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Linton Stephens Illustrations

Interview: Owen James Vincent 

An artist you need to keep your eyes on is the talented Linton Stephens. Linton's illustrations are eye-catching by the cartoon face expressions of Drag Race superstars to breathtaking art of animals in their habitat.

We got to chat to Linton about his favourite sketch, artists that influence him and he gives us advice to artists who want to show off their talent.

Hi Linton! Thanks for talking to ReVamp Magazine. Can I just say your work is absolutely gorgeous! What made you get into sketching? 

Ah wow so humbled and grateful for the compliment. Thank you. I’ve been sketching ever since I was young. I was always fascinated with comic book and computer game art, and more recently animation. I went through a pretty grim break up in my twenties, at which point drawing provided a great creative outlet. I figured I just wanted to get better so started trying to draw and develop every day, and took myself off to life drawing sessions.

Which artists inspired you? and what gets you inspired to start sketching? I can tell you're a fan of Drag Race so do you get inspired by one of the queen's looks?

My first love was Chris Bachalo, an artist for Marvel. His style is so unique and even to this day there’s something in his work and the way he brings people and super heroes to life, that I’m really drawn to. Instagram has been great for discovering artists. There are so many incredible animators/illustrators whose work I just adore, too many to name but so often I scroll through and think I’ve just got to draw now. Drag race has been a massive inspiration. So many worlds collide; queerness, drama, femininity, creativity. It’s just the perfect inspiration for an Illustration. 

Which sketch of yours was the most popular with your followers? For me working with the Mutya & Keisha from the Sugababes I have to say the one of all three is my favourite!

Every artist has this thing where they look back at a piece of work and begin to see all of its imperfections. The MKS one is that for me BUT I love those girls, their talent is insane, and I’ll do them justice one day. I recently drew Sasha Velour’s winning lip sync which got like 40k likes. That has blown me away. 

Is there a sketch that is personal to you? and would you like to tell us why?

Yeah absolutely, there’s a few. So in October on insta, artists do a thing called inktober where they do 31 illustrations in ink, drawn from one word prompts (one a day). It’s also Black History Month in the UK so instead I did a series called Blacktober where I highlighted elements of Black culture in each illustration. I didn’t finish all my prompts but they were a great way to bring awareness to and educate on aspects of Black history (for me and anyone who chose to engage). Other than that a few years back I did some animal illustrations that I love. 

Have you got any other hidden talents?

Ha well it’s not hidden but my main job is a classical musician. I play bassoon for a living. And I’m not sure it’s a talent but I do a lot of consulting work in equality and diversity. I chair the ED&I committee for the Musicians Union.

Any advice to younger creatives that want to create art like you?

If you want to create, then create! You don’t need anyones permission or approval, and you don’t have to be the best. Creativity is about expression. Your expression. Find a way you love and do it however, whenever and wherever you want to. Learn to fuel you’re own advancement without external gratification. That’s something you earn and will come later. 

If you want to do it professionally I would hugely recommend the book ‘Drawn To Life’ (whatever type of creative you are) by Disney animator Walt Stanchfield. It’s a collection of his lectures to other Disney animators and what is so special is his profound and philosophical approach to creativity and how he talks about developing a work ethic, which I think straddles all and any form of creativity.

You can follow Linton's Instagram here.

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