Monday, 29 December 2008

So.. that was 2008!

Damn, what a year! That just flew by- what a year for some amazing highs and some terrible lows. Obviously the birth of my daughter had to be the highlight for me, work wise ive also had the pleasure to work on some super cool projects and hook up with some amazing artists and designers over the course of the year. The worst part of the year (apart from losing more sleep in 9mnths than i have in my whole life combined!) was really losing a long time over november- december just being stupidly ill. (and i really do mean stupidly ill- a flu / cold and viral infection that just totally knocked me out for weeks. unbelievable.)

CIA have released the new calendar for 2009 (which you can pick up in the cia shop) and has been winging its way out to lots of clients. This year was a 'super hero' themed calendar, again printed as a desk calendar on recycled paper and card but this time around with 4 spot colors and black. Most of the guys just went for using the colors purely on their own with minimal overlap or overprint which to be honest was probably the sane thing to do as the majority of the images kick ass with the super hero / comic coloring theme.

Of course i couldnt just do something that simple and went for a total overprinted image that hasnt really come out as well as i had hoped. It seems to be quite washed out- something i really didnt expect, then again it was an experiment and in general im happy with the image. Here is the calendar and an rgb version of my page illustration.

Looking forward to 2009 im working on a new body of work that will eventually go to replace the current portfolio book 3 on the mostlywanted site. At the moment its taken up with a couple of good pieces- but the majority are really sketches and concepts, i really want to create another style of work to help broaden my client base a little. Hopefully some work will start filtering through here before the bulk of the work is added to the portfolio. In other news, im still trying to get the shop sorted, only a few images are available as prints from imagekind now as i eventually start trying to close that account down and handle the prints myself.

So thats about it for another year, hope you all get to have a good holiday and new year and get to enjoy any time you have managed to grab off this season, im back off to finish nibbling some mince pies and other delightful xmas fodder. Back in the new year!

Monday, 27 October 2008

CIA Shoppe

Just as an aside to the previous post, my lovely agents- Central Illustration Agency, have also just launched a brand new shop section to their site.

Here you can find limited edition prints from some of the top illustrators around (and me). The site allows a thumbnail view of the works available at present and a dropdown can also give you the list of artists for ease of navigation when you know who youre interested in.

Make sure you drop by and pick yourself up something nice!
Visit the CIA Shop.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

MW shoppe

With any luck, a new shop section will be added to the mostlywanted main site where i will be able to have a dedicated arena for selling prints of my work. The details are still being sorted but smaller ultrachrome prints together with high quality limited edition large giclee prints will be available. Stay tuned to the blog or mostlywanted for more info.

Im in the middle of a few new bits and bobs, which will end up getting an airing on the blog as soon as possible, i have also just finished a new piece for CIA, a page for the 2009 calendar- unfortunately i cant release any images at present- as soon as it starts going out to the clients i will make sure i add it here too!

Computer Arts 155

Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you- more than one post in a day! (another will follow this as well!) Just a quick shout out to say thanks to the guys at Future and the CA team for inclusion in the top illustrators feature and to say go grab a copy when it hits the stands. (should be any day now- although if you subscribe you should have yours by now.) My work graces the cover and a dps inside along with some of the other chaps in the feature. Let me know what you guys think.

Sweet Mercy!

yup- sweet mercy- finally an update and also the title for this new piece! I finally got around to finishing the sketch i had posted about previously and actually had the fore-thought to take a series of screen grabs along the way- so apologies for the visual length of this post (i have tried to trim it down a bit) but here is a look at this painting from start to finish. First up is the final work:

and for those of you who are interested, here are the progress shots. Again, all of these are scaled down a bit from low res screen grabs but hopefully you can see enough of the details. First up is the initial drawing, tone and base colors. The original pencil sketch was photographed and brought into artrage for reworking and refinement. Once that was done it was over to photoshop for some tonal work blocked in and then basic colors that would go to make up the base of the image.

What follows is grabs of my painting process- from here on in i painted this in painter ix.5 with oil brushes on a basic linen canvas texture.

So there you have it, a few color adjustments in photoshop and its all done. Sorry for the lack of commentary on each image but im sure you can work out whats going on where. Lastly- heres a few larger pics to show some more of the details.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008


still up to my ears in work, some good- some not so good, but heres a sneaky peek at something thats in the pipeline. This is still the pencils stage and things are likely to change a bit but its slowly getting there and as soon as i have a chance i will get it finished and posted here with some more details on the process.

Graphite and paper with final pencils in Artrage, start of some highlights in PS. Only a couple of sections of the full piece but should give you an idea of whats coming.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Journal facelift...

its about time- ive been meaning to get around to sorting out how the journal looks since i relaunched the new look portfolio site,as with many things it has been pushed to the back of the list. But at least its done now and i can tick another thing to do off the list! Let me know what you think to the new look.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Quick update

there goes another month- where the hell does the time go?! The aug issue of computer arts has hit the stands with my little feature (screens below), a really good issue- and unfortunately the last issue which garrick webster will be dealing with as editor. There is a whole bunch of great inspiration in this issue so make sure you pop out and grab a copy- if only to read my full article!

I have also only just found out that one of my works has ended up in the 'big book of illustration ideas 2', something that i had submitted work to over a year ago and never heard anything back. Thats something that really bugs me- it would be nice if someone could at least let you know when theyre using your work. It's not unusual but it gets me every time. Almost as bad is when you do an editorial and it gets used but you have no idea when- so you just hope that they send you a gratis copy. I know that most of my fellow creatives like to keep a copy when they get published and im no exception... anyway...

Been busy working inhouse for awhile so havent gotten around to doing anything new for a couple of weeks and now im starting to tweak a bit. Got some good stuff in mind so just waiting for a bit of free time to get it down and developed. CIA are soon going to be opening a new shop where ltd edition prints can be bought, im hoping that i can get a new piece done before the first deadline but the way things are at the moment its unlikely so my 'new beginnings' piece may get a tweak and sent out. I will let you know what happens.

On a similar note, it is sad to say that Blueflip art will be closing at the end of the month! If you would like any of the prints that are for sale there get over to the site soon before its gone, lots of great work that will probably soon disappear until the artists find another seller.

Heres a few pics of the latest printed matter. Be back soon.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Ersatz Beauty

Here's a new painting that was for an up-coming issue of Computer Arts (issue 151 i think), its a little feature on my creative process and hopefully my gibbering words have been corrected into a cohesive article! What follows is probably very similar to the feature but as usual- you can see it here first! Here is the final dps image- the original is 300dpi at A3..

Next up is a shot of just how rough my thumbnails are for starting on a project like this..

Next up is a better sketch, again- pencil and paper, this was then photographed and transfered to the machine where i used it as a base in artrage to develop a working drawing. the characters where then sketched out with bigger brushes in photoshop.

This is a shot to show how i tend to build up the image, sections painted and developed then clipped out with vector paths and painted layer masks. Its a time consuming way to do it but it does allow me lots of flexibility in the long run. (most of the time!)

After blocking in the foliage background how i originally intended, it became clear it just wasnt going to work and a change of plan was needed.

An illustrator grab showing some of the bits used in the final image..

And thats basically it- remember to look out for the computer arts magazine for a more indepth explanation of this piece, im sure i will post a reminder when its out in the stands. I will leave you with a few closer shots of the final pic.

Finally- an update!

Sorry about the lack of recent updates, this is mainly down to lots of family fun, getting used to a baby can take awhile and certainly has its ups and downs, fortunately we seem to be over a tricky patch so hopefully things will run a little smoother. Ive also been working inhouse pimping my design services to various agencies, thats also been sucking up quite a bit of time- but im a bit more freed up now so with any luck i will be able to post some updates.

To kick things off, here's a recent illustration for Spirit and Destiny magazine, the article was entitled 'who do you think you are?' and was a quiz type thing to discover your personality type. The brief was quite specific and after worrying about some of the technicalities is was able to get it done within deadline.

Heres a couple of magazine shots to show the spread and what was done for the article:

Sunday, 30 March 2008

New prints

The Candy Fantasy triptych painting has now been made available to buy as three 7.5″ x 11″ archival giclee prints on heavy, acid-free fine art paper. 'Candy Fantasy 1-3' is only available through BlueFlip Art.
Grab yourself a copy! Candy Fantasy Triptych prints on BlueFlip art.

Have a look at the creation process in the previous posting: Promotional mailout illustration.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Bit of a break...

Once again a big gap in my posting, but with very good reason- i have been enjoying the arrival of my baby daughter erin- who has been keeping me exhausted but stupidly happy! When things settle down a bit i should be able to get around to getting some new work out and posting a bit more.

I have just received Victionaries latest book 'Fashion wonderland' for which i contributed some works. Fantastic book- buy it if you can, they tend to go pretty quick. Link to the Victionary site. Im also in the latest edition of Imagine Publishing's 'Photoshop creative' mag (issue 33) with a few tips and some pieces of work included in the digital painting feature. I will leave you with a look at the spreads for the fashion wonderland book. Back soon.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Promotional mailout illustration

As i mentioned in a previous post, here is a look at the new mostlywanted mailer and a few process shots. As you can see, the initial sketch was little more than a few scribbles, really just defining the general shapes and the flow around the image area. I had already decided that the illustration would be framed as a triptych so that was taken into account during the early stages.

The next stages where really refining what i had scribbled down and starting to give a sense of shape with hints of color roughly washed in, more detail was added, the background characters shaped up and the girls pose changed. Her hair was roughed in to see how the shape contrasted with the other lines and the frame was ghosted in to give a better idea of the images as separate cards.

Onto the final painting- the original sketches above were scaled up to 450dpi and dropped in as a flat base layer so final painting could begin. The girl was painted almost completely in painter with my favorite oil brushes then the hair and dress were finished off in photoshop.

Additional elements were painted on separate layers such as the grass, clouds / smoke etc with the painted background being combinations of scanned watercolor and ink and some photoshop channel effects.

The characters are started and fleshed out together with some other midground elements and more refinements along the way..

Finally the color corrected and tweaked image is done and the frame placed over the top. Each panel was then output for print and indesign used to set up the rest of the card. The cards themselves were digitally printed on an HP indigo on heavy weight stock, you may be able to see that the cards can be cut to seperate the panels as individual postcards or kept as a small book. These have now gone on their merry way to the desks of creative directors and buyers all over the world- hopefully putting a smile on the faces of the recipients!

Finally, here's a few close-ups at 50% original size.