Paddy Brown: Art Picks

Creator Art Picks, where we ask comic creators about the comics and artists they like and that influence them. This week, ICN contributor and writer-artist Paddy Brown, who has recently finished his online graphic novel The Cattle Raid of Cooley.

Who was the first artist you took notice of when getting into comics, that made you realize it was someone’s job to draw or just made you aware of creators?
I think it was probably Carlos Ezquerra, who was the first artist whose style I learned to recognise without reading the credits. I remember wondering why they never got him to draw Judge Dredd, shortly before he drew the Apocalypse War, not realising of course that he was Dredd’s visual creator.
Carlos Ezquerra: Strontium Dog, from StarLord issue 10, 1982

Carlos Ezquerra: Strontium Dog, from Starlord issue 10, 1982

Do you have a biggest influence or favourite artist, one that’s maybe affected your style or storytelling more than others?
My absolute favourite artist is Charles Keeping, who was a book illustrator from the late 50s until he died in 1988. He worked in black and white, in full painted colour, and in two- and three-colour lithographs, on children’s novels, picture books, deluxe reprints of classic fiction, school textbooks, magazines, and no doubt all kinds of other commercial art outlets, and his work is representational with a tendency to abstract expressionism, serious, unsentimental and sometimes quite grim in tone, even for the youngest children. A few of his books are still in print, and others turn up regularly in second hand bookshops and on AbeBooks, and they never disappoint.

Charles Keeping illustration from Reflections, a 1963 English textbook from Oxford University Press

Charles Keeping: from Reflections, a 1963 English textbook from Oxford University Press

Charles Keeping, from his picture book Joseph's Yard, 1969

Charles Keeping: from his picture book Joseph’s Yard, 1969

Charles Keeping, illustration from W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage, Heron Books, 1967

Charles Keeping: from W. Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage, Heron Books, 1967

Charles Keeping, from Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, The Folio Society, 1966

Charles Keeping: from Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, The Folio Society, 1966

Do you have a favourite artistic run on a series, or simply a love of the way one artist draws a certain character or team?
Back to 2000AD, it would have to be Kevin O’Neill on Nemesis the Warlock, and Mick McMahon on Sláine. More recently, Jan Duursema did some fantastic Star Wars stories, set in the period of the prequels, with writer John Ostrander, starring a Jedi they created called Quinlan Vos who went through a rather more convincing battle with the Dark Side than Anakin did in the films. Jan’s a great action artist – I believe she practices martial arts, and she’s very good at drawing lightsabre fights – and also very good at character.

Kevin O'Neill, Nemesis the Warlock

Kevin O’Neill: Nemesis the Warlock Book 3, Titan Books

Mick McMahon draws Sláine, 2000AD prog 352, 1984, script by Pat Mills

Mick McMahon: Sláine, 2000AD prog 352, 1984, script by Pat Mills

Jan Duursema: Quinlan Vos from Star Wars: Republic, Darl Horse Comics, about 2006

Jan Duursema: Quinlan Vos from Star Wars: Republic, about 2006

Do you have a specific favourite page or sequence from an artist?
There’s a bit in Dave McKean‘s Cages where the male lead and the female lead meet in a bar, and as they talk and dance the art gets more and abstract, before finally resolving itself into cups of coffee on the table and the bar about to close. It’s the perfect depiction of one of those wonderful evenings that happen occasionally, where you make a connection with somebody but you can never quite remember the details of it. I think I need to quote the entire sequence, but it’s an extract from a very long book and I’ve kept the resolution low, so I think it’s fair use. Hope Mr McKean doesn’t object!

Cages by Dave McKean

Cages by Dave McKean

Cages by Dave McKean

Cages by Dave McKean

Cages by Dave McKean

Cages by Dave McKean

Cages by Dave McKean

What’s your favourite comic book cover?

Mean Machine Angel by Carlos Ezquerra, 2000AD prog 284, 1982

Mean Machine Angel by Carlos Ezquerra, 2000AD prog 284, 1982

Who’s your favourite artist right now?
My favourite current artist is actually a colourist, Elizabeth Breitweiser, the common factor in two of my favourite current comics, Outcast (written by Robert Kirkman, line art by Paul Azaceta) and The Fade Out (written by Ed Brubaker, line art by Sean Phillips). Her pages seem to be built out of hand-separated overlays and rough-edged blocks of colour, and are daring and beautiful. I’ve also been enjoying Chris Samnee‘s line art on Daredevil, and Fiona Staples line and colour work on Saga.

Outcast, colour by Elizabeth Breitweiser, line art by Paul Azaceta, script by Robert Kirkman

Outcast, colour by Elizabeth Breitweiser, line art by Paul Azaceta, script by Robert Kirkman

The Fade Out, colour by Elizabeth Breitweiser, line art by Sean Phillips, script by Ed Brubaker

The Fade Out, colour by Elizabeth Breitweiser, line art by Sean Phillips, script by Ed Brubaker

Daredevil, line art by Chris Samnee, colour by Javier Rodriguez, script by Mark Waid, Marvel Comics

Daredevil, line art by Chris Samnee, colour by Javier Rodriguez, script by Mark Waid, Marvel Comics

Saga, art by Fiona Staples, script by Brian K. Vaughan

Saga, art by Fiona Staples, script by Brian K. Vaughan

Is there a current underrated artist or up and coming one you’d like to highlight?
Jamie Smart deserves to be better known than he is. Best kid’s cartoonist working, with a completely demented sense of humour. The Dandy put him on Desperate Dan a few years back before it folded, and he managed to make him funny for the first time in decades. Currently working on Bunny vs Monkey for The Phoenix, and the office-based webcomic Whubble, among other things.

Jamie Smart: Desperate Dan, from The Dandy

Jamie Smart: Desperate Dan, from The Dandy

Jamie Smart: Whubble

Jamie Smart: Whubble

Paddy Brown’s website.
Questions compiled by Chris O’Halloran.