It’s always been Matthew Soffe’s dream to illustrate a strip for British weekly comic 2000AD. In the meantime, he’s trying to make my mark in as many small press titles as possible and has had work published in Dogbreath issues 21 & 22 and The End is Nigh issue 4, with more coming up in Something Wicked #6, Paragon #6 and Starscape #1.
SciFi Art Now: What tools do you mainly use to create your art?
Matthew Soffe: At the moment I’m favouring the Pentel brush pen. Colours, tones & textures are added in Photoshop with a Wacom Bamboo.
SciFi Art Now: Why?
Matthew: I’ve tried digital inking but find it faster and more natural to draw things the old fashioned way.
SciFi Art Now: What inspired you to become an artist?
Matthew: I’ve dabbled with art all my life but only decided to take it seriously and make a real go of it since my mother passed away in 2009. I wanted to do something positive, and drawing gives me focus and keeps me sane.
SciFi Art Now: What was the most useful piece of advice you were given when you began learning your craft?
Matthew: Not to worry about developing ‘a style’ – just draw, and your style will develop all by itself.
SciFi Art Now: Which artists most inspire you?
Matthew: Mick McMahon, Frazer Irving, Jock, PJ Holden, Matt Timson, Ben Templesmith and Ashley Wood. I’ve also recently been made aware of Alfredo Alcala, and been blown away by his linework.
SciFi Art Now: What is the appeal to you of science fiction as an inspiration for some of your work?
Matthew: I think it’s a reverting-to-childhood thing, the pure escapism, the sense of wonder. As you get older that sense of wonder is harder to pin down, but Sci-fi is all about that.
SciFi Art Now: Do you have a favourite piece of work or project you have worked on?
Matthew: I’m quite proud of a strip I did for Something Wicked I did – a Victorian ghost story.
SciFi Art Now: In your career, have you had any bizarre experiences while creating your art?
Matthew: When I was at university I was really into oil painting, often with my fingers. After a visit to the Tate Gallery I stayed up all night and ended up painting a self portrait at about 4am, which was probably the only thing I created during my time there that was worth a damn. The moral: sleep deprivation can be an artist’s best friend.
SciFi Art Now: What most frustrates you about being an artist?
Matthew: Not being as good as I’d like to be! Plus finding the time to do it alongside a full time job and home life.
SciFi Art Now: What keeps you going despite the hopefully occasional frustrations?
Matthew: The fact that, if you do it enough, you can see your own progress quite clearly. And the buzz when a strip or illustration is published.
SciFi Art Now: What advice would you offer to anyone starting out as an artist?
Matthew: If you decide it’s what you want, go for it and don’t be put off. Practice it, all the time – you can never draw too much. And as 2000AD artist PJ Holden once said to me – ‘the trick is to study, draw, study, draw and repeat. Forever.’
• Check out Matthew’s work at mattsoffe.weebly.com; his blog at: mygrimmbrother.blogspot.com; and his DeviantArt page: mygrimmbrother.deviantart.com. The Best way for people to contact him is via mygrimmbrotherATgmail.com
Categories: Comic Creator Interviews