this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

Tag: pen and ink

A Big City Triptych

I love drawing city scenes, which is why it’s always been one of the options I’ve offered for my illustration commissions.

Last year Rob Harris contacted me to commission a medieval/fantasy street scene, and he must have liked the result – because he came back for two more illustrations.

This was the first image…

Big-City-2

I loved putting in as much detail as I could, making it seem like a place that had a story to it (even without the addition of any people). Rob then asked me to do another illustration, continuing the scene to the right…

Big-City-1

It was fun to be able to tell more of the story of the town, adding in the celtic style cross, the strange section of bridge, the silhouette of a figure in a window. Finally, just a couple of weeks ago Rob asked me for a final (I think) illustration to continue the scene to the left of the original image…

Big-City-3

This has been my favourite commission so far, I had a great time producing these for Rob and I’m delighted he liked the first one enough to commission the second and third.

Seen together I think the three illustrations look pretty good…

Big-City-Tryptich

If you would like to commission a street scene, or anything else, from me – have a look at this blog post for more details.

The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen

Daredevil commission.

Daredevil

Commissions

Stilted-City

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:

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 sheet of good quality, 220gsm 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. 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?

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 three weeks of receiving payment.

What might your commission look like?

Well, it could look a little like these…

A New Dimension in Space…

This is a drawing I did in my Moleskine sketchbook a while ago, it’s the hero’s spaceship from a short story I’m writing that will be part of my Asteroid Belt Blues (ABB) universe. The spaceship is inspired by the modular design of the International Space Station, and by the look of modern submersibles. I love the idea of a big old fish tank style cockpit where the pilot can sit and look out at the stars. In my ABB future, materials science has progressed to a point where these structures can be made from a diamond/glass composite. Strong enough to withstand micrometeorite impacts and the pressures of interplanetary travel.

IMG_2983

I posted this picture on Instagram, where it was seen by Al William, and he kindly modelled the ship in Fusion 360 and Keyshot. I think it looks great, I love the decisions that Al had to make to complete the ship – based solely on the image above. Funnily Al thought it was a submersible – so that influence is obviously pretty strong.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 12.40.21

Al also sent me a 360 fly-around – it’s the first time I’ve seen one of my spaceship drawings come to life like this. I love it.

 

To Boldly Go…

I like drawing spaceships, you know that by now right? I’ve been working on a few new pages of spaceship concepts recently, in pen and marker, and I thought I’d share them – and a few other older ones – with you.

 

His Art Materials

I get asked a lot about what art materials I use for my drawings and illustrations. So here’s a blog post showing exactly what I have laying around on my desk right now. If you aren’t familiar with the kind of stuff I draw, have a browse though the blog, or have a look at my work on Instagram or Facebook.

But first…

A good pencil won’t make you any better at drawing than that rubbish one you have in your pocket from a recent trip to Ikea. An expensive brush won’t instantly turn you in to the worlds best watercolourist. That watercolour pad you splashed out on, you know the one – hand made, 100% cotton, acid-free, cold pressed – isn’t going to make your drawings and paintings any better than if you were drawing on a Post-It note – unless you practice, unless you draw and draw and draw. New art materials are great, but they aren’t a short cut to being great at art, because there isn’t a short cut to being great at art. You just have to draw. Draw the stuff you love, draw the things you find difficult, set yourself some challenges, but most importantly just bloody well draw.

Now to the inky, graphitey stuff…

IMG_3488

Pencils (from top to bottom)

Staedtler Tradition, from 3H to 3B

Staedtler Mars Lumograph, 3H and 3B

Palomino Blackwing 602, not sure of the hardness – maybe a B?

Faber-Castell 9000, HB and 2B

IMG_3489

Technical Pens

Copic Multiliner SP, 0.03 to 0.7 thickness nibs (my favourite technical pens)

Rotring Tikky Graphic, 0.3 to 0.7

Staedtler Pigment Liner, 0.05 to 0.8

IMG_3490

Brush Pens

Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen

Sakura Pigma Brush

Pentel Pocket Brush (my favourite brush pen)

Kuretake No 8 Brush Pen

IMG_3492

Calligraphy / Nib Pens

Rotring Art Pen

Kuretake Nib Holder and Kuretake G Pen nib

IMG_3497

Coloured Pens

Copic Ciao Markers (lots of them, particularly orange ones)

IMG_3493

Miscellaneous Pens

Edding Gold Paint Marker

Stabilo Point 88 Fineliner

Sharpie Twin Tip Marker

Sakura Gelly Roll Glaze Pen (opaque white)

Lamy Scribble Mechanical Pencil

IMG_3494

Bits and Pieces

Swann Morton Scalpel Blades, 10A

Swann Morton Scalpel

Steel Rule, 300mm and 500mm

Faber-Castell Eraser

Faber-Castell Sharpener

Cheap brush for clearing loose graphite or eraser bits

Toothbrush (an old one) for splattering paint or masking fluid

IMG_3495

Bottled Things

Higgins Black Magic Waterproof Ink

Kuretake Sumi Ink

Winsor & Newton Masking Fluid

IMG_3496

Paper

Goldline A3 Layout Pad (the big yellow one)

Daler Rowney A4 Tracing Pad (the grey one)

Daler Rowney A4 Smooth Heavy Weight Cartridge Pad (the pink one)

Daler Rowney A4 Bristol Board (the green one)

Daler Rowney A4 Fine Grain Heavy Weight Cartridge Pad (the brown one)

Caveat

As I said before, nothing on this blog post will make you draw any better, that’s up to you. Now, stop reading, and draw!

 

You can find prints of my work here

I also have a Patreon page

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

2015: By the numbers.

Happy New Year everyone, and thanks for your continued support on this blog, and across Twitter and Instagram, over the last twelve months. Every like and comment is very much appreciated.

2015 was a pretty big year for me. After drawing more and more often for the last few years, I finally made the decision to try and start earning some money from illustration. I didn’t expect to get a book published full of my illustrations – and to be featured in another, or to have produced so many private commissions. While illustration only managed to contribute a fraction of my income for the year, it was a much better start than I could have hoped for.

My challenge for 2016 is to build on that success and hopefully get another book published – this time one that only has my name on the cover.

 

2015 by the numbers

On the blog…

39 blog posts written

40,533 page views

10,126 visitors

621 likes

154 comments (99% of them nice!)

Most popular blog post – Imagined Places – 568 views, 13 likes, 7 comments.

 

On Instagram…

361 posts

103,744 likes

Almost 7,000 followers

My most liked image – Tentacled Island – 1,132 likes

 

My favourite images on the blog for the year…

 

Beneath the Sea

I recently completed a commission for Max in Canada. He’d seen an illustration I did a while ago – The Island  – and asked me for a new version.

The picture below show some of the process, from initial inky thumbnail sketch, to the final coloured illustration.

If you’d like to commission an illustration from me, message me here or on social media.

 

This, and most of my illustrations are drawn on heavy, but smooth cartridge paper. I use Copic Multiliners, a Pentel Pocket Brush and Copic Ciao Markers.

My Facebook.

My Instagram.

My Twitter.

My Tumblr.

Inktober so far…

Here’s a peek at the first three days of my Inktober challenge. I’ll probably post an update in a week or so. Even just a few days in I think the practice is making a difference. The brush pen is pretty tough to control, so it really does pay to use it a lot.

If you don’t know what Inktober is, have a look at my last blog post.

1. The Inkblot.

1. The Inkblot.

2. Space Dog.

2. Space Dog.

3. The Island

3. The Island

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…

Commissions

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…