Small (press) oaks – Simon Moreton

Today we talk to Simon Moreton.

Simon is a mainstay of UK small press zines and comics, having been making for 13 years. I first saw his work championed by the late Tom Spurgeon on his much-missed site Comics Reporter. It was when he started posting images from his recently finished ‘Where?’ series that I started paying greater attention. The sudden shift in style really making his art pop for my eyes.

Simon’s DIY and community led attitude really impressed me as well as his incredible approach in Where? So much so that I feel quite deeply attached to following what he does and why he does it. He was, in fact, the first person I approached about discussing influences as he seems to have a wide sense of taste and be sure about what interests him.

 

You can find him here

Website      Shop      Twitter     Instagram 

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All four parts of Where?

So, over to Simon!

 

Can you tell us a bit about the first creator whose work you recognised?

I’m going to say either Charles Schulz or Gary Larson in terms of comics. That was because when I was little, we had all these little Peanuts books that I would read again and again, and I loved the Far Side, too. Every year for a long time I’d buy my Dad one of those calendars where you tore off the page each new day for his desk at work. Each page had a cartoon on it, and at the end of the year, Dad would bring them home for me.

In non-comics world, for as long as I can remember I was excited by the visual art that was associated with sci-fi and fantasy games and literature, from 1960s paperbacks to the 70s and 80s album covers. Roger Dean and Rodney Matthews were early faves, but it was probably the Games Workshop artists that I first learned to identify. This was back in the late 1980s.

Games Workshop made – and still make – various tabletop and roleplaying games set in fantasy or futuristic settings, and paintable miniatures to go with them. They publish a monthly magazine called White Dwarf, which back then at least was full of illustrations, mostly black and white, by artists like John Blanche, Ian Miller, John Sibbick, Paul Bonner, and many more. Those were the first artists whose names I knew (and have now forgotten)

 

Which creators do you remember first copying?

Probably one of those Games Workshop ones, I would think.

 

Simon Moreton Ley Lines cover
Simon Moreton Ley Lines due out shortly

Who was the creator that you first thought ‘I’m going to be as good as you!’?

I’ve never thought like this, even as a kid. I’m not competitive at all. There have been artists I admired, but I don’t think I’ve ever thought I’d be ‘as good as’ anyone. Who’d want to be as good as someone else? Not saying it’s easy to see the strength in your own work (and gosh knows I’ve struggled with that) but other people? Nah – I’d rather just make work that’s mine and keep at it.

 

Which creator or creators do you currently find most inspiring?

I can’t provide one, but…. lately I’ve really enjoyed reading Max Porter (‘Lanny’ is A++) there’s a crackle in his prose that really is exciting. In terms of comics, it’s my pals and peers – Warren Craghead, Peony Gent, Maxim Peter Griffin, Brigid Elva and so on – that keep me on my toes.

 

I also saw a painting called Milltown Exit by Fay Jones recently that really kicked me into a different sort of brain loop with my figures and compositional stuff (one of the pages in my forthcoming book for the Ley Lines series is a homage to that painting).

 

Ooo and Bill Traylor, an amazing American painter, and also Rose Wylie. Both of their work is really stunning. Oh and Lynda Barry. ALWAYS Lynda Barry.

 

Which creators do you most often think about?

When I started making comics, John Porcellino was a big influence on me. As time has gone by, I feel my own work has taken its own path and that influence might not be so clear if you were new to my work. But what I do retain is a strong sense of the value of self-publishing, of following your own artistic instinct, of making community through what you do. So even if my influences have been expanding and my own art has drifted to new places, the way I do what I do is thoroughly indebted to John’s early influence on me.

 

Can you name the first three creative peers that come into your head and tell a little bit about why?

I’ve already mentioned a few, so I’ll add Molly Fairhurst, Stan Miller, and Carrie McNinch to that list.

 

 

Finally, can you tell us a bit about your recent work and yourself?

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Lettuce Bee

I’m a zine maker based in Bristol (b. 1983). I make comics, drawings, and also write prose. My work is largely autobiographical. I make a regular zine called ‘Minor Leagues’ which comprises prose, photos, drawings and comics. I have just finished a memoir about grief, childhood, and the landscape and history of a hill in Shropshire called ‘Where?’. I’ve has been making zines for 13 years.

Forthcoming: ‘The Lie of the Land’ part of the Ley Lines series, published by Kevin Czap and L. Nichols (May/June 2020, COVID-crisis-permitting)

Minor Leagues 10 (self-published May 2020) Out now!!

Where? (Serialised in Minor Leagues 6 – 9)

Lettuce Bee – an anthology of amazing work by amazing people

 

Thank you very much for taking the time to fill this out and let us into your mind.

 

all art copyright and trademark it’s respective owners.

content copyright iestyn pettigrew 2020

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