This interview was conducted in January 2017 by Liv Elena Hansen of Tellerup in the run-up to the Copenhagen Comics festival. See the Danish translation here.

Which artist/writer inspires you the most, and why?

I'm inspired by many different people and things for different reasons, but there is one creator who stands out for me, and that is the film director Akira Kurosawa. I never tire of watching his work - the feeling I get from his films always put me in a creative mindset. The way he uses character to influence story, and story to influence character is superbly done and something I aspire to myself.

If I focus just on my area of comics, then I probably find most inspiration in the works of people such as Hergé and Edgar P. Jacobs - which may not be surprising for anyone who's seen my book! I love the strong vision of their work and the way it draws you in - you can really lose yourself in their stories and feel as though you are there, on the adventure with the protagonists - another aspect I'd like to get into my own books.

Can you send an image that inspired you and tell us a bit about it?

I've chosen what might seem a slightly boring panel from Asterix and the Golden Sickle, where Asterix and Obelix go to the house of Obelix's cousin, Metallurgix. I remember reading it as a child and being suddenly aware, in this scene, that the work Albert Uderzo put into the environment the characters inhabited and interacted with - the background drawings - was an absolutely integral part of the story, and it really helped bring the world to life. Hergé and Jacobs had that too, but there's something particularly special about this aspect in the Asterix books. Hayao Miyazaki has it too - another inspiration.


What is the greatest accomplishment of your career?

I think just finishing work on 'The Rainbow Orchid' feels pretty great - not even having it published (though that's nice too), but just finishing it! The thing I really love though is the idea that a story I wrote and drew in my little work room in my little house has been able to fly out across the world and be read and enjoyed by someone on the other side of that world. It's connected me with people from all over Europe - West and East, the US, Australia, New Zealand, and even places like Uruguay, India, Turkey and Namibia, to name a few. What a wonderful thing.

What will you do in the future to find inspiration for your work?

For my next book I've found inspiration in a local ruined 17th century house - it's crumbling stones have set me on a story of royal intrigue, lost islands, shark-infested seas, Spanish galleons, dusty auction rooms, Chinese magicians and an old mysterious box. I think you never know what will unlock a new part of the imagination, so it's good to be open to whatever comes along!

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Julius Chancer, The Rainbow Orchid, story, artwork, characters and website © 1997 and 2018 Garen Ewing & inkytales