John Minnion has been drawing in black and white for so long that he can remember a time in the early Seventies when, for a while, it was fashionable. At that stage he was making a living from selling his own Alice in Wonderland posters. He followed up the posters with books of drawings - more Lewis Carroll subjects: Jabberwocky and Hunting of the Snark - then decided to do things properly by enrolling at the London College of Printing to study book production and typography. And now he is finally back in the book-publishing business after being waylaid for about 28 years by freelance illustration.
During that time he did regular work for many British magazines and newspapers, including BBC Worldwide, BBC On Air, The Listener, New Statesman (where he was political caricaturist for most of the Eighties), Financial Times, The Guardian, and particularly The Times.
He started building up a collection of caricatures of composers over six years of illustrating for The Listener, adding to it with work for the recording company Naxos. They are re-used regularly in music magazines, concert programmes and promotion, CD packaging (mainly Naxos) and tee-shirts. To see a catalogue of several hundred composer caricatures, go to www.lebrecht.co.uk and type Minnion in the Search box.
He retired from commissioned work in 2001, having drawn over 4,000 commissioned pictures.
Illustrators are not an especially celebrated sector of the art business, but they often have a feeling their work should hang around a bit longer in the world than it does. Unassuming though they are, newspaper illustrators occasionally wince when they see yesterday's drawing shoved under the cat's dirt-tray. That is why they eventually gravitate towards books.