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Comics – GUARDIAN & prospect

Since 2011 a large part of my life has been spent writing and drawing semi-topical comics for The Guardian and Prospect. It sends me insane in on a weekly basis but I love it too.

Mostly I don’t take on comics commissions outside these publications because I find them difficult and time-consuming to make. They’re basically miniature comedy sketches about whatever I think is ‘in the air’ at the time, and they never feature recurring characters or continuing plots.

The drawing style has changed quite a lot over the years as I learned what the hell I was doing, in public. At first I drew them with ink, or sometimes even fully painted them, but these days I do them on an iPad for the sake of meeting deadlines.  The small selection below jumps about in time (and style) somewhat, so I’ve given a bit of context beneath each one.

One day I hope to publish a proper collection of them but until then, a selection of limited-edition prints is available in my shop.

November 2015. Self service checkout technology still hasn’t improved since I made this.

July 2021: the delayed 2020 Euros are on and England are actually doing quite well. The nation are ecstatic; the footballers are footballers.

March 2023. ‘Nepo baby’ discourse has taken over social media.

February 2021.

May 2021: a ‘green list’ of countries reopening to travel after covid is released by the UK government.

September 2021. Parking meter apps – and apps for all sorts of banal transactions – have become ubiquitous since covid.

December 2020. I don’t recall ‘elf on the shelf’ being a thing in the UK before around this time. My kids were very young at this point, so I nearly caved. Thank god I didn’t.

May 2020. Scary times. Boris Johnson is making a series of to-camera public addresses, the like of which we’ve only seen in apocalypse movies. Dominic Cummings is his chief adviser.

April 2023. The annual discussion of the ‘meaning of Easter’ comes around.

March 2022. The clocks are going forward again. Or is it back? I have never understood it and I never will.

April 2022 – St George’s Day. St George is the patron saint of England. For various reasons – mainly colonialism – the English are slightly more awkward than other countries about celebrating our ‘national day’.

December 2021: the original influencer.

December 2021. If you are reading this far in the future, know that once, Mark Zuckerberg tried to distract from accidentally-kind-of-sorta causing a bit of an insurrection by launching the metaverse with his mate and former UK deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. The promo announcement looked something like this.

July 2021. A select band of billionaires are the first into space tourism, and the last to pay their taxes.

November 2020. I am obsessed with the US election, and have started watching the coverage. After the last four years, the ‘undecideds’ are a thing of wonder to me.

November 2016. We’re starting to think social media might be changing things.

February 2016. Beer packaging has changed in recent years.

August 2016. The coincidence of ‘both-sidesism’ in the media, particularly the BBC, and the world doing ever more stupid things has become a talking point.

April 2016. There are very few portraits of Shakespeare, the most famous (and bald) of which was chosen for posterity by his arch-enemy. So I really think the basis of this joke may be true.

October 2016.July 2016: after the Brexit referendum, but before Trump. It was quite a year.

September 2017. You kind of need to be familiar with the Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme to get this. December 2017.July 2015: the anniversary of Dylan ‘going electric’, a milestone I’ve never really understood.

June 2015. I must have been annoyed about latté art, for some reason. Got to write about something!

March 2015.


January 2013. I’ve been a fan of Philip Larkin’s poetry since I was at school. This is one of the comics I’m most proud of, writing-wise, as I really tried hard to capture his tone.

Sometimes I make a newspaper comic and wish I’d had more space, so I make a longer, and maybe ruder, version afterwards for fun.  This, from September 2020, was made at a time when those ‘Masterclass’ ads were taking over everyone’s social media feeds, and Boris Johnson’s fuck-ups were taking over everyone’s lives.

And finally – September 2022. Liz Truss’s first week as UK Prime Minister, knocking it out the park.

It’s hard to communicate now just how extraordinary it was to see Liz Truss become UK Prime Minister and mess it up so badly, so quickly. The effects were horrendous but it was undeniably, grimly, *wretchingly* funny. And, of course, a gift for cartoonists. The metaphors just kept writing themselves. She literally told us all she was going to drive us all to glory, and then crashed into a wall the moment she touched the pedals. This comic – a modified version of a 2016 one which had, instead of Liz, the personification of that horrible year setting everything on fire – proved to be one of my most-shared.  I think partly because Liz was funny, but also because it’s based on a common English fear which lurks in the cleft between our national talent for being embarrassed, and our national obsession with football: kicking a ball back to someone you don’t know in a park.

Anyway, here’s to Liz. Those golden 49 days were awful but my god, what a time to be a cartoonist.

Pimms Website

July 2014: commissioned by Pimm’s in conjunction with Mother London and Love Creative to illustrate a full relaunch of the Pimm’s website and social media presence. The brief was to provide a light visual tone representing the ‘world’ of each product, as well as extensive lettering and icons around the site.

pimms_website_1 pimms_website_2 pimms_website_3 pimms_website_4

Social media illustrations (“In summer, it’s never not Pimm’s O’ Clock”):

Misc. Editorial 1

Miscellaneous work for magazines and newspapers

Southwest Airlines magazine: for a piece by Steve Almond about returning to his childhood summer camp as an adult with a family.
Gouache and ink on paper, 2017

GQ magazine, UK: Lockdown working. Digital, summer 2021Reader’s Digest UK: strange goings on in rural France . Gouache, ink and digital editing, 2016small_whisky_2
World of Whisky magazine. Ink and digital colouring, 2017

‘Relax with an Abbot’: advertisement concept commission for Abbot Ale. Gouache and ink on paper, digital editing, 2022

Good Housekeeping (UK): I illustrate a regular column by the comedian Susan Calman, in which she describes funny anecdotes from her life. Here she is paddleboarding in the Lake District. Digital, 2023 The taboo of not wanting children, Das Magazin (Germany), 2016. Gouache and digital

Instagram post ad for Sly Dog Rum, Christmas 2021

Pimms Press

Work for Pimm’s (July 2014) in conjunction with Mother London to illustrate a series of press ads.

pimms_press_1 pimms_press_5

Radio Times

Various illustrations commissioned by the Radio Times.



radiotimes_3    stevepunt_radio

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil



Available from:
Barnes and Noble

beard_2Also available: UK edition, Italian edition, German edition, Spanish edition, French edition, Polish edition and Korean edition (out soon)


“A total work of art which elevates itself beyond comparison.”
– Nick Hayes, Literary Review

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil is an artistic marvel”
– AV Club

“Slyly exquisite”
– Glen Weldon, NPR

“The British invasion has begun anew via The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil.”
– Beth Carey, Comics Alternative

“An amazing book. Completely original. Surreal, yet believable.”
– Raymond Briggs author of The Snowman

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil has the tone of a playful fable, from the cracked syntax of its title onward… It’s a rather Seussian premise, and Collins underscores the joke by nudging narration and dialogue into half-rhyme […] For a book about the liberating joys of disruption, though, it’s exceptionally disciplined: Collins renders several hundred pages of immaculately ruled buildings and bean-faced people (and the fuzzy curlicues that interfere with them) in meticulous, microdetailed pencil textures.’
– Douglas Wolk, New York Times

“If you go to the comics shop to encounter unfamiliar talents, to get that shock of the new, this is your best bet.”
– The Comics Reporter

“Clever, funny and beautiful to look at… surely destined to become a classic.”
– Rachel Cooke, The Observer (UK)

“Filled with elegant black-and-white sketches and darkly philosophical commentary, Collins’s graphic novel details what happens when borders collapse and stories have no tidy endings.”
– Time Out New York

All kinds of 21st-century anxieties writhe under the text: fear of immigration, the collapse of cultural homogeneity, ecological devastation—the end of a particular way of life […] Collins nimbly avoids the potential pitfalls of preachiness or meaningless absurdity here, leading to a confident and convincing début. I look forward to more.
– Edwin Turner, Biblioklept

“It’s part satire, part parable, part nursery rhyme and part disaster movie, and it’s an utter joy to read.”
– Tom Gatti, The Times (UK)

it’s kind of Roald Dahl – it’s very funny, dark, fable-like and about exactly what it’s title says.”
– Linda Holmes, NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour

“An imaginative and funny fable that can be enjoyed on its own terms and as a nicely judged satire on ignorance, routine and the deadening influence of corporate and celebrity culture.”
-James Smart, The Guardian (UK)

“Almost Kubrickian in the way it uses technical precision to exert such a level of experiential control over the reader[…] like Dahl’s work, Collins’ comic is deeply funny, never taking itself too seriously. It’s full of jokes that seem casual and carefully timed—not the kind of jokes that knock you off your seat, but the kind of jokes you keep in your head for a long time.
– Shea Hennum, This Is Infamous

“A gorgeously penciled fable. The pacing and page design are immaculate.”
– Teddy Jamieson, Sunday Herald (UK)

“There’s a touch of Roald Dahl to this dark, beautifully drawn and wonderfully surrealist tale.”
– Monocle

“A witty and surreal response to conformity, and how we should embrace our difference. Accompanied by incredible pencil drawings, you will be blown away by the quality, and be humbled by the underlying message.”
– ItsNiceThat

“An inspired swirling of the mundane with the surreal… published in a super-sized, yummy parchment-like hardback drawn in soft pencil, it’s like a children’s book for the anxious adult.”
– Metro (UK)








Other Commissions

Miscellanous illustrations, paintings, etc…

tumblr_mv2w0eFQau1s5jb9ho1_1280Painting commissioned as an employee’s leaving present by advertising agency AMV BBDO. Gouache and ink on paper.

ttc_2ttc_1 Advertising campaign commissioned by Time To Change / Mind in conjunction with DARE media. The brief was to come up with an idea to combat taboos around discussing mental health issues.