Saturday, September 4, 2010

Annual Soap Box Derby

I don't know if young people today would even know what a soap box is since soap these days comes in special pumpy bottles and I don't think it matters anyway since carts that are designed for rolling downhill probably don't incorporate soap boxes. They're more likely to be built using carbon fibre and kevlar with laser beams and genetically modified plastic.
Whatever. This year saw the first of what is hoped to be an Annual Soap Box Derby in the town where I live. Surprisingly it happened without being stomped on by Health and Safety maniacs in hi-vis vests and hard hats. Good luck to them.
Yesterday, to help out with next year's promotion, I did a little pic. I don't know if it'll be used, but it was fun to do.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mono Oil Painting

Occasionally I see an image that I feel compelled to paint. Such a moment came recently in the form of an image by French photographer Virginie Dubois. Apart from some illustrations from my days in advertising, I've never really painted in black and white, so it's going to be a departure for me. Virginie has kindly given her blessing for me to do my thing. So I immediately walloped out this small 200mm study in oils. I'm planning to do the final piece about 900mm, eventually.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tiddles - Tobogganing Champion

Non cat owners may not be familiar with the behaviour referred to as 'toboganning' where a cat will drag it's bum along the carpet. I've noticed only one of ours do it and never see her do it on concrete or dirt, so I assume it's flooring-dependent.
An alternative caption is 'Tiddles is so clever, he can even sign his name' but it's a bit wordy.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Exploring faces

Given the option, I'd always opt to draw or paint a characterful face than one considered pretty or beautiful. There aren't enough interesting faces in the world and too many beautiful ones.
Admittedly, for me, capturing a likeness littered with landmarks and recogniseable idiosyncrasies is easier than capturing featureless beauty. Perhaps that's why I enjoy it.
As a little departure this weekend, I dug around in my heap of interesting faces and drew with the intention of pushing the features more toward caricature, yet keeping the values of my photographic reference. It was great fun, especially relaxing not having to strive for a likeness and simply drawing for the sake of enjoying the process.

This is Sian.
A5 size, pencil on plain copier paper.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Storyboarding etc.

I've been trying to find time to work on my next book, 'Hamilton's Hiccups'. When I originally knocked the principles of the story together in note form, it felt fine, if not a little bit leggy. Since 'Hamilton' is going to be a picture book, it means the lengthy adventure I'd blocked out has to be brutally manipulated to fit the industry template of 32 pages told in approximately five hundred words.
Take out two pages for front and back cover, one for the title page, then there are the endpapers and legals. That leaves around a dozen or so spreads to introduce the character, set the scene, tell the story in a (hopefully) entertaining way, and wrap things up all nicely. It's a bit like starting with a freshly felled tree and hoping to shave it down to a nice tidy chopstick.
It pays not to get too emotional at this stage and apply the simple rule: If in doubt, cut it out.
So, that's what I've been doing - hacking, chopping, cutting and shaving the story - I've not even begun writing the text. Balancing words and pictures. I've made and obliterated seven or eight 32pp mockups so far, trying to pace the story within the parameters. At the moment, my tree is more approaching the shape of a baseball bat, but I'm getting there.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

An Illustrator can be too versatile

My portfolio stretches back over quite a few years and there are styles of illustration that, whilst they did the job at the time, don't represent how I'd approach them now. I need to cut out the dead wood and give a clear view of my current work. Anyone with too many styles and no distinct 'handwriting' will not spring to mind when a particular art editor is looking for an illustrator. If a job requires a 'Steadman' or a 'Grimwood' those artists will be called on to do their thing. I need to become a more clearly defined 'me' so commissioning editors etc. can see who I am.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tiddles Art

I finished three Tiddles pieces this morning. This is my favourite.
Without cats of our own, I'd never get that sound right.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Litter Sketch

I was putting some ideas together for my chums at Heritage Crafts yesterday and this kind of popped out. Not really appropriate for being turned into a cross stitch picture, but worth sharing.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Say Hello to my little friend

In the future, when health and safety issues result in the banning of contact sports, robots are created to replace humans in the sporting arena. These robots are programmed to be brutally competitive and ruthless in their aims. Everything was going well, until one day, one of them found a gun...

Inked line, digitally coloured.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Character Development

This is Millicent, she's far from innocent.
I tried this without the purple eye shadow (not on me, you understand - purple isn't my colour) but it made her face look washed out. Maybe she's just raided her mum's makeup collection.
I don't have a name for the mouse. What name would you give a 'moustronaut'?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I'm in!

After moving my drawing board into the new studio and building some Ikea furniture, I've started working in there proper. Slowly arranging my space so it feels right.
I decided against installing my huge drawing board. At around 1500mm x 1000mm, it's a bit of a monster and I'm unlikely to do any art larger than my regular board, which is half the size.

If I need to produce anything bigger, there's plenty of space for an easel.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

From lively pencil to colourful art

I've not posted for a long time. My apologies. It's because I've been slaving away on designs I'm not allowed to show you. You probably thought I've been sitting on sunny riverbanks, dabbling my toes in the inviting waters while sunlight reflected from the ripples sends sparkling patterns across my face. This is England in February. Don't be daft!
Something I've been working on over the last few days is a series of illustrations for publication in the summer. One of the images provides an interesting comparison between the first scribble and the final piece.

I like the energy in this first pass. You can see how I was searching for the poses of the characters.

In the final piece, (well, almost final, it's not been approved by the client yet) while it might do the job required of it, I feel in converting it to vector artwork, it loses that lovely whooshy energy of the first sketch.

Even though the tiny pencil drawing is only 70mm wide, it's the one I'd rather hang on my wall. Maybe it's just me, but art produced via computer, no matter how incredible it is, will never have the same appeal to me as something produced by traditional means.

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Garden Studio Takes Shape

Since the components for my self-assembly garden studio arrived in early December, the weather has been too grim, wet and cold to do any assembly. My brother in law and I grasped the opportunity for what seemed like a string of rainless days (OK, a couple of showers slipped under the radar). The important thing is the bulk of the assembly is done and I now have a box with a roof.

There's still quite a bit of work to do and I don't expect it to be ready for a few weeks but it sure is looking good. I'm really keen to get in and start painting.