Tuesday, 19 January 2016

New Website

My new website is now online, please come by and take a look! :-) http://www.kevinhauff.com

For any future news please visit the news page incorporated into the new website. This Blogger site will remain intact as a news archive.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Radio Times: Neil Gaiman's The Truth is a Cave In The Mountains

A lovely project for the Radio Times to accompany the radio serialisation of Neil Gaiman's award winning novelette. Synopsis: The story is inspired by a Hebridean myth and was originally commissioned by the Sydney Opera House for the Graphic Festival. "Mystery, greed, deception, murder: these are the cogs that spin faultlessly throughout Neil Gaiman’s mesmerizing short: The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains. The story, which focuses on a dwarf in search for gold and his unlikely guide to the Black Mountains, Calum MacInnes, works on a disturbing psychological level.
The Black Mountains host what could only be called a curse, but the question is: does the curse dwell within the cave, or the imaginations and hearts of the men who seek it out? Treasures are promised of the cave, but are treasures truly to be gained, and if so, at what cost? These questions are established early, and built upon, fleshed out with each passing page.
More of an examination of the mind than an outright horror story, Gaiman’s tale is the kind that reaches from print, squeezes the psyche and leaves the reader completely transfixed. As the story unravels, the two focal traveling companions share inner secrecies while treading lightly: neither man trusts the other, in the slightest. Both also keep skeletons locked tight in the closet, apprehensive to crack the door, even slightly.
Tension mounts as these two men trek across great stretches of land. The treasure is the goal, but dangerous life lessons make for the actual payoff. A controlled betrayal brews between the two, en route to the cave, and the insanity boils over once their destination has been reached and the cave has been entered. Within said cave, revelations are laid out, and the announcements displayed prove rather shocking.
Will an ounce of booty be carried from the mouth of the cave?
Perhaps I should propose a different question: What waits once exiting the cave?
Neil’s beautifully poetic prose really comes to life as the story reaches conclusion. A fine climax awaits readers and to label it anything other than jarring would be to deliver injustice. Although the story’s character development emerges as a shining point of this one, the final showdown is a grand treat to read. A somewhat despicable spin leaves a mark on the conscious of readers, and I personally couldn’t have asked for a better way to seal up what is a extraordinary story.
Fans of H.P. Lovecraft will find a sense of familiarity in, The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains. Gaiman blends a vintage storytelling style with a contemporary charm that few authors manage. While this tale is as much fantasy as horror, it’s an absolute must read: ‘nuff said!

Monday, 26 October 2015

Halloween Party Invitations

Its nearly here - one off my favourite celebrations of the year, my childrens too, so there will be pumpkin carving soon! 
I also thoroughly enjoyed being commissioned to create a series of images for a party invitation. The brief was simple - create three well known Halloween character portraits to be used for card invites, one specifically had to be the Jack-O'-Lanterns carved pumpkin. Other than that, I had free rein! Some thirty character studies later and the two other portraits were chosen - plus a third for good measure as the client really liked The Man In The Moon. I had a blast working on these images, especially as the client was so receptive.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Radio Times: Good Omens, Christmas Edition.

A lovely commission for the Christmas edition of the Radio Times with a lead radio page image needed to accompany the highly anticipated first adaptation of the popular Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. A darkly comic apocalyptic tale about the birth of the son of Satan and the End of Days; where the angel Aziraphale and demon (Anthony J) Crowley intervene as they have become comfortable living on earth. A sub-plot also involves a maturing anti christ and the gathering of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. First published in 1990, Good Omens was critically acclaimed and has gained a dedicated following, listed number 68 in the BBC Big Read Survey. A movie adaptation planned by Terry Gilliam was in progress, but no recent news has surfaced as to whether it will ever make production.
This was a hugely enjoyable project, where the characters of Crowley and Aziraphale could be explored to the full. Being a lead radio page image it was slightly larger than the Radio Times corner page illustrations, so a perfect opportunity to really work into the image as little detail would be lost due to scaling down of the image for print.
The hardest part of the whole project was trying to move away from fan art interpretations of the characters. There are many examples online and it was hard to break away from their influence. After a number of redraws, the portraits finally came together, being reminiscent of my usual character treatment, yet still respectful to the text. A rather tricky balancing act. Once the basic characters were established, alternative compositions were explored. Sketch No 4 was chosen as it was less likely to be compromised by the magazine page gutter, although sketch No 1 remains my favourite as the scope to overlap the two characters had definite potential. Alternative colour ways were explored and eventually I settled on the blue / grey as it cast the best overall balance to push the figures forward. Black being too obvious and the orange too optimistic!
A cracking project, and many thanks to the powers that be at the Radio Times for thinking of me for this superb commission - I look forward to the radio broadcast serial with great interest.
More info here and of course the full BBC synopsis...
"According to the Nice And Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday in fact, just after Any Answers on Radio 4. With a cast led by Peter Serafinowicz and Mark Heap this is the first ever dramatisation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's Good Omens. Events have been set in motion to bring about the End Of Days. The armies of Good And Evil are gathering and making their way towards the sleepy English village of Lower Tadfield. The Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse – War, Famine, Pollution and Death – have been summoned from the corners of the earth and are assembling. Witchfinder Shadwell and his assistant Newton Pulsifier are also en route to Tadfield to investigate some unusual phenomena in the area, while Anathema Device, descendent of prophetess and witch Agnes Nutter, tries to decipher her ancestor's cryptic predictions about exactly where the impending Apocalypse will take place. Atlantis is rising, fish are falling from the sky – everything seems to be going to the Divine Plan. Everything, that is, but for the unlikely duo of an angel and a demon who are not all that keen on the prospect of the forthcoming Rapture. Aziraphale (once an angel in the Garden of Eden, but now running an antiquarian bookshop in London), and Crowley (formerly Eden's snake, now driving around London in shades and a vintage Bentley) have been living on Earth for several millennia and have become rather fond of the place. But if they are to stop Armageddon taking place they've got to find and kill the one who will bring about the apocalypse: the Antichrist himself. There's just one small problem… someone seems to have mislaid him."

New work!

Wow - I can't believe its been so long since I posted on hereI I have been beavering away in the background and here are just a few examples of fresh sparkly new mages that were created for clients and self promotion over the last few months. One of my main creative aims of late has been to simplify an image to such an extent that the concept or theme is as clearly visible as possible - often reducing the amount image decoration dramatically compared to some of my images. A selection of my favorite examples...

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Radio Times: Psalm 51

An interesting commission for the Radio Times where they needed an image for the magazine radio pages to accompany a Radio 4 drama called Psalm - about the playwright Ben Johnson. Specifically its about how he escaped the hangman's noose by being able to recite Psalm 51 when in the dock. A few ideas were presented but the slightly caricatured portrait image was chosen. As an alternative to my usual working method this image was rendered almost entirely in Adobe Photoshop as opposed to Illustrator, just popping into Illustrator to create the rope and gallows, as I wanted a slightly more blended use of muted colour (for me!) for the exaggerated stylised character portrait of Ben Jonson. From the show notes...

 "An old loophole in the law meant that anyone who proved that they could read from the Bible could have their case tried in an ecclesiastical court as if they were clergy, and that their sentence would be lighter. The fact that the passage normally chosen to be read was Psalm 51, with its penitential sentiments, meant that this psalm came to be called 'the neck verse’. But what if you were a condemned man, who couldn’t read? With Jeremy Whitton Spriggs as John, Kim Wall as Walters and Amanda Root as Judith."

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Radio Times: Hamlet

An interesting challenge recently came from Radio Times Magazines to create an illustration to accompany a new dramatisation of Shakespeare's Hamlet. This was for the radio pages, so the usual small repro scale applies - therein lies the challenge! I concentrated on Yorick the Jester's skull, the crown overlapping into the skull lower jaw and the poisoned dagger that finally despatches Hamlet. Depicting them in a symbolic macabre way with them situated in a surreal dark brooding landscape. I was originally intending to have swathes of mist enveloping the skull and figure but somehow they reduced the impact so it was left with a much starker high contrast between the skull and background. Great fun to render and a huge thanks for the bods at the RT for a cracking commission. Out on newsstands this week.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Radio Times: Christmas Edition

A lovely commission for the Radio Times Christmas edition of the magazine, with the Illustration needed to accompany a BBC Radio 4 drama featuring a victorian gentleman inventor who creates a machine so that he can hear the voices of the dead. The brief suggested a 'Steampunk' reference could be used given the era, but still keeping my usual working method / style. So I set about creating a fantastical head piece that when worn looks like a hybrid man machine. A superb theme to work on and explore. The deadline was quite tight - render time being a day and a half only. Three colour versions were created and eventually the blue background variant was chosen as it simply worked a little better on the smaller print scale, the colour contrast pushing the figure forward. A gift in terms of subject matter and big thanks to the good people at the Radio Times for the commission. A more detailed write up over on Behance.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Abel Xavier: Kampion Card Game

A lovely project recently completed for Kampion Football Cards. I always enjoy the challenge of working on a formal portrait, especially with a visually flamboyant character such as Abel Xavier, the footballer I chose to depict for this project. I wanted to avoid using the obvious football icons. Instead I incorporated aspects of 'the beautiful game' in a subtle way, using decorative references including white line patterns, abstract shapes taken from the football stadium, the cut direction of the football pitch etc - all combined with varying tones of green colour, extending into browns, yellows and orange. Great fun and a pleasure to work on. A full description of the project from start to finish including is over on my Behance folio...

Friday, 8 November 2013

Here be Demons

Wow - quite a while since my last entry ! Anyway, here are a few images that I've been working on in the background, a case of a little here and there when the opportunity allows...A new series of lighthearted images playing with the theme of 'Demonic Possession' ! Exploring a few alternative ideas about a mischievous / malevolent demon or spirit taking over random animals, plants or objects. All executed in-between commissions as a fun project. I also used the project as an exercise in playing with symmetry and illustrating / designing to a square format, rather than the usually more forgiving traditional rectangle. I'm sure there will be more images to follow on the same theme as I enjoyed playing with this idea - the more surreal the possession the better - my fav so far has to be possessed cactus ! So here we have a possessed cactus, cat, fish, skeleton and Minotaur...

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