this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

Tag: sealife


One of the recurring themes of my droids has to be tentacles. I don’t know why but I do love drawing a nice set of tentacles (no sniggering at the back). I quite like drawing octopus and squid too, so it’s not just droids.

There’s definitely a weird hybrid of jellyfish and octopus going on in most of these, with hints of The Matrix and The Empire Strikes Back.


Fly Fishing…

I’ve found myself doodling fishy things again. This time, it’s not just fish illustrations, but flying fishing boats too. Definitely inspired by the work of Ian McQue, I’m utterly obsessed by the thought of these floating ships – where do they live, who skippers them, what do they catch…?

There will definitely be more to come.

I had to include the latest fish illustration here too, one of my favourites so far.

A thing about fish…

I have a thing about drawing fish. You should know that already, because this is the second time I’ve started a blog post with that line. The first fishy blog was more about the illustrator Ian Miller and his continuing influence on me. This blog concentrates on the fish.

I’m not really sure where this fishy fascination comes from. I did have a tropical fish tank when I was a kid… but my drawings very rarely resemble guppies or neon tetras. I do like the mystery of those fish that swim in the deep oceans, I even love the names of the ocean depth zones – bathyal, abyssal, hadal. Hadal in particular, named after Hades. Pretty appropriate for some of the demonic looking fish that live there.

The first of my recent fish, isn’t that deep living. It’s more carp like, maybe with a little Piranha thrown in. It started as a pretty rough sketch done over lunch one day, and at that point I wasn’t really sure if there was anything worth pursuing. I did nothing for a few days and came back to it and began inking in some outlines.

Things progressed reasonably smoothly, if slowly, until I came to the scales. No matter how many times I pencilled in the pattern, it just didn’t look right. In the end I resorted to drawing a criss-cross pattern on the back of my hand and then twisting and turning it until it looked vaguely like my fish.

It’s still not right – definitely something for me to work on – but overall I’m pretty happy with the way things turned out.

Fish two is my Angler Fish. One of those curious deep ocean dwellers with the illuminated lures that dangle over a jaw full of sharp teeth. Nothing too unusual about the drawing itself, but I definitely made a painful decision about cross hatching the background. Sometime you just have to bite the bullet though. I think it took me over 20 hours just to complete – and a rough estimate of around 35,000 lines of hatching.

I’ll think twice before I do that again.

Angry Octopus

Something a little different from my usual doodles today. An angry octopus, as yet unfinished. It’s about to get an ink version I think.

A pencil sketch of an angry octopus.

It’s angry, and it’s an octopus.