Artist Mick Trimble has gone from strength to strength as he’s progressed from short small press contributions to full run graphic novels with Markosia and that called for some questions to find out how that’s been.
What was the first title you worked on?
About ten years ago I won a place on the ‘StripSearch’ course, a scheme which was run here in Birmingham to discover and help aspiring comics artists. The two main tutors were Hunt Emerson and John McCrea, and we also had workshops with guest tutors like Phil Winslade, Andi Watson and James Hodgkins (now working as Jimmy Broxton). At the end of the course all of the artists on the course contributed to a book called Stuffed, which then went on sale at the Bristol Comics Convention. It was a story about a little girl’s teddy bear, which travelled through different dimensions and taking on new personas, kinda like a furry ‘Quantum Leap’.
We all had two pages to draw each, mine was about gangsters,(which was sort of prophetic, seeing as I ended up drawing Bloodfellas, which is about zombie mobsters in the ’30s) so that was my first published work. From that, I ended up contributing to lots of small press anthologies like FutureQuake, Violent!, Bingo Bonanza and The End Is Nigh.
How has your work changed since then?
Stylistically, probably not that much. My panels aren’t as cluttered, these days. I used to try to cram all sorts of detail and stuff into the backgrounds, details which got lost or muddied when it was printed. Also, I don’t pencil as tightly as I used to. When I did Bloodfellas, I was doing it around my day job and a newborn baby, so the pencils had to be tight so I could remember what it was I was doing and pick up where I left off. When I worked on my latest book Hunter Hunted, I was now a stay-at-home dad,and that newborn had just started school, so there were fewer interruptions (and the deadline was tighter) so I spent less time on the pencilling.
Who are your main influences?
My dad and his brothers were all big comics readers when I was little. My dad would always buy me comics, generally Marvel comics, usually Spider-Man. When I went to my Nan’s, my uncles (still living at home then) had boxes full of 2000ad’s. This was the early ’80’s, so it was the seminal (to me, anyway) 2000ad artists like Bolland, Gibbons, McMahon, Ewins, Ezquerra, and I really loved the Rogue Trooper stuff by Cam Kennedy and Colin Wilson, but my absolute fave,and has probably had the biggest influence on my own art was Steve Dillon.
Mainly because back then, I read 2000ad, I read Warrior, and Doctor Who and Hulk Weeklies, and he was in all of them! You couldn’t escape him! Then Preacher came along and cemented his legend in my mind. It was a massive, massive loss when we lost him last year.
What comics are you reading just now?
It’s kind of ironic that now I draw comics, I read them less often. I used to get 2000ad every week, few American monthlies from my local comics shop every month, but now my time and money is a lot less than it used to be,so that’s more or less stopped, sadly. I’ve liked what I’ve seen of ‘Saga’ and my eldest daughter introduced me to ‘The Wicked+The Divine’, which I enjoyed, and in the British small press (which is what I read most these days) I enjoyed Steve Tanner’s Flintlock (I might be biased, I was involved in that project for a short time, but had to leave), and I’ve just started Dave West and Gary Crutchley’s WesterNoir, both are great new spins on old genres (the highwayman and the cowboy, respectively.)
What’s the best thing about creating comics?
It’s certainly not the money! It’s great getting a book out there and having people see it and (hopefully!) like it. My last book, Bloodfellas was very well liked, all the reviews we got were amazingly positive, and that’s extremely gratifying, and almost worth all the months of work it took to draw. The best thing about creating comics, for me, anyway, is the collaboration between myself and the writers I’ve worked with. They’ve become good friends of mine, which is handy when you’re sat next to them at conventions! I’d hate to do that with someone I didn’t like.
What are you working on just now?
I’ve just finished Hunter, Hunted, and that was launched at the Edinburgh Comic Con earlier this year (we thought that the ideal place to launch seeing as the book has a Scottish hero and is set in a post- Scottish war of independence world) so we’re busy promoting that at the moment. No other projects on the go just now (there is talk of a possible sequel) and I’m enjoying having spare time again! No doubt I’ll be picking up the pencil again before long and I’m available via e-mail if anyone wants to work with me on a project.