Born in Liverpool to Irish and English parents, John lived in England and Scotland, and then Ireland in 1977—from the age of 9—until now. He’s created in many fields—including music—and has made pictures and stories ever since he could hold a pencil. Inevitably, this led him to art college, intent on becoming a professional illustrator.
He’s a versatile illustrator, working at times in a loose painterly mode, and at others with a precise vector-art method. A very educational childhood love of comics which informed much of his style, has recently evolved into a more tactile-looking, painterly style on board and paper, which he augments and finishes digitally. The spontaneous, lively media of real paint, pencil and ink has now been excitingly intensified with digital tools. Pencil comes first, then brushes, then the computer. This allows for an energetic ‘hand-made’ quailty, much valued in today’s cleanly digital world.
John has extensive experience in illustration and artwork for apps and games, newspapers and magazines, books and comics and TV. His semi-autobiographical 1970s webcomic Between * Wars was nominated for Best Irish Webcomic by Irish Comic News.
He’s immensely enjoyed working as an editorial illustrator for top Irish print publications (and journalists and columnists), such as: The Sunday and daily Irish Independent and The Irish Times newspapers; and Hot Press and U magazines.
A lifelong fan of fantastical pop culture, he’s often immersed in science fiction and otherwordly spookiness—in cinema and literature. As a painter he’s a fan of Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, Klimt (among countless others) and 19th/20th Century art and design.
He’s an experienced presenter on his own work, on how its done, and on creativity; for audiences of Irish Television, Australian Radio, and as a guest lecturer in third level colleges, including a now annual talk on Webcomics at Ballyfermot College of Further Education. In schools, he’s taught art part-time and given art workshops.