Born in Croydon (not my fault), I spent my formative years amidst the rolling wooded landscapes of the Weald from where I developed my love of trees and womb-like dingly dells. I had the great good fortune to study Illustration at Harrow School of Art, a college where (unusually for the time) students were still being taught how to draw and by gifted tutors who knew how to teach drawing.

Since then I have worked as a freelance illustrator for whoever is happy to employ me. I possess skills in various media but am perhaps best known for my black & white work, most particularly with pen & ink and scraperboard. My style could be termed 'traditional': it's not a conscious choice, more how things have always seemed to turn out. That said, I am indeed much happier working on historical subjects, the darker or more tumbledown the better. I'm endlessly fascinated by the way things used to look and take great pleasure in the research involved in trying to ascertain the visual facts which then become a vehicle for my creativity. I particularly enjoy architectural subjects and would like to do more in the way of architectural reconstruction illustration, especially if a more 'atmospheric' rather than clinical approach is required.

I have a PGCE (Art & Design) and for some years worked as a part- time lecturer in illustration and drawing at York College of Art and Technology (now simply York College). York gave me a taste for living in medieval cathedral cities (and exploring fine tea rooms) but not the Vale of York. I now reside in Norwich (fulfillment of a long held wish) from where I intend to do more of my own painting and drawing. It's the light, don't you know? And the proliferation of medieval church towers. And the reed beds and the windmills and the Swallowtail butterflies and...

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©Martin Cottam