Talking Trips with Drew Hird

Drew Hird is a comic book artist based in Bury St Edmunds and a self proclaimed nerd. Drew and I met around 5 or so years ago when we were both pretty into the cosplay world of the UK’s comic book conventions. We’ve been friends since then and it’s amazing how his style has changed in the years we’ve known each other. Drew is now studying at university and fulfilling his goal of become a comic book creator. Drew works with various mediums and is available for commissions- check out my shiny new logo- so if you like his work, his details are available at the bottom of the page.

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His new comic is called Trips and is engaging from the very beginning. The first couple of pages lay out the story really well, and it’s told like your friend is recalling one of their own bovine experiences straight to you. I live in Wales so a story featuring a pub named ‘The Plough’ combined with my own preference of sheep to cattle means I already feel nervous for the characters. I’ve had it in my head since I was a kid that if you go on holiday to the countryside you will have an incident with a cow.

In your own words, what is Trips about and who did you write it for?

Trips is a comic based on a true story. The lead character is based on a mate of my dad’s. who had an accident on holiday. He was walking down a public footpath, but as it entered a field that should have been fenced off, he was attacked by a herd of temperamental cattle. The comic is aimed primarily at a more adult audience, although, there is nothing in it to stop a younger audience reading it.


How did the true story get such a grip on you that you turned it into art?

That’s a very good question. I think it is partially because I found the story interesting hearing it from the man himself, and knowing him personally, I felt it was a story I’d like to try and do justice. I think a lot of people assume that this kind of thing doesn’t happen and I felt that some kind of awareness was needed. There are actually more cow attacks per year than shark attacks! I felt that if someone read the comic, they may become more aware of the dangers of a public footpath opening straight onto a field.


What is the comic that got you into comics?

Well, for as long as I can remember, I have been a Spider-man fan, I’m not sure when I started reading Spider-man, but the use of a child superhero with real world issues was something I could relate to.


I’ve been following your progress for years now and your style has changed so much. What advice do you have for aspiring artists?                                                                        
I think the most important thing to do is continue to keep drawing as the mantra of a successful artist is ‘Draw Draw Draw’. I can only say practice is the key. Listening to advice is always a good thing to do too, constructive criticism can always help you where you may not be able to see your own flaws.


What’s happening in the comic world that’s exciting you right now?                                         
I’m excited to see the release of the new Kick Ass and Hit Girl comics. It looks like Kick Ass is to become a new character, who is female, which is a great idea. I love to see more and more diversity in the comics, and seeing the new face behind the Kick Ass mask being a black female excites me a lot! It’s an exciting time in the small press community too, with new writers and artists joining and sharing their own experiences in their comics.


When you’re looking for inspiration, what do you do?

I think I start by looking at the world. I look at the animals around, the people in my life. I also draw inspiration from my childhood, TV, Movies, things I’ve enjoyed that I feel can bring something to my own stories. A story I’ve been working on for a while takes a lot of influences from TV that I used to watch, and also my love of mythology. If anything, I try to just draw inspiration from all over and use any useful suggestions my friends may give me.


You inherited Treacher Collins syndrome when you were born and it caused you some eye and ear problems. Did that influence your art?

So, initially, I’d have to say no, I never really felt any necessity to bring my condition into my art, though I also believe that artists should use their own experiences in their story telling. I personally haven’t found a way that, to me, doesn’t seem too… either preachy, or self obsessed. Recently I lost some eyesight due to a surgery, and it took a while to get back to being able to see reasonably well. While I haven’t let it influence my stories yet, it may have influenced the style a little bit as I’ve gotten back to a sense of normality, and I am thinking of doing something based on the experience when I have figured out how to do so.

What advice do you have for other artists that have visual impairment?

Well, I’d say it still comes down to practice, and determination. Don’t give up, I worked hard to make my pictures upright, rather than slightly slanting to the right, but it just came down to practice, looking at the work, seeing where the problem is and trying again… Also, try and take note of any advice someone has when they view your work.

If you’d like to support Drew and his art work and follow him so you’re entirely up to date with his projects, you can give him a like and follow him on Twitter or Instagram. You can also buy a shirt with one of his designs on here.

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