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Extract from an interview with Heavy Metal Artwork magazine-

“I was fascinated by mythology and fantasy right from the start and was always drawing when I was young, but I never considered illustration as a career. Instead, when I left school I worked as an engineer for a few years before deciding that I wanted to do something else with my life. Considering my options and where my passion really lay I began taking art seriously and would practice as much as I could in my spare time. Eventually I put together a portfolio and joined an illustration agency specialising in children’s books and greetings cards. It was only when I uploaded my fantasy work online that I began getting the commissions I wanted and could start doing what I love full-time.

I’ve always been drawn to the mythic realm, I try to draw from what psychologists call the collective unconscious, the symbolism that is inherited from our ancient ancestors, the best example of which is the hero fight with the primordial dragon found in the mythology of almost every culture. The Gods, heroes and monsters in those ancient stories are representations of something very deep within us and I try to explore that realm to get inspiration.

I used to work exclusively with oil paint, but the pressures of commercial illustration has forced me to work entirely digitally these days. The ability to correct mistakes and make alterations at the click of a button has made it irresistible, but I still try hard to make my images look as though they were painted in oils as there is a tendency for some digital art to look flat and lifeless.

I enjoy the freedom my job gives me to explore and develop my ideas and I would paint even if I didn’t earn my living from it, the fact that I do makes me feel very lucky, and I always keep that at the forefront of my mind.”


Alan Lathwell

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