this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

Category: drawings

Inktober 2018

It’s that time of year again where illustrators, artists, and other pen-and-ink wielding entities take part in Jake Parker‘s Inktober initiative.

Last year I only got as far as day eight. A combination of work, and my Inktober drawings being just too detailed and time-consuming meant that I couldn’t complete the project. I will come back to last year’s at some point though. I think Asteroid Belt Blues deserves an ending.

This year I’ve chosen British Folklore as my theme, and each day I’m drawing a creature or a character from some of the wonderfully weird tales we have on the British Isles. Many of the tales I’m drawing I’ve sourced from a couple of great books by Katherine Briggs – British Folk Tales and Legends, and The Fairies in Tradition and Literature. I started with the Lambton Worm, and today (day 18) I drew a Witch-Hare!

Below are all 16 illustrations from the first 17 days. Obviously doing a folklore theme there was no way I was doing anything on the 13th! Each illustration is drawn on A6 (105x148mm) cartridge paper, using Copic SP Multiliners and a Kuretake No.8 Brush Pen. Initial sketches are done with Palomino Blackwings and a Pentel Graphgear Mechanical Pencil.

 

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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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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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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).

I drawed a dinosaur

I don’t often draw creatures. In fact I very rarely draw anything organic at all. Sometimes though, when I start scribbling it becomes a creature, or a person, or in this case – a dinosaur. I’m pretty sure it’s a dinosaur rather than a dragon, but don’t quote me on that.

Drawn with a Palomino Blackwing 602 and a Staedtler Mars Lumograph Black 6B.

Dinosaur

Dinosaur sketch

FAQs

IMG_2427

I get quite a lot of comments on my posts on social media, and often people are asking me the same questions, so I thought I may as well answer a few of them here.

“Where can I find more of your work?”

I post regularly on social media, so find more of my illustrations on –
Instagram
Facebook
Tumblr
Twitter

“What pen do you use?”

This is the question I get asked more than any other, and I know other illustrators get it a lot too. The first thing to say is – it isn’t about the pen. Yes you might get a bit of a difference in quality of line from pen to pen, obviously a brush pen gets you a different look to a pigment liner, but the pen doesn’t make you any better at drawing. The only way to get better at drawing – is to draw.

However, if you’re interested in the geekery of pens:

Copic Multiliner – 0.03 to 0.7 nibs
Rotring Tikky – 0.3 to 0.7 nibs
Pentel Pocket Brush
Kuretake No8 Brush Pen
Stabilo Point 88

Blackwing 602 pencil
Tombow Mono100 pencil
Steadtler Tradition HB pencil
Rotring Tikky mechanical pencil
Lamy Scribble mechanical pencil

Platinum Carbon fountain pen
Kuretake Zig Manga dip pen

Uni Posca White pen
Sharpies

Other kit…
Minisun A4 Lightbox

Sumi Ink 60
Winsor & Newton Masking Fluid
Daler Rowney A4 Cartridge paper
Moleskine A5 Sketchbook

“Where did you learn to draw?”

I was always the kid that drew, from as far back as I remember I was always drawing. When I was a little kid I used to sit in an armchair at home with a bit of wood across the arms, like a desk. I’d sit there and draw spaceships and monsters and dinosaurs and dragons for hours. Throughout all my school years, despite studying art, I don’t really recall being taught anything at all. Even at college (studying for a graphic design degree) I don’t think I got much in the way of tutoring. After college I barely drew at all for twenty years, since then all my progress has been through practice, and being inspired by all the great artists doing great work out there. One thing that has definitely helped since I started drawing again, has been daily drawing projects. For a whole year I drew a robot every day, and I’ve also taken part in the Inktober initiative for the last few years. Committing to drawing every day, even if it’s only for five or ten minutes, is a fantastic way to improve.

“Where do you get your ideas?”

Where aren’t there ideas? If you read books or comics, if you watch TV or film, if you look out of your window at home or school or work – there are ideas everywhere. You just have to look and let everything soak in. I get inspired by all kinds of things – looking at industrial buildings from the window of my train commute, the weird old oak trees in the park near my house. Films and books are a big influence – I’ve always been a sci-fi nerd so in my work you can see bits of Ralph McQuarrie, Jim Burns, Carlos Ezquerra, Jean Giraud and Enki Bilal.

“Why don’t you do a book?”

I’m working on a book. Slowly. It’ll be written and illustrated by me. Currently it’s about 75% written, but I’ve barely started thinking about the illustrations yet. So, nothing will be out for a while. There will definitely be a book at some point. And it will be about trolls. Currently the only book I have worked on as an illustrator, is Build! A Knight’s Castle. It was lots of fun to illustrate, and I’d love to do more.

You can also find my work in Sketching From The Imagination: Sci-Fi, and Issue 2 of the brilliant Graphite Magazine.

“Where can I buy your work?”

You can buy prints of my work here. My good friend Jon Elliman set up the business as a way to showcase the work of artists, illustrators and designers, he was kind enough to use me as a guinea pig to launch the site.

If you would like to own some original artwork drop me a message on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and let me know what you are interested in. There’s a little more information here.

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Fancy some original art?

the-island-redux

I’m now happily accepting a new round of illustration commissions. If you’ve ever wanted to own some original art – and like my work – now’s your chance.

Commissions

If you would like to buy an original drawing, email me at rob [at] thisnorthernboy [dot] co [dot] uk , and you can request one of the following:

An isometric building
A robot
An Astronaut
A Spaceship
An imagined place
Something else entirely

What you’ll receive will be a black and white pen drawing, on an A4 or A5 sheet of good quality, 220gsm cartridge paper. If you would prefer a colour illustration – let me know and we can have a chat.

You can also request for the illustration to be landscape or portrait in orientation.

Any other requests – type of landscape, style of robot etc. can be made, but there’s no guarantee I’ll be able to take this into account. I know this sounds a little strict, but I only want to accept commissions that I’ll enjoy drawing right now, and in return you get a lovely surprise when you open your finished illustration.

What will this cost?

For an A5 (148 x 210mm) commission I charge £60 + post & packaging.
For an A4 (210 x 297mm) commission I charge £100 + post & packaging.

When you email me to request a commission, if you can include the address you’d like it shipped to, I’ll work out the cost of postage and let you know. If you’re happy with the overall cost I can accept payment by PayPal.

When will you get your drawing?

I’ll aim to complete and post all illustrations within three weeks of receiving payment.