this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

If I had a hammer…

I do love a good bit or Norse Mythology. Thor and Odin, Asgard and Midgard, Huginn and Muninn… So when Gareth asked me to illustrate Yggdrasil, the World Tree that connects the nine realms, I jumped at the chance.

I was really pleased how this turned out.

Yggdrasil

Drawn, as usual, on A4 Daler Rowney Smooth – Heavyweight cartridge paper, using Copic SP Multiliners and a Rotring Tikky.

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Quiet, but not idle.

Well, I’ve been a bit quiet lately, sorry. I haven’t been idle though, I’ve been busy working on a couple of illustration projects.

I’ve just completed a tutorial for 3DTotal publishing. They have a new book coming out – Beginner’s Guide to Sketching: Robots, Vehicles & Sci-fi Concepts, and I was delighted to be asked to contribute a walk through of how I’d illustrate a sci-fi habitat in my isometric style. The book isn’t out until February next year, but you can pre-order it here.

The project that’s kept me very busy for the last couple of months has been a real thrill. Jamie Gregory, head of design at Scholastic UK, asked me if I’d be happy to do some illustrations for a new visual guide to the world of Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines books. The book is to be an encyclopaedia of all the incredible things to be found in Philip’s books – the first of which is being turned in to a film by Peter Jackson. Other artists working on the book include Ian McQue and Amir Zand – both artists whose work I absolutely adore.

If you haven’t read any of Philip’s books – you really should have a look.
The description for Mortal Engines –

In a dangerous future, huge motorized cities hunt, attack and fight each other for survival. As London pursues a small town, young apprentice Tom is flung out into the wastelands, where a terrifying cyborg begins to hunt him down. MORTAL ENGINES launched Philip Reeve’s brilliantly-imagined creation, the world of the Traction Era, where mobile cities fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic future.

You can buy Mortal Engines here.

You can pre-order the Illustrated World of Mortal Engines here.

IWOME

The trailer for the film looks pretty bloody brilliant too.

 

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Cloud Mining

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, I’ve been pretty busy balancing freelance design work with illustration, so haven’t had a lot of time for the blog.

I’ll try and post a little more regularly throughout the summer.

I drew this cloud mining station (think the dirty underside of Bespin Cloud City) a while ago, and it proved pretty popular on instagram, so I decided to add a little colour.

I wanted to keep the colour palette pretty muted, so just stuck to oranges and some grey tones.

Hope you like it!

IMG_5940IMG_8049

 

Drawn in a Moleskine sketchbook, with Copic SP Multiliners and Copic Ciao markers.

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Sketchbook Spaceships

If you’ve been following my blog for a while (or following me elsewhere on social media), you’ll know I love to draw spaceships. I always have enjoyed drawing everything to do with space, ever since I was a little kid, but in the last couple of years I’ve begun to build a little fleet of ships to inhabit my Asteroid Belt Blues universe.

I’ve managed to fill a few sketchbook pages with ships in the last few days, and I dare say there will be a lot more to come in the next days, weeks, and months.

Pretty much all of them are drawn with Copic Sp Multiliners in a Moleskine sketchbook. Colour, as always, is added with Copic Ciao Markers.

If you like them you can buy them as postcards or posters over at my store.

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Island Life

I’ve recently got back from a holiday in the Maldives with my wife. It was predictably (it’s my sixth visit) beautiful and relaxing. Now I’m back at my desk and about to start working on commissions. Until I have some more illustration work to show you I’ll post a few snaps from my trip.

 

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Instagram Competition!

If you are a user of Instagram I’m running a little competition over there at the moment. Head over to my profile for a chance to win the print of your choice and an original sketch.

Please note this is Instagram only, so please don’t comment here.

Instagram Comp

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The All Father

Odin-final-inks

I was recently asked to draw Odin, the Norse god, for a commission. After a few tweets back and forth, between myself and the buyer, it was decided that a head shot of Odin, featuring his raven familiars – Huginn and Muninn – would work best.

I decided I’d try and make this illustration a little more graphic in composition, so right from the beginning I wanted to try and incorporate some Norse carving.

IMG_4990.JPG

I’m really pleased with how the final illustration came out. I think the details, shadows and textures work really well. Tim, the chap who commissioned the illustration, was pretty pleased too – which is great, and always a relief.

Drawn, as usual, on A5 Daler Rowney Smooth – Heavyweight cartridge paper, using Copic SP Multiliners and a Rotring Tikky.

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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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