Neil is a star among picture book illustrators. He's best known for the magnificent editions of The Odyssey and The Iliad produced by Walker Books/Candlewick Press and written by Gillian Cross. But there's much more than that.
For the Folio Society he's illustrated everything from Catch 22 to Foucault's Pendulum. From One Hundred Years of Solitude to The Arabian Nights. He tackles the most difficult subjects with a great deal of care and expertise - and the results have been hugely successful.
Born in Trinidad and with a childhood spent there as well as in Libya, Scotland, Wales and England, he studied graphics, illustration and printmaking at Colchester and he has spent many years working not just in publishing but also in advertising and graphic design.
He's now lived in London for many years and is fascinated (and sometimes disappointed) by the changing face of the city. Old haunts disappear, favourite pubs vanish, only to be replaced by more blocks of flats and corporate architecture. The train set he made for his son shows many of the highlights of central London, actually painted on the baseboard. He's even written a parable about a (fictionalised) old couple who once made bread which delighted the city but were later taken over by the corporate world.
Neil's original paintings have found their way into collections around the world, and I'm pleased to say that I have more to sell here
His most recent book is the illustrated children's edition of Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan. He chose to illustrate the various different periods by using art styles of that time, a feat which most artists would find daunting but he strode through the whole process in great style and the book has attracted a lot of interest. Now produced in twelve different foreign editions, it was particularly satisfying to receive both Chinese and Russian editions, two of the countries most relevant to this magnificent book.
Always fascinated by the idea of taxonomy, Neil's next book is a clever interweaving of the story of a young boy seen as a journey through various different means of classifying and sorting things into where they belong. Family members, different sorts of cats, different animals, musical instruments, vehicles, tools, clouds, buildings and many more. It's a fascinating collection, and his ability to define 24 different art styles on one spread is both very cleverly observed - and typically witty. As is the title, One of a Kind.