Andrew Ashton

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Andrew Ashton (born 1971 in England) is a book designer and illustrator who has lived in Westcliff on Sea, Southend, in Essex for several years. He is a Philosophy graduate (University of London) and joined Mensa International in 1992. He began his career in publishing at Kogan Page, the leading UK independent business publisher, in the early nineties. At the turn of the 21st century he moved to HarperCollins publishers where he still works. He has designed and illustrated books for many different lists and in many different styles from literary flamingo titles to non-fiction bestsellers such as Fighter Boys by Patrick Bishop.

Although his book designs are rarely acknowledged (common UK practice) significant works for endpapers, title pages or page illustrations may be credited on the imprint page, or in the acknowledgements by the author, and such entries can be found in books by authors such as Paullina Simons, Janny Wurts, James Twining, Tracy Chevalier, Barbara Erskine and Robin Hobb (Megan Lindholm). His illustrations are also in books by Barbara Taylor Bradford, Philippa Gregory, and Conn Iggulden among many others.

His most famous design is for The Dangerous Book for Boys, for which he co-won the 2007 Stora Enso Design and Production award with Nicole Abel (Production) at the British Book Industry Awards. As well as designing the book, he also helped set it with Linde Hardaker and was the colourist for the pictures as well as supplying a couple of pictures including the title motif used on every page. He has contributed to all the UK Dangerous Books for Boys so far and was the joint illustrator with Joy Gosney of the Pocket Book.

He has made many maps including for the book Hunters Run by George RR Martin, which used a font created and owned by the designer based on the letterplate writings of William Blake. The font was subsequently used in a prequel to Treasure Island. A second derivative font, a modern script, is being tested with the assistance of HarperCollins. His third font, based on the writing of the cartographer Emanuel Bowen, was first used in the second Dangerous Pocket Book, Things to Know and subsequently in his original map for The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett. This font, Bowen Script, is now available to buy from FontLab, the leading developer and manufacturer of software for creating digital typefaces, from entry level to professional, have been sufficiently interested in his work to offer him sponsorship through the offices of the President, Ted Harrison.

In 2009 his wife died of breast cancer. She had originally been diagnosed when she was eight weeks pregnant with their only child and by the end lost the ability to write. He made a font for his wife to use via voice recognition software based on her handwriting. This font, Maree, was finally completed and launched on on 20 June 2013.

So far all his illustrations have been connected to books in one way or another. They range from little text break devices to double page spread maps. They can be hand drawn, integrated or modern fully computer generated vector images both in black and white and colour. His poker card illustrations for the Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys were also used on promotional postcards. His maps tend to be individually unique in that they rarely share the same font, outline style, decoration or border. Recent maps have included a modern vector map with illustrations for Road to Paradise by Paullina Simons, an integrated map which combines drawing and modern vector image manipulation for the UK publication of Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg, and hand-drawn ones for Robin Hobb and George RR Martin. What was originally intended to be a map for the Louvre for The Gilded Seal by James Twining turned into an elevated view with features that borrowed from much older styles of maps but still conveyed a modern French feel. Among some of the more notable work he has done are the maps for Peter V Brett's Demon Cycle series and Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire series as well as the map for Michael Crichton's posthumous book Pirate Latitudes. His maps and artwork are never signed.

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