AN artist from the award-winning TV show Game of Thrones visited college students to talk about his career as a comic illustrator and storyboard artist.
William Simpson, whose career has spanned over 35 years working for 2000AD, Marvel and DC comics and more recently the film industry, took time out of his busy schedule to visit Cleveland College of Art & Design in Hartlepool, to meet students and inspire them to develop their own careers.
Over the past few years, William has provided storyboards for a variety of feature films such as ‘Reign of Fire’ with Christian Bale, Neil Jordan’s ‘Breakfast on Pluto’ and more recently, Lord Attenborough’s ‘Closing the Ring’.
His comic portfolio includes Batman, Judge Dredd and Indiana Jones, and he has exhibited his works at galleries in London and Belfast.
But the Northern Irish artist is most famously known for his outstanding work as the lead storyboard artist on fantasy drama, Game of Thrones, where he is credited with over 40 episodes.
Much of his work on Game of Thrones involves sketching out the director’s vision for the episode into an initial comic strip version for visual reference.
He has also contributed to the concept design of various creatures in the series, including dragons, direwolves and the three-eyed raven.
He met with students from the BA (Hons) Illustration for Commercial Application course and was able to see their work and give them an opportunity to learn about his experiences in the industry.
William said: “I have been incredibly impressed with the students’ talents and creative energy at CCAD and with the facilities here in Hartlepool. Technology plays such a big part in the creative arts now, and it is amazing to see the results from the students. Art is blending very well with science!
“I have had some amazing opportunities in my career, have also struggled at times finding work that I enjoyed. However, my love for drawing in any form was always present and that is the message I wanted to pass on to the students, to love and enjoy what they do. I also encourage them to work with the technology that is now available to them and to use whatever influences them to create their best work.”
The students were thrilled to meet William, to discover how the industry works and inspire them to build on their creativity and develop their own unique and individual style.
As part of his visit, which spanned two days, William took part in an evening talk at the college for students and the public, which explored his career and featured his extensive work and its translation to the screen.
During the presentation, William expanded on his career highlights, including his love of art as a child and how it drove him to where he is now, his career highs and lows and also inspiring the students to make the most of their creative talents with his passion for the arts.
Pat Chapman, Head of Employability and Enterprise at CCAD, said: “It is wonderful to have an artist of Wills calibre and experience here at CCAD working with our students in film and illustration sharing his knowledge of comic, film and TV production.”