Welcome to my website. I’ve been an angler from the age of six not including bent-pin & cotton fishing for sticklebacks some years earlier. From my earliest years I wanted to know the names of the birds, animals & other wildlife around me as I fished. Although, I fished to catch fish, 50% of my enjoyment came from being able to take note & follow throughout each day by the water, the natural history I saw. This led me to try & draw wildlife including of course, fish.
Over the years my abilities improved & I illustrated my first book when I was 18-19. My artwork has now been used in over one hundred book titles, a number which have become classics & very collectable. (Google “Keith Linsell’s books” for further info).
I work on commissions, supplying paintings & drawings to client’s requirements. Over the past twenty five years or so my work has broadened to include finely detailed portraits, special occasions caricatures, pet portraits, advertising & much more.
-My work was first published in 1963 to illustrate what was to become a four year series for Angler’s World magazine written by Trevor Housby, on the sea fish of Britain. While delivering some drawings to Trevor’s girlfriend’s address, on opening the door she said, “oh, the man who paints fishes”. And that title sort of stuck. A little later Trevor & I produced the book “Coarse Fishing Illustrated“.
-I was a member of the Sundridge Lake syndicate in the early 1960s when it was being developed as a carp fishery. I was lucky enough to be a member of the club that ran the breath-taking big Perch water at Nazeing. I caught a 4lb Perch (on a rod I had had designed, made by Davenport & Fordham) & witnessed Jack Hilton‘s fish of 4lb 6oz.
-During the 1960s I worked with Fishing Tackle & Guns at Gamages, Peek’s fishing tackle shop in Gray’s Inn Rd. & Farlows fishing tackle shop (Bank) in the city of London. I became self-employed in 1968. I helped Mike Prichard on Holy Island off the coast of Arran, film the wildlife of the island, including nesting eider ducks, for the World Wildlife Fund For Nature. I fished Wadhurst Lake & helped stock it with several hundred carp. Among other authors, I worked with Geoff Bucknall, illustrating his early books including “Fishing Days” together with providing many pen & ink drawings for his numerous articles for angling magazines in the UK & the continent. Creel magazine used my work, ranging from line drawings, colour center-spread & cover work. A good number of publications started using my work regularly.
–Angling Times started to use my work extensively from the early 70s & continued to do so for the next 25 years. The colour series included paintings of sea fish as well as freshwater fish pictures. My artworks of coarse & game fish were also used for double-page colour spreads as identification guides. Angling Times also produced prints of my work & sold them successfully through the paper.
-Worked on & published among other books in this decade: The Osprey Angler’s series, Catchmore series, The Hamlyn guide to Freshwater Fishes of Britain & Europe, Gone Fishing with Mike Prichard, produced for F.W Wodworth & Sportfishing (A guide to Fishing across Europe) by P.P.L International. I was now the artist for Angling magazine & my angling strip “Angling with Mr. Field & Bob” started in the Angling Times.
-It was a decade of increasing amounts of year-round sea fishing both shore & boat, including South Coast, East Anglia, the Outer Hebrides & the Channel Islands.
-The middle years of the 70s saw me fishing with Bob Cox & John Rawle. Between them they popularised boat fishing from Bradwell on the Essex Blackwater. They introduced & perfected the up-tide boat casting technique, so suitable for our shallow waters.
-Fishing & fish watching mainly on one or two good quality club waters.
-Started designing (And generally widening my range) greeting cards, which were published by some of the leading card companies. As shown on pieces on this website, I sometimes used the name “Al James” on some designs. Corporate cards for in-house use – Christmas cards, etc, were also created.
-Did a series of illustrations for gift vouchers for Woolworth.
-Worked again with Mike Prichard on the book, “Let’s Go Fishing“, which I designed & illustrated. Published by Octopus. And the Collins Gem guide – Freshwater & Saltwater Fish.
-Clive Gammon then Brian Clarke, wrote the angling articles which I illustrated in the sports pages of the Sunday Times.
-I created a large number of designs for a company which made decorative ceramic figures.
-Illustrated The Angler’s Guide to Sea Fishing – Bill Howes.
-I wrote & illustrated the strip angling guide “Angling with Mr Field & Bob“.
–Sundridge Tackle used my paintings on the packaging for their products including hook packets.
-A company that produced decoupáge pictures commissioned me to produce a range of artworks which included Dickensian, cute animal, sport & natural history themes.
-Books containing my work included: “An Introduction to Match Fishing” – Paul Dennis, “An Introduction to Fly Tying” – Pat O’reilly & Derek Hoskin, “An Introduction to Sea Fishing” – Trevor Housby & “The Complete Carp Angler” – Andy Little.
-In 1999 I created artworks of 48 new spieces for Peter Maitland‘s new edition of “Freshwater Fishes in Britain & Europe”. The first edition was published in 1977.
-I had illustrated “Fishing Days” for Geoff Bucknall in 1966. Forty three years later in 2009, Geoff published what might be called a follow-up to Fishing Days. This was “Alive on a Rainy Day” which I also did the artwork for.
-I had been friends & fished with Bob Butuex since the 1980s & I contributed to a number of Bob’s books, including “Times to Remember” (Volumes 1 & 2) & “An Urchin Remembers“. I also featured in “The Biggest Fish of All” & “The Angling Artists” both compiled by Tony Meers & published by Harper Books.
Above, are just a few details of my professional story. Add to it, fishing when I could, producing artwork of many kinds, some of it featured on this website.
To collectors of my work, I hope the brief outline of my career will be of some interest. And to everyone else, I hope you like what you see & see what you like.