Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Mini Nathan Drake

Greetings! Don't be deceived by the relative quiet on this blog, for I have added ten new illustrations and colours to my deviantArt gallery. Spent last week brushing up on my digital painting skills with two fantasy environment studies.

Today, I added another character to my mini character cartoon series - Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series. (See Mini Hawkeye and Mini Black Widow) Unreasonably high levels of fannish obsession, added to angst due to a lack of PS3 to play these games... nay movie experiences on... adds up to a very productive, creative time.
Click through to see an early sketch of the above.

Be good,

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Hero: 9 - 5 Blue page

Already Hero:9 – 5 second volume has shaped up to be a darker number, but Ian Sharman has a plan. Working through the rough story outline old school Marvel-style, he and David Gray are constructing a book which will poke fun at the gritty and violent comic book tropes.

While the guys work on balancing the ‘darkness of men’s souls’ against parody and satire, I get to wrangle colours virtually unrestricted. With little more than a general outline as a guide, imagination plays an important role. But, let’s focus on this page.

The second book concerns itself primarily with the day-to-night activities of the supporting cast from book one, so issue three is the first time we catch a glimpse of Frostica's shiny new outfit. It’s only logical that Blue Girl, her freshly-introduced companion, be dressed in blue too. I’m very fortunate to work in a team that doesn’t stifle creativity, which means there was no one to protest if I decided to expand the blue palette into the rest of the page.

In contrast to Flame-O’s comparatively unglamorous ‘Flame mobile’ from book one, 'Frosticar' is an azure blue. I’m considering adding a custom ice-flame paint job, because she could afford one, given her background.

Lastly, I greatly look forward to Ian’s words on these pages. Hero has shattered the wafer-thin fourth wall with regular frequency, so I do aim to tailor my colours to expand on those opportunities. Hopefully, our writer boss will take the bait and fill the page with self-referential blue jokes. An issue and a half to go before we find out!
Find me on twitter & tumblr.
Be cool,

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Hero: 9 - 5 #2 cover

Behold, the face of Hero: 9 – 5 volume two, with lineart by David Gray, my colours and words by OUC’s own Ian Sharman. The cover teases with characters introduced in the new book, as well as the supporting cast from volume one, such as Loner, The Rocket, Thunder Woman and Mental Lady, who each get their own moment in the spotlight.

In contrast to the warmth of the preceding covers, there is a shift towards colder tones to reflect the second book’s darker and moodier themes. We have already posted a few teaser pages on the graphic novel’s official Facebook page. There, you will also find the cover lineart by David Gray.

While the cover will inevitably attract controversy, I remain proud of our work and continue to have a blast being part of this project, wrangling colours through David Gray’s beautiful lineart. He is a master of those quiet, emotionally-charged character moments and I wish potential readers wouldn’t judge a book merely by the cover.
Cast your eyes to 'Hero' - Waiting, a page from volume one. Evening turns into night while Frostica waits for Flame-O to return home in vain. Drawing inspiration from his lines, I allow the colour and light to slowly drain from the page as the mood changes. This remains one of my most favourite pages from book one.
Surfaces can be deceiving, intentionally titillating even, especially when parody and satire are concerned. In the immortal words of Jessica Rabbit; ‘I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way.’

To read the story so far, you can order Hero: 9 – 5 volume one from Markosia’s official website. The book is also available on iTunes for your iPhone & iPad.

Be cool,

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Mini Hawkeye

Marvel's Avengers was released on dvd last week. I, however, didn't strictly require that as an excuse to create movie!Hawkeye fanart. Cartooning does seem to be my element and one I enjoy playing in the most. Stumpy Pencil is a tool I cannot recommend enough for people looking for the soft pencil-like feel in their digital sketching as well as a way to soften and add texture to the colours.

'Avengers' was fab, especially now that I wasn't forced to suffer over-excitable fans. Unfortunately, I feel a little cheated by the poor UK package; with almost no extras, save for a reused six minute promo masquerading as a featurette, the DVD itself isn't worth the nine quid that slipped from my pocket.

The region 1 versions seem much more promising. For the first time, genuinely tempted by the Blu-ray, though the push towards it by the film companies could be a tad less aggressive. ;)

Be cool,

Monday, 27 August 2012

Hybrids: The Irons cover colour

A few months ago, the decision was made to revamp the cover for Hybrids: The Irons, calling for a bustling city scene to further reflect the story’s science fiction setting. When viewed with the Madefire app for the iPad, the cover would have a parallax effect, made possible through a loose layering of separate crowd clusters on top of a background.

The art I’ve been especially eager to share is one featuring Leto; the determined detective and hero of ‘Hybrids’. As always, my advice is to render your artwork from the background forwards, I find this approach often inspires interesting lighting choices in the foreground. Here, however, the background was to be added much later in the process, so I made do a pixilated, gloomy blue-grey backdrop as a light level guide.

The story’s cyberpunk, Blade Runner echoes inspired for me to bring in some atmospheric neon lighting to frame the figures. The pink streaming in from the right and the cooler green on the left, help sell the idea of a futuristic city off-frame. The brighter rim light on Leto (and her partner on the left – Saule), adds depth to figures which can seem flattened in very busy, crowd-filled scenes.

Gary Erskine offers a glimpse into the cover process from sketch to colour on the Scotch Corner blog. There, you will also find sketches and colours of other crowd layers.

More information on our graphic novel and its creators can be found on Madefire’s official website.

Be cool,


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Branch illustration

A spot of design and ink practice. I've recently taken to sketching out colours before moving onto inks. Some of you may also find these tips on how to use the eraser tool relevant to your struggles in Illustrator - Mysteries of the Eraser Tool - Revealed! 
Keep creating,

Sunday, 19 February 2012

DeviantArt Design Challenge

DeviantArt's 'Cute Monster Design Challenge' sounded like like a perfect opportunity for me. After arduous battles with stylised realism, I've found that cartooning is where I'm the happiest.

Click on the image to see the design on a t-shirt template. Below is a 'behind the scenes' look at the way this project took shape.