Monday, 20 September 2010

Sci-Fi Art Now Creator Interview: Mo Ali

Wind Farm by Mo Ali

The format of SciFi Art Now - out this October - is such that it promotes the art of the creators, but there's not much room to tell you more about them and their work. We're publishing interviews with creators here to redress the balance.

Artist, poet and writer Mo Ali lives in the south-east of England, which really doesn't help. His recent work has included pin-up art for the graphic novel Wolfmen 2: Fall of the Wolfmen by Dave West and Andy Bloor, artwork for the BBC News website and cover work for the novel Crown Wearer written by William Couper...

SciFi Art Now: What tools do you mainly use to create your art?

Mo Ali: It depends on the specifics of a project or piece, but good old pencil and paper usually, followed with digital tools like Photoshop. But I try not to limit myself to any one tool.

SciFi Art Now: Why?

Mo: It's just the way that works for me and, in terms of not limiting the tools you use, it keeps you flexible and adaptable, and can result in something different and unique every time.

Wolfmen by Mo Ali
SciFi Art Now: What inspired you to become an artist?

Mo: Honestly, I'm not sure. It could have been from watching cartoons and art shows as a kid, reading comics and books and admiring the covers and artwork inside, and wanting to be able to create stuff like that. There wasn't a lightbulb moment of revelation though.

SciFi Art Now: What was the most useful piece of advice you were given when you began learning your craft?

Mo: That there is no 'right way' or style when it comes to creating art...and also to practice, practice, practice.

SciFi Art Now: Which artists most inspire you?

Mo: I don't know about 'most inspire', but I like art by Dave McKean, Frank Quitely, Moebius, surrealist painter Yves Tanguy, Lierre Foest, David Lloyd, Lubna Agha, Klark Kent... it's a constantly evolving list though.

SciFi Art Now: What is the appeal to you of science fiction as an inspiration for some of your work?

Mo: I think it's because, at its best, science-fiction can combine the fantastical with the very real in interesting ways that engage the imagination. And because of the robots. Obviously.

A portrait of cult author Jeff Lint,
writer of such classics as Jelly Result
and The Stupid Conversation.
Illustrated from a now-lost
photograph of the author

A bio of Lint, written by Steve
Aylett can be found here at
SciFi Art Now: Do you have a favourite piece of work or project you have worked on?

Mo: Alas, I'm too self-critical to have a favourite, but I recently did a portrait sketch of cult SF author Jeff Lint which turned out rather nice.

SciFi Art Now: In your career, have you had any bizarre experiences while creating your art?

Mo: Sadly no, all the bizarre stuff just happens in my head. Its probably better that way.

SciFi Art Now: What most frustrates you about being an artist?

Mo: That I'm not able to draw or paint exactly what I imagine in my mind. I'm accepting it over time, but it still annoys me.

SciFi Art Now: What keeps you going despite the hopefully occasional frustrations?

Mo: That one day soon I'll draw something I'm happy with.

SciFi Art Now: What advice would you offer to anyone starting out as an artist?

The cover of the novel
Crown Wearer
by William Couper

Art: Mo Ali
Mo: Copy, trace, mimic and learn from other artists. Copying isn't bad, its part of the learning process.

And also practice, practice, practice.

• For more of Mo's work visit: To cotact Mo email:

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