When I was a kid I loved (amongst other things) The Beano, Asterix, and Tintin. Tintin, in particular – the artistry, epic adventures, linework, dog, hairstyle, the (slightly dodgy) depictions of exciting foreign cultures… It was/is mind-blowing. 


Following a Graphic Arts BA I started a magazine with friends, which ran for a few years. This allowed me to hone both my creative skills as a graphic designer, and my style as an illustrator. I later worked in advertising as a freelance designer, which gave me the opportunity to use my developing style on bigger, commercial projects. (And get dead fast at using Photoshop with an Art Director hovering over my shoulder at 11:30pm). Between jobs I’d always spend time on my own work. I had friends who were already successful in freelance illustration, so understood early on that it takes a lot of grafting (and drafting) to get established.

Being asked to create an Art Label for the Beck’s Be Kreativ project was massive – a dream job.  For my design, I wanted to create a sort of ‘meta label’, using the shape of the label itself as a starting point, and the idea of it peeling off and folding within itself. I took inspiration from a piece by my fave designer, Franco Grignani, that involves squares morphing into circles, with each stage of the transition contained in the square. Once I started playing with this idea, I found I could create a letter B as the end stage. A beer label is unique – although small, it is a very distinctive canvas, with a huge amount of visibility

Outside of work, I cycle a lot – nothing alleviates the stresses of the sedentary illustrator’s life better than a spin through the Essex lanes (or ideally, Italy/France/Spain). Cycling and drawing: what’s better than that?


Charles Williams