Creative Review front cover


wow! i cant believe the press our little fair trade start-up is getting!!! the front cover and a great feature in CREATIVE REVIEW!!!!


the design is by sanna annukka and is part of our collection for the design museum shop


visit the node site:
like them on facebook or follow on twitter to see these rugs in production as they are made
By | 2017-09-02T02:15:58+00:00 November 29th, 2012|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Art + Design Magazine Interview China




What was your dream when you were young, and Was it changed ever?
What kind of influences you had in your illustration from your dream(s)?


when i was very young i had wanted to be a archaeologist/paleontologist (!) i liked dinosaurs.
when i grew older i got more into art although i never thought i could make money from it. When i started out i had lots of ideas for animations and moving graphics. when i listen to music i often imagine the visuals i would like to make for it. the problem is it takes so long to realise animation. illustration is easier than animation in practice.

Which city/ place do you like best? Which place are you planing to visit next?

My two favourite countries i think are Nepal and Tibet. The mountains and landscape are really awe inspiring and there is something really magic from the culture there. In fact i am going back to Nepal in August/September to do some work on my rugs. It will be my 5th visit there! I went once overland from London through China and Tibet to Nepal.

I also like China, i lived in Hong Kong for one year and visited a lot. i really loved the dynamism of shanghai and the villages in the far west.I have been living in London for the past eight years and i really like it here too. there is always a lot going on here.


When you were creating your new works every time, Where did you getthe greatest inspirations from? For instance, from family life,daydreams, love story or walking in a forest etc.

for visual inspiration what makes me excited is looking at unusual ways of representation and image making. things like old maps and folk art and embroideries, anything that ignores perspective and other rules in favour of narrative or simplicity is interesting to me.

for writing i am often inspired by funny sentences or words or mis-translations. that sort of thing. i used to write down odd things i found funny for no reason here and there in my sketchbooks, just odd sentences if i found them amusing. i had no real way of using them until i started writing picture books. now since i have discovered that i can make use of these in my books  i have begun doing it more, and with more purpose.


Is there a certain working pattern/routine to follow when you are making your illustrations? (it could be both spiritually or physically)Which part in your working process would be the most exciting one?

If i am given a brief i would think about it and maybe sleep on it and wait for something to inspire me. sometimes i would come up with something in the first 20 mins or so or sometimes it would take a day or so.. sometimes i start out with one idea and it evolves into another. it all depends really. you need to be flexible in order to try and harness any better ideas you might stumble upon while executing it.

come up with the ideas are usually the most exciting but i also like finishing off and tweaking an illustration if its one i really like. its nice to really polish something if you are proud of it.


What is the biggest achievement you had experienced in your illustration career?

The success of my first book is probably my biggest achievement. it has been translated into 14 languages, though not in chinese. i just cant believe it’s gone so far! Im also very proud to have been listed in Time Magazine’s ‘Design 100’ a few years ago for the work i have been doing in fair trade.



Do you have a believe/spirit in art /design /illustration field?  Where does it guide you to go? 

i think design has a potential for great things. it can make our world and communication clearer and more beautiful. it can help communicate things that are unable to be communicated by language. sadly, perhaps because of its power in communication, it really has been totally hi-jacked by advertising and corporate communication. the word ‘design’ has kind of become synonymous with branding. i would love to counter that.

What are you good at in the ways of making illustrations? Tell something about your own special features, that are different with any other illustrators. 

well i dont know if its a curse or a blessing but im known for endlessly fiddling and tweaking things until i’m more happy with them. people i have lived with watch me with incredulity about how i spend weeks on one image. pushing something around the page endlessly. the problem with the computer is you can always change the image so nothing i do is every totally finished until it is wrestled from me by my editors.


What is the biggest difficulty in your work? How did you / will you pass over it?


i had a big problem with using colour. I actually was particularly bad at using colour when i started off… the images i produced were almost entirely black and white or ‘duotone‘. although i loved colour i couldnt incorporate it into my own illustrations somehow.. Every time i tried to colour my images they tended to look cheap and cartoony, i was doing this using the magic wand tool in photoshop and it just looked like a drawing that had been coloured in on the computer and looked pretty cheap. It was only when i started making artwork for people tree which is all screen-printed that i began experimenting with with unrealistic colours. i just layed a few sreenprints on top of each other and realised i could build up whole scenes and landscapes using this process that there was a breakthrough. in fact it was a really huge breakthrough for me… one minute i was using almost entirely duotone images and the next i was doing entirely full colour. to explain this image was made in this way. each element was made in ‘duotone’ but using different base colours. when they are placed together on one page they together make a colourful image then i later evolved that kind of image making into this..


As you also do a lot of design work(but seems you prefer to look for profound meanings via every new works), how do you balance the marketing value within your art works? Would you like to give some suggestion for young illustrators?

sorry im not sure i understand this question!

i guess you need to bring some of yourself or your enthusiasm to each brief. if you do something with genuine enthusiasm you can dig deeper and get excited about every project (even if there isnt much to be excited about from first glances) if you can do that you will make something interesting each time.


What is your plan in near future?

i am working on an app for the iphone/ipad called ‘Hat Monkey’ i am also working on my third book its called ‘dont worry i have a plan!’ and i am organising an exhibition of rugs each designed by a well known designer and illustrator. we are going to make 18 rugs and have them for a collection at the design museum in london.


Who is your favorite artists / illustrators? What makes you happy with them or their works?

i really enjoy the work of david shrigley, studioaka, sanna annukka, marian bantjes, jon klassen, daniel eatock, tom gauld, david o’reilly.all for different reasons shrigley and tom gauld for their humour, some for their design sense or simplicity.


What is the most touching/moving period of time or people in your life? What did you learn from it / him/ her? (If you don’t feel like to answer it, then just pass it.)

i enjoyed visiting people tree in london and saw the work they were doing. they are a fair trade company and their policy is to create products that will benefit the lives of their producers. they work with disabled or disadvantaged workers in order to improve their condition. i thought that this was a great use for design and it made me passionate about the work of fair trade.


If possible, what policy you want to improve from the society or the government for having a nicer working environment and conditions, as an illustrator?

it would be nice if there was more illustration and design work that wasnt so focused on selling products and branding. but i dont know how that could be tackled.


As you have been doing that many years of art and design work, do you find out that does the the way of communicating between artist and audience change ever? What is the most helpful new medias nowadays?

i think illustration and visual culture has had a huge boost from the internet. writing requires time and concentration from its audience but images can be absorbed immediately. it seems to me for better or worse information is becoming more and more visual


Do you know something about China? and the illustration situation in China?

Yes i lived in Hong Kong for one year. i worked with Tommy Lee design on their VQ (vision quest) magazine project and made some work for WW magazine with Joey Chu. I also worked with Wing Shya (ShyLaLa studio) on an album cover for the musician Lo Tae Yo but sadly it didnt work out. i dont know too much about mainland chinese illustration and design but i am a big fan of Chinlun Lee and Jimmy Liao in Taiwan.


Now maybe close your eyes for 10 second with deep breath, what image is coming in front of your eyes?

all the emails i need to reply to!

ok…try again… i have warm sun on my face and looking at beautiful clouds. now i’m asleep… zzzzz


By | 2017-09-02T02:16:41+00:00 September 8th, 2012|Tags: |0 Comments

George’s World Tour

George is doing a sort of virtual world tour of interviews for the next 9 days…!
Each blog has asked a set of questions.
the nine interviews are all here:


By | 2017-09-02T02:18:16+00:00 March 15th, 2012|Tags: , , |0 Comments

from craft to digital and back again

This post was done as a commission for the UK Crafts Council 40:40 exhibition
I was asked to respond to 3 objects from their collection
the final objects chosen can be viewed on their 40:40 website

What I find interesting about craft is learning from the different techniques and ways of using materials. The process of finding successful techniques and then refining and developing those processes is similar to how i approach my illustration work.
Through three craft objects i will try to explain 3 different aspects of my approach to work. Craft processes, Digital processes and from From digital back to craft




Craft Processes
Nora Fok’s knitted nylon ‘Bubble Bath’ makes use of a simple and delicate knitting technique. With an unusual material and a simple starting point she repeats and layers of bubbles to build up an exquisitely beautiful object. 
'Bubble bath' Nora Fok 2001

‘Bubble bath’ Nora Fok 2001

I will try to explain how i developed my way of creating images as i think it may have similarities to Nora’s craft process. I created many screen prints for the fair trade company People Tree. These prints need to be extremely simple graphic shapes, with one or two flat colours as the printing process is quite simple. I was drawing plants and floral imagery but needed to keep it very simple and graphic so that it could be easily translated to the screens. As I enjoyed the freedom of reducing imagery to basic shapes I began to play with these in my digital work. They became more and more abstract and and stylised as I worked on them. I built up layers of these images to create more and more complex images. In the end the image has become quite complex, but it is still derived from simple abstracted screen printed shapes. I think the process has similarities to Fok’s work in that the beauty comes from the layers of these simple handmade shapes as they build on top of each other.
'People Tree calendar' Chris Haughton 2007

‘People Tree calendar’ Chris Haughton 2007


People Tree repeat pattern print. Chris Haughton 2008

People Tree repeat pattern print. Chris Haughton 2008


People Tree repeat pattern print. Chris Haughton 2008

Burton pattern print Chris Haughton 2011


Digital Processes


I work almost entirely digitally now and am very grateful to the computer as a tool. When i began illustrating i was creating images by hand and they were often either compromised by limitations of the materials and tools, or ruined by mistakes. Digital images on the other hand are almost endlessly malleable and so allow a lot of experiments with colour and layout. 
I am very interested in the possibilities of digital tools. Drummond Masterton’s piece makes use of the crisp lines and vectors of the CNC, subverting the intended uses of the hardware. When myself and my friends in college started using digital tools to edit drawings rather than photos twelve years ago it also felt like we were also subverting the intended use of the software. Its exciting to think that when the technology is so new, its makers cant foresee exactly how it will be used. 
Star Tesselation Dish ST 14 Drummond Masterton 2007

Star Tesselation Dish ST 14 Drummond Masterton 2007

When i saw Drummond’s work I was reminded of this film by the artist duo Semiconductor, they have taken 20hz radio waves and interpreted it as audio. What we are hearing is solar wind. I find it incredible to think of the possibilities with digital media. In this case it allowing us to see and hear things outside the limits of our perception.
[vimeo w=500&h=283]
Semiconductor 2011
For my own work, digital media allows me to print and work with colours and saturation levels outside of what is possible to produce by hand. It also allows me to produce images with much more creative flexibility than i could do otherwise.
Image from the book A Bit Lost in production Chris Haughton 2009

Image from the book A Bit Lost in production Chris Haughton 2009

From Digital back to Craft



Having started off from an interest in craft I have come full circle with my digital work. My latest projects are re-interpreting the digital images i have created as craft. I had been looking to work again with textures and natural colours and create something ‘physical’ because much of my recent work was entirely screen based. I was also keen to apply my design work to something that benefitted others. In 2010 I took eight months off to live and work in Nepal and India creating craft objects with fair trade craftspeople.
Wedgewoodn't Tureen Michael Eden 2010

Wedgewoodn’t Tureen Michael Eden 2010


I was fascinated by Michael Eden’s piece. He has created a rapid-manufactured object in the shape of a traditional tureen. In process this is the mirror opposite of my own recent work. Whereas he has made a traditional design using a digital process i have been making digital designs using traditional processes. My rugs are graphed so that each pixel is converted to a carpet knot. I hope to experiment more with the processes between digital media and craft as i see it as a rich area at the moment with current technology.

Creating the graph: Rug in production Chris Haughton 2011

Creating the graph: Rug in production Chris Haughton 2011

Woven in wool on the loom: Rug in production Chris Haughton 2011

Woven in wool on the loom: Rug in production Chris Haughton 2011

Cutting and finishing: Rug in production Chris Haughton 2011

Cutting and finishing: Rug in production Chris Haughton 2011

Owl rug Chris Haughton 2010

Owl rug Chris Haughton 2010


By | 2017-09-02T02:20:21+00:00 November 7th, 2011|Tags: , |0 Comments

Totally Dublin. The Design Issue

You have a new book out, called ‘Oh No GEORGE!’. What’s it about, and how did the idea start off?


Its about a dog who tries his best to be good, but falls a little short. I began by drawing all sorts of characters somehow messing up in different ways. It started really with an idea I had of a clown and his dog, clown dog, getting into trouble but it was funnier if there was just one comic character. I liked the idea of building up the tension over two pages. George has seen a cake, George said he would be good but  he really likes cake, what will George do? and when you turn the page… OH NO, GEORGE!!! George has eaten the cake.
I love the concept of a ‘guilty dog’ – I have a dog at home that always looks very guilty, and consequently gets blamed for things he probably didn’t do. You also have a book about an owl that feels lost. This leads me to wonder – if you were a disaffected animal, what would you be?


I was asked that same question by my publisher when i finished my owl story. They asked me which animal I thought i was from the story A Bit Lost. I said I thought i was the lost owl but my art director smiled at my editor and they told me that no, i was definitely the (eager/harebrained) squirrel. I wasnt so sure myself but it seemed to be a strongly held opinion.
There’s something very old-school about the comedy of calamity in ‘Oh No GEORGE!’, yet the design and approach to the subject feels very modern. What sources did you look at for inspiration?


I actually used to live with a professional clown and she introduced me to physical comedy which i found really inspiring, there is something lovely about that silent visual humour. Their timing and expression is very important and i try to imitate that if i can. I also studied graphic design so i have a soft spot for nice flat colours and graphics so i suppose its a mix of those two. I love Leo Lionni’s artwork and Dr. Suess and I try to look at the classic picture books for inspiration if i am trying to figure out a scene, especially for the layout and pacing.
How have your book-production skills developed over the course of your two creations? Any important lessons you’ve learnt?


I still find myself underestimating the time it will take. It looks quite a straightforward thing to do but there is so many dead-ends and so much backtracking you would not believe, especially at the start. I have lots of ideas but only a few can really tie themselves up as stories. I think its important to rely on character too for very young children, and keep it as simple as possible.
You’ve been working for the fair trade clothing company People Tree. Are ethical considerations something you consider to be important to good design? 


Yes i think ethical considerations are crucial to good design. I think in trying to design something as well as possible its helpful to go right back and try to think about it from every angle to try and figure out how can it be better. If you think about that question long enough it all comes back to ethical considerations. I got a bit disillusioned in my own design when i was doing advertising and branding for large companies so i wanted to do something that was more rewarding. I think design has a great potential for positive change and i would love to be involved in that part of it. Its the exciting part!
Are you going to be back for Offset? If so, who are you looking forward to seeing talk?


Yeah!.. I really like the work of KesselsKramer so i will be definitely watching that one, but seymour chwast/sagmeister as well as irish johnny kelly and kevin waldron.. theres too many to name. 


What other projects are in the pipelines?
Im very excited about my third book, its called DONT WORRY, I HAVE A PLAN… Im very proud of the story in that one but who knows when i will finish it. Maybe by the end of the year. I am also working on an interactive animated app called ‘Hat Monkey’, and I have a few non-fiction ideas…
the full magazine is online on issuu here  theres some great interviews and bits on bobs from dublin’s exploding design scene.
By | 2017-09-02T02:22:23+00:00 April 3rd, 2011|Tags: , , |0 Comments