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GETTING RICH DRAWING GUNS AND TITS

London-based illustrator Tom Hodge was just a regular guy until the internet discovered the poster he had made for Justin Eisener's new film Hobo with a Shotgun. Before that, Hodge had spent ten years bouncing from one banal graphic design job to another. All of the companies he once worked for have now gone bust, and Hodge has decided to return to doing what he loved. Luckily Eisener and the rest of the people behind Hobo with a Shotgun loved his work, too – he's a bigshot now, but he still found a window in his busy day of drawing tits and guns to talk to us.

VICE: I read that when you were a kid you had sketch books that your mum hated, full of Rambo dismembering soldiers in the jungle.
Tom Hodge: Me and my cousin went through a punk phase when we were seven and we drew all these mohawk biker dudes flipping you the finger with a speech bubble saying "Fuck off". My mum just crossed out the fuck bit and kept them. I do remember my dad being a bit narked at one point, as any good dad would be, I guess, if their son was just sitting round drawing these trashy video covers for himself, going nowhere. There wasn't a great deal of respect for graphic design where I grew up.

Maybe it would have been different if someone had picked up on my dyslexia before I went to university. It was pretty much the same story there, you had to fit into their framework of what they thought design was, so I stopped drawing for a bit. Now I've ended up back where I started, drawing video covers again. I still show mum all the new stuff when I go home, and she still says "I don't know why it all has to be horror." My mum's 70 this year.

Your Hobo poster has really put you on the map. Has Rutger Hauer seen it?
Yeah, he had to give the final approval. I had to tone down the wrinkles a bit for the official release as he thought he looked about 100 years old (I did go to town on them a bit). Older people's faces are the best to draw, you can get so much more character out of the expressions, which is why guys in my posters tend to look a little bit rough or craggy. With the type of films I work on it's more about mood and style than making someone pretty. When someone's unhappy with how they've come out, my standard line is 'it's all about personality rather than pixel perfection'. It's also why I struggle with drawing girls sometimes, but I've found the trick with the ladies is less is more. My illustrator mate Ben Willsher who draws Judge Dredd taught me that one.

Tells us about some of your favourite film posters from the 1970s and 80s.
I love the UK video cover for Return Of The Living Dead, by Graham Humphries. The colours, these thick brush strokes and the zombie jumping right out at you, it captures the tone of the film perfectly. The Burt Reynolds posters were awesome, they really captured a great 70s screen icon, followed closely by the Charles Bronson ones – I'm sort of obsessed with Death Wish 3. I'd love to get my hands on the Italian version, they don't come much more in your face than that. Nobody did it better than the Italians in the 70s, real in-your-face poster art.

What is it about these posters that you tune into?
Action, balls, guns, explosions, breasts, more guns and maybe some blood.

Talking of breasts, your Linda Blair Savage Streets poster has been popular. You've said you were going for a tacky porn vibe. Anything in particular?
Well her Playboy shoots for a start. A lot of the 80s video cover art was a complete blend of titillation and violence, so it was a reflection of that era. I wanted to really overemphasise it, though the film itself is totally ridiculous. From the first shot of a bra-less Linda Blair bouncing down the street, to the girls in gym class, it's just one blatant jiggly boob shot after the next. The film plays out as one big build up to the money shot of Linda Blair naked in the bath. So I wanted to draw out that side of the film. I felt it was important.

I assume you spent much of your teens watching porn.
Who didn't man! I was part of the satellite TV generation, so all our porn was filtered through the German channels, big women being chased by men in lederhosen through barns, or regular guys inexplicably meeting DTF women on the street. It could explain my taste in 70s porn decor. Porn is great for interior decorating.

You've also drawn porn star Mary Carey for Pervert, the Russ Meyer homage film. Obviously you enjoy drawing curvy women.
Yes, yes I do. Mary Carey was a total redraw actually, I made her too chubby to begin with and her boobs where like fucking zeppelins. (Also she did look like a bit of a hound.) But in my defence, she is a chunky monkey in the film – all Russ Meyer girls where shapely, though, so I guess they were keeping true to that vibe. Plus I blame the German porn. It's totally warped my sensibilities.

ALEX GODFREY

Go to Tom's site: thedudedesigns.blogspot.com Hobo with a Shotgun is out July 15th.