this northern boy

Have pen, will doodle

In the wars

still working in the illustrations for a children’s book about castles. It includes lots of cool stuff – Knights, swords, trebuchets – and a few skeletons and skulls.

This skull had to show damage from a sword or axe.

  

Return of the Robots

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, or following me on Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram, you’ll know that between August 2013 and August 2014, I drew a robot a day for a whole year. It was quite daunting committing to a daily project of that length, but it was something I felt I had to do to get me in to the routine of drawing every day – a skill or habit that I’d need if I wanted to become an illustrator for a living. I think it achieved its purpose – I now get pretty restless if I don’t draw at all for a day, and I’m currently work on my first book illustration project.

I haven’t really drawn robots since I finished the Droid a Day adventure though, and to be honest, I’ve missed them.

Today I’ve given myself the day off from paying work to rustle up another droid, and I’m pretty pleased with the way he came out.

Droid V.366.0

Droid V.366.0

Initial sketch.

Initial sketch.

Final inks.

Final inks.

Fragment of Laputa

A floating island, or a fragment of one. Not unlike the Kingdom of Laputa described by Jonathon Swift in Gulliver’s Travels.

Fragment of Laputa.

Fragment of Laputa.

Rocks.

Rocks.

Lonely tree.

Lonely tree.

Drawn with Copic Multiliners on cartridge paper.

Floating islands are a continued theme with my drawings, more here and here.

The Towers

I’ve been working on a couple of illustrations of medieval(ish) towers over the last couple of days. I have a little project that I’m thinking about – and these fit in to that in some way.

Drawn on cartridge paper, using Copic Multiliners and Staedtler Pigment Liners. Coloured using Copic Ciao markers.

 

The Towers

The Towers

Sentry in clour

Sentry in clour

Watchtower in colour

Watchtower in colour

The Giant’s Ring

The Giant’s Ring is a neolithic henge at Ballynahatty, on the southern edge of Belfast. The site dates from 2700BC – making The Giant’s Ring older than the pyramids.

The illustration below was inspired by a great photograph on Instagram by my friend Jonny. I’ve taken a few liberties with the landscape though.

This illustration continues my fascination with stones and henges.

The Giant's Ring

The Giant’s Ring

Cloud details

Cloud details

Stones detail

Stones detail

Birthday Haul

Today, the 24th of March, is my birthday. I’m 42 years old. An important number for any Douglas Adams fans. For me it’s the age at which I’m hoping my third career begins. Roughly seven years working in and managing bars, 15 years as a designer, and now embarking on a quest to make a living as an illustrator.

My day started pretty well with some lovely presents, including some inspirational books, and a stuffed crow (I’ve called him Russell)…

Photo of birthday presents

Birthday haul

Day one.

I’m taking a sabbatical from my day job as a graphic designer to concentrate on my drawing, and trying to turn drawing in to a career. I plan on working every day either drawing, pitching for work as an illustrator, or getting an online store up to feature prints of my work.

Today is day one, and it couldn’t have got off to a better start – I’ve signed my first contract to illustrate a children’s book. It’s an activity book about medieval castles, and I’ll be illustrating the cover and contents of the book – about 35 drawings in total. I can’t wait to get started.

Line Signal

My friend John Panton makes fantastic short films under the banner of Meat Bingo (best to ask him about the name).

His latest work is a perfect seven and a bit minutes of eerie film-making, set amongst the woods and mists of southwest England. It’s well worth watching – and then you should definitely check out the rest of his films.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/122031335″>LINE SIGNAL – Short Film</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/meatbingo”>Meat Bingo</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Stilted City II

Here’s another, slightly more involved and cluttered, stilted village or city – following on from my previous post.

The first image owed a lot to being in the Maldives right now, surrounded by ocean. There was also a pretty heavy influence from documentaries I’d seen on Southeast Asia – not something I’d researched, so probably just remembered very badly. This new illustration has more to do with a weird fantasy Europe from the 16th or 17th century I think. Perhaps the outskirts of a lesser Venice, or some Dutch aquatic suburbia.

UPDATE: I’ve added the coloured version of this illustration now.

Stilted City in Colour

Stilted City in Colour

 

 

Wherever these societies are supposed to be, in whatever century, I like them. I think next for this will be some colour, and then maybe a much larger illustration, showing a little more of this world.

Sketching by the pool

I’m currently on holiday, spending a couple of weeks in the Maldives, and enjoying the chance to get away from the day job for a while.

I can’t stop drawing just because I’m away though, in fact if I don’t draw for a few days, I get a bit cranky.

Here’s a little sketch that I did by the pool. The subject was suggested by my wife, and inspired by being surrounded by ocean.

IMG_9734

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