Friday, 27 November 2009

More Covers

Last week was busy but I did manage to get the cover art for the project pretty much all sorted. The deadline wasn't 'till today but I was buzzing after drinking several cups of coffee so got all of them finished before this.

These all have removable elements on separate layers, like the sword belt etc, mainly so the art can be used multiple times.

Comic strips.

Just as I thought the run up to Christmas was getting quiet I get a last minute brief through for some comic work.. keeps me out of mischief!
I had just under a week to create 3 spreads and a single page but had no script, just four highlighted blocks of text taken from a book so the first job was splitting the text into frames.
Here's the first job, roughing out:

I broke it all down into specific key frames, in this case there wasn't a huge amount of action in the scenes I was given.

And final art:

After feedback I had about 1 day per spread. I would like to have added more detail, if time permitted but sometimes the best thing to do on a tight schedule is get the job finished to a consistent standard rather than miss a deadline.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Painting practice

I've had an opportunity to try out a few different brushes to see if I can get similar effects to how I used to paint traditionally in acrylics with alkyds (makes acrylic workable for longer) and gouache. I remember years ago painting large boards and using sticks to get scratchy lines! In some respects I miss doing a physical piece of art and would love either the money to rent a studio or the space to do large scale painting at home.
So, anyway, here are a couple of paintings and sketches, I'm sure I have others on zip disks knocking about somewhere but I imagine they are more dubious in quality, quite often they are done on one layer and 'scribbled' out in an hour or two with the wacom, generally if I like them I save them.

More kids books


Here's a small selection of artwork from a few books I've been working on recently. (I cant write about the books or the character until they are published at the start of next year) but they revolve around a young boy and time travel.  These books had a turn around of 1 book per week, I also had a few commissions from my agent to do while these were going on.  Despite the rush getting them out I'm quite pleased with the work, the need to work quickly helped improve my figurative work over the course of this project.


Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Kid's "Character Workshop"

Recently I was invited to offer some tips to a class of Children in their 3rd year at Primary school. When I arrived the kids were already designing their characters and 'pets' which had to be from one of the main animal groups (reptile, mammal, insect etc). I set my kit up then talked about being an artist and what is involved when we have lots of fun creating illustrations.

When the lesson ended I was really impressed by some of the Children's characters and asked the teacher if it was possible to have a copy of some of their designs so I could go away and work them into illustrations in my spare time, this way I could then show the class how an idea is developed and also explain how having an idea is probably more important to the creative process than having experience at drawing.
A couple of days later I received a selection of their drawings, I apologies that they are scans of the B+W photocopies, I wish I had their sketch books as they were really colourful! Below are the images that I worked up into designs from their sketches on the right.

This character was really good fun to replicate, I liked how they have drawn the character in an 'action pose' the pet the croc was going off the paper so he's draw it's head tilted up. I think this shows real creativity, in fact I kept the basic pose I liked it that much! Notice also the hearts for the character and the pet, I incorporated these into my version, this was something the pupil added of their own accord.

This Character was produced by one of the girls in the group, I was suprised how involved all the girls got in this project, I assumed the boys would be more interested in designing characters.
I thought this character looked like she was wearing a judo suit so I thought a fighting pose would work nicely, like a character from Tekken for example, I also used the heart shapesfrom the earrings around the design. Her pet is a stripy squirrel which I figured would look great if I made it 100 larger than real life.

This character needed no further explanation even though it's a bizarre combination of blocky robot man and electric eel for a pet! Seeing as I already had the name and looking at the character's shape I thought, why not make him into one big bomb, so there is a counter on his chest!

All in all a really great class with some budding artists among them!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

It's been a while since my last post as I've been busy with commissions.. Like most of my work I've had to sign confidentiality agreements so I am unfortunately unable to upload a lot of it until it has been published, but I can upload a few samples of other jobs I've been up to these last few weeks.

Clicking on all pictures loads up a larger version!

Finally some concept art! A couple of colour roughs I produced for a publisher needing some illustrations for a project in it's early stages of development. I've included the line sketches, also of the two characters from the selection I created.

This is an accompanying illustration I produced for the same project, I also created a book layout for the client.

This job contains about 30 of these types of illustrations, mostly orientated around teenage heath. The above illustration is for an educational book in a graphic novel / comic format to promote teenage issues. This strip features a teenage boy who has to decide what to do when he is propositioned by a woman - odd scenario really, as a teenager I found my issue was that scenario never happened often enough!!! The speech bubbles will be added later.
Coloured version:

The above collection is from a set of about 16-20 images I created for a client.

These are a couple of artworks from another commission, just b+w, I was asked to give the girl a short 'stylish bob' type hair cut (fig 1) I also wanted to submit something more interesting (fig 2), the client didn't wish to deviate on this occasion but I always say it's worth chucking in a few of your own ideas on the off chance. The boy appears in another publication and they wanted a high level of consistency in their product, hence his pose is mirrored. These are roughs.

Here's another rough for the same project, it's the same girl as the cover pose above, thinking about what to write in a thank you letter. I re-submitted the pose after it was established the biting lip expression was too subtle so I gave her pursed lips and more of a frown, she was also required to slim down a touch and I made a few other slight modifications.

Well, that's it for now. I'll have another update sometime, I've been watching Don Bluth's channel on YouTube and he's such an inspiration that I could listen to him all day. Let's hope May brings some spare time, and fingers crossed a few commissions too!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Preliminary Sketching


Sketching is my favorite part of the creative process and often I prefer looking at sketch work by other artists rather than the final article. Sketches rarely get seen, at least in a commercial sense, this is one reason why I like looking at other artists concept art and sketchbooks so much but also it's an insight into how they work.
My enthusiasm for sketching also stems from working commercially with clients and bringing their ideas to life.

This post will focus on as small selection of my sketch work, some of it worked into an illustration.

Sketching for illustration

A selection of sketches from a recent project. The turn around was fairly quick so I usually just work without reference and look up specific items as I need them. A positive aspect of working to tight deadlines is that it forces me to work at improving my accuracy under pressure.

Here's a selection of 'vehicle' sketches from numerous commissions. These sketches were from a comic strip and are actually quite small in real life, less than A6 in size, I once worked with a guy who did all his story-boarding on post-it-notes (the very small ones!) he was sickeningly talented!

This is an example of pushed perspective, to give an element of warping it helps make the cars look like they are speeding. I have the final piece on this site so have a flick through the older posts.

This is a sketch I produced for Egmont publishing, a technique I employed to add more action into the composition was to draw the cars racing around a corner, oh and I've used a tunnel in the shot again (this is a great way to avoid drawing more road / scenery!)... and yes I do make car and explosion noises when I'm drawing at home!

Some transitions to final art

This is a recent job for a client showing a sketch > worked up into colour rough > then to the final illustration. It took roughly 2hrs, including the sketching stages, to produce as this was quite a cheap commission and I tend not to hang around on these jobs. I suppose like everything you have to strike a balance between quality of work and speed produced.

Here is another commission worked into a final illustration showing the development stages. The brief said "Character imagining a Space station lab with scientists growing plants" so I went for a retro/future environment.

Here is another job, it's from a range of 12 illustrations for an educational book, again showing the transition from my origional sketch.

Below are some examples of sketches for production and basic interface design

Here are a few product concepts I created for a client. The exercise was just to give them some direction but I still needed to work within some confines, such as the dimensions of the internal components, so the item can function properly, and limitations of the vacuum molding process where certain shapes would double or triple the cost of manufacturing the unit.

These are a few quick layout sketches / colour roughs they are environments used in a children's book. I usually try my best to visualize in three dimensions, which helps with environment designs.

While consulting for a publishing house I created this interface for a CD-ROM project so the user can navigate features in a more interesting way. The concept I created was to customize your surf / skate / snow board using a screen made to look like a desk in workshop, that way the board would be created as if it sat on the desk rather than over a generic options screen. The final artwork appeared virtually unchanged from the design I sketched during the meeting.

This example shows a quick b/w sketch and another finished interface illustration.
Often I sketch using a Wacom tablet in the same way that I'd use felt markers and a biro for sketching. This is a quick way for me to bypass scanning artwork if an idea is needed in a hurry.

Here's another visual I created using the Wacom rather than sketching on paper first. Using a Wacom tablet gives a slightly different line to pencil or pen, partly because you cannot move the orientation of the 'paper' on the computer screen to allow for directional pencil marks (although in later versions of Corel Painter you can)

I produced these sketches during a meeting while I acted as consultant for a production company, the example shows how I worked up an idea and how it translated to final art. We needed the island to have 4 sections for each board sport; naturally it is not geographically correct (snow right next to a hot beach!!?) but it serves it's purpose as a navigation tool. At the bottom is another idea for a separate interface, which was not used.... I imagine I've probably got through a fair amount of paper over the years going through the 'unused ideas' stage, but that's part of the fun!

Changing art Styles

The above layout shows five styles I submitted during the course of one project.
Although these examples are not sketching in the literal sense of the word, being able to offer variations in style during the early stages of a project is another part of production I enjoy. Sketching helps develop ideas but even the final style of the artwork is open to the same degree of fine tuning.
I work in many styles, whatever will please the customer mainly, although most of what you see on this site is commercial work so I don't really have any hang-ups about sticking to one style, I'm happy to produce whatever my customer wants and that is perhaps one of the most important things you can do as a practicing illustrator.