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My drawing is a gift - Trevillion.

DRAWING has truly been a lifelong passion for Trevillion but as it comes naturally to him, he struggles to explain the method behind his work.

He said: "I could draw before I could talk, it's a gift.

"Nobody taught the likes of Pele or Luis Suarez how to play football.

"People ask me can I teach them to draw and I say 'no because I don't know myself'.

"I remember speaking to George Best and he would tell me that he was asked whether he could teach his son to play football like he did, it's impossible.

"I went to school at St Francis de Sales right opposite White Hart Lane and I couldn't take my eyes off football or sport.

"My mum used to ask me whether I'd get a 'proper job' but I retired at two years old!

"Even now I hardly ever read or write, I just draw. That's all I know. I've boarded an aeroplane to Australia but I've no idea where it is - that's the pilot's job."

Trevillion was a budding footballer himself as a youngster and playing in between the sticks was seemingly several decades ahead of Fabien Barthez when it came to psyching out the opposition - but an injury showed him where his true love lied.

He said: "I used to play in goal for Tottenham boys and I'd often make the sound of a whistle so the opposition would think the ref had blown for offside in the confusion.

"I was decent at that age but ultimately I'd be too short to play as a keeper. I broke my wrist and was out for eight weeks. When my dad asked me what I missed most, playing football or drawing I had to admit it was the drawing."

A big part of the appeal for Trevillion's illustrations is the accuracy in which he depicts the human form in movement but trying to make his way in the comic book business, such realism didn't always hold much sway with his bosses.

He said: "When I first started drawing Roy of the Rovers, the publishers weren't happy because they didn't like the realistic illustrations and wanted more comic-like drawings.

"They thought that you had to draw fat defenders and players with bandy legs.

"I found out that it wasn't just the kids looking at the strips though when I was down at Tottenham and Danny Blanchflower said of Cliff Jones 'who does he think he is, Roy of the Rovers?' Everyone in football was reading them."

"People ask me how I'm able to depict the human anatomy so well and it's down to watching Johnny Weissmuller in Tarzan."

Throughout is long and varied career, Trevillion has drawn and met many of the world's elite sportsmen such as Pele, Bobby Moore, George Best, Franz Beckenbauer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Sugar Ray Robinson and Oscar de la Hoya but one of his most famous illustrations is of the iconic British statesman and wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill.

The pair's paths first crossed at the 1952 FA Cup final between Newcastle United and Arsenal with Trevillion sketching Churchill three years later.

At Wembley the Magpies had triumphed 1-0 with the Gunners hampered by injuries, Arsenal's Walley Barnes was taken off injured with a twisted knee after 35 minutes and the Londoners then suffered further injuries to Cliff Holton, Don Roper and Ray Daniel, so that by the end of the match they had only seven fit players left on the pitch.

The man who famously declared that Britain would 'never surrender' during the Second World War was unsympathetic however.

Trevillion said: "Churchill told me that he was against the idea of substitutes because he thought that people would abuse the system.

"He also reckoned that he could tell who was going to have a good game that day when he shook the players' hands.

"I'd said to him back then that 'I'd love to draw you, you were my hero in the war' and when I did he signed the picture and it's the only portrait of himself that he ever put his autograph on."


SELF TAUGHT: Artist Paul Trevillion
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 30, 2014
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