A Kingston illustration graduate has been rubbing shoulders with frontline troops in Iraq and producing images of the war as it unfolds.
Matthew Cook is covering events in the Gulf in his role as The Times newspaper's official war artist. The 39 year old, who has been with the allies since the start of the conflict, sends daily drawings back to the newspaper's headquarters in London from his laptop computer. He has produced images in a number of potentially life-threatening situations, even while taking cover during an Iraqi missile attack.
Since leaving Kingston Polytechnic in 1987, Mr Cook has established a reputation as one of Britain's finest illustrators. He specialises in reportage, which involves observing and drawing events as they unfold.
Illustration and animation course director Brian Love, who taught Mr Cook, said only a high calibre illustrator could make a living from such work. "Matthew is recording images under the most daunting circumstances in Iraq but he's such a disciplined professional that the quality of his work has remained of a consistently high standard," he said.
Mr Cook produces illustrations for a number of other clients, including stamps for Royal Mail. Mr Love believes drawing in a wartime situation has to rate as one of his former student's biggest challenges and is confident he will cope with the demands. "Matthew is a uniquely gifted individual, who has an outstanding ability to work in even the most difficult environments," he said.
Matthew Cook's Iraqi war illustrations can be viewed at www.timesonline.co.uk.