Thursday, 28 October 2010

Influence Map

1 – Masamune Shirow/Appleseed
A comic I discovered as a teenager, I think this has had a massive impact on not just my art style, but also how I judge comics and other works. It's plot raises many questions: what makes us human, rather than organic machines? Is freedom a right, or a privilege?
As well as all this, the artwork is amazing – featuring fantastically detailed cityscapes and awesome robot designs (I likes my robots)

2 – 2000AD
Another of my favourite comics from my childhood. The main draw for me was always the brilliant variation of art within any single issue, from some of Britain's best artists. I also loved the “Future Shock” series of mini comics, each with its own little twist ending. Judge Death is also awesome.

3 – Calvin and Hobbes
About the only comic strip I’ve read which could actually make me laugh out loud. The image is from my favourite strip, in which Calvin imagines the coolest thing ever – Tyrannosaurs in F-14's! Although the art style wasn't really my normal preference, I can't deny how fantastic it still is. Every couple of years I start re-reading and discover new things.

4 – 2001: A Space Odyssey
I have a deep fascination with space in general and I think most of it stems from watching this film in my early teens. Of course, I didn't understand a thing about it! The visuals have always been this films strongest suit – especially the Jupiter alignment scene at the end – and drove me into the genre of sci-fi in general, as well as the wonder of space. For the record, it took years for me to understand it fully – I had to read the book!

5 – Halo: Combat Evolved
Although many videogames have influenced me, I think of this as the first that really astounded me. The original game's plot may have been ripped from Iain Banks' culture novels, but their execution was unbelievable. The first time I set foot on the titular Halo ring, I couldn't stop staring into the horizon – I was absolutely jaw dropped by the way the ring extended up and over the player. I still remember inviting friends around just to show them this, and the amazing textures. Personal favourite quote while playing it “Look at the grass!” (I think every one I showed it to said this)

6 – Iron Maiden Album Covers
I am of course a massive fan of their music, but I was first drawn to them by the astounding artwork on almost every album. Most of them were produced by the illustrator Derek Riggs. I remember sitting listening to the music while staring intently at the cover. I even buy the albums on their original vinyl format – simply to have the larger album artwork!

7 – Blade Runner
It took me long time to finally sit down and watch this film, and I wasn’t disappointed when I finally did. Although the plot is fantastic (and far deeper and involving than the obtuse 2001, which almost challenges you to understand it.) the visuals are always the films biggest draw for me. Although the fantastic cityscapes are still (to me) better than any modern film's effects, my mind has always been captured by the iconic early shot of Deckard's eye, with the city reflected on it. Still essential viewing!

8 – Roger Dean/The Shadow of the Beast
When I owned the early 8 and 16-bit computers, they always seemed to have the same drawback. I have chosen this game, but there are many more that I feel share it's problem; artwork which amazes and promises a fantastic world with adventures in a surreal reality of the viewers imagination – and the game is about running right while jumping. Shadow of the Beast may have been technically excellent for its time, but for me it could never live up to the promise of it's astounding front cover.

9 – Warhammer 40K
I was a big fan of the game, and I still have my army for the occasional battle with friends. The artwork was something I discovered after getting into the game (I didn’t own any of the rulebooks, I simply used my friends copies) that simply dragged me in further. The picture I chose for this is by Mark Gibbons – but there are many fantastic examples throughout the books, as well as brilliant short stories.

10 – Abandoned Structures/Chernobyl
A recent discovery while working on a project a few years ago. While looking at pictures of Chernobyl reactor 4 I found a treasure trove of fantastic images of abandoned structures. Something about them just speaks to me – a building without it's purpose, with no reason left to exist. There aren't many examples available locally (although there is an amazing abandoned factory that I see from my train every day, outside of Inverkeithing) most are from within the former U.S.S.R., where the sudden collapse of government left people with no reason to stay within their current areas – many were simply put there by the government for surveillance or military purposes. These people simply got up and left for home, leaving entire cities behind that still haven't been demolished or re-used.

11 – Space images
My huge interest in space and science fiction drives my fascination with images like this one (of the Horsehead Nebula) produced by NASA telescopes. Each one is available in its high resolution original from, and contains a wealth of detail. The pictures from the Martian rovers are also stunning.

12 – Ian Miller
An illustrator I remember from my childhood, who works with inks to create exceptionally detailed organic looking images. This image is from the Frank Herbert graphic novel “The City” .A quick bit of research while creating this revealed that Ian Miller has produced illustrations for 2000AD and Warhammer 40K. This graphic novel was the original reason I started liking his work (I read it when I was far too young to – It is quite violent to say the least) and started reading 2000AD (for his Nemesis the Warlock strips) as well as Warhammer 40k (He produced more than a few illustrations for the original “Rogue Trader” rulebook)

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