this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

Category: horror

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.

 

You can find prints of my work here

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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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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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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

August blogfest – day 16

Virgil Finlay

Virgil Finlay was an American illustrator, specialising in super detailed pen-and-ink drawings with astonishing stippling and cross-hatching.

In his 35 year career Finlay created more than two and a half thousand illustrations, mainly for pulp science fiction, fantasy and horror magazines.

Have a look at some of his work… I think it’s absolutely incredible.

August blogfest – day 9

If you follow me on Instagram, or are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I have a thing for weird tentacled islands. There’s just something very cool about a seemingly idyllic little place – but underneath the ordinary facade there’s horror!

I did this sketch last night in my Moleskine using Rotring Tikky, Copic Multiliners and Kuretake No 8 brush pen, and there’s definitely a bit of influence from Notes from the Shadowed City – it’s a bit blacker and more angular than my typical stuff. As always, something like this is a lot of fun to draw.

Thorn-Tree

The Thorn Tree.

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

King Diamond, tattoo design.

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Detail.

 

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.

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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.

 

What’s been going on…

I’ve been reasonably quiet on the blog recently, and I’m determined to post more regularly for the rest of the year.

As a bit of a catch-up post, here are some pictures – illustrations and photographs – from the last couple of months.

Horror

A couple of recent sketches, a little different to my usual stuff. A pencil sketch of H.P. Lovecraft – with added tentacle, and a pen drawing of my version of Frankenstein’s monster.

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H.P. Lovecraft

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Frankenstein’s monster