Updated: Mar 6, 2018
As a kid in the late fifties and early sixties, I always made friends with other 'oddball' kids. The sort that were different. They liked books and had unusual to others, hobbies (obsessions). Now we would be known as geeks, but back then we were known as space cadets, living inside our heads. Yes I read books by the shelf full and made most of my toys, loved Meccano andwould buy the Meccano Magazine. The thing was though I drew, everywhere, on paper, on school satchels, on shed walls, etc. When I wasn't reading, I was drawing. At this time, early influences on my style were the Dandy, Beano and Beezer comics and as I grew older Dan Dare in the Eagle.
I have always had a great love for line drawing and illustrations in some of the books I read, would prick my imagination. Some writers illustrated their own books. Hugh Lofting, who wrote the Doctor Dolittle books and Rudyard Kiplings illustrations in the Just So Stories. Tenniels illustrations for both Alice books were pure magic and drew me down a rabbit hole, from where I am yet to emerge. Arthur Rackham was a wizard, who still rocks me.
As I got older, Gerald Scarfe and Ralph Steadman, with their wild ink driven visions, blew my brains out with their genius. As did the pure English eccentricity of Ronald Searle. Then there was Terry Gillian, an American, yet when you look at the animations he did for Monty Pythons Flying Circus, if you didn't know, you would think his work stemmed from pure British psychedelia. Very Beatles, Yellow Submarine, which was also a thumping big influence.
Now for up to date illustrators I admire. There is a London based guy, Rahan Eason, who works mostly in pen and ink. Next, a Melbourne based artist Kirrily Anderson, magic mixed with emotion and expression. Then there is the classic fairytale style of Sveta Dorosheva, fine line and colour combine in one magic image after another. Steven Van Hosten is a Belgian artist, who, it almost seems, popped out of the womb, ready to become an artist. With a painterly style he creates mind catchunking, left of field seens, that explode your synapses. Lastly I would introduce you to Emily Carew Woodard, an illustrator that takes me down the rabbit hole that Tenniel, Rackham and Lewis Carol are to be found in. Fantasy and fairytale abound.
Me As An Illustrator:
When Shelley (Michelle), asked me if I would do some illustrations for her, 'Hers To Save' series, I didn't need to think about it. I knew straight away that this was going to be something I could get to grips with and be able to shine a visual light into the imaginary yet real world of Shelleys imagination. Each drawing took some time to complete, with the amount of research involved, into clothes, hair styles, the way things worked or were used, etc, took time also; but with my methodical geeky approach, I enjoyed and completed each illustration.
Now a new book. Lots of complex charaters. The level of research has upped to a new level, but I am 'luvin it'. I have always got a drawing on the go now and several fermenting ideas on the back burner. Shelley is a great writer to work in tandem with. She fills my imagination with ideas and I hope I tweek her gray matter also.
FIND AUTHOR INTERVIEWS HERE.