John had a natural facility for drawing from an early age and decided to study art, with the support of his family. However, his student life was delayed by the onset of World War Two in 1939. He resumed his training at the end of the war and went on to gain his National Diploma in Design at the City of Kingston Upon Hull Regional College of Art & Crafts in 1950 before further training as a teacher at Leeds College of Art.

The National Diploma in Hull covered ‘instruction in Drawing, Painting, Book Illustration, Commercial Art and Typographic Design.’ These are some of the assignments he completed as part of his Diploma, as well as some of his earlier personal work.