1. What’s your name and title/business name? Where are you located, city, state, country location?
I’m Simon Walker, full-time freelance lettering artist and creator of my own type shop, Beasts of England. I’m located in Austin, Texas.
2. What’s your educational and professional background, i.e., college, professional school, high school, apprenticeship, etc.?
I didn’t even know what graphic design was until my second year of college at the University of Texas in San Antonio. I had one incredible and astute drawing instructor who recognized a possible commercial edge to my art, and pushed me in the direction I needed to go. About a year later I was at the University of North Texas in Denton, where I graduated with a degree in Communication Design in 1999.
3. Preferred tool(s) and medium?
I have my pencils and paper, but I do the majority of my work directly on the computer with my mouse and keyboard.
4. Where or how do you “recharge your creative battery,” i.e., books, blogs, music, art, exercise, meditation, prayer, hobbies, interests, etc.?
All of the above, to some extent. But I am definitely enamored with the arts and creativity in general. From a strict lettering point of view, I find that classic movies or a trip to the bookstore fire me up the most.
5. Tell us something about you that might surprise or delight us.
I met the real Darth Vader once – David Prowse himself in the complete Vader outfit. He came to sign autographs at a local toy store close to where I grew up in Bournemouth, England. I remember a room full of kids vibrating with anticipation as the back door of the store was opened and the man himself was lead in. He ducked authoritatively under the doorframe, and as we all started forward to get a better look he immediately started strangling the first kid he could get his hands on. The entire room erupted in abject terror, and I recall joining the entire gathering in scrambling to get behind their Mums – who were probably just as terrified as we were. David Prowse is one scary cat, even without the Dark Lord costume. I imagine Mum was able to calm me down though, because the next thing I remember is walking up to receive my autograph, for which I’d brought my brand new Star Wars Annual. He grabbed me by the back of the head, roughly bent me over, and used my back as a makeshift table on which to sign his name in my book. My autographed 1978 Star Wars Annual was a prize hard won through fear and ultimate triumph. Nevertheless, about a week or two later, I traded it with my friend for a bag of raspberry sherbet.