The Artist Behind The Iron Throne
♦ The second Portsmouth Comic Con takes place in just over four weeks’ time and Tripwire is proud to be a part of it once again. Here is the latest spotlight feature looking at one of its guests, artist William Simpson…
William “Will” Simpson is an artist whose career can be divided into two parts. He began his professional work drawing for British anthology Warrior, as well as Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper in 2000 AD.
He moved on to illustrate DC’s Hellblazer, working with fellow Northern Irish creator Garth Ennis. He also drew Aliens for Dark Horse and Vamps for DC’s Vertigo imprint. Then, when Northern Ireland’s film and TV industry really took off, he switched to working in that creative arena.
Since 2013 he has been the storyboard artist on HBO’s Game of Thrones TV series, which finishes this year. But he does still draw the odd comic and is working on something in that medium currently.
Simpson explained his role on Game Of Thrones in an interview with Tripwire which originally ran in Cult TV Times back in 2011:
“Nowadays, I’m the storyboard artist, with occasional concept pieces to do. In the beginning, on the pilot, I was concept and storyboard artist. Nobody knew how the show would go, so I guess they didn’t need a vast army then. I just kept being given pieces to design or realise in some form, before the other depts worked from the joint parts. I loved it, because it really helped to solidify the show. I got to design the first ‘White walker’ images, the ‘Godswood’ tree, the ‘Three Eyed Raven’….stuff like that and I got to design all the hero weapons used in the show, like ‘Ice’, ‘Needle” etc. I did a lot of armour ideas based on directions the Costume dept was discussing.”
He talked about how the characters were designed in the same interview from back in 2011:
“The characters are based on what actors have been chosen to fulfil the roles. The costume dept mainly designs the look of characters, though I did get to play around with that a little on the pilot, giving prep versions of what some may look like, as mentioned the “White Walkers’ (as they were a fantasy), and I worked on a version of the ‘Hound’ and the ‘Dothraki’ (more for prop ideas as well as weapons design). My view on the characters was probably based on my comic strip experience, after reading George Martin’s descriptions, I had defined images in my mind, which I had to draw when I was designing the weapons. Luckily, I was pretty close to the mark on most things, at least for my producers, David Benioff and Dan Weiss, so it’s nice to know I had an effect on the show.”
This is Simpson’s first visit to Portsmouth Comic Con.
His work features in Masters Of Comics, a book on artists and illustrators and their studios, with early copies available at Portsmouth from the Tripwire table. His Game of Thrones art will also be exhibited at the show, showing off his character designs for many of the show’s most recognisable characters including Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and more.
And here’s the other guest spotlights so far