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...

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Print Week Cover

A few weeks ago, a cover image commission came through from the good people at Print Week. The brief was quite specific requiring a character to be depicted receiving a huge amount of information in one go. So the Art Director and I came up with the approach of using one of my (simplified) stylised portraits and intertwining with an almost Info-Graphics approach as to how the information is presented to the figure. Two colour ways were rendered, one for the cover and a 'blue sky' variant for the double page spread in the magazine. I really enjoyed this image as it allowed my to branch out a little with a more graphic and simplified answer to the problem.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Radio Times Easter Livery

I recently completed a really interesting commission for the Radio Times to design the livery pages for Good Friday, Easter Day and Easter Monday. Also required were three decorative Easter eggs to be used for an Easter Egg hunt within the magazine itself. The format set for these images make it a unique proposition when planning the artwork. The illustration has to work within a landscape strip format which will be tightly cropped when printed, it has to sit in-between the typography present and have a starting point of the RT colour coded background. So before pencil is even applied to paper there are set of constraints to adhere to which add to the challenge.
A theme of 'family' was discussed, possibly the idea of 'returning home' - so I set about combining the idea of a pair of birds (roughly based on green woodpeckers) traveling through the first two images, to arrive at a nest in the third, combined with references for the relative subject of each day. After the overall concept was approved, I set about sketching out rough after rough until the designs took shape.
Good Friday was the first image sketched out - working around a strong sunrise in the centre and gathering storm clouds above the crosses on the lhs, balanced with the birds in silhouette crossing the scene on the rhs.
Easter Day shows the birds closer up, flying to their nest and passing over a bright spring landscape with a selection of spring flowers to their nest.
Easter Monday shows the birds closer still with the chicks in the nest having recently hatched. 
Although the three images look relatively simple in composition, the number of roughs to get to this stage were many - re-draw after re-draw playing with the character scale and placement, and how the negative space envelopes around each item in the composition. Once roughs were approved, the finished images were rendered in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, most of the construction work initially completed in Illustrator, with mood and atmosphere added in PS.
Despite the challenge of the format and the many hours spent refining the designs, this was a cracking commission from start to finish - love the challenge of the tight format! If you want to check out the printed images, the Radio Times Easter edition is out today.
Shown are close ups of the three original images as rendered with the full bleed. At least 8mm off the top and bottom will be lost when cropped for print as can be seen in the two proofs, so a very tight design is required to fit the space.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Radio Times: Terry Pratchett's Eric

A challenging commission came through for the Radio Times last week. Terry Pratchett's "Eric". An interesting story with lots of references to the Classics (from Faust to the Odyssey) + ancient civilisations, and a humorous take on the be-careful-what-you-wish-for tale!
Entering into Terry Pratchett's world is always a rich visual challenge, especially with the strong covers designed by Josh Kirby and Paul Kidby. I wanted to be as far removed from their work as possible so I tried to keep my design graphically simple but still retain a strong brooding atmosphere, with key references to the main elements of the book. Great fun depicting the Trojan Horse, pyramid and the talking parrot! Again as in the last RT piece, for speed and efficiency the image was almost entirely created in Adobe Illustrator with a tiny bit of tweaking in Photoshop. Out on newsstands today.
From the BBC synopsis: "BBC Radio 4 returns to Discworld, where Mark Heap stars as Junior Wizard Rincewind, who is attempting to escape the Dungeon Dimensions. And the Demon King of Hell. Oh, and a parrot. Terry Pratchett's many Discworld novels combine a technicolour imagination with a razor sharp wit. Also featuring Will Howard as Eric, Geoffrey Whitehead as Death, Robert Blythe as Archchancellor and Rick Warden as the Narrator. Director/Jonquil Panting for the BBC"
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