Daily Deviation

Today marks a historic occasion in the history of my artistic and creative career!

My painting “Gill the Queen of Fishes” has been officially recognised today as rather good over on deviantART and awarded a daily deviation. if you haven’t seen the picture, it can be seen here

I shall post the accompanying poem here, as I reckon it needs more exposure. It took me at least 2 hours to write that!

At the top of a hill, in a house on the cliff
Overlooking the vast sapphire sea
Lived a lady called Gill
Regarded still, as barmy as could be

For it was Gillian Finney’s greatest wish
To own one of every single fish
The fat, the thin, the square, the big, the really small
Even those shaped like a dish, the crazy lady wanted all!

Come rain or shine or storm or hail she’d sit beside the sea
With a butterfly net getting rather wet and then go home for tea
Her catch she’d place in tanks of every shape and every size
The poor souls that she’d caught before would end up in fish pies.

One successful sunny day she caught a massive whale
She rolled her sleeves up, held on tight and dragged him by the tail
When she reached her house atop the hill and in his tank he went
She was far too tired to notice that that the floor had somewhat bent

That night while reading anglers weekly she heard a curious creak
As the water soaked her slippers she realised a leak
Had sprung up in the largest tank and now the glass was cracking
A blast of water later and poor gill was soon sent packing

Cascading down with Gill came every fish and every tank
And as she hit the water neath the cliff and promptly sank
Ironically her thoughts took on a slightly new direction,
That maybe she could now
Somehow
Be part of whale’s collection?

You can also buy a signed print of the artwork on my shop page, should you require one.

How to make a Children’s book

Once again that time has come when the frantic dash to get all my projects finished for uni is over. Another year, another £3000. Still I can’t complain, the poor buggers starting next year will have to pay £9000 so by comparison my university education is a bargain!

So what have I learned this year? I’ve learned to always allow half a day to get things printed when deadlines are close and I’ve also learned how to make a Children’s book. I’d love to be a Children’s book illustrator, its the perfect job for spending all your time painting bizarre colourful illustrations of fantastical stuff. My kind of thing basically.

The basic thumbnail for pages 5-6

Our final uni project of the year was a brief taken from the Macmillan Children’s book prize; to illustrate a children’s book. That meant pencil sketches of every page including cover and end-pages along with 4 full colour completed double page spreads. A lot of work for the short time we had. nonetheless, I had a damn good go!

The first thing you need to illustrate a kid’s book, is a kid’s story, so I wrote one. It was loosely based on my rather spoiled little sister and was titled “Princess Bratt’s birthday”.

The pencil sketches for pages 5-6

The next step was to come up with thumbnails for every page, so I knew how to approach the pencil sketches and where to position the text and all the compositional elements. This is perhaps the most challenging part of the process since it’s the foundation you build the rest of your artwork on and requires the most thought and planning. I had of redo several of them before I was happy with the flow.

Stage three, pencilling. This is where I spent a lot of time wondering why I wrote the daft story I did and doing my best to draw lots of stuff clearly enough to be interpreted visually by the potential publisher. It was easier than the thumbnails but a lot slower to do. You can see on the sketch the rough boxes where I’ve left space for the text. When I came to actually adding the text I found I’d left more space than I needed. It occurs to me that it would have been smarter if I’d mapped out the text on the computer after the thumbnail stage so I could see exactly how much space I’d need. Still, I’ll remember next time.Ponies

The final image without the text is above. The painting stage was all done in photoshop with custom brushes.

The Long Process

I’ve just finished my latest piece of personal work; The long Voyage, and its up in the gallery for all to see: here

On the left here you can see the process behind the image. I really wanted to do one with another with an airship in, preferably a more peaceful scenario than my airship battle picture.

The final artwork is a fair bit different to the initial sketch as my paintings so often are. I tend to paint things on different layers so I can move them about a bit and easily modify stuff. This of course means that because I can; I do. I started by blocking in the rough image in blues and greens to create a cold high atmosphere feel before deciding later I preferred the look of a warmer colour scheme even if it makes less sense, do what looks better I reckon, its fantasy art after all.

You may be able to tell I decided to scrap the airship halfway through and come up with a better design. I also wanted to ensure I got the perspective right, since I’ve got such extreme distances in the image. To do this I created a very basic airship design in Google sketchup (which I thoroughly recommend as a tool for artists) and then positioned it in the angle I wanted for the airship in my painting, before screen-shooting it and painting over it in photoshop.

Once I was sure I had the perspective and proportions of the ship right, I was free to paint all the details onto it and and work with the rest of the image. You can see the changes I made to the background in the final two images.

A small taste of uni work

One more year has passed and so too has one more semester at uni. Some projects were good, some were bad, many were extremely time consuming. However, the work I’m showing off in this post is but a small glimpse of one of the more enjoyable projects. More enjoyable no doubt because I had the opportunity to slip lots of fantasy art into it!

The general gist of the project was to start with one drawing in one medium and then produce the next drawing (which had to relate to the first via word association) in a different medium. It was an interesting challenge, I started with platypus and ended with alien, as I am wont to do. I suspect this word association drawing game would also make for pretty good practice in future, If I get round to it.

Latest painting complete!

I’ve updated my gallery to include my newly completed cover illustration for the players guide of the yet-to-be-released rpg “Ellandria” I’d been working on it for a long time now, and it feels very good to finally have it completed.

I’ve posted some work in progress shots of the illustration on the left. The first wip is the top left and the newest is the bottom right. As you can see I painted most of the image in black and white first then added colour later. It’s an approach I don’t like very much I’ve decided since it complicates things later rather than simplifies them.

It shows the moment a group of ambushed soldiers fighting a “Feran” (a giant feral humanoid) start to grasp the upper hand. You can see the final picture by following this link

Also, if you look very closely you may be able to see a small cats face hidden in the picture, courtesy of my Auntie.

Imagine Fx Dvd

Three of my paintings have recently been featured on the DVD of issue 63 of Imagine FX magazine. To anyone who’s found their way to my site through that route; hello and welcome! I’ve even posted a screen shot for those of you who can’t contain their excitement until they get back from the newsagent’s.

For anyone with an interest in fantasy art I suggest you check it out, and not just because I’m in it of course, hehe. Of course they do have a website which has most of the stuff from the magazine in, and it is a lot cheaper…

Anti procrastination motivation

Try saying that title 5 times quickly.

I recently completed my latest uni project, the brief being to produce three elements of a visual campaign for or against an issue of importance to us. After some deliberation and sitting about not doing much I arrived at the idea of procrastination. It’s an issue that really is very close to my heart.

Anyway, the ultimate outcome of this project was three web pages designed to motivate the average internet user into doing something other than Facebook poking people or perusing pornography. The idea is that you set one of the pages as your homepage and every time you open your web browser are reminded that you should be doing something worthwhile with your time. I have no idea how effective it is to be honest since I haven’t got round to setting any of them as my homepage…

Do take a look:
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3

Site re-design complete!

If you are one of the excellent and few people to have visited my site in it’s previous incarnation; you may have noticed that things have changed around here. Gone is the sombre black and dramatic fog that characterised the site before, look how squeeky clean and functional it is now! And with extra stuff! Admittedly certain parts are still being done up and populated, but for the most part it’s there/here. You get the gist anyway.

If you haven’t already, do take a look at the tutorials section where you’ll find my brand new tutorial on making a grass effect brush in Photoshop. Even if you can’t be bothered making the brush yourself (shame on you) you can still download mine! (you rotten cheat.) I plan to have a few more tutorials on the way fairly soon…

The downloads section is currently near completion and in the unforeseeable future I plan to have the shop section up and running so you can purchase prints of my work, should you desire to.

Site re-design in progress

Despite my current site only being fairly recently completed, it has been decided that it could be better. And so it shall be!

My brand new site is going to be made brand new again, from the ground upwards. The new site will be optimized even further and have a smoother more functional design, I even hope to have a few new sections. It’s in the early stages yet so I can’t say how it will look or exactly what it will include, but it’s going to be good!

In other news; I’ve been working on a new style of traditional illustration. It’s a more laid back look than my usual work and would work well for children’s book illustration I reckon.

Don’t ask me what the inspiration was, I just like octopi It was drawn over a period of a couple of hours with a technical pen.  and a fibre tip pen. Sooner or later I plan to colour it with watercolour.

Tourists of Turkey

I’m finally back from my holiday to exotic Turkey, and now I’m 2% less pale. Nearer to cream than white at the moment, that’s a tan by my standards. I spent most of the time reading books eating food and lounging about the pool, but I did manage to get some drawing done too; while lounging about the pool mainly.

The faces below all belong to tourists and holiday makers I saw about and found interesting or amusing enough to draw. If you just got back from your holiday to southern Turkey you may just see your face/moobs on here. sorry 😀 I should point out that most of the people on here have been made slightly more grotesque than they are in real life.

The sketch at the very bottom left is the Turkish coastline as seen from a boat.