I am a professional illustrator with a career spanning two decades. In my capacity as an Approved Artist for the Walt Disney Company, I have illustrated many books and periodicals as well as providing artwork for consumer products and various style-guides. My other freelance work has also embraced comic strips, character design, logos and even corporate ID.
I provide the complete service, from Concept/Layout through Pencils and Inks to Colour. I am proficient in both traditional and digital media, though I work mostly digitally now.
I trained at the West Surrey College of Art & Design (now University for the Creative Arts), graduating in 1990.
In 1994 I was fortunate to be offered a job with Character Magic Ltd, a studio run by the renowned Kim Raymond, that specialised in producing Licensed Character Art, mostly Disney. I started as an Inker but moved quickly to Background Artist. Most of the projects we worked on were for new movie licenses or the Disney Classics, so I gained a lot of experience painting in many different styles.
In 1996 I plugged into the Disney Training program and began to hone my skills in character origination. Instructed by some of the best artists in the world, I found the whole experience inspiring as well as challenging. I also discovered that being a Disney character artist is a job that's a lot harder than it looks, taking years to perfect.
In 1997, I decided to take the leap into freelance work. Perhaps a little early, professionally speaking, but it was fuelled by personal circumstances. Thankfully I managed to make it work and have remained fully employed to this day.
In May of 2002 I received an award from The Walt Disney Company for ‘Best Winnie The Pooh Artist for Publishing, 2001’, a real surprise and a lovely gesture from them, especially as it helped me secure an international reputation. I began receiving commissions from all over the world and was given some great opportunities.
In January 2010 I was asked by Disney Consumer Products EMEA to write an Artist Training for Classic Pooh. Thinking back to 1996, it was a rare moment of feeling I'd come full-circle. It was a daunting task, not least for someone who considers himself a perpetual student, but I was honoured to be asked and thankfully it proved to be a success.
That is pretty much that. I’m still here after 26 years, 23 as a freelancer; still paying my dues; always striving to improve. Hopefully, that will mean more good things to come, we’ll see.
Andrew Grey, August 2020.