A GRAPHIC artist, pilot and inspirational teacher from West Oxfordshire has died.

Steve Weston was born in Bournemouth and moved as a toddler to Chipping Norton where he developed his fascination for machinery on his grandparents’ farm.

He completed a gliding course aged 16, and took a graphics course at Oxford Polytechnic before launching his career as a freelance illustrator and designer.

Mr Weston’s first exhibition in Chipping Norton showcased paintings of birds and this was followed by commissions for book illustrations.

His passion for flight led to him producing distinctive artwork for book jackets, magazines, video and album covers, including Toyah Willcox’s Anthem LP, as well as computer games.

He supplemented this with paint-jobs on commercial signs, cars and later aircraft.

Mr Weston became known as ‘the dragonmaster’ for his air-brushed jackets of Anne McCaffrey’s Perm, Pegasus and Crystal Singer cult series. It became the ideal stimulus for him to create dragons, combining his love for flight and mythical worlds.

In his spare time he restored classic Riley cars and went on to become a highly respected microlight instructor at Enstone and Long Marston.

Having gained his pilot’s licence at Kidlington he began restoring ‘Bees Knees’, a Luscombe Silvaire 1940s light aircraft and later another called ‘Juliet Uniform’. Mr Weston died on December 29, aged 62, following a short illness.

He leaves his wife Delia and son Sam, also a graphic artist.