Inspired by T Rex, the hippy zeitgeist of the 1970s and the fantasy illustration style that went with it, Alan Baker has some amazing stories to tell. Once, he hitchhiked across Europe with just £35 in his pocket and ended up in Afghanistan. He’s also known to bury dishwashers and washing machines in his garden. These are true stories, but when it comes to fantasy illustration he has an imagination that’s second to none. His awards cabinet is full of honours to prove it.
When studying zoology didn’t pan out for Alan – he found himself drawing instead – he switched to illustration, and took a degree at what is now the University of Brighton. He graduated in 1976 and has been an illustrator ever since.
Some of Alan’s earliest memories involve colour, and how different shades react to the lighting conditions. Today, he works up his compositions on screen using Photoshop, then hand paints the various elements of the image, layering them together digitally at the end of the process.
Though his subject matter is often fantastical, there’s a canny realism and high level of detail in Alan’s work. Skin, hair, fur and feathers are all deftly recreated whether they belong to a dragon or a dormouse.
Whitbread Award 1979
Benson & Hedges Illustration Awards Gold 1984
Creative Circle Awards 1990 Gold and Silver in Press Advertising
YES Award of Excellence 1992
Children's Choices Award 1995
Children's Choices Award 1996
- The Guardian
- Radio Times
- Sunday Times