Iíve been illustrating and doodling characters since before I was potty-trained. I was obsessed with Frankenstein and zombies, and I used to doodle characters to scare my little brother. Then I became obsessed with nudity and bosoms, and I doodled images to scare my parents. And now Iím obsessed with squashed animals. I doodled my way through an illustration degree course at Chelsea, and then I doodled my way through a 2D animation course at St Martins, and then a cartooning course and a storyboarding course.
Thereís a pantheon of illustrators and animators stuffed in my cupboard. I remember when my dad bought me my first 2000AD comic. When I saw the illustrations from artists like Carlos Esquerra and Simon Bisley, http://simonbisleygallery.com, I immediately binned my Beanos. Then I discovered Gerald Scarfe and Ronald Searle. I loved their splotchy, scratchy illustrations.
I recently wrote and illustrated a fairytale. I took the sick world of Grimmís fairytales as my inspiration. The characters I developed, I tried to invest with humanity, but also a bit of humour.
I started a job as an Art Director in an advertising agency. And it was like entering a sweet shop. I could pick from any illustrator I wanted. I discovered people like Dave McKean, http://mckean-art.co.uk, and Mark Ryden, http://www.markryden.com. Have a look at Mark Rydenís carnivorous Alice and Wonderland illustration on the front cover of Hi Fructose volume 3.
From my 2D animation course, I learnt a lot about characterisation and expression. I was inspired by the work of golden oldies such as Milt Kahl and Richard Williams. And then subsequently I took a lot of inspiration for my Roadkill characters from the Ren and Stimpy Show. Their cartoon is stuffed full of bloodshot eyes and bulging veins and contorted expressions. To create a good cartoon character you need to invest it with humour, and Ren and Stimpy is about as funny as you can get. Hereís a befuddled alien character I animated recently.
Since starting on the road to Roadkill, Iíve been lapping up contemporary character design as influences for my Roadkill designs. I love James Jarvisí work, http://www.amostoys.com Heís taken the mundane and turned it into the quirky. And I like Nathan Jurevicius for his surreal octopi and his steroid-pumped Heenie. And then thereís Pete Fowler with his dumpy Jogger and his Festival Ranger. http://www.monsterism.net
And hopefully some day, somewhere, someone out there will quote Twitch and his bashed-up buddies as their inspiration.