For years, Awesome Art We’ve Found Around The Net has been about two things only – awesome art and the artists that create it. With that in mind, we thought why not take the first week of the month to showcase these awesome artists even more? Welcome to “Awesome Artist We’ve Found Around The Net.” In this column, we are focusing on one artist and the awesome art that they create, whether they be amateur, up and coming, or well established. The goal is to uncover these artists so even more people become familiar with them. We ask these artists a few questions to see their origins, influences, and more. If you are an awesome artist or know someone that should be featured, feel free to contact me at any time at [email protected].This month we are very pleased to bring you the awesome art of…
Stephen Sampson, The Dark Inker
Stephen Sampson, AKA The Dark Inker, lives and works on the South Coast of the UK with his lovable sidekick, Ico the cat! Stephen has been drawing stuff since he was old enough to hold a pencil. The early days were inspired by comics from the adventures Asterisk and Tin Tin to the many stories of superheroes and strange worlds from Europe, America, and Asia.
His first big break came in the comics industry where he was lucky enough to illustrate the adventures of Judge Anderson in 2000 AD for a number of years. Later he moved into the Games and Movies industries. In 2014 he was thrilled to be invited to become a member of The Poster Posse and has worked on a number of exciting projects, such as Star Wars, Big Hero 6, Aliens, Cars 3 to name a few.
As a freelance illustrator, he has also been lucky enough to work with clients such as NASA, netFlicks, Titan Books, Spectrum Films, Printed in Blood. Still inspired by Comics as well as Books, Movies, Music, and the World around us and not to forget the space beyond. His passion for creating art continues to grow stronger with every exciting project he is lucky enough to be asked to contribute to!
JoBlo: What got you started as an artist?
Sampson: I’m sure this is a very common answer but books and comics at an early age were my first real inspirations to attempt to draw something. Once the bug for drawing had hold of me it’s something I can’t imagine being without. After studying art at school and for a year at college I got sidetracked for a few years and worked as a sheet metal worker. But even then all my spare time was spent drawing and once I was made redundant as a metalworker I started as a freelance illustrator, picking up small jobs here and there until I got the incredible chance to work for 2000 AD the home of Judge Dredd.
Who were some of your favorite artists growing up?
So many influences over the years! Early “art world” heroes were Gustav Klimt, Alphonse Mucha and Leonardo da Vinci. Other big influences are my wonderful art teacher Mr O’sullivan, Albert Uderzo, Barry Windsor-Smith, Jack Kirby, Frank Frazetta, Moebius, The Designers Republic, Katsuhiro Otomo, Syd Mead, David Bowie, Ridley Scott, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Robert E. Howard, Lewis Carroll, Frank Herbert, Fiona Staples and Loish. I really could just go on and on and I’m sure I’ll kick myself for not mentioning someone or another!
Who do you really dig these days, follow on Instagram?
Wow! man that’s such a hard one, the list would be endless, I guess check my social feeds to see who I follow and in truth, it grows day by day. So many incredible artists out there working in all kinds of industries but maybe as you ask this question when it’s women’s history month I’ll name a few females off the top of my head and apologies if I forget someone! To start with all the female Poster Posse members, epic artists one and all Ziqqix, SG Posters, Courtney Autumn Martin, Cryssy Cheung, Freya Betts, Erin Gallagher, Bella Grace, AJ Frena, Nicky Barkla, Chelsea Lowe, Aracely Munoz, Tracie Chinq and a few others Loish, Fiona Staples, Vanessa Mckee, Nan Lawson, Charlie Bowater, Becky Cloonan.
What advice would you have for budding artists today?
Work hard, never miss a deadline! If art is your passion, use every minute you can to create. Learn from your mistakes, we all make them! And always do your best to be kind and thoughtful to others, you never know what people are going through at any given moment in their life.
What should we be looking out for from you in the future?
The Art of FireFly Book has just been released by Titan Books and Printed in Blood and I was very lucky to have my image chosen for the cover! I’ve also done an image for the Printed in Blood artbook for Halloween the movie, which has already been posted as a promotion for the book. And I’m working on an image for their recently announced Art Book for Hannibal the TV series, having a lot of fun with this one! Also over the first lockdown period in the UK, I started work on some personal images, kind of fantasy, sci-fi worlds, inspired by the everyday world around us.
Titled Lockdown Worlds should be posting them soon. Also during the lockdown, I got into Star Wars The Clone Wars and started to do some character portraits, which again I will post soon. And as a Games artist, I’ve been working on an exciting project that hopefully will be out sometime later this year!
Being a fansite, we have to ask you… What are some of your favorite movies/TV shows of all time?
Mate! These questions are not easy! Again this could be the list to end all list’s but I’ll try to keep to whatever comes quickly to mind! And in no particular order! The Banana Splits, Marine Boy, Captain Scarlet, Jason and the Argonauts, Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, Taxi Driver, Pulp Fiction, Seven, Silence of the Lambs, Crimson Peak, Pan’s Labyrinth, Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Tekkonkinkree, The Iron Giant, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Laputa Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Ringu, Alita Battle Angel, Train to Busan, A Quiet Place, Game of Thrones, Hannibal, Stranger Things, Taboo, FireFly, and on it goes! But just to add I’m so looking forward to Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, one of my favorite books! And I’m currently watching the TV series The Terror, which I think is brilliant!!
Scroll down to check out some of our favorite art pieces from Josh as we continue to follow his journey across his Website and social media hubs: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook/ Artstation / Linkedin / YouTube / Prints / Firefly Book
Edge of Tomorrow
Ghost In The Shell
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay
The Legend of Zelda
Toy Story 4