this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

An Ent of Fangorn Forest

Ent-Final

I’ve just started re-reading Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings again – partly just because it’s brilliant and I always enjoy it, but also because myself and Jon Elliman are making a feature of it on our weekly (mostly) podcast – North v South.

The moment I started thinking about reading the book again, I had the urge to start drawing some of the creatures from it. I started with one of my favourite Tolkien creations – an Ent.

Described in the books as…

A large Man-like, almost Troll-like, figure, at least fourteen foot high, very sturdy, with a tall head, and hardly any neck. Whether it was clad in stuff like green and grey bark, or whether that was its hide, was difficult to say. At any rate the arms, at a short distance from the trunk, were not wrinkled, but covered with a brown smooth skin. The large feet had seven toes each. The lower part of the long face was covered with a sweeping grey beard, bushy, almost twiggy at the roots, thin and mossy at the ends. But at the moment the hobbits noted little but the eyes. These deep eyes were now surveying them, slow and solemn, but very penetrating.

They are lots of fun to draw. Trying to convey all that texture and age is a really nice challenge.

 

 

Which Tolkien creature should I draw next?

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Available for Commissions

Instagram-Commission-Poster

I’m currently available for commissions, so if you’ve always wanted some original art now’s a great time to get in touch. Commissions start at £60 + postage, and I ship world wide. Whether you want a robot, a spaceship, a creature, an isometric building, a floating island, or something completely different, I’d love to work with you on a commission.

You can leave a comment here on my blog, or drop me an email – rob [at] thisnorthernboy [dot] co [dot] uk

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Creatures

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you all had a good festive break. 

I’m starting 2018 with something a little different for me. Most of the time I draw inanimate objects, whether those are buildings or spaceships, and very rarely anything organic or living. So this year, in an effort to improve my drawing skills, I’m going to draw a series of creatures from fiction or myths.

I’ve started with a creature that I’ve started to draw a few times in the past, but which has always turned out terrible. This time, while doodling with no real end purpose in mind, it came out pretty well.

Cthulhu is a God from the books of H.P. Lovecraft. Described by Lovecraft as “A monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind.”  I’ve skipped the body completely with my drawing, and just shown the head and wings, this is the approach I’ll take with all (most?) of the creatures I’m going to draw.

Cthulhu-Final

 

The second creature is the Faun from Guillermo Del Toro‘s film Pan’s Labyrinth. I love this creature design and it was a lot of fun to draw.

Faun-Final

 

The third is a Wendigo, a cannibalistic monster from the folklore of the Algonquian speaking peoples of North America.

Wendigo-Final

All of these were drawn on A5 Daler Rowney Smooth – Heavyweight cartridge paper, using Copic SP Multiliners and a Rotring Tikky.

Any suggestions for what creatures should be next?

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A new fleet of Spaceships

Recently I’ve been filling pages and pages of my Moleskine sketchbook with lots of tiny spaceships. I’ve drawn them, mostly, on my lunch hours while working in Shoreditch. Often just scribbling away with a Copic Multiliner pen, and then using markers to add some colour later. I spent a couple of hours scanning two dozen of the pages and cleaning up the sketches for a new poster and a set of postcards that you can buy over at Ellipress

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Deep-Space-Fleet-Mock-Up

PRINT SALE!!!

My prints are on sale until midnight tonight! Head over to Ellipress and get 25% off using the code EP25 at checkout. Valid until midnight tonight (Sunday 12th November).

Inktober 2017

If you don’t know what Inktober is, read this. Got it? OK.

For this year’s Inktober initiative I’ve decided to create a comic in 31 panels – one a day for the month of October. The comic is a shortened, abridged, version of a story I’ve had in my head for a while. I’ve never done a comic before, or even tried to tell much of a story through illustration – so this is all new to me.

Once finished I’m planning to put the panels together (along with some additional art) in a book. I’ll also sell all the original artwork from the comic.

I’m up to panel eight so far (running a couple of days behind).

Inktober-1Inktober-2Inktober-3Inktober-4Inktober-5Inktober-6Inktober-7Inktober-8

PRINTS!

Prints are now available of a selection of my illustrations. My good friend Jon Elliman has created a site – Ellipress – to produce and sell prints for artists and designers. I’m delighted to be the first illustrator to be involved.

Jon prints using Ultrachrome HD inks and archival quality, 100% cotton papers. The prints he produces look absolutely stunning – just as good as my originals!

We’ve launched with just over a dozen illustrations to choose from, at a few different sizes. There’s also a signed and numbered, limited edition of one of my favourites.

Head over to Ellipress and have a look. If there’s an illustration of mine that you like that we haven’t yet made available, just let us know.

Prints – coming soon.

Test prints.

Checking prints.

In the next week or two I’ll have prints of my work available to buy online. The plan is to have perhaps a dozen illustrations available at a couple of different sizes, shipping worldwide. My good friend Jon Elliman is in charge of printing and despatching – and this week I’ve been checking the first batch of test prints and they look awesome.

As soon as the shop is online I’ll post the link on the blog.

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Hillside Cityscape

I’ve done three or four of these illustrations now, each one a little different. Part rundown NYC, part Gotham. Drawn with Copic Multiliners and Rotring Tikky pens on Daler Rowney Cartridge paper.

Hillside Cityscape I

Hillside Cityscape I

Pencilling…

Pencilling…

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Finished pencils.

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Adding ink.

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Finished.

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Hillside Cityscape II.

 

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Inspiration Tuesday

Well, blogging every Monday didn’t last long. Anyway, here’s a Tuesday dose of inspiration.

The Thing

The Thing film poster by Studio Ronin

The art of Christopher Shy and Studio Ronin.
I’m completely new to the work of Shy and Ronin, and I can’t believe it’s escaped me for so long. I must have seen some of their film posters at some point (and I would definitely have loved them), but apart from that I’m completely ignorant.

From the website of Studio Ronin

CARVE YOUR OWN PATH
Created in 1994, Studio Ronin produced its own unique blend of design and concepts. Under the direction of Christopher Shy, Studio Ronin created its own
in-house effects studio, and began working in film building miniatures, producing concept art as well as costume design, and visual design. In 2000 Studio Ronin
began its most ambitious project of producing its own intellectual properties, starting with Silent Leaves.
Publishing only graphic novels, Christopher Shy soon set a certain tone to the work. “No single issues, only complete books, we do them our way, and we run it
like a book company.” Silent Leaves became Studio Ronin’s first book, followed by Man To Leaves, and with Michael Easton, the acclaimed Soul Stealer trilogy.
Other books include Pathfinder, which was made into a film; Ascend with Keith Arem; Good Apoll:; I am Burning Star IV for Coheed and Cambria, (Studio Ronin
completed stage design for the band that following year); Silent Leaves Exceptions To Life; Dead Speed; and City On The Edge of Sleep. In 2010, Christopher Shy
and Studio Ronin completed Deadspace: Salvage.
In 2004 Studio Ronin gave its first large scale gallery exhibition of Christopher Shy’s tempera originals, some over 8 feet tall. The paintings were shown in Chicago
at Echo Gallery, and the exhibition was held over for one year. Christopher Shy’s work is now on permanant display in Chicago at Gallery Provacateur.
In 2006 Studio Ronin began working in advertising. Clients include Nike, Harley, Mitsubishi and others. Its imagery was “fresh, dark, and daring.” Film posters
followed, as well as print ads – all taken in a different approach while continuing to write, create, and publish its own brand of IP. In 2008, Studio Ronin licensing
was born, and Christopher Shy’s images were reproduced under his careful direction on skateboards, snowboards, t-shirts, and jackets. Christopher Shy accepted
an award in Italy for Artistic Excellence in 2010. In 2011, Soul Stealer was named book of the year.
Studio Ronin has carved its own path – creating an image of what an independent art studio can be, and redefined the doors that should be open for the small,
masterless studio. A unique vision to the work of both the entertainment world, and fine art.

Carving your own path should really be the goal of any artist or illustrator, but it’s easy to lose sight of that. Studio Ronin and Christopher Shy are a beacon in that regard. Have a look at their output, then go carve your own path.

Most mainstream film posters follow a very defined route, photo montages of the big stars, not doing anything different out of fear of not getting the marketing ‘right’. Studio Ronin take a completely different route creating beautifully painterly images that evoke the essence of the film. Beautiful work.

 

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