Q & A with Dermot Walshe


Dermot Walshe has worked in art and animation for that past twenty years. For the last fifteen, he’s worked as a concept artist and designer for films, television and computer games. Currently, Walshe works as a freelance artist in production design, concept development, storyboards, 2D and 3D workbooking and layout. Walshe bought his first motorcycle during university in Canada and has owned and sold about fifty since. He also has raced on world-renowned tracks and belongs to three Canadian motorcycle clubs.

Name: Dermot Walshe
Latest IMPACT book: Mean Machines: How To Draw Cool Cars, Trucks & Motorcycles
Nickname: Dermie
Hometown: Keswick Ontario, Canada
Current residence: Oakville Ontario, Canada
Kids and/or pets? Three daughters: Sara, Paige and Lauren. (Turtle, hamsters and cats have all passed on.)
Favorite food: A nice roast beef dinner
Favorite candy bar: French Mint or After 8
Favorite TV show: Don’t watch sitcoms, perhaps The History Channel.
Favorite movie: Seven Samurai (Kurosawa), Princess Mononoke (Mitazaki).
Favorite website(s): www.oboylephoto.com/ruins is excellent.
Favorite blog(s): I don’t follow any.
Favorite comic(s): Many European and/or Japanese; Mobieus and Masume Shirow.
Do you collect anything? Books, art and vintage curiosities. I have three vintage 1920s boat motors just because they look cool.
First job ever: Pulling weeds on an onion farm when I was 13—I retired after one day!
Best job ever: Supervising layout in Japan on animation for the television series Cadillacs and Dinosaurs (just for the experience of it). Sadly the show was cancelled in production.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist? I was pushed to do anything but art when I was in school by both teachers and family; everyone thought the field was too full of disappointment and low pay. When I had finally tried so many other types of jobs and university courses, I got desperate to try art and see what would happen. I started on a TV show doing layout on My Pet Monster back in 1988. I found the work fun and easy, and I quickly got promoted and made good money. I knew it was just a start, but I was having fun and living well. Art turned out OK after all!

Give us a taste of your latest project?
I have a few. One is based on a true story about a teenager who enters in the biggest motorcycle race in the world in 1922. After crashing twice, his machine burst into flames at a refueling stop. He manages a 5th place finish and goes on to have a wonderful career as a racer. Another project is a children’s book about a little peepfrog whose best friend is a fly.

Talk about a time you felt star struck in your line of work.
I don’t think I’ve ever been star struck, but in 1997, when I worked at Disney in Orlando, I spent a couple of hours hanging out and having lunch with some friends and their friend, Alex Ross. At the time I had no idea who he was, but later, of course, some of my other friends were mightily impressed. When I raced at Daytona in a vintage event in 1995 I chatted for a moment with John Surtees. He’s the only person to ever be world champion in both motorcycle racing and F1 racing. He was quite a gentleman, polite and friendly, showing his age, but boy when he climbed on the MV Augusta and tore out onto the track he was FAST!

What’s the best piece of career advice you¹ve received?
Stop talking about it and do it! (By Chris Minz, a fellow layout artist in the early days.) Also, ride your own race! (By Peter Sheppard, fellow motorcycle racer.)

Visit Dermot Walshe’s website here.

Check out Mean Machines in the F+W Bookstore by clicking here.