this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

Tag: sketchbook

August blogfest – day 2

Yesterday’s work went pretty well. The sketch I was working on for the company in California has been approved, so that can get drawn up a little neater and inked. The tattoo commission is coming along nicely, although I put that to one side for a while  – it’s sometimes good to take a look at your work with a fresh pair of eyes after a few hours away from it. I’ll finish the inking of that today and it can go in the mail tomorrow to Connecticut.

Once the tattoo is out of the way I’ll work on some ideas for the branding project. I’ve already jotted down some stuff in my notebook, so I’m not starting from scratch on that.

While I’m working on all those things, I’ll be trying to think about my website. Currently I don’t have one, or I do, but it’s a holding page that hasn’t been updated in six or seven years. I’m planning on designing something simple, that just links to my social media instead of having a gallery I’d have to update regularly. I’ve asked Jon, who I work on the North v South podcast with, to build it for me.

And finally, I’ve just been commissioned by a new illustration magazine to work on a step-by-step tutorial article for them. Nervous and excited about that in equal measure. It’ll probably end up being similar, visually, to this post. It’s a sci-fi themed illustration, so it’s right up my alley. I’ll probably start work on that later in the week.

IMG_6811

Illustration sketch.

Rocks

Drawing lots of weird little floating rocks at the moment. Not sure what I’m doing, or where I’m going, with them. But I’m having fun.

Drawn with Blackwing or Lamy pencils in a Moleskine sketchbook.

 

What’s been going on…

I’ve been reasonably quiet on the blog recently, and I’m determined to post more regularly for the rest of the year.

As a bit of a catch-up post, here are some pictures – illustrations and photographs – from the last couple of months.

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.

 

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…

 

Imagined Places

I’ve drawn a fair few cityscapes and imaginary places over the last few months, some of them purely personal, some have been commissions, some have been posted here before, some haven’t, so here they are collected in one place.

The first, City on the Edge of Nowhere, is one of my favourites.

City on the edge of nowhere.

City on the edge of nowhere.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Orange Fleet

As I’ve written before, I do love drawing spaceships. Here’s a whole double page spread from my Moleskine, full of little orange spaceships.

Drawn with Staedtler Pigment Liners and coloured with Copic Ciao Markers.

The Orange Fleet

The Orange Fleet

The Stones…

Inspired by Linda Thompson‘s song “Nine Stone Rig”…

I’ve been drawing standing stones. Part neolithic, part Lord of the Rings.

Drawing of standing stones

Nine Stone Rig

Drawing of a rock formation

The Stones

Tentacles

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.