums and galleries with a sketchbook, pens and pencils.
At each location I made several quite detailed drawings as well as sketches of separate elements, and took reference photographs. All of this material then goes into what I think of as 'post production' phase where illustrations are adjusted for the final book using Photoshop on a Mac. I don't really see any boundaries between media, so the finished printed book is the final object I aim for, rather than being too precious about the processes I use to get there.
For London Sketchbook I used everything from oil pastel and ink resist (the texture for the Tower of London and the brickwork of Bedford Square), to dip pen and ink for the market scenes, to Photoshop for the Shard. It seems natural and logical to adapt the media I use to suit each subject, in the same way that I adapt my style and approach for different projects for clients.
What’s the most common reaction from people when you’re out sketching?
It varies between countries and locations. In Guatemala as a student I sometimes drew a curious crowd that was so dense I could barely see out. In Paris, cafés are brilliant because no one really bats an eyelid, there is an endless source of refreshments and plenty of subjects to draw. In London, people were friendly and curious but I often found myself standing up to draw quite complicated scenes, so it was obviously important to be slightly out of the way rather than standing in a stream of people. There is a certain technique to holding an open drawing book, making the drawing itself and avoiding people crashing into you, so I developed a way of bracing my sketchbook against my chest, anticipating wayward passers by, and keeping my elbows in.