About me

Mini portrait of Mike Smith

Hello, I'm an illustrator who loves to draw stories. I have an MA in Children's Book Illustration from Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University. In 2010 I won the Macmillan Prize for children's book illustration (for a story called Edward Hopper and the Carrot Crunch), having been a runner up the year before. My ridiculous picture books The Hundred Decker Bus and The Hundred Decker Rocket are published by Macmillan. Catch the Cuddle was published by Egmont in 2015.

It makes me very happy to write and draw stories where the serious spills over into the ridiculous. Perhaps that's because it's what I loved as a child. My childhood favourites were Hergé, Charles Schultz and Richard Scarry.

One of the few interesting things about me is that I lived on a narrowboat for seven years, in Cambridge. My partner Caroline and I now live in a proper house with our two sons and two dogs.

I love to make bread. I strongly believe that if everybody hand baked their own bread, the world would sort itself out.

My alter ego Ricardo Tangle was responsible for the strip Planet of the Shapes in the children's comic The Phoenix, and I've done other story strips for the same brilliant comic under the rather unlikely name of Mike Smith.

About the blog

I started this blog on a whim with a few scribbles back at the end of 2006. At first the plan was to use the diary for appointments, but also to record, in sketches, what I'd seen. Having to post every week was a great incentive to get drawing.

The blogshank dairy

There was never any intention to feature myself as a character, but as it evolved, I realised this was inevitable, and it has gradually turned into an autobiographical comic, albeit in an unusual format. I still do it primarily for my own enjoyment, so I hope it will continue to evolve.

I don't like to think of this as a webcomic, and indeed it doesn't seem to interest people who read webcomics. One day I'd like to have the skills and the courage to move it up to a more interesting level: my ideal job would be as a kind of Alan-Whicker-with-a-pencil. My favourite similar blog is Le Petits Riens by the brilliant Lewis Trondheim. In book form, there are lots of great equivalents, but my favourites would be Craig Thompson's Carnet de Voyage and any of Guy Delisle's tales of living in different countries.