Chillin' With Patrick Goddard.
Over a few days a little while ago I had the opportunity to talk with Patrick Goddard. His art has proven to be a modern staple of 2000AD. His name carries with it a promise to readers that they can always count upon: That his pages will always perfectly tell the story. He was careful to observe that the photo he provided me didn't included his usual “Winter Beard.” (Not that there is anything wrong with beards from my point of view.)
Paul: Patrick could I ask, where your interest in art began? Or more precisely did an interest in art attract you to comics? Or did comics inspire you to create your own art?
Patrick: I have an older brother who happened to get comics at a young age. I must've been around 4 years old when I was bought Star Wars Weekly (UK) and he was getting the Marvel UK Spiderman, Hulk and such. I pretty much just copied him, it kept us occupied and was fairly cheap at the time. He was a pretty good artist (and had the talent to go pro, but not the willpower!) so being a competitive younger brother I always tried to keep up with him and used to practice endlessly. I couldn't really say why comics struck a chord with me so much. I assume it was the escapism. I could see the comic play out in my imagination and there were no limitations with that.
Paul: Comics have that effect on us all.
Patrick: So, from a young age I was always drawing. From then on you realise not everybody scribbles daily so when the teachers needed some artwork done for the walls, I was one of the ones that were always picked. That boosted your confidence and pushed you even more to get better.
Paul: So, what happened next?
Patrick: I obviously wanted to be a comic book artist one day (not that I knew what that meant) but there was no pathway in school or college at the time, so I remember thinking more about a being an architect or product designer. I eventually went to Art Uni, and it was a great experience, but it was a rubbish course and I didn't come away thinking I learned or improved much at all.
Paul: I’m sure you did.
Patrick: I probably would've been better just drawing at home for 4 years! I always kept drawing comics in my spare time and applied by post to Marvel and DC in the 90s to no avail, I hadn't thought about 2000AD as a lot of the artwork was full colour or painted at the time.
Paul: What changed your point of view?
Patrick: I saw Simon Fraser and Frank Quitely's line work in the comic so thought I'd give it a try and sent in some Dredd samples. To my surprise David Bishop liked what he saw. He gave me a test script to draw which he liked and then I drew a couple of Sinister Dexters. That was the beginning of my journey. I love comics more than illustration stuff as there are no limitations. If you can imagine it and draw it, it exists! It doesn't matter about budgets or other constraints, if you can put it down on paper/print it's out there!
Paul: Can you say which artists in particular inspired your art? or who currently might inspire you now?
Patrick: I think the main ones that formed me comic wise were John Byrne, George Perez, John Buscema and Alan Davis, especially through my teenage years.
Paul: Are there any artists that inspire you currently?
Patrick: There's a few current ones I'll always try and pick up, JP Leon was a master and as close to Toth that I've seen. Coipel and Immonen are two biggies and I love the energy of Sean Murphy’s art. To be honest there's some great stuff being drawn today, Dan Panosian, Greg Smallwood, Chris Samnee, Steve Epting are all great storytellers. I prefer that style of comics to more stylised artwork.
Paul: Apart from your older Brother's comics what were the first comics you remember reading and enjoying?
Patrick: I was at an age where Star Wars was a big influence, the UK weekly comic was something I got up until Return of The Jedi. I had others and Battle Action Force was one I kept for a long time.
Paul: I loved Battle Action Force too! You just mentioned Alan Davis. Were you a DR and Quinch fan?
Patrick: Don’t lynch me, but I've never read the whole of DR and Quinch, I've read bits over the years, but it was mainly his Captain Britain/ Excalibur/ Batman which was my main influence.
Paul: You mentioned you came under David Bishop's Radar? Presumably he your first Tharg?
Patrick: David Bishop was my first Tharg, then Andy Diggle took over 2000AD at the time but I sadly never got to work too much with him as the Megazine kept me busy.
Paul: You are known for your work with Pat MIlls. Can you describe what his scripts are like to work with? Are they as detailed as legends suggest?
Patrick: His scripts weren't that different to other writers, there's no waste or anything, everything is right there. What he did excel with me was the amount of research and reference he sent me, he had it all figured out which helped me greatly as the artist.
Paul: With Pat MIlls did you have any story input?
Patrick: Not really, he had it all planned out. He’d either send me a ton of links in scripts for help with the visual or actual magazine cuttings with notes, proper old school 😁
Paul: Are there any 2000AD characters you would like to work upon that you have not yet had the opportunity to experiment with?
Patrick: I love the world Johnny Alpha is in but I'm not sure if I’d have the guts to take him on. But he’s such a cool character! I’ve been lucky that I’ve drawn most of them. Rogue Trooper sticks out as one that I think I would be a good fit for (if they ever did any new stories). I’ve always fancied just doing a ‘Judge’ series, something like Gotham Central where it wasn’t just Dredd but other Judges. It must be the hardest job in MC1 so you would get some great stories in there.
Paul: Zenith's world might be fun for your art?
Patrick: Yeah, I’ve drawn Zenith a few times for commissions etc and he’s a lot of fun.
Paul: I've seen some of your Inktober pieces online over the last few years. They are all great, do you have any particular favourites?
Patrick: Thanks! I’ve kept an old Batman and Kingdom Come Superman that I’ve done that I was happy how they turned out. The ones that I have done that I’m proud of are a Rocketeer one in front of a Nazi flag, a Rogue Trooper from last year which is probably the best I’ve drawn him! A couple of Dredd and Joker ones, a Captain Britain one holding his amulet (but in his Alan Davis outfit) are all ones that I was happy how they came out.
Paul: Can I ask how technology and computers have altered the way you produce your art?
Patrick: I’m still all traditional so I only use computers to scan the pages in and clean it up a bit. I think I was one of the last 2000ad artists to manually send their work in (I think the others were Simon Davis and John Burns).
Paul: That kind of neatly brings me onto my next question. Especially for Savage you produced an astonishing body of work. I'm curious how long a 5 (or six page) episode takes you? Would you say you're a fast artist?
Patrick: I’m pretty fast at pencilling, enough to say I could pencil a page a day fairly comfortably. I tend to seize up when inking and it’s not as fluid for me. I generally pencil and ink three pages a week, I’ve done more but that’s at a push.
Paul: Could I ask how the job for spine image for the Judge Dredd Mega Collection came about? ...and was it difficult to extend it for the extra ten books the series ran for?
Patrick: Henry Flint was originally asked to do the spine drawing but became unavailable. Matt asked me and Dylan to step in as I think I didn’t have any pressing deadlines at the time so could juggle my work around a bit. I had a little thumbnail sketch of Henry’s to work from and dived straight in. I think it only took a few days to draw the original set. It was a quite a while later on to do the extension but was fairly simple to add on. Although Dylan had the task of digitally stitching it all together and said it wasn’t that easy!
Patrick: Yep, it was Mr Teague who coloured it.
Paul: Has anyone ever tried inking your pencilled pages? Or is that something you might find odd?
Patrick: Dylan Teague (and Lee Townsend) inked me at the beginning as I only wanted to be a penciller. Dave Bishop partnered us together as he’s in Cardiff and not far away from me. I only started inking my own work as it made more financial sense. There’s not a great call for just pencillers in the UK industry.
Paul: Many artists go on to work for American publishers. You appear to be very loyal to 2000AD, have you been approached by Marvel or DC, or do you just prefer working for the mighty Tharg?
Patrick: I’ve only ever drawn something once for the ‘big 2’ and that was a couple of pages for a Hulk annual written by Monty Nero (I think around 2012?). Most of my part was talking and exposition so I didn’t get to draw any actual fun Hulk pages. I always plan to send samples over to Marvel/DC and others but I’m happy that 2000ad keeps me so busy that I don’t get the time. Maybe 20 years ago I was more ambitious but I’m happy that I still get the opportunity to draw comics. I’d still like to tick off a few bucket list strips one day but the desire isn’t as strong as it once was.
Paul: Are there any Patrick Goddard creator owned projects that your fans could potentially look forward to seeing? Is that something you have considered?
Patrick: I hope so one day, I have some ideas I’d like to explore but I’m generally too busy to do them. I think I need to buddy up with a writer as that’s not one of my skills.
Paul: Do you enjoy comic conventions? Do you enjoy meeting fans and doing sketches? Do you have any fun stories to tell?
Patrick: I enjoy comic comics conventions a lot. My only complaint is that they whizz by and you don’t get the chance to see everyone that you would’ve liked to have seen. It’s humbling that those readers want something signed or sketched, plus I’ve been fortunate to have sat next to some wonderful pros over the years too as it’s great to hear their experiences and stories.
Paul: Do you have any fun stories to tell?
Patrick: You know the rule, what happens at cons stays at cons 😉. Although I will say at my very first con as a guest (Bristol around 2001) we were all sat alphabetically so I ended up next to Dave Gibbons! That was pressure sketching next to him! But I do remember him complimenting a Dredd that I drew.
Paul: It must have been a thrill to be complimented by Dave Gibbons. Can you recall which Dredd it may have been?
Patrick: The Dredd he liked was something I drew there and then, I think it was for a Bristol charity calendar maybe? It was a full body inked sketch that you did for free back in the day.
Paul: Do you hold any ambitions outside of comics? Am I right in thinking you have had a role to play in Doctor Who?
Patrick: I’ve been lucky enough to do the costume drawings for Dr Who for the last 6 years or so. It’s filmed around Cardiff, so my name was put forward to Ray Holman the costume designer and we’ve worked together ever since. I’ve also managed to work on Tom Hardy’s Netflix film this year (drawing costumes again) which was a lot of fun.
Paul: I believe it is true that a picture of your Dr Who designs hangs framed at the BBC offices.
Patrick: It’s in the Cardiff studios where it’s filmed. It’s pretty cool to see it blown up and on the wall, the original was only A3. It’d be nice if they gave it to me if they ever throw it out.
Paul: Do movie storyboarding options tempt you away from comics ever?
Patrick: It’s a different mindset to comics obviously but it’s nice to have a break and do something else, especially as I never work in colour. I’d love to have a go at storyboarding too one day, but comics are still what I enjoy most, I just wish they paid more. 😆
Paul: In a similar vein have you ever been tempted towards the computer games industry? I'm told many artists are tempted toward that direction
Patrick: I’ve never been approached by the computer game industry, these days it’s very much like the film industry with the amount of talented artists involved. I assume it’s more to do with industry connections and technology knowledge (which I sadly lack), I know plenty who have worked in both, but I’ve never been involved so far. Maybe one day if the right project came up.
Paul: It is a weird industry.
Patrick: Saying that, I’ve done some traditional work for a Dr Who phone app game a few years ago and just remembered I was asked about a Dredd game, but I didn’t end up having the time sadly. I think Dan Cornwell and Steven Austin both worked on it.
Paul: What can we expect from Patrick Goddard in the next 5 or 10 years?
Patrick: That’s a tough one, being a freelancer, you never quite know what’s up ahead. Hopefully I’ll still be needed in 2000AD, I won’t lie, it’s great getting the opportunity to draw every single day. You never have the same day or draw the same page twice so it’s always a joy (and a challenge some days) to be able to do comics.
Paul: I hope you keep doing comics.
Patrick: I’d like to do more tv or film stuff, but comics are where I think my strengths are and if I can continue to them, I’ll be more than happy. Whether or not I’ll ever do some of my own ideas, who knows? There’s plenty of existing material I’d love to draw so just hope I’m healthy and needed enough to continue doing what I love to do.
Paul: I am sure you will. Thank you for your time, Patrick.