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Hands, Head & Heart - Defining an Artist
06 Oct 2021
by James Warman

Photographer James Warman has been working on a beautiful project to showcase local artists using as his inspiration the definition that "an artist works with their hands, head and heart". Introducing the internationally renowned cartoonist Charlie Adlard who has kindly agreed to be featured in this project.

Tell me a little about yourself and your art?

I'm a cartoonist. That's what I use as a general term for myself - whether it's Charles Schultz or Alex Ross, we all caricature the environments our stories take place in - just some to a greater extent than others. I'm most well-known for my comic book art though - primarily as the artist on The Walking Dead.

How did you first get into your chosen art?

I've drawn all my life, as far as I can remember. But, at the age of six or seven, my dad brought me a copy of The Mighty World Of Marvel [UK re-print comic] back in 1972, and, believe it or not, from that moment on, my path was set!

Where do you feel the inspiration to create your art comes from?

I've always wanted to tell stories, but my ability to write is next to nothing - so I tell them visually. Comics are a collaboration, I couldn't do them without a writer - so, I suppose, my inspiration comes from the script in front of me! I enjoy the collaborative experience of working with someone else too. A good partnership breeds better art.

The last year has been especially challenging for so many of us. How have you managed, both personally and creatively?

Well, I'm a self-employed cartoonist. I've worked from home for my whole professional life - around 30 years. So, one could argue I've been practicing self-isolation for that long too... For me, nothing really changed work-wise. I just carried on. I'm lucky that TWD still generates income whether I'm drawing it or not, so I didn't need the work coming in to survive the lock down. But I TOTALLY appreciate that I'm one of the few lucky ones... especially being a creative one.

Has the pandemic or lockdown had any influence on your work, either positively or negatively?

Positively I was able to do a lot of charity stuff in the first lock down, which I wouldn't have been able to do if it hadn't happened. As an artist, I felt rather useless as key workers etc. battled the pandemic... I really did feel the need to do something. And contributing my time towards certain pandemic related projects seemed to be a good way to feel "useful".

What plans do you have for your art going forward?

Post TWD [we finished the book over 2 years ago now], I want to concentrate on more personal projects [that aren't so deadline heavy for sure!]. Drawing 22 pages and a cover a month for 16 years was quite exhausting, so I'm certainly scaling back. I'm not interested in going for the "big" dollar anymore. I'm more interested in doing good work and satisfying my own artistic self. I think eventually that leads to the ultimate contentment... when you're happy with what you're doing.

What practical advice would you give someone wanting to to take up your form of art professionally?

I know it's a cliche, but, if you're good, just keep going and believe in yourself. You have to have a degree of talent, which is the mercurial part of it. You can "learn" how to draw etc, but you'll never get to the top of your game without it. I do believe we all have a talent, but whether we choose to use it, or are lucky enough to have it thrust upon you, is the point... I was lucky enough to utilise the ONLY thing I CAN do!

Where can people see your art?

In all good comic shops! Plus bookshops etc - where there should be TWD collections etc I have a website, where I put up selected images of my work - Charlieadlard.com - and I'm on most socials too - Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - just Google my name!

"I wanted an insight into how artists create their work, which I hoped would help me better understand what actually constitutes art and, if I'm honest, try to validate my own artistic endeavours" - James Warman, Hands, Head & Heart

To see more of James' work visit https://www.jameswarmanphotography.com