Brian Bolland was born in Butterwick, a small farm community near Boston, England, in 1951. Growing up an only child on a farm, Brian had a lot of free time on his hands, so he taught himself how to draw. He started art school in 1969, but learning how to draw comics also became a “self-taught thing.” He claimed that, “During my five years in three art schools I never learnt a single thing about comics from any of my tutors.” While at school, Bolland self-published a couple of fanzines and his work was published in a few British underground magazines. To this day, his affection for small independent comics endures. He still occasionally releases stories in his Actress and the Bishop and Mr. Mamoulian series. Mr. Mamoulian, who is Brian's alter-ego, appeared in many of the issues of Negative Burn during the 90's.
Perhaps best known for the Batman story, The Killing Joke (which he re-colored in the 2008 Deluxe Edition), his credit list is long and impressive. He also wrote a short story for the Killing Joke special edition. He first was noticed by fans, with much acclaim, for his work on Judge Dredd in the early 80's, followed by Camelot 3000 (which was recently re-issued in a hardback edition). These books are among the few in which Brian did the interior art.
His covers on DC books such as Animal Man, Robin, The Invisibles, and Wonder Woman have won him numerous awards. He has also illustrated the covers for Vertigo's Jack of Fables, DC's The Last Days of Animal Man and Will Eisner's The Spirit.
In 2010, he did the variant covers for DC's Zatanna series and and then Dial H in 2012.
Bolland is well known for his striking black and white comic art style. Since 1975, he used traditional inking method with the Windsor & Newton brushes. It was not until in 1996 when he was introduced to Adobe Photoshop and Wacom Tablet by Dave Gibbons. Described as an "infectious" moment, Bolland bought a computer a year later.
Since he had never used a computer before, the transition from traditional to digital art was difficult at first but with the help of Gibbons, Angus McKie and his brother Ian McKie, Bolland was able to adapt to Photoshop with ease. From the end of 1997 onwards, Bolland was proficient enough to do everything in the computer - from penciling to inking to coloring. He joked that "collectors of original comics art have hated me for it ever since!"
- Of all the comic book covers he has worked on, his favourite is Animal Man Issue #25. Close second is The Invisibles Vol. 3 #4.
- His main influences include Curt Swan, George Klein, Gil Kane, Murphy Anderson and Neal Adams.
- Contrary to popular belief, it was Bolland who asked Alan Moore to write Batman: The Killing Joke and not the other way around.
- Bolland is left-handed.
- Bolland is married to Rachel Birkett since 1981. They two have a son named Harry.