All posts by Stephen Collins

Portrait Commissions


Sometimes I open commissions for portraits. They’re fun to do, usually conducted through a series of email Q&As with the subject, who provides photos and videos for reference.

My approach to making them has changed over the years: I used to do close-ups of the faces, but found that I could actually get more personality and style into the image if I depicted people full-length and surrounded by places and things that were meaningful to them. Straight-on composition, playing with scale and a bit of surrealism helps to give a vaguely ‘Wes Anderson’ vibe, as well as making them interesting to look at.

All commissions go through a digital rough process, with the client getting to see what they’ll receive in an accurate digital drawing before it is painted in gouache and pencil on paper.

Portraits are approximately A3 in size, cost £750 each and take 3-6 weeks to complete depending on the length of the ideas development stage. Please email me to enquire about booking availability.

Explanations for imagery provided beneath each portrait:

This couple were about to get married. They met at a pub called The Antelope, and enjoyed playing lawn bowls with the older folks at their local club. They were decorating their new house.

A family with various interests – reading, ice cream, surfing, etc. They often had family parties in their back garden patio ‘pub’, so I drew the back of their whole street, with their party space depicted in detail.

An astrophysicist couple who met while working on the same weather satellite, and who both loved their tea. The subject was a gift and the graphic simplicity of weather depicted from space helped with the look.

A family of fantasy fans, all avid readers, with a mum who worked as librarian in a beautiful turreted private school. As with all the portraits I do, a lot of photos of specific items of clothing (and their little dog) helped me to get the details right and make the painting ‘theirs’.

A family of Celtic fans who enjoy a historic site outing and bake a mean Guinness cake. I can’t quite remember the significance of the owl and the squirrel, but I’m sure there was one.

A couple who live by a beautiful Dorset bridge, enjoy visiting France for wine, food and cycling, and share a life history of cricket and am-dram (hence the nun costume in-joke).

Two scientist parents who had an imaginative family game with their daughters about going through ‘the portal’ in their living room. Guinea pigs, favourite toys and the daughter’s love of drawing all fed into the image. Even the drawing pad was her currently favoured brand to make a snapshot in time for the family to enjoy.

A family of Beatles fans whose child had just built the Lego Yellow Submarine. They enjoyed visiting the National Trust property pictured at bottom, and their cats can be found in the trees.

A group of siblings who grew up on a New Zealand farm sharing one Lego Duplo toy that they all remembered. As kids they would often sit out and look at the night sky for hours together, so I carefully matched the arrangement of the stars to precisely what they would see.

A wedding portrait for a musical, photography-loving couple based in Cornwall who are both fans of The Wicker Man. I made a point of getting the bouquet and wedding clothes accurate.

This family had a special place: some ruins in the woods which they would visit on walks together during lockdown. They also love Man United, knitting and playing guitar together.

This subject was my favourite: a professional stop-motion animator and her partner who is a musician and artist. They have a studio in the basement, where they once made film about a Mars rover. I hit on the idea of having a stack of matte painting backdrops behind their living room ‘set’, each depicting special places from their lives together. Their little boy was just learning to walk at the time, hence the animation ‘walk cycle’ depicted on the laptop. All tech and setting details were carefully researched with the (very) patient help of the subject.

Spot the Mistake


Christmas 2023 cover of Saturday magazine, The Guardian. This issue was the Christmas Eve ‘puzzles special’, so the challenge from my point of view was to provide a fun puzzle which was also a nice illustration (two not-always-compatible things). I went for a ‘spot the deliberate mistakes’ approach in the end.

See how many you can spot!

*Oh and as someone pointed out to me afterwards, there’s a blank shop behind a tree. That’s just something I do to avoid visual clutter, and isn’t one of the ‘mistakes’ (though I should have anticipated it).

Answers panel:

The Anecdote

The Anecdote

Full page comic for Prospect magazine, 2019

The Dinosaur Awards

The Dinosaur Awards

The Dinosaur Awards: written by Barbara Taylor, illustrated by me, published in 2021 by Frances Lincoln books.

This was great fun to draw: a heavily-illustrated collection of ‘awards’ for dinosaurs, which required a balance of fun and scientific detail.

Drawn mostly on Procreate for iPad.

Valentines Day – Waitrose

Valentines Day – Waitrose magazine

Illustrating a feature for Waitrose magazine about the restaurant trade’s experience of Valentines Day.

upcoming events

Stuff I’m doing in the real outside world


Friday 21st October: Cartooning and illustration talk, Edinburgh College of Art.

Sunday 18th September: Rómerov Dom, Biela noc arts festival, Slovakia, talk and book signing.

Saturday 17th September: Košice, Slovakia, talk and book signing,  LiKE book festival.


Tuesday 24th August: Kirklees Light Railway, Yorkshire. Baby’s First Train Robbery book launch. Reading, drawing lesson and game for children at the end of a fun steam train ride!


All events cancelled due to Coronavirus restrictions.


Wednesday 6th February: Bishops Stortford Book Awards, Baby’s First Bank Heist children’s event and signing.

Saturday 22nd June: Read bookshop, Holmfirth, Yorkshire. Baby’s First Jailbreak book launch. Reading, drawing lesson and game for children and drinks for the adults. Tickets £1 from here.

Tuesday 25th June: Ricoh Arena, Coventry Book Awards: Baby’s First Bank Heist signing.

Saturday 19th October: Goole, East Riding Festival of Words. Baby’s First Jailbreak reading, drawing lesson and game for children. For event info check here.

Sunday 20th October: Ilkley, Yorkshire. Ilkley Literature Festival. Baby’s First Jailbreak reading, drawing lesson and game for children. For event info check here.


Monday 23rd April: I’ll be giving a hands-on tutorial on how to make a comic using an iPad Pro at the Apple Store,  Regent Street, London. Event starts at 6.30pm

Saturday 5th May:  Free Comic Book Day signing and drawing at Gosh Comics, London with Guardian cartoonists Tom Gauld and Simone Lia

Saturday 30th June: Bradford Literary Festival, children’s event with Jim Whalley about Baby’s First Bank Heist, our new children’s book

Saturday 8th September, Royal Academy of Art, London: The art of the graphic novel – Stephen Collins and Isabel Greenberg in conversation with Rachel Cooke. Event info here.

Sunday 13th October: Ilkley Literature Festival. Baby’s First Bank Heist reading, drawing lesson and game for children. For event info check here.


7th May: Signing and drawing at Gosh! comics London with Tom Gauld, Simone Lia and Krent Able, 2pm-3pm

9th April – 25th July: Perth, Australia
Comic Tragics: the Exploding Language of Contemporary Comic Art –  exhibition at Art Gallery of Western Australia. Originals from Gigantic Beard and my Guardian comics will be on display alongside work by Gabrielle Bell, Emma Talbot, Ander Nilsen, Dash Shaw and others.

28th January – 31st January: Angouleme Festival, France
I’ll be at the Editions Cambourakis table all weekend with copies of my new French comics collection (table N50, Le Nouveau Monde)


Sunday 4th October: ‘Alternate Worlds’ discussion, Royal Festival Hall, London. I’ll be talking with cartoonist Isabel Greenberg about how we make the fictional worlds of our comics. £8 adult ticket – details and booking info here.

22nd August: I’ll be selling my new comic Bad Likeness at Safari Festival, at Protein in east London: 31 New Inn Yard, London EC2A More details here.

20th and 21st June: I’ll be selling books and prints at ELCAF, Hackney (E8), London. More details here.

14th March: Warsaw, Poland – Interview talk at Klublokawiarnia Tam i z Powrotem (more info here)

14th March: Cracow, Poland – Wojewódzka Biblioteka Publiczna Comics Festival (signing and talk)

30th January – 1st February: Angouleme Festival, France – I’ll be at the Editions Cambourakis table (N45, Le Nouveau Monde)


Saturday 6th – Sunday 7th December: Book signing in Milan, BAO Boutique, Via Vigevano 6, 4.30pm

Wednesday 19th November: Paris – BDNet comics shop, 26 Rue de Charonne, 75011. Signing from 5pm

14th-20th November: Colomiers BD festival in France from for the launch of Gigantic Beard (French edition). I’ll be at the Camourakis table for pretty much the whole weekend.

17th – 19th October: Kendal, Cumbria – Lakes International Comic Arts Festival. I’ll be taking part in a talk on humour in comics as well as selling stuff in the Clock Tower from the Jonathan Cape stall most of the weekend.

Saturday 11th October: New York Comicon – panel talk on Editorial cartooning with the New Yorker’s cartoon editor Bob Mankoff from 8pm.

Friday 10th October:  Joint signing with Roman Muradov at Desert Island in Brooklyn, NY from 7pm-9pm

On Thursday 9th October: Launch for The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil US edition, published by Picador, at Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn, New York, from 6.30pm

Tuesday 7th October: Manchester Literature Festival – talking graphic novels with Nick Hayes and drawing things in copies of Some Comics.

25th September (7pm) at Gosh Comics, London: a signing and launch of SOME COMICS BY STEPHEN COLLINS, a collection of my short comics old and unseen. Includes the best of the past five years of my editorial comics, as well as new and unseen work. Gosh have an exclusive bookplate edition on sale limited to 200 copies only, and will also be selling exclusive prints and displaying originals of my work.

30th April – 2nd May: Napoli Comicon, Italy – signing and selling at the Bao stall

1st April 2014: Hamburg, Germany – I’ll be doing a Q & A talk at the Hamburg Literaturhaus, from 7pm onwards

Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

Various commissions for Hollywood Reporter magazine.


Woodmansterne Greetings Cards, 2022

‘Zoom Calls of Art History’, my first series of greetings cards, published by Woodmansterne in 2022. This concept emerged from a comic I did for Prospect magazine, which I subsequently realised could work as a series of greetings cards as the world emerged from the post-covid ‘Zoom boom’.

Society – Tatler

Society Illustrations – Tatler HK

Two similar jobs for the society pages of Tatler Hong Kong. A quiz about social goings-on, and a piece about the drama that can follow if rich Hong Kongers fail to make a proper will.