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!

Lighthouse

Another study today. This one was a little more complex than the last one, because there’s more going on with the buildings. I injected a conceptual aspect to the piece with the torn paper, as it made things a little more interesting and leads the eye. I used the mixer brush in Photoshop to give the clouds a soft look which turned out quite nice. These pieces are fun to do and don’t require a lot of messing around since they’re a study of a real place, the only challenge really is how to incorporate a conceptual idea into it.

By the way, i’m going to be making some minor changes to the website in the coming weeks which will include a “shop” section where you will be able to grab prints of my work. You can still get prints for the time being by going through the “Contact” page and messaging me.

Enjoy!

Booking heaven!

This was going to be a quick piece – a bit of drawing from life, but then I got carried away. As with every illustration I do, I get to a certain point (usually when all the flat colours are applied) and I think “I hate this stupid picture and myself! Why do I even do this?! Aggggghhh!” Then I unfold myself from my desk, stretch, and contemplate jumping out of a window. Luckily I’m not a complete moron, so I just go for a walk instead. This one took a long time. Not because the lighting is complex, but because there are so many bloody books that had to be individually detailed – which is my own fault, so maybe I am a moron. My computer is old and slow as well, so I had a couple of instances where Photoshop refused do anything, then promptly died, losing me about an hours worth of work, which is not at all causing me to lose hair. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this as much as it was inconvenient to draw. Cheers.

Bully

I tried something different with this one, that being the light being overcast and thus diffused, rather direct light. Not sure how I feel about yet. I think perhaps I haven’t fully grasped how to paint this type of lighting yet – it could be my values are off a bit or maybe my use of colour is wrong. Either way it’s good to do this type of work because it breaks me out of my comfort zone. I also messed around with the hue and saturation to give it a bit more atmosphere and washed-out look. Enjoy!

The Clock Maker

This was a fun piece to do (even if it took a while to finish, but i’m sure you’ll all appreciate that procrastination won’t get done on it’s own). I added the lighting effects to the main character in the same why (I hope) that SPA Studio’s did for their movie, Klaus. There’s a lot to take in to consideration for the lighting in this piece, which subsequently made it quite tricky to pull-off, and I’m still not a 100% sure I’ve got it right. So, what are the principles of lighting I’ve used here;

  • Ambient light – this is the soft light coming in from the moonlight on the top planes of the character.
  • Contact shadow – simply the darkest shadow where two things touch.
  • Bounce light – this is the light that bounces up from the desk where the lamp light hits. So all the planes that face down get illuminated.
  • Direct light – this is the light cast directly from the lamp.
  • Rim-light – this is the thin strip of bright light we see around the edge of the character and certain objects cast by the moon.

There also the texture of things to take in to account. Wood for instance is less reflective than polished metal or glass and thus has to be rendered appropriately. Anyway, that’s enough technical waffle. Hope you like the piece and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the process GIF up top, and whether you’d like to keep seeing them. Cheers

The Clock Maker WIP

Working on this bad boy at the moment. The above piece was made quickly to give me and idea of the atmosphere and values I’d be focusing on before I fully render it. I did a similar illustration to this for Inktober on instagram a couple years ago and always wanted to expand on it. Stay tuned!

Paper Planes

A friend of mine has been nagging me for a while to do an illustration of a group of us that all met a few years ago in Ibiza. One of the first things that happened in our apartment was the maiden flight of a paper airplane, I can’t remember why and we probably should have been out drinking instead. Anyway, it flew like I’ve never seen! In all my years of watching paper airplanes fly – through primary school, middle school, high school, university, and in to my professional career – this one was hands-down the most impressive. I don’t know why i’m going on so much about it, but trust me; it. was. impressive. This is my somewhat unimpressive retelling and illustration of said event. Enjoy

Life’s a beach

This is another concept for a children’s book. I feel like there’s lots of potential and character here to explore – who, what, where, how etc… This place feels lived in and practically built, even if it seems a little unstable in places. Is it an island or part of a larger mainland like so many seaside towns? I expect we’ll be finding out more about this place in the future…

Sailing the skies

This is a children’s book concept I’ve been toying with for a while. It’s essentially a story about time and death, which doesn’t sound too children’s book-y, I know, but the story would address the issue in a subtle and abstract way (I hope). Anyway, this a full page spread in which the two main protagonists take a journey in a flying boat (also the little girl is an Eagles fan… of course). Enjoy!