K2

This was originally just a study of K2 but that seemed a little uninteresting, so I decided to make it a bit more informative. This actually took quite a while to complete because I had to constantly reign in the detail, and in the end I feel like the graphic-y quality lends itself well to the piece.

Frustration

There are days where everything seems to go right. The work flows, you feel good, and the piece you makes excites you. This is not one of those days. This piece was really tough to do and took a long time to complete. It’s another of those illustrations that I’m not sure how I feel about. I think mostly because the composition seems a bit off, there’s a lot of information being bombarded at you, and there are too many colors. Next piece that goes up is going to be a simple one… I hope…

Cheers

Matt

Under the Rug

I’m not sure why, but this one took ages to get right. Above is the final version, and funnily enough it was also the first idea I had. However, as is often typical when planning pieces, I go through a series of roughs first in order to find something that is perhaps more well thought out or clever. I tried a version where the tower is on fire in an attempt at irony, but it didn’t sit well compositionally (I’m not even sure if that’s a word). I tried adding an FBI undercover van and entitling the piece “Who Watches the Watchtowers?”, but I wasn’t sure without the title whether people would get it. I tried adding a pile of used fire extinguishers – nope, then a caveman trying to make fire – also nope. I almost settled on someone carving Easter Island heads (they’re called Moai, so wikipedia tells me) from the rocks, but I thought people would try to read into the connection between the fire watchtower and the heads (there isn’t one by the way), so I scrapped the idea. I eventually settle on my first rough because it fit the series of illustrations I’d done previously. The best ideas I have usually come fully formed, but every now and again I really have to try and try, and it can be incredibly frustrating, and I just have to settle on a piece because if I don’t it’ll never get finished and I’ll never draw anything ever again… ever. A tad melodramatic perhaps. Anyway, I settled on this idea and I’m not sure what I think of it yet. I hope you enjoy it.

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!

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!

A fresh coat

This one took about three hours. It’s not super complex and it’s actually more of a study than a conceptual piece, but just doing a study of photo reference felt a little boring, so I added the painter/decorator to make it a little more interesting. When drawing from reference I often forget that i’m allowed to use artistic licence and make things my own, which is the case with the mountains. I originally just copied the reference, but the realistic jagged shapes didn’t sit right, hence the change to smooth curves which fit more with the foreground shapes. I particularly like the rocks in the foreground – no, not in a weird rock-fetish kind of way, you pervert! Can’t a guy just have a healthy appreciation for some rocks?! Jesus… anyway, enjoy!

Astroknight

Astroknight is an idea I’ve been meaning to expand on for a while, and the course I’ve been taking on schoolism.com has given me the kick up the arse I needed. The original idea was hatched when I went back to college to do an art and design qualification – only the finished pieces were nothing more than a half-baked attempt at a storyboard (and a pretty awful one at that). I also couldn’t draw very well then either.

Astroknight is set in the far future and is the story of an asteroid miner who crash-lands on a planet that has had it’s information mysteriously wiped from all known charts. The miner (who will become known as Astroknight later) must scour the planet in order to fix his ship and get home. As he looks for parts to make repairs he discovers why the planet has had it’s information wiped, which sets in motion events that will rock the very foundations of the galaxy!

I’d like to think this would appeal to older kids, perhaps in the same vain as the Asterix or Tintin series’ (minus the racist stuff in Tintin of course). I could even see myself animating it. Either way, i’ll be posting more Astroknight stuff in going forward. 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.

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