IRON MAIDEN Artist Derek Riggs - "Stan Lee Thinks It's All About Him"

September 9, 2013, a year ago

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Cyrus Aman of The Auburn Reporter recently interviewed Derek Riggs, the creator and man responsible for IRON MAIDEN's mascot Eddie. Riggs, a 55-year-old English artist who now resides in California, was the band's main artist in the 1980s, creating the artwork for every Iron Maiden album released in that decade. An excerpt from their chat follows:
Riggs said his first inspiration as an artist came courtesy of comic book artists. "I didn't really follow comics in particular, I'd follow the artists. Stan Lee [creator and writer for Marvel Comics] thinks it's all about him, but it really isn't," Riggs said. "It was all about the artists. I was always a big fan of Jack Kirby. I went through a little phase of liking Neal Adams, but I got bored with that because it's a bit too realistic. I feel that comics should be stylized, because of their nature, and Jack Kirby just did it." Powerslave, (Iron Maiden's fifth studio album) depicts ancient Egyptians marching a sarcophagus into a statue of an Egyptian-God Eddie; a super-detailed illustration. "[They told me] 'We've got this Egyptian thing and we want Eddie as part of a pyramid,' or something, and Steve Harris had this 18th century engraving of some guy dragging the head of Rameses," Riggs said. "And he thought he wanted Eddie's head on there, that was his idea. So copyrights are not even in this [laughs]. So I sort of took the Egyptian idea and I started drawing. I did it on A3 layout paper. A3 is a European paper size. I used a layout pad. It's like tracing paper, but it's cheaper and it's thinner so that you can draw a picture, and then you can drop the next page over the top of it, and trace the good bits and improve it. So I had one of those, and I was sitting there drawing, and I drew the pyramid bit then I need a bit on the sides so I had to tape the pages together and then I stuck bits on the top and bottom as well. When I finished, it was about five foot square and it was all taped together." "So I took it to Rod Smallwood (the band's manager) and I held it up in front of him and said; 'Look, I've drawn this.' and he said 'Alright then, go and paint it. That's good.'" Riggs continued. "I had to draw it bigger than usual: twenty-three inches by thirty-two. It was on board. I used to paint on illustration board and that was the biggest piece of board I could get, and I still had trouble projecting that image into that space, if you can kind of see what I mean: My mind puts it in 360 degrees and my picture is about 10 degrees [laughs]." To read the interview in its entirety, click here.

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