This is my story of how I was very lucky to end up designing postage stamps, by pure chance, by being in the right place at the right time... and meeting the right person.

Grigsmore Ltd.

I first started in the art & design industry in 1969 when I left school at 18 with my 'A' levels and was lucky to get a job as a junior in the art studio of Grigsmore Limited, an advertising agency based in Ipswich.

This was the normal way to get into art & design then, so I did not go to university - not many people did then, but they did give me a very good training even if it did mean starting by making the tea and sweeping the studio floor. Cleaning the studio floor at the end of the day in those days was not a five minute job - all cut and paste, Cow Gum, and not a computer in sight.

S.A. Thornton Ltd.

In 1973 I commuted to London, with my apprenticeship, to start work in the art & design studio of S.A. Thornton Limited, a small studio but with many different advertising agencies as clients. Here I gained very good experience in finished artwork, visualising, layouts and illustration.

The Shandwick PR Group

In 1975 for 2 years I was an "in house" freelance in the art studio of The Shandwick PR Group in Berkeley Square, London, mostly as a visualizer - again a very good experience. During my time there as a freelance I was able to get some clients of my own. One of these was a photographer friend from my Thornton days. He offered me a room to rent "all in" for £10 per week. OK, £10 was worth more than it is now, but with no rates, heating etc. I jumped at the chance.

BG Studios Ltd.

This was my introduction to stamps. Bill Grout was the official photographer to The Crown Agents Stamp Bureau, as it was then known, taking official photographs at exhibitions and functions as well as photographing every artwork of stamps that had been produced for the 50 or so countries for whom they were the agents.

This was a lot of artwork, many of which required minor or major changes. Guess whose task that was? As this work increased my other work decreased. To cut a long story short he eventually took on stamp design work from CASB as well, a lot of which came to me. These were very enjoyable years until he retired in 1982. Sadly he died this year, but I will always be grateful for his friendship.

The Crown Agents Stamp Bureau

In 1982, as they already knew me, I approached CASB directly and very soon after had three stamp issues completed. At this point I decided to work from home and have done ever since, saving the increased rent and rail fares. The Crown Agents Stamp Bureau have been a very good client to me, commissioning me to produce hundreds of stamp designs over the years, and opening many other doors so that I now work for Countries, Agents and Security Printers.

To date I have designed, and mostly illustrated, approximately 5,000 stamps (not counting the First Day Covers, Souvenir Sheets, Sheetlets, Presentation Packs, and Cancels) for 90 countries on many different subjects.