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Image: Wei Xinliang
Nick Tankard , Artist

Nick Tankard is an artist and book illustrator working from his studio in the World Heritage village of Saltaire, West Yorkshire.

Nick’s illustrations are produced using a fine line pen, layers of cross-hatching are built up to form structure and shape whilst other areas are left untouched in order to hint at a flickering light, a starry night or billowing clouds.  It’s a time consuming process but one which he enjoys!

Nick's work can be bought from Salts Mill in Saltaire, and Nick's own website.

Nick Tankard


Arriving for the night shift © Nick Tankard

Nick Tankard

[Extract by Roger Clarke] Nick is a local lad, born and raised at Carr Lane, Windhill. His bedroom window overlooked the Aire valley, and he lived with a view of Salts Mill throughout his childhood. Education was at Nab Wood Grammar, and then on to a graphic design course at Bradford. He was drawn towards illustrating children’s books, and did a Higher National qualification at Middlesborough.

From this background he is strongly influenced by Northern industrial towns and their architecture, which he draws in what he describes as his own particular “wonky” style, using his own brand of fantasy and humour. Nick’s “Saltaire” series has postponed work on another of his Projects based on Whitby, where his focus was on seascapes and beards! Beards certainly feature in his quirky characterisation of Titus (always with a curl).

Read more about Nick Tankard >

Examples of work

Illustrated by Nick Tankard

Henry Hunter, illustrated by Nick Tankard

Nick Tankard

Illustration © Nick Tankard


Nick Tankard, Dragon Shield

Day off from the Mill © Nick Tankard

Nick Tankard: Out of the Woods

Out of the woods © Nick Tankard

Place Charles de Gaulle © Nick Tankard

Radio City, New York © Nick Tankard

All images copyright Nick Tankard, and reproduced here with permission.

Please contact Nick Tankard, the copyright owner, if you have any queries.



Nick Tanakard writes: I have always loved books, especially children’s books, I wasn’t a great reader when I was young but I was always looking at picture books (I still do!) my favorite authors/illustrators were Raymond Briggs, the Moomins author Tove Jansson and Maurice Sendak, the creator of Where the Wild Things Are (I was lucky enough to meet him at a book signing in New York one wintery night a few years back).  It’s these three illustrators who inspire me even to this day. I love the crosshatched style of Where the Wild Things Are and Raymond Brigg’s use of soft pencil lines. Their work has a very strong sense of place, these are magical, fantastical places but also recognizable, ‘bogeydom’ in Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs could be any northern town!

My love of books and art led me to Salts Mill where I was fortunate enough to gain employment as a bookseller/gallery assistant, it’s a beautiful building and a lovely place to work, we’re very lucky to have such an amazing collection of artwork by David Hockney on our doorstep. During my time at the mill I became fascinated by the story of Sir Titus Salt and I decided to tell it (in a slightly alternative gothic fairytale fashion) in a series of illustrations in my crosshatched style, which seemed to fit his tale of Victorian philanthropy. It’s an ongoing project, I started with the idea of producing the first part of the story in moody black and white to represent the grim austere times of that era, the illustrations would then gain colour as the story progressed, eventually leading to glorious Technicolor (a sort of northern Wizard of Oz) to represent the realization of Sir Titus Salts utopian dreams! I’m about halfway through the illustrations and I hope to bring them all together in a book one day. The illustrations take a long time to produce. The crosshatched style is a painstaking process and one which does my eyes no good at all! I use a fine line pen to make each tiny mark in one direction and then turn the image around and add another layer in another direction to create shade and depth or leave bits out to hint at light and space, the image might turn ten to twenty times until it’s finished. It’s a very enjoyable process but a bit mindboggling at times!

I’ve recently completed illustrations for children’s fiction books for Templar Publishing and Hodder. ‘Henry Hunter and the Beast of Snagov’ is set in Whitby and Transylvania so no prizes for guessing what or whom it’s about! The sequel ‘Henry Hunter and the Cursed Pirates’ has also just just hit the bookshops! I’m halfway through illustrating a trilogy of books for Hodder written by Charlie Fletcher. ‘Dragon Shield’ is a very exciting series of books full of fantastic action sequences and some scary dragons battling with statues in London. 

 My series of Saltaire/Titus Salt limited edition prints and cards are available exclusively from Salts Mill.

You can see more of my work on my website at







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