These are two of my most favourite people I've ever known and I first met them when the world was 18 years younger than it is now. I was a fresh faced pup with a pocket full of rainbows and a head full of dreams in '91, just out of school and embarking on an art education. Jackie Clark (the smiley one without the beard on the right) and Pete Gowers (the grizzled one on the left. I'm joking, he's a sweet kid) were the very first tutors I had and I only had them for a year.
Now, I'm not the sort of person who makes an awful lot of friends- I tend to hang about on the periphery, I hide in the shadows and hope the world leaves me alone but in 1991 Jackie opened the door and coaxed me out and was warm and lovely and made me laugh. A lot.
And I'm not the sort of person who's awash with confidence either- I tend to muddle along, hope for the best and fumble my way through the dark but in 1991 Pete turned on the lights and illuminated the path and he was warm and sagely and swore. A lot.
Today, for the first time in months and months I had a day off and for the first time in years and years I went to visit them. Every bit as fantastic as they always were, I completely enjoyed several happy hours whiling away the time in the warmth of the sunshine and their company.
I can't begin to tell you how dear they are to me but I'm absolutely certain had it not been for that one glorious and golden year I had with Jackie and Pete, I wouldn't be an illustrator at all.