Featured Artist – Tony Healey

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Where do you draw your inspiration from?
To quote Chuck Close: ‘Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work’

What type of environment do you prefer to work in? At home or in a studio? Listening to music?
Both. At my home studio I tend to work like a Trappist monk. I also share a studio with 5 other illustrators in central London, which is a little livelier.

What is your earliest memory of creating art? (or drawing as a child)
I’ve been drawing since I can remember. My dad was an accomplished natural draughtsman who, given different circumstances, could have been a professional artist himself: it could well be that seeing my dad at work was the spark for my own interest. I like to think so.

Who was the first illustrator that you noticed and admired?
As a youngster I spent a lot of time reading comics. Leo Baxendale and Ken Reid were favourites, but the artist of this era that I most tried to emulate was Frank Hampson. Frank Hampson drew Dan Dare for the Eagle comic. There was a quality to his black which seemed blacker than black. I found out many years later that he used to re-ink the black parts after the watercolour had been applied. It’s a technique that I hijacked and that I still use today (though I do so digitally now): I always make the topmost layer a copy of the original drawn layer.

What are your goals for your future as an illustrator?
To continually try to improve and to try to produce work that I would want to look at.

What question do you wish an interviewer would ask you?
…and what is your fee for this interview, Mr Healey?


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