this northern boy

Have pen, will doodle

A lone spaceship…

It’s been a while since I drew a spaceship, so it was fun to create this little one-man flyer. I think it’ll get some colour in the next few days – probably orange.

One-man flyer.

One-man flyer.

Three days in Paris

I’ve just got back from a few days in Paris. Very hectic, trying to fit in as much of the big Paris stuff, for my two young nieces, as possible. Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Montmartre, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, boat trip down the Seine…

Exhausting, but brilliant.

The architecture completely blew me away. Not just the big, grand museums, palaces and galleries (but blimey were they big and grand!), but the regular streets and residential buildings. It seems that nearly every street in central Paris is an eight storey avenue of astonishing apartments. I fell in love with practically every roof I saw – steeply pitched and leaded, with ornate windows, chimneys, balconies and facades. Beautiful.

I think those rooftops are going to make an appearance in at least a few of my drawings very soon.

Here are a few photos from my trip…

The Stones…

Inspired by Linda Thompson‘s song “Nine Stone Rig”…

I’ve been drawing standing stones. Part neolithic, part Lord of the Rings.

Drawing of standing stones

Nine Stone Rig

Drawing of a rock formation

The Stones

The Island

I finished and coloured The Island, seen in my previous post. Coloured with Copic Ciao Markers.

Colour Illustration of The Island.

The Island, finally coloured

Of secrets beneath the waves

More imaginary places. I’ve blogged before about how I love to draw make-believe places, and in the last few days I’ve been doing more…

The Copse

The Copse

The Island

The Island

The City

The City

I’d like to visit all of these places. I’d like to know their inhabitants, their histories, their futures… I want to know why that rock floats with its little stand of trees. I want to know about those tentacles beneath the island – I want to know if the people who live there know about them. I want to know about that city, who rules it, who that great wall keeps out…

Maybe I’ll write the stories of these imagined places one day.

If you want to see more of my drawings, and some work-in-progress pics, have a look at my Instagram page.

The Lighthouse in the Sky…

Finally finished and coloured an illustration that I started a few weeks ago. Vaguely inspired by the work of John Evelyn, Conrado Almada and Hayao Miyazaki, it’s one of those illustrations, that as I draw, takes on a little life of its own. I can’t help but wonder who lives there, what the lighthouse is for, what kind of ships need warning of rocks in the sky…?

I think there’s definitely a story to be told here. By somebody.


The Lighthouse in the Sky

The Lighthouse in the Sky


Inspired by the lighthouse, I thought I’d add some more…

Village in the Clouds

Village in the Clouds

New projects…

Well, the Droids are done – although I will be updating my Tumblr blog over the next few weeks as I reblog and rework some of my favourite robots – so it’s time for something new.

Today I wrote my first post over at Asteroid Belt Blues, my new Tumblr. I’ll be posting illustrations, sketches and some writing here, expanding on some of the spaceship and science fiction drawings I’ve been doing alongside my droids. I want to create a believable world, a near future where the asteroid belt and outer planets are the new frontier.

I also have another project I’m beginning, not an illustrative one, so I won’t really be posting updates. Today I’ve begun a children’s story, which will hopefully become a book. I’ve had some ideas swirling around my head for a while, so I thought it was time I did something about it. I’m giving myself a year to write and illustrate it, and to submit it to publishers. I have no idea if that’s a realistic time frame, but I’ll give it a go.

Should be fun.


One of the recurring themes of my droids has to be tentacles. I don’t know why but I do love drawing a nice set of tentacles (no sniggering at the back). I quite like drawing octopus and squid too, so it’s not just droids.

There’s definitely a weird hybrid of jellyfish and octopus going on in most of these, with hints of The Matrix and The Empire Strikes Back.


The home straight…

I’m 355 days into my Droid A Day project. Further than, at times, I thought I’d ever get. Close enough to the finish that I’m thinking constantly about what I do when it’s over. Definitely not another daily drawing project that’s for sure (not straight away).

With just a few more droids to go I thought I’d post some of my recent favourite. Warning: there may be colour.

The Mechs of Mars

Sometimes, when I post my droid pictures on my Tumblr blog, I write a little accompanying text. Sometimes this is just a quick one line description of the droid, or how I’ve drawn it, but sometimes I write a description that hints at a future history of these droids.

Air Defence Drone

Air Defence Drone

Air Defence Drone.
Designed and built in ‘74 by Kinetic Energy Systems Inc., the A.D.D. first saw use in the defence of the Olbers way station on Ceres. Shipping with both an Atlas-class Railgun and a Sigma-rated Plasma Cannon, the A.D.D. is a very capable weapon. With an onboard A.I. of .08 Human Analog, the drones can be deployed and then forgotten on the battlefield as they calculate the best way to achieve their orders. Currently the onboard A.I.s have recorded only one psychotic failure [see History of Belt-Mars Conflict: Vol VI: Ch 8.1 Brodsky].


Heavy Compliance Unit.
Built by Hurricane Industries for Law Enforcement, Riot Control, Crowd Suppression and Compliance. Strong and agile, with a high category A.I., the H.C.U. is equipped with both lethal and non-lethal tactical weapons, including: Low Velocity Kinetics, Tasers, Sonic Cannon, Microwave Lasers and standard MKIV mobile Rail Gun.


Martian Eddie.
Eddie was built as a general purpose droid in late ‘78 and was shipped to Mars that same year to work for the Terraforming Committee. After 8 years of hard work, Eddie was sold to the owner of an algae farm in the new northern ocean. The algae farmer didn’t see robot rights as important and didn’t treat Eddie with much care or attention. In early ‘90 tax officials visiting the farm found no trace of its original owner, discovering Eddie in charge of operations. The ensuing legal case saw Eddie evicted and from that point on his antipathy to human kind was fixed. During the next decade Eddie could be found at most of the major flare-ups between humans and robots. The last anyone saw of Eddie was during the Tharsis Rebellion of ‘08 where he was seen at the heart of the robot offensive, brandishing his favoured plasma cannon as the Phobos Space Elevator came crashing down.
Rumours of Eddie’s survival have persisted, even though it’s now nearly 30 years seen he was seen. These rumours have been strenuously denied by the Human government of Mars.

I love the vague, hinted at history of far future conflicts hinted at in these descriptions. I don’t think I’ll ever write all the connecting information, better to allow people to fill in the gaps themselves. I do have a rough framework of a timeline in my head, although I’m scared to write it down in case it ties me down to a particular set of events.

I like to draw the droid, and then just see what suggests itself. That way I can be surprised too.


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