I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut, and even now at 42 years old, I haven’t quite given up hope, so when Jeremy Marshall commissioned an illustration and said “… is there any chance of an astronaut featuring?” I jumped at the chance.
I recently started taking commissions, on the themes of robots, spaceships or imaginary places. It’s been a pretty good response so far, and it’s been really enjoyable creating work to order – but on subjects that I love.
Here are a few recent illustrations…
I filmed a few time-lapse videos while I was drawing a recent commission. It’s of a stilted city, similar to a couple I’ve drawn before. I’d already sketched it out in pencil before I started filming, but I’ll try and do the whole process from start to finish at some point.
The first shows me putting in some initial lines with a fine pen. This is how I usually start inking any of my drawings. It’s basically outlining all the main elements at this point.
Illustration timelapse 1/4 from thisnorthernboy on Vimeo.
The second shows how I add a nice thick line to foreground elements, to areas I want to highlight, and in this case a key line around the whole illustration.
Illustration timelapse 2/4 from thisnorthernboy on Vimeo.
In video three I add detail, texture and any odd little bits of grit and noodling I feel it needs. All with a very fine 0.03 pen.
Illustration timelapse 3/4 from thisnorthernboy on Vimeo.
Lastly I add in some clouds and birds in the distance. I love drawing clouds. I actually added a couple more bits of detail after this – drawing in some barnacles and seaweed on the submerged bits of the drawing.
Illustration timelapse 4/4 from thisnorthernboy on Vimeo.
Here’s the final image…
This was drawn on Daler Rowney, Fine Grain, 200gsm cartridge paper. I used Copic Multiliners in thicknesses of 0.03, 0.05, 0.25, and 0.5.
Continuing my doodles of odd little medieval/Tudor/olde/fantasy streets and buildings.
Drawn in pencil, inked with a Copic Multiliner and Staedtler Pigment Liners, coloured with Copic Markers. All in a Moleskine sketchbook. I do love Moleskins but I wish the paper was a little whiter.
An illustration based on the Guinigi Tower in Lucca, Italy.
Drawn with a 0.03 Copic Multiliner and a 0.3 Staedtler Pigment Liner in an A5 Moleskine sketchbook.
There is something magical about creating a place or a world that previously only existed inside your own head. It’s impossible to draw (at least it is for me) an imaginary landscape without wondering about the people who inhabit it, or the history of it, or the flora and fauna that fill it.
Some of my landscapes are very much rooted in the real world, the lake district is never far from the tip of my pen, while some have only the loosest foundations here on earth.
Only one of my landscapes exists as is, Slater’s Bridge in Little Langdale in the Lake District. I really must get back there with a sketchbook. It’s an amazingly beautiful place.
People are very rare in my drawings, partly because I’m pretty terrible at drawing them, but partly because I want to be the person in the picture. I don’t want to share these places with anyone else. Extreme escapism for me would be stepping into one of my illustrations and exploring what’s beyond the edge of the page.
Or the Tin Man according to the film. In the books, the Tin Woodman was originally a human called Nick Chopper. He was turned to tin by the Wicked Witch of the East to stop him from marrying his true love.
This is my take on the character from the 1939 film, I wanted to keep the face the same as Jack Haley’s, but give the rest a bit of a twist.