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Martin’s Where’s Wally books have been immensely successful, selling more than 43 million copies worldwide in over 33 countries and 22 languages, including Egyptian, Korean and Hebrew. Where’s Wally recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and is as popular as ever!
As a child
Martin Handford was born in Hampstead, London, in 1956 and spent most of his childhood drawing. “My earliest influences,” he says, “were cinema epics and playing with toy soldiers. I attempted to recapture the excitement in my drawings, which started out as crowds of crude stick figures.”
As an adult
Martin worked for three years in an insurance office in order to finance his degree at art college and continued to draw “what were always busy and militarily correct battle scenes”. Following art college, Martin worked as a freelance illustrator specialising in drawing crowd scenes for numerous clients.
As an artist
Each Wally picture takes Martin eight weeks to draw. “As I work my way through a picture, I add Wally when I come to what I feel is a good place to hide him,” he explains. Martin describes his pictures as “full of both activity and entertainment. I have a love of situations which contain visual puns.” His own favourite Wally picture is ‘A Tremendous Song and Dance’ from Where’s Wally? In Hollywood.