A successful illustrator, John Lawrence lectured at London University of the Arts and Cambridge School of Art (Anglia Ruskin University) in Children’s Book Illustration. He was Master of the Art Workers’ Guild in 1990 and his work is represented in the Ashmolean, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A),  Seven Stories in Newcastle, an archive in Manchester Metropolitan University and collections in the USA.

Long John Silver in woodcut style with crutch and parrot

John Lawrence, Long John Silver from Treasure Island, 2009

He has illustrated many books in different media, with a preference for my engraved work. His work in children’s books includes engraving both on wood and vinyl: for editions including a large edition of Treasure Island for Walker Books.

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Brighton School of Art in 2009 he wrote of his first experiences as a teacher in the School of Art.

“John R Biggs had recently been appointed as Head of the Graphic Design Department when he gave me a day’s teaching at Brighton School of Art in September 1960. John Biggs took on several young illustrators and designers. I was taken on as a wood engraver, John Vernon Lord for his amazing sketch books and Raymond Briggs, I think, for his drawing ability. None of us had had very much professional experience as illustrators at that time. Anthony Cobb and Justin Todd were also employed during this period.

Illustrations for Tiny's big adventure with mice in a forest and pulling boot laces. Reads, That's a snail, Katy told him Look at his shiny bright shell, that's a boot Katy told Tiny

John Lawrence, illustrations for Tiny’s big adventure, 2004

The new building was being planned and our students worked in various nooks and crannies in the Regency houses overlooking Grand Parade. After a time I was set up with an Albion press, in a space not much larger than a cupboard. This made printing rather claustrophobic but the studio itself was roomy enough. I enjoyed working with the students and looked forward to my day in Brighton. In 1968 I was becoming very busy with freelance illustration and gave in my notice with some regret.

I was asked to become the external assessor in illustration at Brighton in 1981, in which role I saw the beginnings of many successful careers. In 1985, I accepted a part-time teaching post for one year. There were many more students and large studios: the whole area of graphic design and illustration was in a different league, and in sharp contrast to the homely establishment of the 1960s.