Born 1953. Lived, Adlington, Lancashire.
BA Hons (1st class) Graphic Design Manchester Polytechnic 1975.
MA Illustration Royal College of Art 1975-1978.
Keeping frequently-filled drawn sketchpads essential to the way I was able to learn.
Much travelling in the UK and Ireland.
From college continued to live in London, working as freelance illustrator mostly on book jackets, often for teenage fiction. Magazine slots for Radio Times and corporate landscape commissions. Also educational storytelling including comic-book spreads and non-fiction explanatory illustration for Penguin, Pan, OUP, Heinemann, Harper Collins, etc.
Chosen to illustrate series of ‘Swallows and Amazons’ books by Arthur Ransome and the 1000th Puffin book, a compilation by Kaye Webb.
Visiting lecturer to Kingston and Middlesex Polytechnics in life-drawing and illustration. Organised and led annual student field trips – drawing the world as we found it.
Moved to Dorset 1986
Painted over 300 book-jackets. Also illustrated classics ; Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, The Secret Garden. Wrote and illustrated my own children’s picture books here and in America. For visual examples and more information visit www.tonykerins.com
In 1994 asked to become a member of Walker books. Further work for Reed international, Transworld and Random House. Also the Hodder Headline Activators series; Football Cricket Rugby Fishing. By now settled in Dorset and becoming involved with countryside interpretation. Illustrated, ‘A New way of Looking at the Isle of Purbeck’. The look of this was developed from my early morning painting trips along the Dorset coast. It was to influence the look of much of the National Trust’s subsequent output. I illustrated walks packs for The South Downs and The Jurassic Coast and worked on many projects including Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and five National Parks.
During this period first invited to do practical demonstrations of drawing, painting and storytelling in schools, both in this country and the US. This experience used again for the Wild Things workshops with author Cathy Lewis.
Visiting lecturer at the Universities of Plymouth, Bournemouth and once again, Kingston, where I taught location drawing in Central London. In 2006 worked on ‘gifted children’ scheme at St Bartholomew’s School Forest Hill South London, directing the children’s’ own work and compiling it into storybooks.
Since the exhibition, ‘Swanage’ in 2002, I have begun to add more self-initiated work into my portfolio, taking part in Arts Weeks exhibitions between 2004 and 2011. In 2008 selected work in the Study Gallery and in October of that year asked to judge and exhibit in, ‘Drawn to Poole’ at the Lighthouse Gallery. Paintings of Krakow and Lancashire exhibited in the Conningsbury Gallery, London.
In 2012 exhibited with, ‘PopUpDorset’ on Portland and now collaborating with them for ‘keep a sketchpad’ – exhibition and blog, at the Fine Foundation Gallery in 2013.
Recent commercial work has included historical illustration for Usborne Books, contemporary drawing for Barclays Bank, and a number of illustrated picturemaps for places like Chantry Wood near Guildford and Clovelly in North Devon. I also provided the illustrations for major projects at Durlston in Dorset and Chedworth Roman Villa in Gloucestershire. On my desk at present are commissions that involve a bald pirate, the history of time and a celebrity dog.
I’m also a quarter of the way through my one hundred and fifty-first small black sketch-pad.