Ross Collins!

Ross Collins was born in Glasgow, Scotland, quite a while ago. At that time, he would eat anything and resembled a currant bun. As he grew up, he was fond of drawing, the bionic man, and precariously swinging backwards on chairs. He attended the Glasgow School of Art and won the 1994 Macmillan Children's Book Prize for his first book, The Sea Hole.
Ross has illustrated over 100 books and written a dozen or so. He lives in Glasgow with a strange woman, a small child, and a stupid dog. 
(He still enjoys precariously swinging backwards on chairs...)
Photo by Chris Close

 

1. What book did you read that changed the way you thought about life?

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. I read it when I was about 15 and it confirmed my suspicion that the world was full of eejits in positions of power who should generally be ignored. I took on this thinking while in education and into my professional life. Not that I think all people in authority are without ability, but I think they should be judged on their merits - not just because of their position. This way of thinking made me a lot more confident in my own abilities and opinions.

 

2. Where is your favourite place to read or listen to audiobooks?

I love audiobooks. Sometimes it's my only way of "reading." I spend so much time working and with my son that I find it hard to sit and read these days. So I listen to them while I'm painting at my desk and when I'm out stretching my legs.

 

 

3. If you could gift one book to everyone in your life, what would you choose and why?

The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. I'm lucky enough to own one of these. Three beautiful hardback tomes that contain every strip Watterson painted. It weighs a tonne. It's as fresh today as it was when he created them. I want to be Calvin, I want to be Hobbes, I want to be Calvin's dad. I want to be a marauding dinosaur eating a school. Watterson gave us all a beautiful gift, he never sold out to merchandising and he ended it when it was the right time to do so. It's peerless.


4. How many books do you have in your house and how many of these have you actually read? (an estimate)

My partner could read a book a day - I'm a slow coach. So in our house, we probably have at least 10,000 books. Most of which are hers. I've probably read about 2,000 of those - mostly the ones with lots of pictures. It makes me feel smart to live in a house with so many books while secretly being not so bright.

 

Interior illustrations from This Is a Dog, Ross Collins 2020

 

5. What is your favourite thing to draw, and why?

I love drawing all sorts of things. I love drawing animals and trying to instil emotions in them using the subtlest facial expressions and body language that I can. That makes me really happy. I do love drawing a good villain though. You can't beat a good villain. Teeth, claws, tentacles - all that malarky.

 

Ross's latest picture book, This Is a Dog, was published in August 2020 by Nosy Crow. You can find more of Ross's work here.