this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

Tag: science fiction

Inspiration Tuesday

Well, blogging every Monday didn’t last long. Anyway, here’s a Tuesday dose of inspiration.

The Thing

The Thing film poster by Studio Ronin

The art of Christopher Shy and Studio Ronin.
I’m completely new to the work of Shy and Ronin, and I can’t believe it’s escaped me for so long. I must have seen some of their film posters at some point (and I would definitely have loved them), but apart from that I’m completely ignorant.

From the website of Studio Ronin

CARVE YOUR OWN PATH
Created in 1994, Studio Ronin produced its own unique blend of design and concepts. Under the direction of Christopher Shy, Studio Ronin created its own
in-house effects studio, and began working in film building miniatures, producing concept art as well as costume design, and visual design. In 2000 Studio Ronin
began its most ambitious project of producing its own intellectual properties, starting with Silent Leaves.
Publishing only graphic novels, Christopher Shy soon set a certain tone to the work. “No single issues, only complete books, we do them our way, and we run it
like a book company.” Silent Leaves became Studio Ronin’s first book, followed by Man To Leaves, and with Michael Easton, the acclaimed Soul Stealer trilogy.
Other books include Pathfinder, which was made into a film; Ascend with Keith Arem; Good Apoll:; I am Burning Star IV for Coheed and Cambria, (Studio Ronin
completed stage design for the band that following year); Silent Leaves Exceptions To Life; Dead Speed; and City On The Edge of Sleep. In 2010, Christopher Shy
and Studio Ronin completed Deadspace: Salvage.
In 2004 Studio Ronin gave its first large scale gallery exhibition of Christopher Shy’s tempera originals, some over 8 feet tall. The paintings were shown in Chicago
at Echo Gallery, and the exhibition was held over for one year. Christopher Shy’s work is now on permanant display in Chicago at Gallery Provacateur.
In 2006 Studio Ronin began working in advertising. Clients include Nike, Harley, Mitsubishi and others. Its imagery was “fresh, dark, and daring.” Film posters
followed, as well as print ads – all taken in a different approach while continuing to write, create, and publish its own brand of IP. In 2008, Studio Ronin licensing
was born, and Christopher Shy’s images were reproduced under his careful direction on skateboards, snowboards, t-shirts, and jackets. Christopher Shy accepted
an award in Italy for Artistic Excellence in 2010. In 2011, Soul Stealer was named book of the year.
Studio Ronin has carved its own path – creating an image of what an independent art studio can be, and redefined the doors that should be open for the small,
masterless studio. A unique vision to the work of both the entertainment world, and fine art.

Carving your own path should really be the goal of any artist or illustrator, but it’s easy to lose sight of that. Studio Ronin and Christopher Shy are a beacon in that regard. Have a look at their output, then go carve your own path.

Most mainstream film posters follow a very defined route, photo montages of the big stars, not doing anything different out of fear of not getting the marketing ‘right’. Studio Ronin take a completely different route creating beautifully painterly images that evoke the essence of the film. Beautiful work.

 

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Updates…

It’s been a while since I blogged – work and holidays have both combined to keep me from doing so.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been working on getting some artwork ready to sell online as prints – should be ready to go in April – which is very exciting. I’ll be launching with five or six different illustrations, most of which will be available to buy at a couple of different sizes. When everything is confirmed I’ll post here about it.

I’ve also completed a couple of commissions and worked on some concept art for a couple of clients – I can’t share any of that just yet though.

For now, here are some of the sketches I’ve done over the past couple of months.

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Spaceships for Sale

 

UPDATE: SOLD – thanks Padi.

My A4 illustration – A Gigantic Fleet of Tint Orange Spaceships – is now for sale.

It’s drawn in pen on good quality, heavyweight, cartridge paper, and coloured with Copic Ciao Marker. There are 150 tiny spaceships – and it seemed to take forever to fill the page.

The price is £100 including UK postage (worldwide will be extra). Payment by PayPal. Email, Tweet, or message me here on the blog or on Instagram.

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The finished fleet. 150 strong.

Cloudtop

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High up in the clouds, buoyed by anti-grav generators, floats the shanty town of Cloudtop. Scratching a living from processing rare elements from the atmosphere, or providing weather data, a community of brave souls lives at 55,000ft. Engineered through black market gene therapies to be able to survive in the super thin atmosphere of the stratosphere.

Drawn with a Carbon Platinum fountain pen, and Copic Ciao Markers, in a Moleskine sketchbook.

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August blogfest – day 25

Playlist: Summer in the city – The Lovin’ Spoonful, 99.9 Fahrenheit Degrees – Suzanne Vega, In the heat of the night – Ray Charles, Summertime – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.

It’s been hot today. Almost too hot to draw. My arm pretty much sticking to my desk, risking smudging ink or pencil or paint. Nice.

With the help of a wide open window in my office, and a fan on full blast, I did manage to get some work done though. Making progress on the illustration for Graphite magazine. I’m really happy with the way the picture’s coming along, it’s strange though – as I’m producing this for an article about my process – how cataloguing each stage of the project makes me think about doing things differently. My workflow is almost entirely analog, so it always seems a bit cumbersome and convoluted, I can’t help feeling there are lots of improvements to be made. Step one might be getting hold of a light box.

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A mess of cables

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Pencils

August blogfest – day 24

Well, I almost forgot today, so this will be brief…

I’m working on an article for a new illustration magazine called Graphite at the moment. It’ll be a process type thing, showing how I work through a brief from initial thoughts and sketches to final, inked artwork. Today I finished the drawing stage so tomorrow it’ll be on to the inks.

Graphite magazine is published by the talented people at 3DTotal, and the first issue is out any day now.

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Scribbles on the brief

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Initial thumbnails

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Getting there with composition

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 15

Halfway, almost. Blogging every day is actually tougher than I thought. Thinking up a new subject to blog about every day, tricky.

Today there’s a look at three quick little illustrations I’ve done in one of the lovely orange Field Notes notebooks I received recently. I rarely draw on coloured paper, so it’s a nice change, and also it’s cool to use a similar coloured marker to add a bit of subtle shading. A white Posca marker is great to add a few highlights or stars.

Is there anything you’d like me to blog about? Something about my work, processes, inspiration? Let me know in the comments. And thanks for sticking with me, 16 days to go.

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One-man flyer

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Little droid

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Orange freighter

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Field Notes special edition notebook

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

A Gigantic Fleet of Tiny Orange Spaceships

I decided to draw a few little spaceships. It got a bit out of hand. When I finished there was a whole tiny fleet of them. All tiny, all orange. 150 in total. I counted.

 

Orange-Fleet-Clean

The finished fleet. 150 strong.