Profile of Craig Davison

Born in Sheffield during 1965, I have loved drawing for as long as I remember. At school, art was always my favourite subject - but I took it no further when I left until the late 1980's when I got a job drawing comics for pre-schoolers. As newly-hired cartoonist I drew a host of strips from Huxley Pig, The Wombles and The Shoe People to Bangers and Mash.

My skills improved by drawing every day, and I moved on a few years later to a video game company as a games designer and animator. I built up a portfolio of games that I worked on, from Zorro, The Hulk and The Hurricanes to game concepts and characters like Johnny Bazookatone.

During this time I began to sculpt reference figures to turn into 3D animation, a process I loved doing. I turned this love into a career as a freelance sculptor, making models for toys and action figures for ranges from Doctor Who, Harry Potter and Me To You to Enchantica.

Unfortunately, freelance sculpting work became harder to come by but something different was to come into my life; I entered a contest in late 2007 from Washington Green - they hoped to find an apprentice for one of their most popular artists, Alexander Millar. Despite never having tried painting, I decided to try and quickly painted a picture to enter the competition. To my great surprise, I finished in the last three and I decided to take this art form further.

I started to take it seriously and offered my work to local galleries, who started to sell it. I can't imagine doing anything else.

My ideas come from all around me, everything I do or see are ideas to be stored away and used, stockpiling them in my head, waiting for the time to use them. I'm already planning the next painting when I start painting the current one.

I'm inspired by many artists, including 'Hellboy' artist Mike Mignola, Yoshitomo Nara's still, simplistic characters, Goya's energy and N.C. Wyeth's incredible illustrations. My current work is obviously inspired by my childhood when I spend long summer days out on my bike rescuing Mexican villages from raiding bandits!

Painting a picture
I can't wait to start painting. As soon as I have made a rough doodle, I want to get paint on the canvas - I'd love to say I start with detailed sketches and colour studies but i'm too impatient.

Every picture starts with adding a wash to get rid of the white canvas, usually orange or brown. Using a rag i then sketch onto the wash and use a dark brown to block ut shadows and the basic shapes. I repeat this process over five or six pictures all at once, so that i have a number of pieces ready for the next stage all at once.

My next stage is to add definition and colour, and I follow this colour glazes over the entire canvas. After this has dried, I repaint over the figures to "loosen" them up. My aim is for the final pieces to have a slightly grubby look, slightly naive but with a lot of energy - just like my childhood.

My life
I live, surrounded by beautiful countryside in County Durham. Every morning I walk my dogs and then head off to my studio which is just across the road from home.

I try to work a normal working week, starting at 9:00am I turn on my music and get to work, breaking for an hour at lunch and finishing by 5-6:00pm every Monday to Friday. Weekends I have off, enjoying my local pub and seeing live music as often as possible.