Steve's Design Hero

We've been asking our team members about their design heroes growing up, and our senior illustrator Steve was keen to share!

When I was originally asked to submit who my design heroes were; I thought it would be a relatively simple task...think again! There are so many and so varied. I have drawn (no pun intended) on so many influences, including the many people I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with over the years.  

Early connections were comic books, comic strips, cartoons and illustrated newspaper adverts. I always loved art at school and spent all my spare time doodling over newspaper photos and tracing on grease paper provided by my Nana (an exceptional cook!) who later held me in good stead as a visualiser for storyboards, sketches, and the like.  

I really loved the Illustrations on the Airfix model kits by Roy Cross. 

The fantasy art of Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo.  

The Cartoons of Dudley D. Watkins for ‘The Broons’ and ‘Oor Wullie’. 

The wonderful characterisations of Canadian cartoonist Jim Unger.  

There are so many more, but among them is one excellent stand-out. As a student at Leeds Poly, I was introduced to the work of Ralph Steadman. At the time, one of his contemporaries Gerald Scarf was more infamous, but for me it had to be Ralph. I loved the energy, colour and vibrancy of his work, it inspired me to experiment with inks using brushes, dip pens, toothbrushes and even straws. Oftentimes, ink-stained fingers and clothes splattered with un-washable stains bore testament to hours of fun experimenting. What I do now for work may be a million miles away from those college days, but I still look back on those special times with fond memories.