Born near Montrose, on the North East coast of Scotland, I have lived in a neighboring small fishing village called Johnshaven all my life.
I went to Mackie Academy secondary school for six years until I was 18, after which I returned immediately to the very same school where I now manage installation and support of the ever-growing (250+ machines)
computer network, data processing/conversion and their web site.
Whilst a pupil at Mackie Academy, I started an electronics business, which still continues today in my spare time repairing domestic, automotive,
agricultural and industrial electronics. It is through my business I had motivation to get into web design and graphics.
The only art-related training I have is technical drawing (Higher draughting) and the
mandatory art classes when I was 13 –14 years old in which nothing worthy of note was achieved (my own fault!) – I can't draw freehand!
In 1992, when my computer was an Acorn A5000 (RISC), I met Xara in its
first incarnation – Artworks by Computer Concepts (now Xara Ltd). It was awesome for its time but I still couldn't draw, but that famous MG midget illustration was a wonder to behold!
Ten years passed with
nothing other than an occasional sign, label or web button being drawn in Corel Draw when a flyer from Xara arrived in the mail asking if I would like to upgrade from Artworks to Xara – boy, was that a surprise! The
price was good and the upgrade was purchased and I was very pleased with it. The business web site got revamped, the school web site was redone and I learnt much from the experience. I still couldn't draw, but my
web graphics looked much nicer!
Then in June 2002 I learned to draw! After spotting a valve radio at an auction, which I bought and wanted to restore to life, a new valve was required and duly ordered and
when it arrived, it was an original 1960's device packaged in a wonderfully designed box. I wanted to add a valve radio page to my web site and set about mimicking the style of the box. The old valve was sitting
beside the computer when I started Xara, and I was greeted by Gary Priester's light bulb in the "tip of the day". An inspirational moment indeed: that's when I decided to make a real attempt at drawing something –
the valve in front of me. It took a lot of effort but the results surprised me and I posted it to the Talk Graphics forum. The fantastic response there inspired me to try more projects and the helpful feedback
taught me mountains in a very short period of time. In 5 weeks I produced 14 pieces of work all of which, before June 2002, I would not have believed I could produce.
I would like to say a big thank you to
Xara Ltd for their wonderful software and all the people in the Talk Graphics forums for their help and feedback, and to Gary Priester for the wonderful tutorials in XaraXone. If it hadn't been for the light bulb
appearing in the tip-of-the-day, I'd still be in the dark :o)