I love Japanese prints (ukiyo-e) and Art Deco. Both have a clear line sensibility that links to my favourite comic styles - the work of people such as Edgar P. Jacobs, Hergé, Roger Leloup and Yves Chaland, etc. I'm also influenced by the cinema of the 1920s and 30s, especially the big epics and adventure films.
How would you define 'clear line' comics?
There probably is an official definition somewhere, and obviously it has a lot to do with art that is somewhat simplified or cut back, but for me they're defined by clarity in both art and storytelling. It's about getting on with telling the story without too much extraneous clutter. This makes clear line comics not only strong in storyline but very accessible too.
What role does history play in your work?
History has a prominent role in my stories - I'm very interested in the way that events or people in the distant past affect the present day, or the way an ancient object carries its own story, despite no documentation or explanation. The past is like a lost world that reveals itself to us in a thousand ways, often without us noticing but sometimes with great force.
How would you describe the cultural climate in Britain?
There's not much money around and arts and culture are often some of the first areas to see cut-backs. But it's interesting because people need art and so, though you might not get as many big funded events, you get lots of individuals popping up and doing interesting things. Looking at comics in particular there is an incredible explosion of creativity, especially with self-published comics and smaller independent publishers. There are more comic events than we've ever had before, all over the country. It used to be that 'self-published' often meant 'low quality', but that is no longer necessarily the case.