Hmmm... Where to start?
The first comics I ever bought were Batman #316, D.C. Comics Presents #14 and Superboy and the Legion #258 (Superboy was my favourite character). At the time I wanted to be either a Paleontologist or Batman. At the age of eight, superheroes were already influencing my artistic direction...
I quickly got into the New Teen Titans, and George Perez was a big influence for years. I managed to get my hands on some Neal Adams-drawn back issues from a market stall for about 8p each and loved his stuff (still do). Later, I got into Will Eisner, Lou Fine, Jack Cole and Mac Raboy.
|When I was 12, I realised that being a millionaire, having a cave under the house and fighting crime wasn't going to happen, so I began to concentrate on 'drawing comics' instead. I think the main attraction was being able to make my favourite characters do what I wanted them to do - but I only did line work at the time and it was all rubbish - I just used to make stuff up and never looked at life.|
I blagged my way onto an Art Foundation Course after messing about doing graphic design for a a few years. Learnt to draw. I decided to start painting after seeing Rembrandt's self-portrait as the apostle Paul in Amsterdam while on an art trip. Up to this point, whenever I'd gone on an outing to a gallery, I'd just legged-it round and gone shopping instead. Painting had always looked really hard, so I'd never bothered with it.
I 'got into' Eugene Delacroix and Theodore Gericault & began studying the drawings of Tiepolo.
|I started off doing some impressionist paintings of figures in acrylic, basically because it's easy to do an ok painting in that style and I was also learning a lot about colour. This would be around Feb 1993. Went to Cheltenham & Gloucester college to study Fine Art (painting) without a clue as to what I'd do afterwards. At this point I had totally quit comics and doing comic art. In the second year, one of my tutors introduced me to Rockwell's work 'cause he was trying to give me some direction. I had none. At this point, college consisted of playing footy games on the Sega Megadrive and sitting in the cafe all day chatting.|
Around the same time I wandered into a comic shop on a journey back up North one weekend and saw an issue of the 'Flash' with Max Mercury on the cover. Intrigued, I bought it. The whole 'Terminal Velocity' story arc was great and got me back into comics. I was doing a self-portrait at the time (which was also my first pic using oils - I used to work with acrylic 'cause I'm allergic to most of the stuff associated with oils) and my buddy suggested I paint myself as the Flash. So basically, it's thanks to Mark Waid and Paul Sabine that I'm doing what I do now.
The Rockwellian element, if not style, started to take shape before my degree show the following year when I did a series of narrative paintings with me as Peter Parker (some things never change).
Left college. Did some paintings. Got married. Moved house a few times. Now working in comics. Cool...