Ink Illustration Of Carole Lombard

I love the beautiful women of the 1930’s silver screen. Rita Hayworth, Greta Garbo, Fay Wray. These ladies looked stunning and I love to sketch their publicity shots using different media.

Carole Lombard, in particular, I find hypnotic. Those eyes.

So here I’ve had a bash at a quick ink drawing. I’ve taken some liberties with the hair.

For the eyes (crucial to get those spot on) I started with two large dots for the pupils and built around them. Essential to place the eyes correct in the head and get the right amount of white space around them.

Carole Lombard. Velocity Sketcher. Corel Painter 2017. Click for larger version.

Cafe life

The wonderful thing about sitting in a busy town centre cafe is the variety of people that you see. Each of these has their own story.
My sketches take seconds to complete and captures just a tiny moment in their lives.

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Thinking about a graphic novel

I always wanted to write something that I could illustrate as a graphic novel. But I don’t really know too much about comic books or graphic novels.

So I took a look around at some of the classics in the genre.
I confess I started with what appears to be one of the finest bits of work I ever saw – From Hell
. I just love the line art. It’s simple but powerful and at times beautifully complex. But it’s also a style that is completely accessible. By that I mean that it has an innocence and amateurishness to it that I find hugely appealing.

From Hell

From Hell

The entire book is a hugely accomplished piece of work in every sense, but it is of course the story itself that hits hard. I find it massively inspiring as an artist and writer to read a story that is so visceral and captured perfectly with the artwork.

I’ve got a number of story ideas that don’t fit my usual style of writing or presentation. One of them features a droid that is 90% human and the rest is synthetic. I never gave the droid a name but I’ve always known that I want him to be a combat droid. But a combat droid with a big difference – he’s terrified of combat. In fact he runs a mile and has the most gentle heart.

After years of conflict the droids have finally won over and humans are forced into hiding. The droids have gained strength and are pretty bloody horrible. But my droid doesn’t want to be a part of it.

As his story unfolds we learn more about why he is so unique and his journey sees him as something of a peacemaker. But not without some serious conflict both literally and psychologically. This is a droid with a conscience. A sentient semi-human with intelligence and great spirit.

This graphic was created to try and capture the mood of the story in the opening pages. It was created using Corel Painter’s Velocity Sketcher from the Liquid Ink collection.

Graphic Novel layout image

The Grumblegrump

I sketched this chap earlier this morning using Corel Painter. The ink was applied with the Velocity Sketcher and the colour with a Pastel with varying grain.
With the Pastel’s grain set to 10 I could block in the colour regions nicely and still retain some of the paper’s texture. I could then drop the grain to 8 and get some wonderful texture, especially around the eyes.

I needed a name for him so just plucked the Grumblegrump out of thin air :)


A mashup of Tim Burton and a few other influences

Some recent illustrations using the Velocity Sketcher and Real Watercolor in Corel Painter.

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I’ve always admired Tim Burton’s haunted expressions in his characters. Those big eyes really do work in so many ways.
But I’m also a fan of solid structure in my characters. I’d look around at artists such as Chris Riddell and Gris Grimly to try and get a feel for how they draw. Riddell in particular has a fantastic solidity to his art. And Gris Grimly’s palette I just love.
Exciting to be finding a real balance in the styles that I’m playing with. This feels about as close to a signature style as I’ve ever found.

The real Carl Drogo

Just a little bit of Sunday morning nonsense :)

I’m a massive fan of Game of Thrones and always loved the Khal and Khaleesi storyline. Jason Momoa, who plays Drogo, has an incredibly strong face and I just thought it lent itself to a creepy little cartoon.


Howard McWilliam illustration

Every once in a while I love just looking around at what’s being published in the Children’s market.

Earlier I looked at Scholastic’s collection and was struck by a number of beautifully illustrated book covers.

One of which was Dinosaur Christmas.

Dinosaur Christmas beautifully illustrated by Howard McWilliam

Dinosaur Christmas beautifully illustrated by Howard McWilliam

I’d not heard of the illustrator, Howard McWilliam, so went in search of his work.

Wow! Such beautiful and expressive artwork with a wonderful sense of cartoon fun. The colours and composition are hugely inspiring to a budding character illustrator.

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What I’m really struck by here is the viewpoint from which we observe the action. The ‘camera’, if I can call it that, is positioned to give us not just a great view of the action but the best possible angle from which to view it.

These images could easily be glossy storyboards for an animated movie.


And then there is the use of light and colour. The image of the monster in the bedroom is funny yet at the same time warm and cosy. That everything stems from the bedside lamp and throws the far corner into shadow is key. The monster itself is beautifully cast in light. I love this piece. It’s so far removed from my own style but I can see so much in there to borrow. Not least the solidity and composition.

You can check more of Howard’s children’s illustration here.