Sunday 11 September 2011

A trip to the 'Samphire Coast'

'Samphire Coast' by Robert Greenfield
 I've had the privilege this year to have been commissioned by Robert Greenfield to produce the cover illustration and inset chapter illustrations for his first book 'Samphire Coast' which is published this week by Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie Ltd/Vanguard Imprint.

'Samphire Coast' tells the story of Robert and his partner, Michael (former top London hairdresser to the stars) risk-all for a no-going-back escape from North London bohemia - embarking on a new life in a rural backwater: owning and running a much-publicized boutique B&B establishment on the uber-hip North Norfolk Coast: aka Chelsea-on-Sea.

My involvement in this project all started with a phone call out of the blue one Saturday afternoon from Robert, who'd been recommended me by a mutual friend David Hobart. Usually I don't make instant decisions on these type of projects but Robert was so passionate and eloquent about his story that I'd almost imagined the cover in my head at that moment.

The sketch that started it all
That afternoon I sketched out an idea and sent it Robert and so began our journey on developing the sketch into the final wraparound cover illustration.

Like any illustration it evolved over the time I worked on it, both myself and Robert tried a variety of compositional 'tweaks' and even developed an alternative cover. Robert provided me with an extensive collection of photo references of himself, Michael and Barnaby - to date, we've never actually met, but through those photos and our emails I felt I really got to know them and I hope that I've done justice to the vision he had.

I started this illustration like all my others - on a sketchpad. From there I then worked on individual sections until we were happy with them. Once inked in they were scanned in and composited digitally in Adobe Photoshop onto separate layers to enable subtle changes/tweaks to be made even once digital colouring had commenced. I find this way of working best for me as it offers me the flexibility to fine tune and hopefully produce a piece of illustration work that really hits the mark.

To see more of my illustration work check out my website at

Samphire Coast by Robert Greenfield is published by Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie Ltd/Vanguard Imprint on 15th September and will be available in Waterstone's, Amazon and other local bookshops.

Order your copy of 'Samphire Coast' by clicking the link below:

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