1) What was your first published work? I got very lucky and got into 2000AD with my first submission (I'd already sent a few samples to the big 2 - but by post it took ages for a reply and didn't really get anywhere). I never grew up reading 2000AD so only knew a few of the main characters but I remember I wasn't much of a fan of the 90's era of it - most strips seemed painted and that was definitely not me!! But I think I saw some Frank Quitely stuff and more traditionally drawn strips so thought I'd give it a go, David Bishop liked my stuff enough to give me a shot and I did a one off Sinister Dexter strip amptly named 'Lucky'! This was around 13 years ago and I've done stuff for them on and off ever since.
2) Who or what inspires you? My main comic influences from my early years were mostly from American comics, I'd started off reading the old UK weekly Star Wars and Battle Action Force comics but moved onto monthly superhero stuff quite early and are probably my biggest influences through my formative years. I think the main ones were Perez, Byrne, Buscema, Simonson and most definitely Alan Davis whose stuff I drooled over for years! I've always enjoyed good storytellers (that is our job after all) and never really got interested in the 'Image' boom of the 90's when pages had 2-3 panels per page and you couldn't tell what was going on, or cared. I enjoy a lot of artists' work nowadays, and generally only pick comics on the art as I haven't a clue about the big 2 but I'm not really their demographic, too old! :-) Artists I pick up now when I can are JP Leon (The Winter Men was AMAZING), Olivier Coipel, Steve Epting, Michael Lark, Stuart Immonen, Alex Ross, Bryan Hitch, Lee Weeks, Chris Sprouse etc pretty mainstream guys. I picked up some of the Al Williamson X-9 Secret Agent Corrigan books to help me with drawing Savage in B/W, but they just depressed me!! Plus I enjoy the talented buggers I work alongside in 2000AD, there's something for everyone in that comic, genius! There are so many more that I can't remember off the top of my head!
3) What would be your dream job to illustrate? The fact that somebody pays me to draw comics is fantastic as it is, but I think I'd like to draw some superhero stuff one day, just to get it out of my system, and to draw Star Wars just as it was such a big deal for me growing up. But I like the variety you get with 2000AD. You can be drawing some real life stories, Science fiction and Supernatural ones within months which keeps you on your toes. I enjoy the story telling process the most, I think I'm not really an artist with a 'hot' art style but has a rather less offensive and traditional style which I hope readers can enjoy, and writers are happy that I tell their story first and foremost. You can never stop learning though, I'm generally only happy with my most up to date work, but then that disappears quickly once you've looked at it after a day or so! Hopefully I'll be almost completely happy with my work… one day.
4) Tell us a bit about the illustration(s) you've sent? a. This was my first strip from back in the day, a Sinister Dexter one off (inked by Lee Townsend) b. Some Dredd pages next. Dredd is great to draw, you can never get tired of him!! c. I've been working on Savage with Pat Mills for the last 4-5 years which has been a lot of fun, and a real learning curve regarding my work. d. A piece from my upcoming Aquila work.
5) What can we expect to see from you next (what are you working on)? I'm currently filling in for Leigh Gallagher drawing Aquila at the moment, which I have his blessing thank God! After drawing B/W strips for so long, it's been weird to draw a strip that's to be coloured again, I have to resist over rendering everything!! It's great that you're able to change genres so easily in 2000AD, there's always something new to draw.
6) If you hadn't become an artist what do you think you'd have ended up doing? I took a few years out in 2004-2007 and got into secondary teaching, a more stable job my wife told me which was… alright. I got lucky once again when my contract expired, I was offered Savage to draw after Charlie Adlard left and haven't looked back since. I doubt I could've lasted as a teacher, I enjoyed aspects of it, but the ridiculess paperwork and politics can drive you nuts! I remember if I didn't get into art college in the 90s, I would've liked to have joined the Fire Service, failing that, a Postman. But something active and that gave me time to draw for fun. 7) Where can we see more of your work (web links)? I'm useless with technology I'm afraid, I don't have a website. I should update a blog I belong to, but I have 2 small children who take up a lot of my time so I'm lucky if I get any drawing done, let alone doing anything else. But I'm feeling inspired after this, so might start again… if I can.