Once upon a time. These four simple words cast a powerful spell for, upon their utterance, we become aware of another kind of magic; the compelling power of stories. I am an illustrator and my work is inspired by stories. Words and narrative have always had a strong influence on my images. Since I was small, my sister and I, fancying ourselves Tolkien, would draw in detail the people and places of epic stories we’d created for ourselves. We could be lost for hours, sitting side by side in bed with our paper and pencils resting on hardback books pressed across our laps. These days my illustrations are produced from a hilly landscape of art materials on an old dining table and are more closely based on fairytales, the natural world and literary classics but, along the way, I’ve retained that intimate relationship between word and image.
The idea for Merle Made Tales was ignited from this love of storytelling, which has remained with me since childhood.
After two years of commuting four hours a day to and from London where I worked at a bookbinders and leather-workers I was drained of all creative inspiration. I sketched here and there but hadn’t sustained a full project for a long time. The lowest point was standing on the cold, dark, wet platform at Norwood Junction in the middle of winter, waiting for a delayed train which would mean I would miss my connection home at East Croydon and have another 40 minute wait…and this was Southern Rail so it happened at least once a week! I knew I needed a change but it was only over a two week break for Christmas, when I had the time to pick up a pencil and indulge my imagination, that I felt that old and familiar tug of motivation again. I realised that this was what I needed to do more then anything else in the world. Merle Made Tales was the result. With the help of The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Program, I have begun to build a business that values the environment, putting beauty into the world and, of course, storytelling.
In my work I use a mixture of watercolour, pencil, pen and ink, collage and etching to produce a range of unique prints, one-off pieces, cards, colouring-in books and home ware. My commissioned work has included book illustration, animation and set design.
I am available for commission. If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact me. Alternatively, find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thank you for your interest and I look forward to hearing from you.