us a bit about your background -- what led you into art?
It’s a cliche, but I’ve been scribbling ever since I was old enough to
hold a crayon. I just carried on and have never felt like stopping. It
makes me happy. It’s also a tap for my imagination. I have a suspicion
that my head may explode if I don’t keeping getting the stuff out of it
and down onto paper. At school I always thought my life would revolve
around drawing but I was expelled from art college, so my art career hit
quite a large hurdle quite early on and I had to work in other areas! I
was never really happy doing anything else, and now I’ve been a
freelance illustrator for over 15 years.
Tell us a bit about Cornish Knockers. What is it? How did it get
The name ‘"Cornish Knockers" comes from the legendary little people,
some say spirits, that frequent the tin mines of Cornwall. The
Knocker Company was set up in 2008 by myself and Captain Jack Tomato
with the aim of creating and selling art, toys and literature based
around the characters and world I had designed. All the characters and
beings are inspired by, but not strictly the same as, the actual real
life legends. Some of the characters are completely made up. Back in
1800s/1900s Cornwall was at the forefront of world steam technology. The
Cornish inventors were celebrated worldwide for this as well as many
other types of invention, which is why our art contains lots of
inventors, steam and clockwork!
inspires your designs?
Luckily for me I was born and bred in Cornwall, a beautiful Celtic
county in England that used to be its own country. It’s where a lot of
the proper ‘Arrr’ type pirates originally came from and is bursting at
the seams with myths and legends of mermaids, giants, piskies,
smugglers, spriggans and of course Knockers. Apart from that, a partial
list would include Tony Hart, Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin (and all
their creations), Weebles, Mr Men, Bob Godfrey, 2000AD, David McKee,
Michael Bentine’s Potty Time, Carry On films, Dennis and Gnasher,
Barbapapa, Trap door, Harryhausen, Mr Ben, Van Gogh and Ilya Repin ... I
could go on.
us a bit about your design. Is there any story behind this crazy little
The most respected of the Cornish Knockers amongst their own folk are
those within the Grand Order Of the Oggy. Wizards, Bosses, Tasters and
the wise form their ranks. They are also known as The Big Hats due to
their enormous and often magical headgear. As a celebration approaches
there is often competition among the Big Hats to outdo one another with
magical hat based creations.
What’s your studio/workspace like?
I’m lucky enough to have a room in my house with a view overlooking some
cows. The studio’s pretty crammed. I can’t resist buying pens, brushes
and the like. I also do my digital work there but most work surfaces are
covered with doodles and roughs on scraps of paper.
your favorite handmade craft you’ve ever made?
Aged 11 I tie-dyed the phrase "you stupid git" into a napkin. My
classmates were impressed but my teacher failed to see the skill
Finally, if you were a Crayola crayon, what color would you be?
I’m not sure about colour, but I’d like to smell like a pasty as I was
If you dig Scruff and his awesome Cornish Knockers, you can find more on
or buy prints on his
Zazzle shops. You could of course just go over and say ‘ello on