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Martin Handford spent much of his childhood drawing and his earliest influences were cinema epics and playing with toy soldiers. At art college he continued to draw what he calls "busy and militarily correct battle scenes" which led to his job as a freelance illustrator specialising in drawing crowd scenes for numerous clients. Martin now gathers his inspiration from a huge variety of sources; films, visiting museums and art galleries, reading comics and books, and collecting ephemera and trivia. He is fascinated by crowds, and is attracted to their vibes, patterns and details - especially humour; "I love their movement and energy." He is also constantly on the look out for puns and wordplay that can be used in his pictures. Gradually, from all this meticulous research, the inspiration for a picture emerges, which Martin embellishes with his own ideas to create astonishing scenes. Each picture takes Martin months 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.