Tuesday 24 April 2012

U is for the Unbelievable Art of Mr Karl Richardson

I first became aware of Karl Richardson's art when he started working for Black Library when they were still producing the Warhammer Monthly comic. His work then started to crop up regularly within the pages of 2000AD, and now, several years later, he and I have worked together for the first time.

You see Karl has illustrated my first Warhammer 40,000 Path to Victory gamebook, Herald of Oblivion. (You heard it here first, 40K fans!) So, over to Karl...

1. How did you start out as a professional artist? What was it that gave you your big break and led to what you are doing now?
I got a studio job, straight from 6th form when I was about 18. During my brief stay (it was the recession in the early nineties and I was let go after just under a year) I was mainly doing cartoons for greetings cards and posters. It was nothing too exciting and badly paid, but was a good insight into how the commercial art world worked. I decided to go freelance and continued to do the same kind of work as I was more assured of work. It worked out pretty well; I was earning more money, doing better work and felt more in control of things. After about 7 or 8 years I was starting to get the feeling I was underachieving with my work and just doing enough to get the job approved, principally because I was bored and badly needed a change in direction. During quieter times work-wise I started to sketch fantasy and comic book characters with the vague idea I might send off to 2000AD or Marvel! But sometime in the late nineties I was made aware of Games Workshop and the fact they were venturing into comics with Warhammer Monthly. I started to send off black and white inked posters of their characters and after about six months I got an internal drawing to do for an issue of inferno. It was definitely a turning point for me. I’d worked really hard on it and I can remember feeling different while I was working on it, in that this was what I really wanted to do! A cover for Warhammer came shortly after and eventually this led to getting the gig on Daemonifuge 2 and then Lone Wolves! After that there was no turning back.

2. What is your preferred method of working? Which medium suits your style best?
I still start all my work with pencil and paper, but finish everything on the computer whether its comic pages or fully rendered. I fall in and out of love with the computer depending on how many times it crashes on me, but at the end of the day it’s a fantastic tool to have at your disposal. Having said that, I’m currently thinking of returning to acrylic painting just to mix things up a little.

3. Which setting do you prefer – Warhammer or Warhammer 40,000?
I definitely prefer 40K - I think it retains most of the sensibilities of fantasy whilst letting you draw bolters spitting great gouts of fire lead at someone!

4. How did you enjoy creating illustrating Herald of Oblivion, drawing everything from Tyranids to Necrons?
Illustrating Herald of Oblivion was fun. I got to do a few new characters like the Necrons, the Painbringer being my favourite, and a return to Tyranids is always a joy. It also gave me the opportunity to work in full colour as I got the chance to do the cover!
7. How does working for 2000AD compare to working for Black Library?
I think there’s a little more creative freedom with 2000AD. As long as you retain the fundamental look of their characters there is room for interpretation. The Warhammer worlds on the other hand have to be adhered to very diligently. But I enjoy the bold and striking imagery inherent with the Warhammer worlds and love working in the future war theatre though, so I don’t mind!
Thanks to Karl for taking the time out of his very busy schedule to answer my questions and don't forget, you can see more of his artwork for Herald of Oblivion when my first Path to Victory gamebook is published later this year.

1 comment:

Jeremy Bates said...

I don't know much about the comic world anymore, my bad, but that is some excellent art there. I can draw in my sleep, if that counts. Crazy dreams.