I started as any child would, with some crayons, some pencils and some paper, probably as an effort by my parents to grab some peace and quiet. And i guess the only difference is I never bothered to stop.  I have a very poor memory of childhood so I cant remember much before about 5 years old, but I have been informed that I had drawn pretty much from birth. With two creative parents, art, in particular drawing was always encouraged, so getting started wasn't really an issue, according to my mother i always knew what to draw and how to draw it. Apparently when I was about 6 I drew an amazing cockerel and gave it to some people we visited who immediately framed it for their wall.  People had always encouraged me to continue drawing so thats what I did.  It wasn't until I was about 14 or 15 that I really decided I was serious about art and started to think it was something I could possibly pursue as a career. I had a lot of time before I needed to worry about that but i clearly remember there was only two things i wanted to do. Skateboard and draw pictures. And for a long time I did the former, it became a way to vent my creativity and individuality. But after a while skateboading began to lose it's appeal and my drawing/art really started to appeal.   By this time i was 16 or 17 and I had pretty much decided that a normal 9-5 would not be the route I wanted to take. With two self-employed parents I had no fear of not having a steady income (although now I do!) This is when i started to get serious about things, my drawing was getting stronger along with my desire to pursue it as a career so I think at this time, there was no other option. It was all I knew how to do and all I wanted to do. After 4 years of art school I was chewed up and spat out into the illustration world. Loving it!  When talking about what and who influences me I think it is important to discover what the difference is between influence and inspiration. Things that inspire me don't necessarily have an impact on the way my work looks, but I think influences canhave an impact on the way your work looks and how you go about doing it. Plenty of things inspire me, from books, poems, music, science, the list goes on, and influences change from day to day and year to year. But I think its the things you find constantly influential that matter, things that, year on year you can repeatedly delve back into and find something fresh to rekindle your enthusiasm.   I have always been fascinated by the work of M.C Escher, everyone knows him and is familiar with a lot of his work, but I am constantly drawn back to his work for its pure originality and vision. Another artist I have become really into over the last few years is Alan Aldridge, the father of british illustration in the 60s and 70s. The work he produced over these years was mind-blowingly ahead of its time and he was incredibly prolific. I get a lot out of his semi-surrealist creations which continue to look fresh to this day. The medium in which he worked is completely different to how I work so that isn't really the influential part, but his work ethic and imagination is something I aspire to. I'm a sucker for really detailed etchings and woodcuts. I absolutely love scientific and natural history illustration, and its something that i hope will continue to influence my drawing style. I spent a lot of time etching whilst studying for my degree and I really loved the craftsmanship of it and the real talent it takes to produce that kind of illustration. I place a lot of importance on the evidence of the human touch in artwork, and I feel strongly about including that in my own work, and the quality of drawing I have developed is something I never want to lose touch with in my work. Artists im into at the minute, to name a few include: Zeloot, Aaron Horkey, Bruno 9Li, and James Taylor. I think all of these guys have something I can relate to in their work at the minute be it a touch of strangeness/surrealism or amazing draughtsmanship, and its nice to see people pushing things and making some really beautiful looking work.  - Joe Wilson Joe can be found at www.joe-wilson.com