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I had a normal education in the early fifties and my ability to draw seems to be a natural gift as it was recognised quite early by the teachers in my church primary school. From there I went on to a secondary modern school for the usual four years until the school leaving age of fifteen.
Fortunately the art teacher at that school also recognised my ability and put me into an examination for entry into the local art school at the age of thirteen.
Back in those days some art colleges had art schools attached, a throw back to edwardian times, in which pupils still had a normal education, but with much more emphasis on art.
After two years I was at the normal school leaving age of fifteen and had the option of entering the senior art college and as at that time I had no idea of what I would do in life I chose this option.
On entering the art college I was faced with another choice, to take a fine art course or the newly introduced advertising course.
I figured there would be more of a chance of eventually making a living in advertising than fine art so chose a one year introductory course in advertising at the end of which I started a more comprehensive three year course which would end up giving me a qualification.
However, after eighteen months my tutor suggested I apply for an apprenticeship at a large local colour printers which had been advertised in the college, I got the job so ended up leaving college without any qualifications.
The job was not very demanding and after three years I left to join an advertising agency in manchester which is where I really started to learn my trade....I quickly picked up all the aspects of being an artist in the advertising business...a 'commercial artist' as it was called then.
I mastered brush script, lettering, cartoons, design and finished art and the odd illustration.
For the next ten years or so I several jobs in agencies around Manchester and was about to leave to go free=lance as a general artist when I was offered a job as an illustrator at a typography company that had come up from London to set up in Manchester.
I spent a few years there just doing illustration for all the local advertising agencies until the demand for free-lance illustration became so large I left to set up on my own.
From the late seventies until the early nineties I had a wonderful career doing illustration of all kinds and in all styles until computers started to appear in agencies and within a few years my work dwindled to almost nothing.
It was around this time that Philip Carr-Gomm, the chosen chief of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids suggested I collaborate on the Druid Animal Oracle.
I had been a member of the Order for several years and the project was a labour of love for me covering, as it did, all the things I was passionate about, Druidry, our native traditions and legends and the natural world.
After this I struggled on doing the odd advertising jobs that were still around until the millennium when I was offered the Druidcraft Tarot, also by Philip Carr-Gomm closely followed by the Green Man Tree Oracle written by John Mathews.
Since then I have done The Druid Plant Oracle, a companion to the Animal Oracle, and most recently the Wildwood Tarot.
I stopped doing advertising work at the turn of the millennium and I'm now in the happy position of only taking on work that has a spiritual connection for me.
I now consider myself as a painter rather than an illustrator and approach all my commissioned work as personal paintings and as all the originals revert to me after a deck has been printed I also spend the rest of my time making arts and crafts style frames for them as well as building an arts and crafts garden with my partner.
Click on these links to visit Wil's own website or to visit the website of Atlanta Roots, the band in which he plays guitar.