Saturday, 21 April 2012

S is for Simon Davis

Simon Davis will be known to regular readers of 2000AD for his work on strips like Sinister Dexter, Damnation Station and Ampney Crucis Investigates. However, he is also an award-winning portrait painter.

What you may not know is that he provided an illustration for my Badenov's Band short story Mark of the Beast. Simon’s unique style certainly proved a fitting and dynamic choice for the man-versus-beast image, and I only hope that one day the opportunity arises to work with him again. So, on with the interview...

1. How did you start out as a professional artist?

I trained in graphic design and worked as a general illustrator for design companies after leaving college.

2. What was it that gave you your big break and led to what you are doing now?

My first big break in comics was writing to Simon Bisley via 2000AD and receiving great advice and encouragement from him. It took a while for me to be of a standard to be 'publish-able' but thankfully David Bishop gave me a Dark Judges strip to do in 2000AD. I think that must have been the early '90s.

3. What is your preferred method of working? Which medium suits your style best?

I use gouache (an opaque water-based paint) for comics and oil for portrait painting.

4. You have created and illustrated all manner of famous comic book characters. Which are your favourites?

I loved my time doing Sinister Dexter as I feel that was the first time I really got into my stride with an on-going title. It was great to work with Dan too. I really love working with Ian Edginton too and Ampney Crucis is a character I'm really enjoying. It was born out of my love of 'golden age' crime fiction and Ian's got a fantastically generous way of working so if I want to include something in the story, usually he can incorporate it in some way... it's just basically great fun!

5. How does working for 2000AD compare to working for Black Library?

Both are similar in the fact that it's easy-going and great fun. Working in mainly Black and White for Warhammer was a nice change and a good discipline.

6. What is the appeal of working creatively within the Warhammer setting?

It was great because as a student I used to play Warhammer 40k quite a bit so it was great to be able to come full circle and work for Games Workshop.

7. How did you set about illustrating The Mark of the Beast for Inferno! magazine?

It was an illustration I really enjoyed doing... having a figure in the foreground, the beast behind and then the burning effigy behind proved to be a challenging composition.

8. Of which piece of work are you most proud?

Some of my Crucis covers for 2000AD I think worked quite well.

9. Is there anything you haven’t illustrated that you would still like to?

Maybe an Orc story... or something to do with Hellboy!

10. What are you working on at the moment?

I'm concentrating on portrait painting at the moment, a few covers for 2000AD and then more Ampney Crucis.

Thanks to Simon for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find out more about his work (and achievements) here.

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