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One of six brothers, I was born in Middlesbrough, where my father worked in the steelworks and my mother was a teacher. My father was injured at work and decided to go to art college, and when I was five we moved to London, living at first in a tent in Epping Forest before finding a council flat in Hackney.


But growing up, we still spent almost every holiday with my grandparents in Middlesbrough, and we loved exploring the North York Moors, and other bleak, romantic parts of northern England.

In my teens I became fascinated by mythology, folklore and magic, and began drawing monsters and writing stories and inventing imaginary worlds. I left school at 16 and worked at a design company in Clerkenwell, where I had the chance to do my first commercial illustration work, before going on to study illustration at St Martins and The Royal College of Art.


Illustrating a picture book by Ted Hughes shortly after graduating, got me started writing picture book stories, and my first book as author and illustrator (Halibut Jackson) was published in 2003. Since then, I have written and illustrated eighteen books, translated into twelve languages, and in 2018 I created a range of textiles with NK Textiles.

 

My most recent picture book is Attack of the Giant Baby, illustrated by Bruce Ingman, the only book I've written but not illustrated.


Raised as a Catholic, in my forties I discovered the writing of G.K. Chesterton and began going to church again. As my philosophical, political and religious ideas developed, my interest in picture books waned; I wanted to work on a larger canvas and began writing a fantasy novel - still a work in progress. I also had a go at writing magazine articles about my ideas, and I'm proud to have contributed some thoughts on architecture and design to David Goodhart's latest book Head Hand Heart.


I was 45 when I met my wife Barbara, a Croatian-American product designer, and with a family to support, I retrained as a primary school teacher, a job I love. Teaching at a Church of England primary school in Hackney, where most families live on the local council estates, I feel rooted again in the kind of community where I grew up. I am particularly interested in teaching religion and always encourage discussion of big ideas with my lively class of ten year olds.

 

As my wife said of my new career: "Finally, you get to talk about religion and no one can run away!"

I live with my wife and daughter in an old school house, in Leytonstone, London.
This is a picture of me as a child, with 4 of my brothers - I'm the one in the middle. My youngest brother, John (also a writer) was born a few years after this photo was taken.

 

"as remarkable a writer as he is an illustrator.”
Publishers Weekly 

"Lucas's work brings to mind such great exponents of graphic art as Saul Steinberg and Paul Klee."
The Times