this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

Category: fantasy

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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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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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).

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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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.

 

Tentacles Redux

Recently I’ve been working on a new version of my illustration The Island. I want to offer this as a print, but the original was drawn pretty small in a Moleskine sketchbook so not really good enough quality.

The new version is drawn on good quality smooth cartridge paper. I’ve kept the drawing very close to the original, just tweaking a few things here and there. I’m really pleased with the end result and I think it’ll look great as a print.

I should have prints available, in a selection of sizes, from mid March. I’ll post more information soon.

the-island-redux

Best of the Year?

Instagram is full of #2016bestnine posts right now. Everyone uploading a little three by three image of their most popular images of the year – you can do the same by going to https://2016bestnine.com

Mine are mostly from October, or Inktober. That’s fine, it was a month where my follower count went bonkers and I got lots of lovely feedback about the isometric drawings. Not sure any of these would be my favourite illustration of the year though. (This might be, although I can’t post the full image for another week or so.)

Do you have a favourite image I’ve posted in 2016?

New Year’s Eve sets like an appropriate time to thank you all for continuing to support my blog, to comment and like here and on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I can’t really work in a vacuum, so your feedback and encouragement is incredibly important, and I am very grateful. Thank you all, I hope to create some great stuff in 2017 and I hope you’ll be with me all the way.

Isometricness

As I mentioned in my last post I’m drawing a month’s worth of little isometric buildings for this year’s Inktober project. I’ve started off with some medieval / fantasy type buildings, and I’m planning to delve in to sci-fi, WWII, and perhaps Victorian eras too.

Here are the first five. All my Inktober illustrations go on sale as soon as they are posted on Instagram (a couple of these first few are still available) for the price of £31 (including UK postage. Overseas will be a little extra).

I’ll be drawing each building on Daler Rowney cartridge paper, using Rotring Tikky and Copic Multiliner pens.

The Village

I’ve started a little side project, something to work on here and there between commissions, commercial work, and freelancing as a designer. It’s nice to have something on the go that I can draw with zero time pressure, or worrying about whether or not the client is going to like it.

So I’ve started an isometric drawing of a fantasy / medieval village. I haven’t really done any isometric stuff since I was at school, but it’s something I’ve always enjoyed seeing in other artists work. At college I discovered the work of Takenobu Igarashi, and not long afterwards I first saw the work of eBoy, entirely different artists but both working in that geometric, axonometric, 3D space. I’ve been a fan ever since.

The village is currently one sheet of A2 cartridge paper that I’m filling with little fantasy buildings, all aligned on a 30º plane. I’m going to fill the whole sheet and then after that, I might do some standalone illustrations.

It’s lots of fun so far, but I’d forgotten how complicated it can get drawing in an isometric view.

img_8100

The village and associated sketches and thumbnails on my desk.