this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

Tag: pigment liner

August blogfest – day 23

Books and pens

Books and pens

I’ve become a bit of a pen nerd recently. Well, I say recently, over the last couple of years. Tiger Pens, Cult Pens, and Amazon have been seeing way too much business from me. But, pens are the way I make my living, so it’s only fair that I indulge myself a little right?

My latest purchase – a recommendation I saw on Twitter from Will Freeborn, Ian McQue and Mack Chater – is a Carbon Platinum fountain pen. It’s nothing fancy, just a lightweight, standard fountain pen. The nib is great for sketching though, not too flexible, and the Platinum ink is a proper black. As Mack mentioned on Twitter, it does make a lovely noise on paper. That noise, that feel of a pen nib on the texture of paper is probably the reason I’ve got nowhere with digital art – it just doesn’t sound or feel the same.

Carbon

Carbon Platinum fountain pen

I’ve only used the Carbon Platinum fleetingly so far, but it does seem very good indeed. A pen I use all the time, and have done for a couple of years is the Copic Multiliner SP. I’ve got a whole range of nib thicknesses from 0.03mm to 0.7mm. It’s that range of line weights that allows me to add depth to my, otherwise very flat, illustrations.

Line weight

Line weights of Copic Multiliners

More pens tomorrow. As I said, I’m a bit of a pen nerd.

All families need a little space.

Here is a recent commission I worked on for a friend. He wanted an illustration of him and his family as astronauts – I was delighted to help out!

Once again I used my (patent pending) coin and tracing paper masking technique. There must be a better way…

Final-Ink

Completed illustration

Jimi

For a recent commission I was asked to drawn Jimi Hendrix as a Cosmonaut. So I did…

IMG_4550

I drew this using Copic Multiliners, a Pentel Pocket Brush pen and a a big brush with some Sumi ink. The stars were splattered using an old toothbrush, white emulsion paint and some careful masking using tracing paper weighted down with coins.

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

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Calligraphy / Nib Pens

Rotring Art Pen

Kuretake Nib Holder and Kuretake G Pen nib

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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

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Bottled Things

Higgins Black Magic Waterproof Ink

Kuretake Sumi Ink

Winsor & Newton Masking Fluid

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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!

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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.

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Steampunk Spaceship

My most recent commission was for a spaceship, with some steampunk influences. I wanted to keep it very much like one of my spaceships though, so it’s kind of an amalgam of my asteroid belt clippers, and some weird alt-history Victorian airship.

I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out, it was one of those rare illustrations that just flows nicely all the way from initial doodles right through to the final ink.

Finished Steampunk Spaceship.

Finished Steampunk Spaceship.

Work in progress.

Work in progress.

Initial sketch.

Initial sketch.

Astronaut.

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.

The astronaut.

The astronaut.

Details.

Details.

Fragment of Laputa

A floating island, or a fragment of one. Not unlike the Kingdom of Laputa described by Jonathon Swift in Gulliver’s Travels.

Fragment of Laputa.

Fragment of Laputa.

Rocks.

Rocks.

Lonely tree.

Lonely tree.

Drawn with Copic Multiliners on cartridge paper.

Floating islands are a continued theme with my drawings, more here and here.

The Giant’s Ring

The Giant’s Ring is a neolithic henge at Ballynahatty, on the southern edge of Belfast. The site dates from 2700BC – making The Giant’s Ring older than the pyramids.

The illustration below was inspired by a great photograph on Instagram by my friend Jonny. I’ve taken a few liberties with the landscape though.

This illustration continues my fascination with stones and henges.

The Giant's Ring

The Giant’s Ring

Cloud details

Cloud details

Stones detail

Stones detail