Environment Concept pt. Deux

A slight expansion on the farm house concept. As I mentioned in the previous blog post I felt like the house didn’t look abandoned enough and that I would rectify that and I think this goes at least part of the way to doing that. It was also a good exercise in drawing an object from different points of view and you realise house three-dimensional (both literally and figuratively) world building can be. I did a quick sketch this morning how the building might look from this view-point and even added a dormer as part of the roof, but figured less is more. I added the broken-down truck (based on my friends C10 Chevy that he’s restoring) to add that classic American rural vibe to the world. I’ll tackle some more of the project tomorrow, maybe another angle or maybe some more character designs.

Cheers

Matt

The Magic Cloak

Final spread (unless a publisher wants to approach me for a full book… hint, hint). To be honest all these pages have been very rough and the character design pretty elementary. There’s a definite Disney aesthetic to all the pages which wasn’t initially intentional, but certainly was in the last two spreads.

So what next? I think the background work in this one has been pretty weak, so I might attempt something with a greater emphasis on the environment that the characters live in…

Cheers

Matt

Kids Book Spread Concept

Double page spread for a possible kids book about the Norse god Freyja taming the boar Hildisvini. This is only a rough spread, but I do like how it’s looking. I tried to stay away from adding cast shadows and strong light because I think the colours work quite well and Freyja and the boar pop really well against the background. In case you’re wondering, the boar is meant to be the size of a horse because in the mythology Freyja rides him.

The text is just something I thought up super quickly and is by no means how it would read in the finished piece, it’s just to give publishers/agents an idea of where the text for the spread would sit.

I’ll keep rolling with this project until I’ve finished a couple more pages, so hopefully that won’t take more than half a week.

Cheers

Matt

Reading Light

I’m attempting to transition the new style I’ve been using into some character work. This piece is somewhat influenced by Riccardo Guasco, an Italian artist who lives in Wales; “he researches the lightness of form and color of the heat and he does it with a few colors and simple lines. He loves old posters of the 30s, Picasso, Depero, Feininger, Russian suprematism, cubism and heroic cycling of old times.” – https://www.clermont-filmfest.org/en/the-international-jury-welcomes-great-painter-riccardo-guasco/ – I’ve only just discovered this guy and I’m blown away by his skill, his work output is prolific as well.

The cubed style of the illustration above reminds me of the old Hanna Barbera cartoons that I watched so much as a kid, and is perhaps why it fills me with nostalgia. Who didn’t love The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Top Cat, and Yogi Bear?

Ice to Meet You

This was a fun one to do. The previous illustration I posted felt like it was missing something and I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. I was originally going to have a large troll (this is set in Norway after all) standing just to the left hand side of the house with his nads out, totally oblivious. I messed around and decided to make it a snow scene and it seemed natural to have something huge frozen in the ice. I might do another two of these “frozen dinosaur” scenes just to make a trilogy. Stay tuned.

Capturing the Essence

This is one of those rare occurrences where I actually like a piece I’ve made. I focused on simplifying and abstracting a lot of elements here because I often get into the habit of adding too much realism and detail. There’s nothing wrong with realism and detail, but a piece that should take a couple of hours can end up taking a whole day to complete and be none the better for it. The focus should be on capturing the essence of an object and allowing the viewer to complete the illustration with their own details, rather than making the piece so realistic that there is no room for interpretation. If you look at the backgrounds of popular animated shows like The Flintstones, Samurai Jack, and Scooby Doo, you don’t see a renaissance painting, you see abstract and simplified shapes.

Anyway, above is based on a place in Norway called Hamnoy. Enjoy!

Late Night Deli

Just a quick study today. This one, unlike so many others, didn’t cause me any stress. I kept things super simple and didn’t go too crazy with the detailing. I found with this piece that I was initially drawing everything too precisely, so I had to go back and “correct” the shapes and proportions so they were wrong, which sounds weird to say, but it adds to the style. This is another place in NYC. I’ll probably get off the New York hype train at some point, but I just love the buildings! Enjoy!

In Case You Hadn’t Noticed…

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been sticking to a certain style recently. I’ve found that in the past the work that I post on social media and on here is “all over the shop”, for lack of a better term. If you came to my website I think you would be hard pressed to say what my area of expertise is… maybe expertise is the wrong word, perhaps “aesthetic” is better? These last few posts have been an attempt at creating a unified and recognisable brand for my online presence. Not all of my work will include the Handyman that’s been making an appearance so far, but I will at least attempt to keep the style the same. I think with all my previous work I’ve been experimenting and testing what works and what doesn’t – some are hits and some are misses, that’s just how it’s been. I think I’m finally working towards something now that is uniquely mine, and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how refined the work is. I don’t doubt that you’ve seen very similar work elsewhere – Ty Carter, Szymon Biernacki, Scott Wills, and Brian Edward Miller are all hugely influential, and I feel like I borrow little bits from all of them. I’m committed to staying on course for the time being, building up a body of work, and seeing how far I can push these pieces. Anyway, I hope you’ve had a great day, and thanks for reading!

Cheers

Matt

Making things hard for myself

The above illustration is actually only the top half of a larger image. As far as composition goes I think this is an improvement on the original (see below). The reason for this is the reduced colour palette and the shape of the canvas. A limited colour palette tends to bring a piece together more harmoniously; there’s fewer colours to clash against each other and the use of values is more noticeable, thus you can be more subtle with their use.

As for the canvas shape/size, the key difference from the original is that the focal point for the viewer is much more clear – your eye is drawn to the window cleaner; he is in that right third (a compositional mainstay), and he stands out very clearly.

The image below is the original. While it’s not an awful picture, I do think there is a bit too much going on. It’s also not clear where the eye should be led, and I think it’s fair to say that the window cleaner stands out a lot less in this version despite the colours remaining the same. Suffice to say it would’ve taken probably less than half the time to complete this had I just painted the top half – you live and learn. I could be totally wrong of course, so feel free to let me know what you think in the comments. As always, enjoy!