Friday, 11 November 2016

Feature Friday #19 - Joshua Claxton

What got you into art?
I'm not sure I specifically remember a one-off event that sparked my interest. What I do remember is that, as a child, I loved to draw maps. It didn't matter the medium, the back of rolls of wallpaper always worked a treat. I used to draw maps of the world off by heart in reception - I still think this is the single thing I've done that my mother is proudest of...

Who is your favourite character to draw?
Anybody whose face has an interesting feature. It could be as obvious as a moustache or a scar, or something a little more subtle, like a slightly asymmetric nose. Anything that makes their face distinctive, and thus more interesting to draw. As a kid I also loved to draw Spider-Man, there was something very therapeutic about absent-mindedly filling in the webbing on his costume.

What do you hate drawing?
I don't hate drawing them, in part because I never choose to and so avoid the frustration, but I've always been terrible at drawing bicycles, especially if I don't have a reference photo in front of me.

Favourite artists?
From a more traditional point of view, and as cliché as it might be, I love van Gogh: the portraits the landscapes, the still lifes, everything. I also have a bit of a singular obsession with André Derain's portrait of Henri Matisse. I don't know why, I think it's a combination of the colour and the brush strokes. There's something about it.

From a geekier perspective, Dave Gibbons' pencils and John Higgins' colours in the original Watchmen graphic novel are hard to beat. I also grew up on a steady diet of John Romita Jr., and it was his depiction of Spider-Man in the late 1990s (especially any issues involving Morbius - easily the most under-rated comic book villain of all time) that really catalysed my love of comic book art.

Which media do you use?
Almost exclusively pencils, though this is perhaps more a result of time limitations than any actual preference. I'd love to branch out, maybe even try digital media, but it's a time investment I just can't make right now!

When you're drawing, what do you put on in the background?
The news. I always follow both US and UK politics very closely, and especially right now, in the midst of the US Presidential Election, it's been non-stop. I also find it a little less distracting than music, which I find myself wanting to sing / dance to. This makes drawing somewhat more difficult... No such temptation with the news!

What's your greatest achievement?
When I lived abroad I was commissioned to design the logo for a Warsaw-based language school, which they still use to this day. That's my greatest achievement artistically, which is not all that much, truth be told. Most / all of my achievements lie outside the world of art!

What would you say to any aspiring artists?
I'm not sure I'm in much of a position to give advice (still being very much 'aspiring' myself), but as with all things, practise!

Do you have any projects lined up?
I'm just planning on drawing whenever I find the time! For ages now I've been planning on doing a series of drawings on dinosaurs (an ill-fated attempt to connect with a now long lost youth...) so hopefully that. It's not something I've drawn for almost two decades, so we'll see how it goes.

Marvel or DC?
Marvel by a landslide. I am still waiting for DC to get their act together on the big screen (though I might be the only person ever to actually really enjoy the Green Lantern film).

Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate, except when it comes to yoghurt. Then definitely vanilla.

Captain America or Iron Man?

Finally, if you could take any character and draw them in a new comic or art-piece, who would it be, and why?

I think the world is ready for a Silmarillion graphic novel. Trying to depict Eru Ilúvatar would certainly be a challenge, and it would be fun to draw Fëanor at work, forging the three Silmarils. Lots of scope for creativity!

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