An artist, writer and graphic novelist based in Bristol, South West England.
I was raised in Bahrain by my English/Scottish father and Pakistani/Indian mother and was there during the Gulf War (part 1). Despite (or because) of the fact that lot of what I saw of it was on TV, some of my memories of that time feature strongly in The Boy with Nails for Eyes, which is my main project at the moment.
When I was 16 I moved to the UK for my A-levels with an art scholarship. Apart from the art tuition I received then, I’m self-taught. I then completed a BA in English literature and an MA in theological research at Durham – I’m still a huge mythology and philosophy geek. To keep body and soul together I have a part-time job as a researcher in the charity sector.
I’m most often to be found hunched over a keyboard or drawing board, making stories, usually in the company my wife (editor/ideas-basher/tireless-picker-upper-and-duster-offer/stalwart compadre) Anna.
Why ‘Basement Garden’?
Anna playing with Bo in our old garden.
We all (me, my wife, cats) used to live in the basement of a converted ‘character’ house in Bristol. It was cold, damp and dark. The kitchen was the size of two cupboards. This isn’t an exaggeration – two cupboards is originally what it was. The only saving grace about the place was the garden, where we would all escape when the weather allowed.
The garden was lovely. Two large trees framed the paved area which our bedroom let out onto. A lawn blended into a small patch of wanton overgrowth, weeds and wildflowers. One night I woke to see two fox cubs playing just outside our door.
Anyway, the effect of this was that I actually found myself writing out our address differently through the year. Basement flat, garden flat – winter, summer. I’m guessing the rest’s obvious.
What programs/equipment/techniques do you use?
Equipment/techniques for traditional art
Anything that’ll work. Chalks, acrylics, spray paint, ink, various pencils, pens, charcoals, collage, photography. Almost everything I do these days also involves Photoshop at some point.
Weird stuff I’ve used at one point or another: dripping wax; razors; sponges; eggshells; bits of wood. But I’m not a pervert.
In the case of The Boy with Nails for Eyes, the images are generally composed with gradual ink washes onto pencil outlines, which are then detailed with acrylic, chalk, charcoal and pencil, then scanned into Photoshop. There it can be a case of simply adding some colour, bringing in various photographic or digital elements, or altering the original image in some way. More often than I’d like, I rearrange the composition of the original drawing entirely on the computer.
For digital art, I use Adobe Photoshop version 8, ‘Photoshop CS’ as it’s commonly known, along with a Wacom Graphire.
(I’ve also tried GIMP and it’s great, but I’ve already paid my moneys.)
A more recent addition has been a sort notebook-cum-tablet thing. It’s from 2006 so it looks eeever so slightly like a prop from nineties scifi – but it’s damn useful, so on balance I’ll just have to love it for its mind.
For compiling pages and adding text I use Scribus. It’s a free, open source desktop publisher and it’s fantastic. Without it I couldn’t have put The Boy with Nails for Eyes together at all so, if you’re looking for some completely free, powerful desktop publishing software, I can only recommend it.
If anyone has any questions at all, give me a shout.