this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

All families need a little space.

Here is a recent commission I worked on for a friend. He wanted an illustration of him and his family as astronauts – I was delighted to help out!

Once again I used my (patent pending) coin and tracing paper masking technique. There must be a better way…


Completed illustration

Orange is the new black.

No, not the TV show. The colour.

[NOUN] A bright reddish-yellow colour like that of the skin of a ripe orange:tones of golden brown and orange[NOUN]: the most shocking of pinks and oranges.

It’s my favourite colour. I don’t have any orange clothes though, they’d clash terribly with my hair.

A Gigantic Fleet of Tiny Orange Spaceships

I decided to draw a few little spaceships. It got a bit out of hand. When I finished there was a whole tiny fleet of them. All tiny, all orange. 150 in total. I counted.



The finished fleet. 150 strong.

The Lighthouse

This is one of the most enjoyable illustrations I’ve done. Mark, who commissioned me, wanted a drawing of a lighthouse – with his daughter at the top – for a tattoo. The final illustration, now winging its way to Tewksbury (Massachusetts not Gloucestershire), will be framed for Mark’s daughter’s room. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this looks when Mark gets it inked.


Final illustration.


If you’d like to commission an illustration (or a tattoo design) from me, have a look at this blog post and get in touch.



Just add colour…

I posted my weird tentacled creature illustration a couple of weeks ago, and the original was sold to a graphic designer and illustrator from the Netherlands, Martijn Rijven. Martin is a great illustrator, and you should really check out his Instagram page. Today Martijn asked me if it was OK to post his digitally coloured version of my drawing – once I saw it I was blown away and was more than happy to share what he’s done. If my drawing was a four out of ten before, I think the colouring job Martijn has done on it takes it to eleven! The side-by-side image shows just how much the colour added.


My original ink version.


Side-by-side comparison.


Martijn’s fantastic colour version.

Spaceships look better in Orange

I like spaceships. I like orange.

Who says fishing boats don’t fly?

I recently ran a competition over on Instagram to win an illustration commission from me. I had over 150 entries – a lot more than I expected, and there were some fantastic suggestions of things for me to draw. The winner was Joseph Travis who asked if I could draw a steam powered fishing boat. How could I resist. Joseph didn’t mention if he wanted his fishing boat to be flying – but that’s what he got (hope he likes it).

Here’s the process, from sketch to final inked illustration.


Final, finished, illustration.

This week…

A little update. This week I’ve been working on tattoo commissions, fitting in a little freelance graphic design work on an island in the middle of the Thames, and drooling over the latest goodness from Aaron James Draplin and Field Notes Brand.

The tattoo design is for a guy in California who’d like a cutaway drawing of a lighthouse, featuring his young daughter looking out to sea from the top. Lots of fun drawing this.

If you don’t already know the work of Aaron James Draplin and the DDC go check out his website, and have a look on YouTube for some of Aaron’s videos. He’s a great designer who is absolutely bursting with enthusiasm and down-to-earth wisdom. His new book, Pretty Much Everything, is a joy to read, stuffed full of great content covering Aaron’s career to date. The cover is a beautiful textured, embossed design showcasing some of the many logos that have come out of the DDC over the years.


I’ve been a fan of Field Notes for a long time, but I’ve only just subscribed to their quarterly editions. It’s a great way to make sure you get hold of the lovely limited editions notebooks they produce. When you subscribe you get a great little bonus with your first delivery – a couple of packs of their classic notebooks, a pencil, pen… Lovely.



Instagram Competition

I’m a big fan of Instagram. It’s through Instagram that I got my first book illustration job, it was responsible for me being featured in a book of sci-fi illustration, and Instagram has got me lots and lots of commissions.

So – to celebrate the wonder that is Instagram, I’m having a little competition. Head on over there to join in.

All you have to do is:

  • Like the post
  • Comment on the post – telling me what you’d like me to draw for you
  • Tag a friend that you think might like to enter too

I’ll pick the winner on June 7th, and that person will get their suggestion drawn and sent to them – wherever they are in the world.

Remember – this is an Instagram only competition, comments here won’t count. Sorry.



Inky happenings…

A quick blog post to share a couple of recent ‘horrific’ illustrations.

The first, a commission for my good friend Leon (check out his band – The Day of Locusts), is a tattoo design based on the make-up of the Danish rocker King Diamond. I love drawing skulls, and this was a nice twist on the usual. Leon’s going to be having this inked on to his calf. Brave man.


King Diamond, tattoo design.




The second illustration was just something I did for myself. I sat down to draw a creature, no more of a plan than that, and something tentacled and Lovecraftian emerged. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while you’ll know I like drawing tentacles – even though they’re bloody tricky – and I think these are some of my favourites yet.

This illustration is for sale. Message me if you’d be interested in buying it.


Creature from the Deep


Both of these illustrations were drawn with Palomino Blackwing Pencils, Copic Multiliners, and Rotring Tikky pens. I use a smooth, heavy cartridge paper from Daler Rowney.



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