Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Thursday, 31 January 2019

life drawing

Sometime last year I decided to back to life drawing. I've decided to do this now on a, kind of regular basis, going once or twice a month.

I see it as a very distraction free and simple exercise to continue developing and maintaining my skills. You go and you draw who's in front of you. What can be less simple.

Below are some 20 or 30 min drawings


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Gilbert's Universe - Developing Gilbert

 "Gilbert loves to build things. Especially rocket ships - he loves building rocket ships."
"Gilbert lives in this house, which is next door to Mr Grenola's scrap yard.
Mr Grenola lets Gilbert help himself to all sorts of bits and pieces for his toy projects.
Gilbert helps Mr Grenola fix some cars and occasionally a washing machine or two."
Gilbert was never clearly defined other than what was written  above, in the first two pages of the story and that the publisher wanted him to be a young boy.
Previous concept images sent to me depicted a boy in t-shirt with either shorts or trousers but nothing that would suggests Gilbert likes to build things, especially with scrap metal.
So I imagined, to a degree, what I would tell my daughter to wear if she had to traipse around a scrapyard and moving sheets of metal - Gloves, overalls, and goggles for the occasional welding (I thought about hard hats and boots too but didn't want to obscure him too much, though I probably should have given him boots).
Anyway I took that mental image at the time and produced a few sketches with a additional pencil behind the ear (to make him workman like) and imagined him keeping the goggles and pencil throughout the book. One of sketches I thought fitted well for the first page so it became the focal point of page one
To take what I did further I decided he looked too clean in the sketches so in the final image at the top I added dirt marks and paint marks, on his face and overalls.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Gilbert's Universe Update

It's been a many months since I updated this but the book was finished in mid July and sent to the Publisher. It was quite hard to juggle the work with other commitments and other things but I finished it in the sixth month from when I received the signed contract. I would have preferred more time but I got it done and then took a break as it timed nicely with the school holidays.

My previous post outlined my method in starting this project and it's how I, to a certain degree, start all my projects. My next post  after this would be the next step where I rough out the drawings with a bit more attention to detail. I wont go through all the pages but will pick out a few.

Until then...

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Thought bubble- Gilbert's Universe

My trip to the Leeds comic book convention had been very positive and has now led to some real work. I was first considered for some comic book work but for whatever reason it never came to fruition. Never the less I'd been offered the chance to produce a children's book instead.

The book is called (for now) Gilbert's Universe and is written by Andy Briggs. This will be aimed at 3 to 6 year olds. There's been a few delays sorting out the contracts which was annoying as I started the work before Christmas and produced most of the initial concept drawings.

Concept drawings
Initially I try not to be too controlled with concept work. After gathering some reference material I work quickly and loosely while trying to get an idea of the look and the colours.

Next I start to refine a little.
For characters I tried different proportions but decided on the more cartoony ones with the bigger heads. From this I tried to rough out the expressions of the characters that can be found through the story. 
For the creature I draw out the animal that the author had based it on just so I get an idea of the creatures structure. In this case it's a lizard. It might not end up looking like a real lizard but I have to be comfortable and familiar with the creature I draw. Something else that helps is to make a maquette (model) so I can look at it from different angles.
Developing the space ship was a little tricky. The author had wanted it to be based on a small car and built out of junk with a washing machine in the back some where.
In the initial stages I felt the vehicle was too recognisable as a car. To get round this I started using the back of the car as the front. This way elements of a car is still clearly recognisable, also the kids flying the ship should be more visible.
I started the thumbnails after the concept work and I spend quite a bit of time on this, constantly drawing over and over it before finally going over each one in pen to pick out the details. In fact I spent more time on this than the above concept work. For me it's really important to layout the book before finalising the page.  Also I never feel comfortable drawing a page from scratch I continually revise and amend the layout. There will be some in the thumbnails that I'm not entirely happy with, but having something down allows me to look it over and keep thinking about it before I start the finished roughs.
 Concepts and thumbnails were sent to the publisher after the contract was finalized and I've since  been  given the green light to carry on.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Time twisters

Back in November, After finding out that I came second in the Thought bubble competition with Monkfish , I thought I'll  try and not waste the opportunity while down there and enter another competition that goes on at the event. This is the 2000 AD competition.

As I hadn't planned to go to Thought Bubble I rushed to get the sample ready.

 Unfortunately  when I got there I missed the entry for the competiton. The good thing was that the feed back was positive with some areas of improvement needed (some of the figures are looking a bit rubbery) and consideration to the flow and rhythm of the panelling. One thing I needed to consider more is how the emphasis on the characters switch through the story. As one of the main characters is killed off midway through the story I didn't make enough emphasis on the remaining character.

Time permitting I would really like to revisit this sample as I can clearly see where the changes I would make are.

Thursday, 10 November 2016


It's been a while since my last post, I've been very busy with various work.

 I recently entered my work, Monkfish, at  Thought bubble , the Leeds comic book festival and, unexpectedly, I came second. I wasn't planning to go but they informed me that I could have a weekend pass and there were prizes :)

Due to it being an unexpected trip I rushed to get a sample ready for another competition but alas missed the entry time for that one. It was a good experience though and I met a few people and, fingers cross, some work will come from it.

Regardless of that I got some good feedback regarding my portfolio. There's still things to improve on but I'm definitely headed in the right direction.

 Monkfish is watercolour over ink and my portfolio consisted of this, The frog who lost her hop and Innocence abroad  and a black and white piece I'll put up next time.  The watercolour pieces were very well received and all comments were positive.... so fingers cross. I think I'm definitely sticking with water colouring as opposed to digital colouring.