I’m about half way through the final artwork at the moment, but I thought I’d share some of the process so far:
I started with a load of rough thumbnail drawings in my sketchbook- just really quick visual notes to capture the barest form of the idea in my head.
Then I scanned them in and proceeded to paint over the ones I liked best, experimenting with colour and tone, and solidifying the choice of camera angle. After a while of doing this it became obvious which my favourites were, and I crossed the others off one by one until I had four contenders left.
Rough ideas stage one
My four contenders got a little bit more development. After that, I sought a little bit of outside input. After all, you can become blind to first impressions after you’ve been working on a piece for so long. The image really needs to sell the idea of someone or something going “into the void”. It was decided that two of the four were superior in their narrative impact and sense of suspense…
So now it’s on to the painting stage, rather- finishing the painting stage, since I’ve already been painting for a couple of days now. All proceeding as planned- the chosen final image will pop up in my gallery when the deadline passes in just over a week.
A couple of days ago I was delighted to receive a package I’d been eagerly anticipating. Books! With my art on the covers- the de-facto proof that someone else thought it was good.
The books in question are by the generous Mr Benjamin Mumford-Zisk. I’ve been reading and very much enjoying book one: “The Origami Man”. It’s always a delight to work with people that have some original creative vision.
Last year I had the pleasure of working on a project that is right up my alley- in that it involves airships, space and first world war battleships all mashed up into one absurd and imaginative universe. What’s not to like?
That project is Clockwork Armada- which is now launching over on kickstarter
“Clockwork Armada is a tabletop miniatures game of space battles set in a fantastical alternate reality. In this universe, planets are flat, and the laws of physics function on very different principles. The upward rushing hurricane that makes up outer space is known as the deep sky, and strange alien life hides in the mists. The battles that you take part in will act out the stories of the kingdoms and cultures that sail their clockwork ships between these worlds.”
Turns out I’ve been featured in ‘The Drum’ magazine. Which would be nice, except that I wasn’t made aware it would be happening.
My “uh oh” illustration is included in article which I feel is quite clearly an advert for my old university- a university which I have no desire to promote for free. After a short exchange of emails it’s emerged that The University of Central Lancashire apparently retains unconditional rights to use any and all work that I produced while I was there. A right they are now exercising for marketing purposes This isn’t something I was aware of, but it doesn’t surprise me, I expect there is some clause somewhere I once signed when I enrolled. I wonder how many students are aware that their old Unis retain the rights to their work?
Given that I probably have no legal leg to stand on (which always bloody happens.) and therefore both Uclan and The Drum can happily use my work for their own profit, I feel that all I can really do is to express my personal opinion here instead in the hope that anyone who reads the article and googles my name is left in no doubt.
I do not endorse the University of Central Lancashire in any way.
I should make clear that have no desire to offend my old tutors, I have great respect for some of them, but I simply cannot recommend Uclan on the basis of my time there, and I resent my work being used to do so when I have expressed an explicit wish to the contrary.
It seems ironic to me that a university that claims to give students such a good start in their careers will then go on to undermine them in such a way. I make (barely) a living from producing and selling the rights to use my artwork, Uclan giving away the right to use my work in magazines produced for profit is not something I consider particularly supportive.
It could be argued perhaps that I ought to value the promotion, but I feel that in the context of the article- which includes only my name next to that of the university and then goes on to extensively detail the wonderful benefits of university education- the prime beneficiary of any promotion is Uclan. Any promotion I do achieve I’d rather forgo given the context.
Also, why do they always get the title of the piece wrong?
I recently completed some work for a lovely chap who’s putting together a new Steampunk-themed board game called “Airships of Oberon”.
I was originally commissioned to complete the above six card illustrations, which each represent an individual element in the game, from left to right: Autumn, Animal, Wind, Water, Metal and Grass.
After that, I was given the job of producing the box cover art for the game, based on a pretty complex brief. It had to include:
A happy couple in a steampunk Edwardian street
Airships flying overhead.
A steam-powered car or two
Clockwork dragons circling a tower in the distance.
Bright, happy colours.
I’m still getting to grips with the best way to compose these complicated fantasy images with so much stuff going on, but myself and the client were both happy with how it turned out. Now, back to the last stretch of university work.
Well, it took a wee bit longer than I anticipated but I’m rather pleased to say that my website redesign is (at least for the moment) complete!
I’m not entirely sure on the success of the graphic design but I am at least pleased that the site is now pretty damn consistent. I’ve also stripped away the old chaff that google analytics informed me nobody ever visited, so goodbye to the tutorials, links and downloads sections of the site.
In their place is a shiny new sketchbook section of the site, which features lot of sketches (mainly faces and airships as it happens) that have never been on public display before! Go check it out here, I mean come on, if you’re on this site at all you have time to spare don’t you.
I’ve also been adding a few things to the shop section, since I have student loans to pay off. I’ve got a few more bits to do yet but I’ll have even more stuff available soon.
In other news, I’ve been busy working on my new kid’s book: Norman’s Rocket. Here’s some rocket based sketches from that to have a look at: