Fantasy characters are always fun to draw. Following a recent viewing of The Hobbit films I had a go at constructing my own dwarf character.

dwarf dwarf2

These were created using an ink pen and sketched quite quickly.

Cafe life

I’m always sitting in cafes with a pen or a pencil and doodling the people around me. Here’s a few from today.

2016-09-30a 2016-09-30b 2016-09-30c

These are sketched hastily and digitally using Wacom Companion and Corel Painter. I use the Velocity Sketcher from the ink pens collection.

A few pencil studies using Corel Painter

I’m fascinated by the Impressionists. I always have been. But this work takes me right outside of my comfort zone. No bad thing!

Here’s a few sketches I created recently using Corel Painter on iMac. I used a 6B Pencil from the Pencils collection.

girlwithredhairrenoir girlwithasmile

Punk girl concept sketches

I’m always looking for inspiration and recently I spoke with an author about an idea she’d had. The story centred around a bunch of punk kids, a shopping mall and zombies.

Here’s a couple of sketches created using Corel Painter X3 and Mischief.

punkgirl punkgirl2


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.

grl martinemotherofhedgehogs oldperson spidder

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.