Author and illustrator
Primary publishers: HarperCollins and Pan Macmillan
Class of 1991
After school I did an Art Foundation Course at Hertfordshire College of Art & Design and then a degree in Visual Communication Design at Middlesex University. My first job was as a junior designer at Just Seventeen magazine, then I moved to SKY Magazine as Art Director, then the NME as Art Director, then The Observer Magazine as Art Director.
I wrote and illustrated my first children’s book, Blown Away, in 2013 and, luckily for me, it won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize - only the second illustrated book ever to do so. Since then I have written and illustrated a further twelve picture books, three novels, and eight activity books. I have many bestsellers to my name, have won several major awards and have had five of my books featured as a CBeebies Bedtime Story - including Odd Dog Out, famously read by Tom Hardy.
In March 2020 I started #DrawWithRob, a series of draw-along videos designed to help parents whose children were forced to stay home from school due to the coronavirus pandemic. The initiative garnered widespread international media coverage, and millions of views across the globe. On 21 May 2020 we broke the Guinness World Record for the largest online art class when 45,611 households tuned in to my live #DrawWithRob YouTube class. This resulted in me being named as a Point of Light during the pandemic by the Prime Minister.
I absolutely loved my time at Owen’s. I was fortunate to have a great group of friends, lots of whom I still see on a regular basis, and some really amazing teachers. I think there was a healthy element of competition between me and my fellow students to do well, and that’s something that I have carried with me into my professional life. I’m always striving with a will to be the best that I can be.
There are so many, but inevitably it’s the friendships and the school trips that really stand out. Our visit to Harrock House in the first year was amazing, as was the Outward Bound trip to Wales in the fourth year and our Geography field trip in the sixth form. But I’d have to say my favourite was our three week trek around eastern Europe in the summer of 1990. Just incredible. The Berlin Wall had only just come down and St Petersburg was still called Leningrad. Unforgettable times with the very best people. So many lifelong bonds forged right there. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the school experience that I did, and the older I get the more I realise just how special it was.