I’ve always drawn. Always. My mom told me I used to sit in front of the t.v. filling up a paper with tiny drawings, hardly looking up. I draw most of my inspiration from the animated films and comics I grew up on.
Keep reading for some of my biggest influences in film and comics!
Although I grew up on a wide range of films and animation, including classic Disney and Warner Brother’s animations, most of my inspiration stems from obscure films born in the 80s and 90s.
I the following is a list of my biggest influences:
1. Clash of the Titans (1981) – Ray Harryhausen
I know that Ray had a huge body of work before this, but this was the first film of his I saw. It was released the year I was born, COINCIDENCE?? The stop motion animated characters fascinated me. They looked creepy and real, but also like toys. They looked like something I could make. I started making my own puppets immediately. I was obsessed with creating clay characters. I remember my first stop motion film, which I recorded with an old camcorder. Watching the 3 clay worms racing on screen was one of the most exhilarating moments of my young life.
2. Labyrinth (1986) and the Dark Crystal (1982) – Jim Henson
Once again I was inspired by the tactile look of these films. Jim Henson had created entire worlds for his characters to explore. The sets were real creations, not CGI. When they weren’t real they were beautifully hand painted landscapes. The dark and whimsical atmosphere of these films captivated me like nothing I had seen before.
3. Heavy Metal (1981) – Gerald Potterton
Another film released the year I was born. I supposed drawing sexy girls is my Birthright. I was probably too young to be watching this film, but my dad let me watch a lot of films I shouldn’t have (horror that made me scared of the dark to this day). This film was the first to show me that animation could be dark, and that characters could be dangerous and sexual. I was opened to a world of dystopian futures, sexy powerful women, and alternate worlds where anything could happen.
4. Rock and Rule (1983) – Nelvana
This was a film created by the animation studio Nelvana. There seemed to be some great things happening for animation in the 80s. Animation companies had a little more opportunity to experiment, and some great cinema has been created from this freedom. Although the film itself was considered a flop, it’s currently revered as a cult classic. This film showed me that animation can have powerful characters and plotlines, but also be dark, gritty and a little scary. Not to mention the amazing soundtrack that compliments the entire film. The characters in this film were not perfect heroes, they had flaws and dark pasts. This wasn’t Disney, this was something more. It was a powerful catalyst for the dark dystopian storylines I write today. Although I’m just summarizing the film here, this very well could be the most influential film of my entire existence.
My love of comics comes from looking through my dad’s huge box of random comics. The box was pretty diverse, there were a few kids’ comics specifically for my sister and me, but it was also filled with super hero comics and Mad Magazines. I can hardly remember the stories, but I loved looking at the pictures. I could stare at the same pages for hours.
My biggest comic influences fall into two categories:
1. Marvel Universe Comics
My favorite comics where not comics at all. They were issues from Marvel that only featured character bios. When I first found one I was shocked! “I can do this? Just create cool characters and backstories?” I loved reading about each character, their history, skills and talents. I wanted to know more. These comics instilled my love of creating amazing characters with diverse backstories! No more was I satisfied with just drawing for the sake of drawing, everyone had to be someone. When I finally went to Animation Film school I learned that this sort of character development is an important part of the character creation process.
2. Heavy Metal Comics
Seeing a trend? Yes I loved the original Heavy Metal film, but the comics had a great influence on me too. All the comics I had read before had nothing but male heroes and super villains. I didn’t even realize it while I was reading them, but when I picked up my first Heavy Metal Magazine, it all became clear. Suddenly the pages were filled with females brandishing swords and kicking butt. Yes, they were wearing skimpy clothes, but I was also coming into my own sexuality at the time, so the sexual aspect of these comics really spoke to me. It was the perfect time for me to pick up a book which was both exciting and titillating. This was the first time I had read stories where women were the heroes. Bikini Sword Babes or not, I was highly influenced and inspired.
I’m always finding new sources of inspiration, and refining my style, but you’ll be sure to find elements of these influences peppered throughout my work.