Wednesday, 29 August 2012

One week in Hampshire

Well, i've been having some well deserved time off. After completing my illus130 project, I've been giving myself some tlc. So, that means i'm going to be a little sporadic with my posts this week, as i'm in Southampton celebrating my rather lovely girlfriends birthday. However! It's also meant that, because i'm not doing any official work (nor do I have any immediate deadlines!) i've actually been able to do some pleasure drawing. It's been a while since i've drawn for my own pleasure, and its actually a very warm feeling to return to.

The media is simple fine liner with a dash of watercolour. This was actually my predominant style before starting university, and due to this I tried to expand the mediums that I used and not be too reliant on any particular media. However, coming back to it, I must admit I wonder why I never considered using this as my trademark style to begin with. So, with this is mind I am going to slowly start intergrating what i've learnt this year and apply it to this.

This, on reflection, was exactly the purpose of this first year of university. To try the entire range, break comfort zones and expose myself to everything available, and then take a step back and build the picture with all the different aspects you have tried and learnt from. I can't stress enough the learning curve here, and would encourage anyone struggling to find their style to take this exact approach.

Phew! Feel awfully wise (must be the beard i'm growing) but overall a good week so far. Hopefully aim to get something else up from my sketchbook on the weekend.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The actual finish line!

Ok, so I know I said that Illus 130 was finished...but it is now. Definitely. Slight complication of me forgetting to do something meant that I spent last night making up for the lost pages, but we are now in the clear. It was all OK though, all it meant was doing a page on Yoshitaka Amano, one of my favourite artists so I had no complaints looking through his fantastic portfolio of work.


So here is me replicating his picture (taking from one of his numerous Vampire Hunter D illustrations) and relocating it to the bowling alley. I think I might have embezzled it a little bit to the point that it is no longer clear that it is in fact a bowling alley, but it was fun none the less and a welcome return to pencil based work.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Tony Scott

Utterly shocked at the news that Tony Scott has committed suicide. There are no words that I could say that could possibly pay enough homage to the man. Obviously, my immediate thoughts go to his family, and to his brother Ridley. It is a terrible tragedy for anyone to lose a father or a brother.

I am, and always will be a great admirer and can only pay tribute by re-watching such timeless films as Crimson Tide, True Romance and of course, Top Gun. May he take ever lasting comfort that he will always be remembered through the great work he achieved and that he leaves us all with a legacy that will live forever.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Illus 130 - Observational Drawing final piece

So, here is the result of all those long days spent drawing bowling balls and gambling machines and pool tables and the miserable people that frequent the bowling alley....wait, for the past month that was me!

Took roughly two days on/off to complete, using water colour and gouache, and then refined on photoshop. Overall I was pleased with the outcome. I really wanted to convey the 'jungle' feel of the bowling alley, and the utter claustrophobia of being in there so long. It also charts the journey of someone through the entire building, giving it a self contained narrative.

Striking out at the Bowling Alley

Only the you understand....

Thank God! It's over! That was a gruelling project, and through streams of blood, sweat and tears, it comes to an end and the result is a relatively pleasing outcome.

I said from the start that my biggest regret with this project was choosing a location out of convenience and not out of creative interest. It's a simple lesson, one which I should have known better. Choose something you are actually interested in!

So, for the moment I will be taking a creative leave from observational drawing (of course that will be forced out of retirement once university starts again in september) and instead will be concentrating whole heatedly on my summer project. I have plenty of ideas in the works and can't wait to make them come to fruition. 

In retrospect, the project has had its uses, and come next term I think i'll be in a better position to approach the next one. It sure as hell won't be anything to do with bowling!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

A stressful week

Well, it's been non stop for me this week. As it stands I have a deadline for thursday for my observational drawing project. I've been illustrating my work place, but instead of drawing work...i've been at work. Everyone has bills to pay and its taking its toll on me this week. Thats not to say i've not been working, its just a long way off what i'd hoped to have achieved over these last few days.

I'll be finishing the final piece for that project tonight so will have that up here tomorrow for your judgement, as well as uploading the last of that sketchbook too. Once all that is out of the way, I can resume my focus back on my summer project. I have about 5 images ready, waiting to be painted. But alas my greatest downfall as an illustrator (my irritatingly slow process) is once again meaning I have an ever increasingly 'to-do' list. No rest for the wicked eh.

Well, in the meantime here is some sketchbook work from my summer project:

These were my mock ups using the circular symbol, and then combining it with welsh mythic heroes and legends. Included here are 'Twrch Trwyth - Protector of the ever-living ones', 'Blodeuwedd - the maiden of flowers', 'Cwn Annwn - The wild hunt of Arawn' and 'The road to Annwyn - the welsh otherworld'

With these sketches I was most happy with the development of the text. At first, the writing was just ineligible and just distracted attention away from the image. The latter pictures I felt integrated the two elements far more effectively.

As for these two, they were drawn immediately after reading some of the welsh fairy tales. I suppose they are the most traditional drawings i've done recently, and were very quickly coloured with watercolours. They are some of the very first pictures I did on this project, and to stop and actually reflect on where i've progressed to now still bemuses me. The wheels of creativity never stop!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

End of Year Final Pieces (Extended)

Last one I promise, but I also wanted to put up the animatic I made this year.

A quick overview, the story is very loosely based on the 'Donkeyskin' fairytale, but for my key text I chose 'Deerskin' by Robin Mckinley. This scene revolves round the two protagonists, Lissar, who has been transformed into the Donkeyskin, and Ossin, her lover.

Here the story has been heavily adapted and bears little resemblance to the original texts, but the themes and issues being raised remain intact.

The voice acting was performed by myself and Rachel Elizabeth Rawlings. Must admit, was terrified putting my voice to the screen but so far, people have been kind about my voice acting abilities!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Year One Final Pieces

My final pieces for work done at Plymouth University, BA Illustration 2011/12

Each Illustration relates to a different topics, including narration, editorial, observational and conceptional

End of Year Show

This is actually going a little backwards in time but I thought i'd put up my end of year show photo's. 1st year was such a blast, and I couldn't believe how quickly its gone by, I don't want university to be over so quickly! Still, 2 more years yet, so, believe you and me, i'll be making the most of it.

The board included work done throughout the entire year, and the media used included Pencil, Pen, Ink, Gouache, Quink, Indian Ink and little touches on Photoshop. The key to first year was experimentation, so I wanted to try as much as possible and explore the range of different media thats out there. I think I've settled on a couple that are my strong points, but i'll continue to poke my nose into whatever takes my fancy!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The Fourth Branch

So, thought id show you what i've been up to at the moment with regards to my welsh mythology project. These thumbnails are to do with the character Blodeuwedd who appears in the fourth branch of the Mabinogion. My aim with this was to create a complete story in one picture. This idea originated from the Mappi Mundi maps painted in medieval europe. Whilst they functioned as maps, and quite accurately at that considering what measuring equipment they had at the time, they also portrayed figures and stories from history, mythology and important religious icons to that area. Thus, they became a living landscape that incorporate both the geography of the area, but a cultural understanding of it too.

I took these ideas when completing my own Mappi Mundi for the Welsh tales, and also incorporated as much iconography and clues relating to the tales as possible. I havn't decided which figure best matches the frame yet, but once i've come to that conclusion, I'll be painting that up into a finished visual.

In regards to this part of the Mabinogion, the owl references the eventual fate of Blodeuwedd, while Llech Gronw is the stone where her lover, Gronw, was slain by her husband Lleu Llaw Gyffes. The inscription around the image reads: 'Flowers of the oak, flowers of the broom, flowers of the meadowsweet'.

I want to include as many references as possible in these images, which will give them as much depth as a viewer is willingly to go. If anything, I like hiding secret clues and messages within my work, so I expect these will only get more elaborate!

Im going to do an entire series of these chronicling the story of the Mabinogion, so what this space.

Friday, 10 August 2012

The Black Cauldron

"Gurgi's alive! .....but he still has no friends" (sad face)

Ok, maybe a little explanation needed here. Just watched Disney's 'The Black Cauldron' as part of my research into welsh mythology. It's a very, repeat, very loose adaptation of the Chronicles of Prydain series written by Lloyd Alexander. And what a waste of an opportunity that was.

Its just another example of a poor adaptation, shame on the mouse here. It has such potential, what with the rich material available.

But, on the lighter side of things, if you want to see an absolutely appalling film to chuckle along to, look no further. Words cannot describe the sheer spectacle of seeing a mutant dog/abominable snowman hybrid leap into a chasm of fire to save all humanity...because he has no friends.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

In the works

So, as I keep alluding to on here, i'm right bang in the middle of my summer project which as of now I've kept rather quiet about. But, no longer!

The general outline was to pick a theme, any theme, and then development it as and how you wish. Featured into this though were three supplements that you had to use, one was a story extract from a novel, a section of a famous illustration and an undefined symbol which had no specific use.

Anyway, I chose Mythology as my theme for a starting point, then narrowed that down to welsh mythology, then to a specific text (The Mabinogion) and then looked at a particular part of that story, being the fourth branch.

I have always loved to explore myths and legends, and up till now I had not found a logical way to tie this into any of the work I had been doing during my studies. This project however gave me free reign to pursue it wholeheartedly! I chose Welsh mythology in particular simply because it was not something I had ever investigated before. I was enormously surprised at the sheer amount of material available, and saddened to discover that traditional welsh stories are slowly becoming extinct.

Its a shame because the local legends I find to be far more entertaining and provocative. Its these stories that I'm primarily going to be focussing my project on. However, to begin with, I've used an established text, the Mabinogion. Its a great read and i'd thoroughly encourage you to have a peak at it.

Enough talk though, here's some early sketches I did whilst reading it. Here's Twrch Trywth, the boar king. Whilst reading the passage I instantly thought of Lord Okkoto from Princess Mononoke and had that in mind when I did these images. To be honest Studio Ghibli is never too far away from my thoughts when it comes to the fantastical.

Monday, 6 August 2012


Oops! Forgot to mention this in my last post, but I just have to express the sheer joy I experienced at 'that moment'. What do I mean by 'that moment'? Why, that moment when you type your name into google and instead of finding a thousand other people in the world with the same name, instead it finds your work, displays it on the image results page, and my blog appears on the first page of the search bar. I officially exist on the interwebs! Huzzar! :D

Between hale storms

Well, it's been a few days since I've last signed on here. I've already given myself a little kick for not keeping this as updated as I should be, but, being the beginner that I am I'm allowing myself a few strikes.

As for what I've been up to, as I may or may not have mentioned (short term memory is not my strong point!) I've had a couple of assignments over the summer that have been keeping me busy. The images here are from my location drawings which I've been slogging away with.

Not going to lie, this project is really starting to wear me down! Not to say it hasn't been useful, quite the opposite actually, it's taught me an awful lot such as the art of choosing an interesting location (something not achieved here!) Its really important that you give yourself the most encouragement possible, so chosing a subject you are passionate about will certainly help productivity!

This leads quite nicely onto what else I've been doing, my summer project. Again, apologies for not putting up a great deal of information about this project but, swear to God its on its way. I've been extremely pleased with the material I've been producing and really want to get it up on here to hopefully get some feedback.

The problem is that as a rule I work on loose sheets of A3 paper, which my crummy roadblock/door wedge/A4 scanner has a hard time dealing with, so to scan things in professionally I have to take a trip to the university, which is quite the little expedition for me at the moment until I move into my new house. But i'll be making that a priority this week so expect to see some of those images here in a day or two. I'm relying on the weather to sort itself out, as I don't want to be caught in a hale storm like the one I experienced earlier...