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Showing posts from 2018

#FilmStuck4

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One of those hashtag things on twitter, name four films that have stuck with you for whatever reason over the years. In no particular order mine are...




There is a longer list of films I really like (Fight Club, Mad Max, Prometheus, Predator, Donnie Darko, The Fountain etc. and recently Split and Logan) but the ones that have had a lasting effect on me for whatever reason, they are the formative films of my youth. I don’t necessarily have to watch them again and if I did they might not live up to my nostalgic memory of them. Saying that it is easier to watch old films, last year I watched fairly good copies of The Medusa Touch and Captain Kronos on the internet and they have stood the test of time.
#FilmStuck4 #TheKeep #DocSavage #TheMedusaTouch #CaptainKronos

Thoughts Behind Character Design

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Easter Sunday was spent doing a bit of character concept design. I've got a script for a ten page comic strip by my friend Noel Hannan on my desk but before I set about doing layouts I want to get into the main character Chuffin' Billy (the author gives a little more over on Facebook).

There's a lot of well trodden paths I could go down with a steam driven war robot , a lot of them ending up at the door of 2000ADcomic characters. Then there's Star Wars with their various robot like Stormtroopers and droid characters (K-2SO for example). A quick search for World War 1 armour brings up some wonderful and weird looking designs. In this age of CGI ultra realism I'm channelling DC Thompson characters Desperate Dan and Brassneck.



A selection of sketchbook doodles done while looking at the internet and thinking about where the character could go. I'm being vague about the nature of the comic strip in case I curse it before it's even started.




I used Photoshop to sk…

Hail and Sunshine

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Drawing in the Park with a dip pen and ink. Got so far before the hail hit, finished off the inking and colouring back at home.


Drawing and Thinking

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When I'm concentrating on a drawing I cant help but contemplate what else is going on in my life. I thought my 'quarry' work was behind me. Paid illustration has been scarce of late and temping in a warehouse has been a way of generating a little bit income. It's a totally different world to being freelance and nine miles away up some very steep hills.


I used a toothbrush and ink to create the splatter effect, masking out the area where I wanted the writing to go. Feels like I threw every technique I know onto these pages.



Drawing In Public Experiment

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Today was a day for running around the park to keep my fitness level up. It's a nice day, not too cold and the sun breaks cloud now and then. Some places are slippery with mud but I manage to get around most of the parks callisthenic exercise points.
Someone on Twitter recently asked if I get bothered by inquisitive people when I draw outside. I tend to creep around areas that are away from the main footpaths, looking for something interesting to draw. I use my run as a way to check out what's what and then return and draw it afterwards. I've been drawing in my sketchbook regularly since October 2017 and the amount of people I've said hello to has been tiny, I think maybe two people have approached me to see what I was up too. I really don't mind it, I spend far too much time by myself so any human interaction is welcome at this stage.
Today's experiment was to draw somewhere in the park that was a bit more public than my usual lurking around in the bushes, I …

In search of chocolate

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Legend tells of a Supermarket in Wakefield that sells food and quality continental chocolate at reasonable prices. I've walked from Agbrigg to Aldi (Kettlethorp?) a few times over the years. I don't drive and it is difficult cycling hills and busy dual carriage way so walking is sometimes the best way to get there. The best way during the summer months maybe. Recent snow and rainfall have made the fields very muddy for normal footwear. I've got a good pair of boots so it's just an annoyance getting messy. I managed to rinse off most of the mud in a big puddle before I went traipsing around the shop.  

Had to redraw one of the boots, it came out huge compared to the first one. I didn't notice until I finished the line work. I whited out the big boot with FW white acrylic ink and had another go. The ink isn't totally opaque so there is a ghost residue of the covered drawing. I like that effect.

Style Over Substance

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Walked through Belle Vue Cemetery on my way to Sainsbury's today. Even though we had a bit of snow in the night there is definitely a Spring feeling to the day. Regretting layering up to go outside, I was sweating uncomfortably on the journey home.
I've been wavering recently over my use of the Parallel Pen. Drawing exclusively with it since last October it felt like my mark making was becoming style over substance. I have spent the last few weeks trying other pens like the Lamy Vista  and the Platinum Carbon Pen. Doodling with them was fine  although the thought that I was taking a step backwards kept rearing it's ugly little voice. Coincidently, today the illustrator Jeffrey Alan Love Tweetedabout sketchbooks and I think what he had to say about finding your style struck a chord with me (and the distinction between sketchbook and finished work).
I've written before about how I do draw better with some pens than I do others (and how that goes against popular thinking…

Walton Herbs Hand Drawn Location Map

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Have spent the last few days tweaking an illustrated map of Wakefield. It was commissioned by Walton Herbs as part of their PR for the new year. I hand drew all the elements separately (Map, Frame, Herbs, Buildings etc) then assembled them in Photoshop which made things a lot easier than hand drawing the thing in one go. One of the biggest challenges when making a hand drawn map is scale.
In reality the selected area that the brief stated would fit portrait proportions better but that would also mean big  areas of unrelated detail, important 'microscopic' roads and a whole lot of time drawing unnecessary details. My job was to balance the clients wishes with the budget and edit the image into something visually pleasing in a landscape format.
I used Google Maps as my starting reference point for the Wakefield area, roughing out the design with a brush pen to get bold lines. In Photoshop I scaled, skewed and distorted the map into a shape I was happy with (that's where the &#…

Foraging in the Bushes

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Set back from the road drawing a clump of trees in the park after my run.

Stood fairly still and I am soon joined by a foraging rodent. It doesn't really pay that much attention to me, after sussing I have nothing edible upon my person. I am surprised at how long it does hang around, jumping in and out of a rotting log a few feet from me.


Hourly Comic Day 2018

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February the 1st is international Hourly Comic Day where creatives document their day hour by hour and post it online with the hashtag #HourlyComicDay. This is my fourth year of  attempting an hourly comic and I loath it but still feel compelled to participate. I justify the pain in that I have a history of doing diary comics and it's the perfect excuse to dip my toes back in the personal documentation pool. I also get a fairly good response from social media which breaks the solitary loneliness of the work at home illustrator.
I hate it because I end up drawing drawings of me drawing because that's what I was doing at that particular hour later on, which I  personally find a bit boring. After the 2pm instalment I was catching up with the hourly comic, answering emails, doing a bit of planing on a small illustration project. and reading a script for another more involved planned project. Necessary behind the scenes type endeavours that makes the stuff 'up front' work.

Running, Drawing, Taking Notes

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I spotted a small patch of Snow Drops in the park today and then promptly set about drawing another broken, gnarly tree. This got me thinking that Spring is there waiting to do its thing.


I use my phone to take reference photos. I aim to do 80% of the sketchbook drawing on site and a photo is good for referring back to what I was drawing. It also provides me with the time that I started the drawing which is part of my documentation style. Doing the writing back at home just makes for a neater hand for the reader and I can check my atrocious spelling.


If a particular thought occurs to me as I run around the park beforehand then I make a digital note, not worrying too much if it makes sense. Sometimes auto correct is a pain (deadest > dearest). Its a good way of me remembering as I would never recall the phrase or intention by the time I get home.