Lost in space

Interviews

Interviews

Interviews with Rory Walker. I’ve been lucky enough for people to value my opinions on a few things over the years. I doubt very strongly that they’d ever want to interview me again, or indeed have any use for my answers. Regardless, it’s still an honour to be asked. Here’s a few for your reading pleasure.

Interview for Beehive Illustration Agency newsletter, 2014

Introduction

This interview was written originally for publication on my agents website. It never saw the light of day, alas, as it was requested that I used photos rather than cartoons. My argument (which I lost) was that no one would want to look at my real face, and besides it was all about promoting the drawings, etc, etc.

Describe where you live?

I live in a quasi-typical Bristolian late Victorian terrace house on top of a big hill.  I know it’s a big hill because I seem to spend an infernal amount of my life cycling up it to get to my house, but never seem to become fitter because of it.  I like to imagine that the building has been retrofitted with the Industrial Zone from the 90’s TV programme “The Crystal Maze” as there’s lots of metalwork and piping bisecting the rooms, laser beams and robotic devices traversing the walls, and a giant fan with a potpourri of silver and gold tokens slowly agitating in the bathroom.  I like to shout “Get out, get out, for god’s sake’s get OUUUTTTTT” every so often as I pass a room so I can live the game-show dream vicariously.
There’s a load of paintings and drawings and cartoons dotted around the place; if I were feeling truly extravagant I’d love to put them all in ornately carved and gold-leafed baroque frames.  They’re currently under the watchful eye of my ceramic chicken collection, roosting on shelves and acting as a (possibly misaligned) barometer of taste and sophistication.
Currently, as it’s a delightful summer, the garden is in full bloom and the recently dug out pond is attracting all sorts of wildlife.  I’ve been entertaining the visiting dragonflies and moths with a great selection of music to encourage them to visit more and hopefully bring their friends.
heading off for a day of interviews
Leaving my house for an interview

What sort of music do you listen to?

I get very excited at the prospect of hearing music I’ve never heard before for the first time, so what I listen to is directly influenced by what I’ve currently got.  That said, I go through delightful phases of passionately listening to a certain style or artist for a finite period before casually discarding it for something so completely different and unrelated that it makes me feel like an entirely different person.  I recently had a wonderful dalliance with Bluegrass music that lasted about 3 months; brilliant!
There’s a very hot fire burning inside my soul for the more furious and dispossessing, planet-crushing end of the music spectrum, however, that’d only paint a certain picture on certain days.  I enjoy dipping my toe into so many different areas and am positively bubbling with enthusiasm for modern minimal classical music, clicky-clacky-beep-beep electronica, old Bollywood soundtracks, traditional African drumming, Country Americana, and, well you probably get the idea.
Listening to death metal whilst prepping for interviews
Relaxing under a sunny tree listening to death metal

What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

It was “Gravity” and I really enjoyed it.
prepping for interviews whilst loitering in space
Launching off into space; not really sure what’s going on

Who/what makes you laugh?

Mock the Week.

If one illustrator inspires you who would that be?

Sergio Aragones.  Or Bill Watterson.  Can I have two?  Is that allowed?

If you won the lottery tomorrow what do you predict you’d be doing in a year’s time?

Having just been to Santa Pod racetrack to watch vehicles racing down a quarter mile bit of road for a weekend, I’m feeling all inspired to build a rocket car in my back yard and launch it over the Utah salt-flats.  I’d probably then progress from there to working on making a private space exploration and engineering outfit with a secondary arm that’s concentrating on discovering the treasures of the ocean’s depths.  Concurrently I’d go on a paragliding tour from North to South Africa with a personal chef and a very good and expansive music collection.  This is working on the principal that I’d spend the next year actually learning how to paraglide.  To top it all off I’d enrol at University and get some qualifications and knowledge in Astrophysics rather than just dreaming about it.  I think it’d take most of the lottery winnings to pay for extra tuition I’d need.  And finally I might just bight the bullet and buy my own pencil rather than just borrowing one from the nearest person.
welding a car together ready for interviews
With welding torch in hand, I’m building my own hotrod

Interview for the Cartoonist Club of Great Britain’s “Jester” members magazine.

Please answer at least ten of the following questions…

1 – How did you first get in to cartooning?

I think it was more a combination of preordained destiny and inability to work in a normal working environment.

2 – What was your first commission?

it was a cartoon for “International Tunnelling” Magazine about 20 years back.  Yes, there really is a magazine about tunnels; in fact there’s a surprising number of them.

3 – How long have you been a member of the Cartoonists’ Club?

I’ve definitely been a member for a few years, maybe 3?  Maybe 4? I’m not actually sure.  I guess the way to tell would be rifling through my pristinely collected and bound volumes of “The Jester” magazine and seeing which is the earliest issue?

4 – Do you belong to any other Clubs or Societies (Cartooning or otherwise)?

I’m a member of the AOI, and the Professional Cartoonist Organisation.  Apparently the latter is affiliated with the former and permits a reduction in membership fees which I shall be putting under close scrutiny when the next payment is due.

5 – What’s the stupidest question/request you have ever been asked?

I think everyone’s idea of what’s considered stupid can be put on a line and put in relationship with everyone elses.  I suspect that my idea is at the very far end of that line as I can’t think of anything particularly outrageous at the moment.

6 – Where do you get your ideas from?

They just burst out of my head.  My partner, Jess, is the sounding board for them – much to her dismay – and depending on her facial expression after delivery I can ascertain if they’re worth pursuing or not.  Generally if she fails to raise even the most limp of belittling smiles then I know I’m on to a good one.  I take a notebook with me whilst walking the dog and jot things down that creep into my mind.  Often I’ll have a theme which I think about whilst walking and lobbing a ball down the field which acts as a starting point and catalyst for further ideas.

7 – Did you ever go to College or University?

Yes I did.  I went to both, several times.  I’d keep going back too if I could afford it.  My aim is to get the entire alphabet after my name in qualification based acronyms.

8 – What is the most rewarding job you ever did?

It’s always a pleasure to have someone tell you that one of your books is the book they read to their kids at bed time.  Other than that, rewarding for me is quite literal and correlates with ‘well-paid’.  In that respect I’ve yet to achieve a rewarding job.

9 – Have you ever had a client from hell? Tell us more!

I’ve never had a client from hell, but I do generally tend to pass on smaller operations that involve signing NDA’s as the client is usually so precious about the project that you can rarely make headway through it, and no matter how deep into it you get, you’ll never achieve the same level of love for the product “X” as the commissioner.

10 – What are you working on at the moment?

Currently I’m a multi-faced creation machine and am endeavouring to come up with 10 new cartoons a day (unrealistic and unachievable, and generally 90% unfunny).  I’ve also created a new illustration style for magazine and editorial work which is a more stylised version of my former more complex style.  When I’ve a minute or two I head to the studio and work on oil paintings of landscapes from around my local area or from places I’ve been to visit – at the moment The Yucatan Peninsular is getting the once over.  I’ve been working on a pitch comic strip for placing in a children’s comic.  And I’m just about to start a book of Farming Jokes.  Looking back through that monologue I’m deeply saddened to note that the Farmers Joke book is the only one that’ll provide any form of financial security.  How dismaying.

11 – Do you work with Pen and Ink or are you purely Digital?

Yes!  I’ve spent many, many moons working out which are the greatest nib, holder, ink, and paper combinations and have pretty much settled now.  I love using a dip pen for the variation in line it provides, the skill required to use it, and the fact that you can’t make mistakes.  Samurai like discipline I like to think – but then I am prone to exuberant flights of fancy.  Often I use a Brush pen, but the refills are pretty pricey, so *cackle* I just use my regular drawing ink to refill the cartridges.  Life’s pretty hedonistic for me.

12 – Who is your favourite Cartoonist/Illustrator?

I’m deeply honoured to have the Private Eye cartoonist, Brian Bagnall as Jess’s grandpa.  Long before I met her I knew his work, so it’s a great pleasure to have a few of his cartoons on the wall at home.  My all time favourite though is Mike Williams – http://www.mikewilliamscartoons.co.uk/ – pretty much everything he does cracks me up.  Sadly I don’t have any of his on my wall, so if he’s reading this and wants to do a swapsie then I’m more than happy to oblige.

13 – What is your favourite movie?

I don’t really ever watch movies.  I like movie soundtracks though if that’s any help?  Though saying that I can’t think what a favourite one of those would be.  Probably a 70’s Bollywood soundtrack I’d imagine.

14 – What book are you reading at the moment?

Currently I’m working my way through the complete Nemesis the Warlock from 2000ad. Does a comic count as a book? You’ve caught me off guard, usually I can say something egg-headed and boffiny, but right now it’s just about alien freedom flighters.

15 – What do you see yourself doing five years from now?

Hmmm, I don’t know.  I quite like the idea of being Hollywood’s next action hero.  Maybe that’s a new direction I should look into.  It can’t be that tricky can it?

16 – Is there anything you would like to get off your chest?

Yes there is!  Why on earth did councils around the country rotate the zebra crossing buttons 90 degrees so you can’t see from the other side of the road when it’s illuminated and safe to cross.  Madness.

Illustrator and cartoonist – International clients making the world more beautiful!