The Drum Magazine Feature.

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.

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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?

Airships of Oberon

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.

Site Redesign Complete!… for now.

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:

Norman’s Rocket

I’ve almost finished Uni. what a terrifying thought. Apparently I have ten weeks left to prepare myself and my portfolio for the big bad real world, which is… nice.

So having just finished the penultimate university project of life I think now is perhaps a good time to show you the stuff I’ve spent the last few weeks on:

These are all illustrations from my latest creative endeavour a children’s picture book entitled “Norman’s Rocket”. The title was inspired by the story of Noah’s Ark, though the story itself has very little in common with its inspiration. It’s essentially very stupid and involves vegetables. Also, it rhymes.

“Prince Norman was a beastly child
loud and rude and very wild.
In fact dear reader I can bet,
a more spoilt child you’ve never met”…

More stuff coming up soon.

Adios Semester 1!

The time has come for me to wave a worried goodbye to the fist half of my final year of higher education. The big bad world looms. To distract myself from the impending end I shall write blog posts and draw pictures.

The end of year exhibition was frantic to set up, and lots of fun to view. I was somewhat less organised than almost everyone else, which you can see if you look at the images in this blog post from comrade Matt McKinley. it was great to see everyone’s work together presented so well, I can only regret that I lowered the tone of the exhibition with a display that kept falling off the wall. Alas, next time I hall refrain from using double sided tape.

Blog posts with no pictures are boring. Here’s a picture I did:

It’s one of my final illustrations for this recently deceased semester, being a scene from David Mitchell’s (not that one, the writer) novel cloud Atlas. I don’t want to give too much away, since I suggest everyone read the book, which is excellent, preferably before you watch the film due out next year.

More pictures and couple of walk-throughs to come soon!

Merry Christmas!

A little something I painted to celebrate the fact that it’s cold, wet and people keep playing sodding Christmas music everywhere.

If you want to help a bunch of struggling unloved student illustrators you can buy a Christmas card or two featuring this image over on deviantART

Tales from the wasteland – The Airship Docks

Today I’m uploading another brief walk-through of how I approached one of the images I produced for Smokey Bastard.

This time it’s an image of a steampunk airship dock, port of origin for the crew of the “Widow Garret” which you can see docked in the bottom left of the images.

The brief was very clear as to what the band wanted, I had to show them as they are inthe cover image painting, stood on front of their airship with the bustling industrial docks behind them. Initially I didn’t know how to approach such a complex image so to get the image under way I started with a rough pencil sketch on paper to try and get the image worked out in my head (the sketch below is actually the 3rd I think). At that stage I still wasn’t ready to approach the final image so I made a very rough google sketchup model to give me a solid understanding of all the perspective involved. I then exported the model  into photoshop and painted over it until I had the beginnings of my final image.The next stage was simply adding more detail to the already blocked out image You can see I messed about with the colour scheme a bit. It was looking a bit too serene in the second image.The final stages of an image are often the most enjoyable, and by the time I was up to the images below I had the fun job of simply adding little details and correcting small problems. The sky colour got changed once again to look more oppressive and industrial, and a handful of airships got added to the sky. along with the crowds below.The finished image:You can buy the album here, which you should because it looks lovely and you can get a limited edition poster that I also did for the band (as well as a poster of the image above)
… Also, the music is very good.

Listen to some of the Tracks
SmokeyBastard.com
Buy the album

Tales From The Wasteland cover art

It’s not often the ideal job appears, but I can honestly say that there’s very little else I’d rather do than be paid to make steampunk themed illustrations. This was one of those jobs.

With the recent release of Smokey Bastard’s new album; Tales from the Wasteland, I’ve been given permission to post the the artwork I made for it back in April. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to post a little bit of a step by step image showing how I did it. (Click the image to enlarge it)

This artwork forms the front cover of the album, however the entire album is illustrated so when you open it out you get a panorama of a wasteland with an airship flying into the distance. There’s also a double sided poster showing an airship dock and a cutaway plan of the airship. Basically- it’s awesome. Even if I do say so myself.

The first image in the sequence was actually drawn by Chris from the band so sadly I can take no credit for the idea nor the composition. The second sketch was my rough re-drawing of the original image in pencil.

The first monochrome image was roughly blocked out with the brush tool in Photoshop over the top of the scanned-in line art, then refined further to reach the third image.

Once I was happy with the tones and the forms I overlaid a layer of flat colour on overlay and started to paint the colours over the top of the tones. Admittedly this took me some time and didn’t look brilliant at the time, since I was new to the technique. I’ve got it nailed now though! The final image shows the completed artwork with a few colour edits and refinements.

Observe the final cover artwork above! I’m afraid I can’t lay claim to the lovely Victorian text, that was the work of Stuart Smith.  Copyright for the above image belongs to Smokey Bastard.

You can buy the album here, which you should because it looks lovely and you can get a limited edition poster that I also did for the band
… Also, the music is very good.

In a few day’s I’ll post how I made another one of the images for the album.
Listen to some of the Tracks
SmokeyBastard.com
Buy the album

Yet more concept art

Here for your perusal is yet more exciting horror themed concept-art. For the most part I’m not too pleased with it. I can do better, but I don’t have the luxury of time. I have a uni crit session in 5 hours and I expect I’m going to get toasted. I deserve to. I ought to concentrate better in… oh look at that pretty cloud! Although I am pleased with how the nun turned out.