“I'm constantly surprised and amazed that in this industry so many things happen. It's almost like being a rock star: You being recognized on the street and your image very often published. An amazing thing happened to me as I was doing a signing in Bologna: We were going to the shop to do the signing and we were 30 minutes early. There were two people rushing towards us and one of them recognized me. They had come from Napoli, what was 5 hours by train and they had come solely to meet me. They had to catch their last train, so I made some sketches for them in the middle of the street. I think that's when you feel that fame is with you.”

Born 1951 in the UK

An artist, working mainly with the brush, that produces work for comic books and role playing game companies. The roster of customers Bolton has created work for is impressive, from Clive Barker to Epic Comics to White Wolf. He also creates sculptures of comic’s characters.

Because of the intensive work done in his paintings he rarely does internal comic book work, and when asked about why he states, “I only take jobs that I want. If you're sitting there for 6,7 months you make a commitment. You want to maintain the enthusiasm and professionalism from the minute you start until the day you turn in the last page. I made the commitment to work on a project; a lot is involved. I meet the writer, we talk about what we want to do. It's very important for me that what I produce has a longevity. Money is not important. Don't quote me on that!”

His cover artwork features some of the most recognizable and distinctive designs in comic book history. Although released in a time when the comic industry was suffering, his Man-bat book was met with high regards. “There was a backlash to the comics that were being produced, that seem to be produced on an artificial level, a bit of silver here, a bit of platinum there and all in the same comic. And so there was the backlash to that, but obviously that being a lot of talk about Manbat so I was momentarily distracted.” A master of color, he evocatively combines shades to create mystical environments and intensely personal atmospheres. His work can be simultaneously beautiful and terrifying. Stunning and alluring.

After art school, Bolton first broke onto the comics scene in the late seventies work on EC Comics ‘House of Hammer/Halls of Horror’. A few years later he began working for Marvel UK, and in 1981, he created a story the American publican ‘Bizarre Adventures’, which resulted in more European work. He has produced work for Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, and Marvel Comics. He has also produced many erotic vampire paintings for White Wolf’s Vampire: the Masquerade RPG. He painted the covers for The Vampire Lestat, the comic adaptation of The Army of Darkness, and Clive Barker’s The Yatterling. He also drew the storyboards for the film An American Werewolf in London.

As talented as he is reclusive, John Bolton’s work transcends borders where lesser talented artists would dare not venture. The texture, lighting, and color of his work are awe inspiring and mood setting. “I am an artist who likes to tell stories.” Bolton says, “and that's why I paint. That's why the work I do is very personal. But you have to want to do it.”


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