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The Art of Andrew Sawyers – A Review

The Art of Andrew Sawyers - Dust Jacket

When I finally became confident enough in my writing to stick my own face on a display panel rather than just the cover of one of my books, there was only ever one option of who to go to for a commission. Andrw Sawyers (the first ‘e’ is optional, like on a night out in the eighties) was already making quite a commotion on the comic scene – and if you had to put a tune to that commotion, it’d undoubtedly be a thrash/skate punk crossover – and was so seemingly so productive that one wondered whether he’d be just too damned busy.

We’d made friends some years back from our Dredd connection – our mutual love for the character, which got me cosplaying as a Street Judge and the source of which – 2000AD – is clearly a huge inspiration on Andrw’s work. The thrill I felt when he agreed to the gig was dwarfed by the thrill of him handing over the final piece, a huge colourful chunk of artwork that gets commented upon every time the display panel gets hauled across the country to a convention with me (with full credit given, Andy!). Here’s the beauty.

The Art of Andrew Sawyers - Sans Dust Jacket

And not a moment too soon, it would appear, as Sawyers has been in demand ever since. He’s regularly featured in The ’77 (the wonderful tribute to the aforementioned 2000AD) as well as appearances in Shift, The Most Important Comic Book on Earth, and Dead by Dawn. He’s done a fair bit of band artwork too, and has built up a substantial and formidable body of work.

Which sees the release of his first collection, cunningly titled “The Art of Andrew Sawyers” (See what I mean? That ‘e’ is back in an official capacity). It’s a 64-page beast, covering nearly half a decade of the mans work, and it’s a wonderful snapshot of an evolving talent.

Not to say that there’s anything below par in it – quite the opposite in fact – but there’s evidence in here of an artist becoming justifiably more confident and bolder in his design decisions, and it’s a brilliant portfolio of work.

The colour is one of the first things you notice – Andy is more than capable of using more subtle and muted colours when the subject requires it – majestic full-page spreads of 2000AD’s Dredd and Rogue Trooper are testament to this – but much of the book is a vibrant explosion of colour – bold and bright neon, and a distinctive colour palette that makes this uniquely Sawyers.

The Art of Andrew Sawyers - Double-page black and white spread

There are pieces reminiscent of Horned God and ABC Warrior-era Simon Bisley (which, as some of my favourite comic artwork of all time, can’t come across highly enough as praise) with the same anarchic and Rock ‘n’ roll energy as that era – and then on the next stage you’ll come across beautiful black and white ink strokes rendered with a precision of a Jim Lee or Reed Crandall. The boy makes this stuff look effortless.

There’s also the option to get it signed – I nearly went for that, but I’d rather get it signed in person if ever our paths cross again. If the Comic Gods are kind, I’d very much like to collaborate on something with Andrew – I hear on the rumour mill we’re sharing pages in a forthcoming title – but this fella deserves to be huge, and bigger than us all.

Judge Dredd double-page colour spread
The Art of Andrew Sawyers - "Fear not!" said he, for Mighty Dredd had seized his troubled mind.

Get hold of your copy here.

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