this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

Tag: space

Four Flyers

Sometimes, it’s nice to just sketch very loosely, and see what happens. I had no idea what the first of these was going to be before I put pencil to paper, but very quickly it became a little one-man spaceship. I liked it so much I carried on and drew another three. I might do more, they look pretty cool as a set I think.

Drawn on cheap copy paper with a Blacking pencil. Tweaked in photoshop for contrast and levels, and a bit of paper texture added.


Four flyers, pencil sketch


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


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.


Relics of the Race for Space.

Yesterday I had a little free time so I travelled into Kensington in west London to visit the Science Museum. Until March next year they have a fantastic exhibition on display – Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age. In the words of the Science Museum –

Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age will reveal the most significant collection of Russian spacecraft and artefacts ever to be shown in the UK, including:

  • Vostok 6: the capsule flown by Valentina Tereshkova, the first ever woman in space
  • Voskhod 1: the capsule used on the first mission to carry more than one crew member
  • LK-3 Lunar Lander: a single cosmonaut craft built to compete with Apollo
  • a collection of gadgets that cosmonauts – and pioneering space dogs – need to live in space, including a shower, toilet, medical instruments and survival kits for crash landings. 

Explore the historical, cultural and spiritual context of Russian space travel, shaped especially by the turbulent early decades of the twentieth century. See poignant testimonies and memorabilia belonging to some of the biggest names in spaceflight and discover the deeply personal stories of the pioneers who kick-started the space age.

It’s a marvellous exhibition, my only gripe being that photography isn’t allowed (oops). The chance to see real spacecraft, that have journeyed to, and from, space is a real thrill. Looking at Valentina Tereshkova’s Vostok 6 capsule sent shivers down my spine, it’s a tiny, primitive spacecraft, and looks so battered and scorched from its re-entry. I think my favourite exhibit was the unused LK-3 Lunar Lander, the Soviet counterpart to the Apollo program. It’s a beautiful, intricate, beast of a machine, like a huge steel cyclops. 13 days before the launch of Apollo 11, the N1 Rocket (designed to carry the LK-3 and Cosmonauts to the moon) suffered a catastrophic failure, destroying both the rocket, and the launch facilities. The program never recovered and was finally cancelled in 1974. It’s a shame the LK-3 never made it to the moon, it’s what it was born to do.

I did manage to sneak a few pictures, and I grabbed a few souvenirs from the shop. I think my drawings might take on a distinctly Soviet and utilitarian appearance for a while now.

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.

Sporty Spaceship

A little one-man speedster, based on 1930s aerobatic planes. Had to have a nice bright orange paint-job obviously.

Sporty Flyer

Sporty Flyer


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.



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

Twelve Human Hearts

I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut. Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to go in to space, just like Neil Armstrong, or Flash Gordon, or Dan Dare.

I still want to go into space. I always will.

I’ve been working on these posters for a while, they are the first two of a set of four to celebrate the Apollo missions of the late 60s and early 70s.

The first poster names all twelve astronauts to land on the moon, as well as the combined time spent on the moon. The second poster features the F-1 rocket engine, five of which powered the Saturn V rocket.

Apollo Poster 1

Twelve Human Hearts

Apollo Poster 2

Saturn V