I have always loved creating weird characters, it allows me to explore alternate universes where the laws of physics don't apply and features take on different forms, the impossible becomes possible. Sure, I enjoy drawing from life too and that is important to inspire and improve on my more imaginative sketches. I really enjoy putting things together, using shapes and patterns in my drawings, seeing what emerges and what kind of personality comes with it.
My love of sci-fi is often evident but I used to fight my natural creative urges, I think because of the way that my tendency to draw imaginative fantasy and sci-fi was discouraged at art school. At the time I hated being told what to do. Don't draw that, draw this. It would frustrate me, I found it almost impossible to enjoy doing what a teacher told me.
Art foundation was slightly different, they told me to forget everything I learnt in school. Okay, I can do that, I thought. Unfortunately, thanks to weed and girls I nearly failed that one, perhaps forgetting a little too much of what school taught me and behaving like a young rebellious student.
I always found education challenging because I couldn't find a way to enjoy and hone the basics of drawing while feeding my imagination. At the time I was obsessed with a lot of Japanese illustrators and 2000AD but never stopped to think that these artists had spent countless hours in life drawing classes like the rest of us.
I find it amusing that now aged 32, my thirst to learn new techniques and improve my drawing skills has never been greater and I have discovered ways to improve technique while at the same time enjoying a healthy creative process.
Although it is important to challenge yourself and hone your skills you must not fight your creativity. If you have an idea and you feel like that's what you want to do, don't fight that urge, get it out but develop your technical ability alongside the creative bits.
Only in the last four or five years have I started listening to what my tutors used to say to me, things that sound simple but that I took for granted.
Pay attention to your subject matter
Less is more
Draw every day
Draw from life, go to a cafe and draw people
I still find 'Less is more' a bit of a challenge but I am currently working on stripping my characters back so that the insane detail, that has given me an almost crippling pain in my right hand, isn't quite as punishing. It's about finding the details that bring the characters to life, and working on those. That is what I've been doing my my sketchbook when I'm not falling asleep, catching flies with my mouth on the long train journey to Huntingdon.
A few years ago I started coming up with pieces like 'Brother needs a bigger Net' and 'Height of sophistication'. I love the personalities of these drawings.
I think a lot of the inspiration for characters like these come from various street artists I have followed over the years. I was into the graffiti toys these artists created back in the early 2000's. This combined with my continued love of Japanese art (yep, still in love with it) has probably had an effect on me.
I am looking forward to developing some of these guys and girls. Follow me on Instagram to see the work as it happens!