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.

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