I was then lucky enough to have a sample of my work shown to Sir Richard Taylor, who was very keen to get me going at the workshop as a creature and character designer, trying to push this medium into the concept art world and also fine art. As luck would have it, The Hobbit was my first test!
"As luck would have it, The Hobbit was my first test" - wow, I bet you never thought you'd hear yourself say those words! If you could choose a favorite character or creature from The Lord of the Rings, which one would it be? Mine would be the Balrog. That scene leaves me with my jaw on the floor every time I see it!
The Balrog was definitely one of them! The scale of that creature and the elemental feel was unlike anything I'd seen in a movie. The realism achieved in Gollum was also hugely inspiring for me.
It sounds like you have traveled a long way and experienced a lot of different things during your creative career. Does traveling affect your art at all? Do you find you are influenced by the things you see around you in the different places you visit?
Absolutely! Different cultures and countries fascinate me and I always try to fuse my characters and creatures with a sense of where they might have come from and what they do.
The world is a hugely inspiring place for an artist to wander through and capture with his/her camera, so always make sure you have that camera to hand!