this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

Tag: fantasy

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?

You can find prints of my work here

And you can find more of my work online…
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
Tumblr

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Available for Commissions

Instagram-Commission-Poster

I’m currently available for commissions, so if you’ve always wanted some original art now’s a great time to get in touch. Commissions start at £60 + postage, and I ship world wide. Whether you want a robot, a spaceship, a creature, an isometric building, a floating island, or something completely different, I’d love to work with you on a commission.

You can leave a comment here on my blog, or drop me an email – rob [at] thisnorthernboy [dot] co [dot] uk

You can also find prints of my work here

And you can find more of my work online…
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
Tumblr

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?

You can also find prints of my work here

And you can find more of my work online…
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
Tumblr

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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.

You can find more of my work online…
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
Tumblr

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.

August blogfest – day 26

“Regular maps have few surprises: their contour lines reveal where the Andes are, and are reasonably clear. More precious, though, are the unpublished maps we make ourselves, of our city, our place, our daily world, our life; those maps of our private world we use every day; here I was happy, in that place I left my coat behind after a party, that is where I met my love; I cried there once, I was heartsore; but felt better round the corner once I saw the hills of Fife across the Forth, things of that sort, our personal memories, that make the private tapestry of our lives.” Alexander McCall Smith.

IMG_7348

Mapping an imaginary place.

I drew this map for the episode artwork of the North v South podcast I make with Jon Elliman. Every week we have a topic, last night’s recording featured us discussing maps. We love a map. Doesn’t everyone?

August blogfest – day 22

Today I’ve been working on some sketches for an article I’m writing about my methods/process for a new illustration magazine called Graphite. It’s a really nice little sci-fi brief, and having to write about how I approach it has meant I’m probably thinking about the way I’m working more closely. One of the elements of the illustration I’ve been thinking about in particular today is the composition, scribbling down little thumbnails, trying to work out an interesting layout. If I think about composition, I generally think about two artists  – Sergio Toppi and Mike Mignola. I’m going to come back to Mike in a later blog post, so here’s a little sample of some of Sergio Toppi’s amazing work.

Toppi’s composition is always striking, using dramatic contrasts of black and white, finding balance in seemingly impossible asymmetric layouts. I’m not sure there’s ever been a more masterful exponent of the art of composition and blimey, he could certainly draw.

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.

August blogfest – day 5

Some process videos of recent illustration work. It’s always strange watching these back, like watching someone else draw. I never know where the pen or brush is going next.