this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

Tag: Concept Art

Guest posts

Hi all. Over the next few months I’m going to publish some guest posts here on the blog. I’ve asked a bunch of people over on Twitter and the response has been great. There’ll be posts from established illustrators, 3D modellers, comic artists, video game concept artists, book cover illustrators… It should be lots of fun and a bit of a change from my usual posts. If there’s a type of creative person you’d like me to feature on the blog just let me know in the comments.

You can find prints of my work here

And you can find more of my work online…


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New Commissions

I’m now happy to accept a new round of illustration commissions. Over the past few months I’ve completed over 40 commissions, so if you’d like some original, affordable art to hang on your wall, here’s how it works…


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

A robot
A Spaceship
An imagined place

If there’s something in particular you’d like, that isn’t one of the above, just let me know – it might be something I’d be interested in drawing for you.

What you’ll receive will be a black and white pen drawing, on an A4 sheet of good quality, 200gsm cartridge paper. The artwork will be approximately 240mm x 160mm in size, centred on the paper so you can frame it easily if you’d like to.

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?

I charge a flat rate of £60 including post and packaging for the UK, and £60 + post and packaging for the rest of the world.

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 two weeks of receiving payment.

What might your commission look like?

Well, it could look a little like these…

Sporty Spaceship

A little one-man speedster, based on 1930s aerobatic planes. Had to have a nice bright orange paint-job obviously.

Sporty Flyer

Sporty Flyer

Sketching from the imagination: Sci-fi

I’m lucky enough to be featured in 3DTotal’s new book – Sketching from the imagination: Sci-fi. It’s 320 pages of sketches, drawings and concept art from 49 amazing artists and illustrators (and me).

I’m sharing its pages with one of my absolute favourite artists – Ian McQue – which makes me feel a little bit dizzy.

If you order it before June 8th they’ll throw in a free sketchbook.





Return of the Robots

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, or following me on Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram, you’ll know that between August 2013 and August 2014, I drew a robot a day for a whole year. It was quite daunting committing to a daily project of that length, but it was something I felt I had to do to get me in to the routine of drawing every day – a skill or habit that I’d need if I wanted to become an illustrator for a living. I think it achieved its purpose – I now get pretty restless if I don’t draw at all for a day, and I’m currently work on my first book illustration project.

I haven’t really drawn robots since I finished the Droid a Day adventure though, and to be honest, I’ve missed them.

Today I’ve given myself the day off from paying work to rustle up another droid, and I’m pretty pleased with the way he came out.

Droid V.366.0

Droid V.366.0

Initial sketch.

Initial sketch.

Final inks.

Final inks.

The Inspirational Art of Ian McQue

I don’t often write blog posts about the work that inspires me, I may occasionally mention an artist, book or film, but rarely more than that. Ian McQue‘s work deserves a post all of its own.

I’ve been drawing again, after that inexplicable 20 year hiatus, for about 18 months now, and my Droid a Day project is now into its eighth month. Throughout all of that time I can safely say that Ian’s work has been the art I keep coming back to.

Ian is a concept designer by trade, working at Rockstar North – home of Grand Theft Auto, but it’s the work he does in his spare time that really gets my attention.

Ian has crafted a world, or worlds of stunning detail and variety, populated by flying ships, floating dockyards, weary looking soldiers and by ramshackle robots. I’ve no idea if all these creations have a place in a single narrative that Ian has conjured up, if they do, he’s keeping that close to his chest, or if they just exist alone. Regardless, they are stunning illustrations, beautifully drawn, intricately detailed, and despite their obvious fantasy or science fiction foundations, they all seem utterly believable.

Have a look at some of Ian’s work below, look at the worker in ‘Lunch Break’, could just be a guy working in a Glasgow ship yard. Look at the tangled mess of cables and rigs on ‘Jetty 15, Port Royal Docks’. Look at the battered heavy machinery of ‘Workhorse’. All utterly fantastic, but completely believable.

I know I’m not alone in wanting to know more about this world of Ian McQue’s, and if you’re reading this Ian – a graphic novel please, or a series of them!

I said at the beginning of this post how Ian’s work inspires me, and I’m sure if you check back through previous posts you’ll find echoes of his creations there, and I’m sure some of the robots at A Droid A Day owe more than a little something to his work.

Huge thanks to Ian for letting me feature some of his work here. If you’d like to see more then follow Ian on Twitter, and check out his site. If you’d like to have a little piece of McQueWorld in your life, I can definitely recommend his sketchbook ‘Robots, Space Dudes, Flying Ships etc.’ – it’s absolutely chock full of fantastic drawings.

Jetty 15

Jetty 15

Lunch Break



All work featured here copyright Ian McQue.

If you’d like to you can support me on Patreon.

You can find more of my own work online…

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