If you grew up in the 90s you’d probably know Steven’s work from his fantastic Captain Star cartoon – the animated version that was voiced by Richard E. Grant appeared on Channel 4 and the print version appeared weekly in the Funday Times. He’s since penned several books (my favourite being The Book Of Doom) and you can still find him in the broadsheets.
Hello Steven. Do you prefer to be called a cartoonist or an illustrator?
I prefer cartoonist. It’s unpretentious and it suggests (to me) that I write and think as well as draw.
Have you ever woken up and found you’d drawn loads of things all over the place in your sleep?
I’ve sometimes scribbled all over the inside of my head.
What’s your favourite ever piece you’ve done? Ever?
Oh, er, um… I think Captain Star. He’s such a hero and such an asshole. What on earth is he doing, just sitting there in that wheelbarrow waiting for orders which never come? Look him up on YouTube.
What was it like working with The Pixies on the cover art for Tromp La Monde?
I worked with the designer of all the Pixies graphics, Vaughn Oliver, not the Pixies themselves, but it was fantastic. I’m a huge Pixies fan and it was incredibly exciting to be even a small part of their history. Vaughn asked me to draw him a sheet of rockets of all shapes and sizes which he could pick from. He used them as little decorative, typographic elements on the sleeve. Seeing the finished cover was amazing. The curved silver rocket on the CD disc blew me away.
Where did the inspiration for The Book Of Doom come from?
Just from watching the world, day by day, going to Hell. We’re all horribly fascinated by doom. That was the start. Realising that I secretly want to hear on the news that a plague is getting worse, or an asteroid getting closer. Of course, it’s a relief when a potential doom scenario peters out… but it’s also disappointing. Now, why’s that? That question started the book. That and Art Lester coming up with such a great title.
Where can we see more of your work?
In The Guardian Family section every Saturday, or on my website – stevenappleby.com – or go out and buy a copy of The Coffee Table Book Of Doom!