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Richard Johnson

When I was a child, I was always happiest with a pencil and a scrap of paper to scribble on, as many young children are. I’d spend my time drawing comics, inventing traps or highly explosive rockets, copying my favourite Transformer of the week, sketching scenes from Star Wars or Indiana Jones, or sometimes making detailed copies of the old war planes from my dad’s books…

I was fortunate enough to have parents who let me decide for myself exactly which path I should take through the education system. And so, as many do, I decided to pursue my passion for art. (Although the explosive possibilities of building those rockets via science or mechanics appealed to me for a short time.)

After some painful years of leading the life of a struggling 'fine art' student, which can be quite depressing, I realised what I really wanted to do was simply to design and draw and I discovered the Visual Communication department. A few enjoyable years later and I'd graduated from Loughborough University School of Art and Design with a first in illustration. My tutor was Mario Minichiello, who made a big impression on my rationale as a wannabe illustrator, as he does with many of his students.

So I left with a little talent and a lot of determination and was thrust into the sink or swim world of the ASDA produce section, which nearly undid all Mario’s good work. Fortunately my determination pulled me through, and very slowly illustrative commissions started to come my way.

Now I am almost all grown up and I’m lucky enough to be able to do what I always wanted to do for a living - make pictures!

I like to try and work in as many areas of printed illustration that clients will allow me to, from ideas-based commissions with a quick turnaround to larger projects, sequential imagery and character development. Previous jobs have included creating imagery for advertising, packaging, posters, cards, magazines, newspapers and children’s publishing.

After a few years as a practising illustrator I slowly developed my visual language into this area and my first children’s picture book won a Silver Medal in the Best of British Illustration exhibition, presented to me by the Association of Illustrators. Since then I have worked on lots of other books for children.

Recently I have turned my attention to developing my own stories. My first self-written book, My Grandpa’s Amazing Inventions is to be published by Templar later this year, while the next one is waiting to be set free from the confines of my sketchbook!

I currently live in Lincolnshire with my partner who is a jewellery designer.

When I’m not making pictures I like to fly my kites or explore the woods where I live; there are plenty of stories waiting to be found just around the next tree. I also like a drink or two with my pals and enjoy looking after my partner’s grandparents garden, but probably not in that order. I am also fond of collecting things, I like strange and old toys, and hunting down interesting imagery on my travels.

See books by Richard

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