Rugby artist is a movie Marvel - The Rugby Observer

Rugby artist is a movie Marvel

Rugby Editorial 6th May, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

THE PEN is mightier than Thor’s hammer for an artistic Rugby man whose imagination has helped bring cinema’s most successful superhero saga to life.

Concept artist Bob Cheshire has dreamed up the look of faraway worlds and alien cultures in films from the Marvel superhero franchise – including current Hulk-smash-hit Avengers: Age of Ultron.

His silver screen CV includes distinctive designs for Guardians of the Galaxy’s foreboding planet Morag and the interior of spaceship The Dark Aster, as well as the rich architecture of Asgard in Thor: The Dark World.

It’s a dream come true for the former Ashlawn School art teacher, who is flying higher than Iron Man after seeing his latest visions come to life in the biggest movie so far this year.

“I have to pinch myself every single time I see my name in the credits,” he said. “It is massively rewarding.

“Film is an amazing artform because it brings so many other art forms together – photography, art, design, music, costume design, story telling, craft, performance… Is it any wonder when the theatre lights go down so many of us get excited by it? I still do.”

Bob, 42, developed a fascination with the big screen as a youngster in Leamington and Warwick, where he grew up on a diet of 80s classics.

“Like a lot of kids, I loved the cinema,” he said. “It was Return of the Jedi and Superman 2 that I remember watching at what was then the Regal Cinema – now the Apollo – in Leamington.

“I remember loving the ‘making of’ documentaries of things like Star Wars or Indiana Jones that would be on telly at Christmas, and I’d spend hours going through my big book about special effects house Industrial Light and Magic, which I’ve still got.”

But drawing was always his first passion. After studying Fine Art at Falmouth School of Art and finishing a post-graduate teaching qualification in Leicester, he came to Rugby in 1997 to take up his teaching post at Ashlawn. It was there he encouraged his pupils to see art as a skill with real value.

“Studying art is very important,” he said. “It teaches visual literacy and critical thinking skills. I remember pushing the idea that art wasn’t just a hobby or leisure activity.”

Living proof of his teachings, Bob received a call from LA to work on 2012 mythical epic Wrath of the Titans. Determined not to let the opportunity pass him by, his work impressed the film’s production designer who brought him into the Marvel fold.

Now Bob uses his skills in service of a movie’s script, cast and crew.

“At the beginning of each production, nothing usually exists except the words on the page,” he said. “It becomes a process of visual decisions, with each concept painting or sketch refining ideas, refining palettes, shapes, textures, patterns, proportions, use of light, etc.

“My job is about developing that visual language for the movie with the production designer and other artists and art directors. It’s a team effort and I get to work with amazing people who are experts in their area.”

And he feels rewarded to be able to work on such popular films.

He said: “I’m always extremely proud to be associated with any movie. Guardians of the Galaxy was really loved by audiences and that has to make you feel very proud. Avengers: Age of Ultron is out now of course, and I never thought I’d have a chance to work on that.”

But when asked about the future secrets of the Marvel series, Bob is as impenetrable as Captain America’s shield; after all, he doesn’t want to spoil surprises for fans of the notoriously secretive studio’s stories.

However, he hopes to continue whisking audiences away to distant worlds for years to come – and to inspire the next generation of artistic visionaries.

“Everyone should have access to art education,” he said, “but unfortunately it is being squeezed out of the curriculum bit by bit – I can only assume because the government doesn’t understand the value, relevance or skill it requires.

“I don’t believe in ‘you can do it or you can’t’. I can draw well now because I’ve drawn something every day for nearly 40 years. Keep working hard, keep failing, keep trying, keep refining, keep getting better. That’s the only way to do it. Don’t be afraid to fail because that’s how you learn to improve.”

Visit to see Bob’s portfolio.

And, with 10 more Marvel movies scheduled to hit screens over the next four years, don’t be surprised to see his name pop up while waiting for that trademark post-credits scene.


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