Ink sketch of a Sicilian fish seller

I am one quarter Sicilian on my mother’s side. I visited the island when I was a teenager and fell in love with so much of it; the food, the culture, the people and of course the sun & beaches. As I’ve grown older I’ve tended to look back at my heritage with some fondness and have become fascinated with the culture of Sicily.
As a keen cook I’m always looking for authentic recipes and on my travels around the web I found a picture of a fish salesman. It seemed to capture so much of what I remember about Sicily that I had to sketch it.
I fear I cocked up some of the perspective and I couldn’t seem to get the expression right within the eyes, so I left them blank! The fish laid out on the table was rather randomly thrown together on my part. But I do like the composition.


Early morning warm up sketch – dog and duck

A reasonably qualified psychologist might have some fun with my head just now. These morning warm up sketches are often bizarre. For some reason today I felt compelled to sketch a dog and a duck. Their own thoughts came as an afterthought. These are sketched using Mischief on Mac with Wacom Cintiq.


A wise old bird

This character came about from me wanting to create a series of wise old characters. The kind of sage-like wizardy types that would appear in a fantasy realm inhabited by creatures and dragons and all that.

He was sketched using an ink pen and light grey marker.


Sketchbook concept art

Here I’m exploring some concepts for the relationship between Calem the boy warrior and his magical mentor, Milligan. This is the moment Calem’s cricket bat is transformed into a mighty sword.


Creating a wise old mentor for my boy warrior

A huge part of the fun in writing adventure stories is creating the characters.
For my short stories about a young orphaned boy lost in a magical realm, I wanted to create rich, exciting and often bizarre characters.
Every young adventurer needs a mentor. (Gandalf, Ben Kenobi / Yoda, Dumbledore, Dr Brown etc) So I wrote a short piece that introduces Calem’s mentor as he arrives in the mystical realm.

I call him Milligan as in my mind I imagined Spike Milligan. A slightly eccentric and bumbling character with a laboratory full of gadgets and potions.
I later thought of Christopher Lloyd’s character in the Back to the Future films which helped enormously to explore the eccentricity I had in mind.

I think ultimately I’m more happy with the smaller character. I liked the idea of a Yoda character who babbles on and on to himself whilst he’s working. But of course this character has incredible skills with magic – something that my young hero will learn over time.

Here’s a few inked concepts.

milligan1 milligan2

A sort of Dwarf Goblin inventor guy

I sketched this guy using Corel Painter. The sketching pencil and flat color pen are awesome for this kind of illustration.

I then used some acrylic paint to block out the shaded areas and a rake blender to pull it all about. I like the style.

inventor1 inventor2 inventor3