Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Radio Times Christmas livery pages.

Above are close ups to show detail and how much bleed area was rendered. Below show the illustrations in situ...

The Christmas Edition of the Radio Times is just hitting the news stands around now. Along with a couple of other artists I was invited to submit sketches for the Christmas Eve page livery. Numerous pencil drawings and a 'finished' colour rough test piece were submitted and I'm delighted to say that I got the job to illustrate the rest: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day and Radio In Your Area spreads. The space for the artwork is pretty limited - approximately a 17mm deep strip across the top of the double page spread. The illustration has to accommodate text and of course the central gutter. The first temptation is to ram the design with as much content as possible, using the top and bottom edges to frame and crop objects close up and run content down either side strip, but this years brief requested a clean simple set of images with just one theme for each, but still using traditional iconography and keeping the side colour more or less intact for simpler 'colour day page' magazine navigation. It took quite a few roughs to get the designs and ideas simple enough to work as a set. The deadline was fairly tight with around a week to take all the images to print once the sketches were approved. A few late nights with the odd necessary correction where needed and the job was done! Following the line work, the finished images were rendered mainly on the Mac with some acrylic painting here and there. I'm really pleased with the set and if I had to pick a favorite it would probably be New Years Day. I always really like Radio Times commissions as the projects are fun to do and they are lovely people to work with as well, which is a definite bonus.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Christmas Cards.

At long last I've finally created some of my own Christmas cards, something I've never got around to doing before. A couple of playful ideas to be used on cards for personal use, not a client mailer or anything on that scale - that said a few clients may get one in the post! Somehow I've never done a Christmas 'work' mailer as yet, despite the obvious promotional opportunity with all of those cards crossing the globe to their respective personal and commercial destinations. Will do one at some point!

The images were done pretty quickly using elements of recent work. The 'ghosts of illustrations past' as it were! We three kings (robin X 3) is a play on the three wise men, combined with a reference to a set of decorative wall mounted ceramic ducks from a childhood memory of them being on an aunts wall. Space baubles X2, one with a background and one without - these B movie references will just not go away.!!! I also wanted to try out a new printer who I've not used before (Moo clicky). A very user friendly site, but limited scope to play with the overall card design. Will report back on the quality when they thud onto the doorstep.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

New Scientist: Black Holes & Dark Matter

Sometimes commissions come along where the boundary between work and play gets a little blurred, this was one such project for the New Scientist. A cracking article to illustrate that explores theoretical space travel, where spaceships are powered by black holes and dark matter! After a few emails the Art Editor and I decided on the approach of William Heath Robinson meets a 50's B movie...! Image was rendered as above but was flipped for printing. A joy from start to finish. Out on the news stands right now.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Altpick Award...!

Yesterday I received an email from the Maria at the Altpick stating that I had won the Third Place Illustration Award for one of my (new style) illustrations..! To say I'm very pleased (and reassured) that the new work is gaining some headway is a bit of an understatement. You can my piece here: Clicky1 and all the award winners here: Clicky2.


This was a challenge. The brief involved using Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon album cover as a reference point. Good fun to do as we decided that it would be interesting to make the image slightly more 3D in feel, so angled the prism slightly to show the underside floating in an abstract space. I really enjoyed this piece as it was similar in approach to the origami speed boats I did a while back: Clicky!

Great to re-visit an iconic piece of pop imagery.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

It was Halloween last night and I just thought I'd post a few pix of our evening. Ciara and Su carved a pumpkin and then did a couple of drawings ready for the evening. The witch and the little black line drawing of the figure as posted. When I asked her what it was she replied (exasperatingly): 'Its a happy ghost monster daddy'...! Love both the drawings, especially the witch in glorious felt tips. We pinned this one up on the outside of the front door to show that people were welcome. It seemed to work as we had loads of trick or treaters this year. Ciara took great delight in opening the door in her witch costume to try and scare the callers. Theo tended to hover in the backgound a little as he'd already been (REALLY) spooked by an earlier trick or treater in a very scary full werewolf head mask from the upcoming The Wolfman movie . Poor Theo ran back down the hall shouting 'SCARED SCARED SCARED'...! I love halloween..!

Friday, 23 October 2009


Just thought I'd pop this newie on here. Quite enjoyed playing with this image as I got to experiment with the depiction of a dead, withered tree contrasting the new green shoots. A few versions were supplied to the client, but this was my favourite.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Promo images

Eco-manufacturing and Bubble.

I've been tinkering over the summer with a few promo pieces that I may use for mailers or possibly for web portal promo sites etc. For most promo work, I tend to prefer using self initiated work rather than using commissioned pieces. With these images I can then work a little more spontaneously, with just a loose brief or theme as guidance. By working in this way it just allow a little more freedom and scope to be able to play with ideas and rendering. No pressure of a tight deadline or a specific brief - just some time to play :-) Reminds me of what this image making lark is all about, as sometimes its just fun to work outside of commissions just for the sheer pleasure of creating new work.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Ciara & Theo's work

Horse Mask (photocopy)

Glitter and glue.

Rubber stamps

Hand & sponge painting

And more hand & sponge painting.

I have two kids, one age five and one two, and they both love playing with materials in Dad's studio. Above are a couple of examples. I REALLY like the scary horse mask made out of a piece of blackened photocopy paper!

I also had a spare large 3' X 4' canvas knocking about the studio, gathering dust and waiting for a bit of attention. So on a particularly grim rainy summer day in the school holidays, Ciara and I set up a work area just at the right height for her to be able to reach all parts of the canvas. I usually paint on a large drawing but no matter what we tried we could not get it low in enough for her to reach the top. After some juggling, we set up on an old wooden box and then set to by using up some of our old emulsion tester pots and some old acrylic paint. We mixed up some water with the base paint to make it slightly runnier, then added a bit of glaze medium to help the paint become a bit more transparent. Then let rip, painting with hands brushes first and then pouring paint from one end of the canvas to the other. The 'finished' painting is now hung on the kitchen wall. Great fun! The nice thing about working like this is that it makes me loosen up a bit with the paint and lets Ciara really throw paint around - which she did with great enthusiasm. We also agreed that on the next rainy school holiday, we'd re-work the same canvas, so it has the potential to develop and change with every session - a work in progress for us both!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Origami Pound Notes!

A three quarter page image used inside the magazine.

This is how the cover was printed, with the background details reduced - I REALLY like the printed result, not something I often say about a printed illustration, and the sign of really good Art Dept working well with their contributors (photography or illustration).

The finished image ready for print as originally supplied.

The line pencil sketch after client approval

A recent project that proved quite challenging in that it required a much more visually economic approach than my usual working method. After a discussion with the Deputy Art Director, it was decided that it would be interesting just to focus on the central object, minimising the background's importance. I really enjoyed having to keep things simple and just concentrating on the main theme and not being distracted by background. This is completely alien to me as I usually like to envelope a figure or object in an environment of its own to make the scenario or concept more convincing to the viewer. I REALLY enjoyed this approach overall - a working method I'll certainly be exploring further.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Images 33 Exhibition.

Last night was the Private View for the Association of Illustrators launch of Images 33: The Best of British Illustration. Link. Unfortunately I was unable to attend, but I hope to be able to get to show before its run ends - fingers crossed on that! I was delighted to get two pieces excepted into the exhibition itself and also a third in the annual as well: Scorpion attacks which is all about bullying in the workplace. Poker Robot which explores a robot designed specifically to always win at Poker. Factory Relocation, an image about relocation of manufacturing for cheaper labour costs. If I get to the show itself, I'll post photo's of them in situ and also my fav artwork from the show.

A couple of the 741 Illustration crowd (Sarah Coleman, Jacquie O Neil, Jill Calder Ali Pellatt and Myles Talbot) are in the show was well. Sarah, Jill, Jacquie, Ali, Myles and I were the founding members of 741 illustration collective a few years ago. We are still very much in touch and support each other through the ups and downs of freelance life :-) Here are Sarah's (I challenge you to find a more gifted type artist!) pieces from the Images show...

Monday, 20 July 2009

Influences - Dan Dare

Anyone with a passion for sci-fi will know about Dan Dare! These playing cards were found in a friends attic and they kindly lent me them to scan in, there must be about thirty or so in good enough condition to repro. I have a few of the original Dan Dare annuals bought from junk shops when I was a kid. Prized studio posessions now!

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