Thursday, 29 September 2011

'When Good Bears Go Bad'

As promised the finished artwork for 'When Good Bears Go Bad'. It's another addition to the giant spirit bears of California series although it may not make the final narrative given it's not entirely child friendly. In fact I'd go as far as to say ferocious...

"The giant spirit bears of California are mostly gentle and protective of humans but now and again if they feel threatened they may become aggressive and attack. You have been warned!"

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

'When Good Bears Go Bad' in Progress

Here are some wobbly and out of focus progress photos from a recent illustration in the giant spirit bears of California series. This one has taken a rather ferocious turn for the worse - I'll explain tomorrow when I blog the final artwork. For now you can see my shitty sketch work evolve into a nearly finished illustration. I'm down to my last non-photo blue pencil and I've had to resort to taping the nub to another pencil to get the last inch or so out of it. Things are bleak...

First up some rough positional sketches for overall composition. I really should include the very early concept sketches - they're hilariously bad but you can just about make out what I'm trying to achieve. It's just like me to start on the hardest and most focal point of the illustration before I've got my eye in too...

I was happy with the way the mouth came out but not so happy I'd thrown in some feral fur going in a different direction on the face - it actually turned out okay in the end but I considered starting again at this point. The police bus came out really well - I nearly snuck a school bus in instead but felt that even my good bear turned bad wouldn't be that bad...

Penciled in some more background. The buildings are referenced from some of my Californian photos - I think this is somewhere around North Beach but can't totally remember.

More inking - I put the chest shading to remind myself this area should be a bit more concentrated/darker than the rest but it gets lost in translation.

More inking of the buildings. Throughout this bear series I've tried to reign the detail in a little bit by my own standards and keep the illustrations cleaner but with this one I just went balls out and threw everything I had at it. It's usually just my tactic to cover up for poor rendering!

Added the flipped car ink with substantial gashes. Ahem.

Started inking the Italian restaurant.

Finished inking the bear.

And the finished illustration - apologies this is the worst photo of the bunch. I purposely left out the telephone wires as I thought if I inked them the lines would be too heavy so I did them on trace to layer up later.

Monday, 26 September 2011

'The Ladykillers' illustration

I watched the wonderful Ealing classic 'The Ladykillers' yesterday for the umpteenth time and instantly felt the urge to do an illustration for it. To be honest I knocked out the sketches of the characters really quickly and as a result I'm not too keen on my take on 'One Round' so may have another pop at him but it was more about the composition as a whole.

I may screen-print it in the near future if people are interested.

Friday, 23 September 2011

'The Fishermen of Southwold' set of prints

'The Fishermen of Southwold' prints are now available to buy via my shop - click here for more information. Each set of three screen-prints comes already framed and each print has been given a grey ink-wash so every piece is slightly different. You can see more of the original illustrations here.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

'The Library Edition' zine

Here are some pics of the smashing 'Library Edition' zine I contributed to earlier this month by Hello Thor and Fourbeat Walk of Nottingham. It features some wonderful little touches like for example the loan card at the front and general book borrowing guidelines in the rear. More info on the actual event here.

I've since turned my selfless contribution to a rather more financially rewarding means...

Saturday, 17 September 2011

'Thar She Blows!'

The Moby Dick illustration I was working on has been finished and I've subbed it to Threadless. Any votes, comments and 'I would buys' would be appreciated as usual. Click here or on the picture below to help me out.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Gigantic Blue Bear of Portola on Threadless

After a veritable age the Giant Blue Bear of Portola is now available through the awesome t-shirt design site Threadless. I'm still waiting for the cheque to clear but that's HSBC's fault - apparently they've not dealt with foreign cheques before so I have to wait 6-8 weeks to get paid. There's me thinking they're a global bank but in reality they're about as global as they were when I signed up to them as the Midlands Bank all those years ago. 'Come and talk, talk to the Midlands, come and talk to the listening bank.' Listening? HSBC are cocks.

I digress. The t shirt looks ace - if you click here to buy it I get street team points which is always handy. May be worth badgering them for a kids size too while you're at it.

The print will follow next week.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Screen-Printing the Fishermen of Southwold

As some of you may remember from a previous post I mentioned I may screen-print some of the fishermen portraits I did this summer in Southwold. I set up the screen a couple of weeks ago and had all kinds of problems with the emulsion - I think it's past its shelf-life so when I coat a screen it goes on very gloopy and takes ages to dry. I did a practice run a week ago and felt the prints were a little too rough and ready. I'd consciously not cleaned my line-work up like I usually do so there were some tiny faults but initially I felt this would add to the 'ye olde' distressed factor of the artwork.

I sat on the test prints for a little bit and had almost come to the decision I should clean the screen off and start again but decided to do some experimental ink washes to the prints to see if it lifted them. It did - the ink wash really makes the prints look great so last week I did a run of fifty prints in a makeshift spot in my mum's lounge. She wasn't best pleased.

I'll be inking them all over the next week or so to sell as a set of three separate prints in frames. All individually ink-washed by me. I'm a sucker for punishment...

Monday, 12 September 2011

The Gigantic Blue Bear and the Fishermen

Another week, another bear submission in Threadwars. Into the semi finals with this one which got another amazing score - the theme was aquatic.

"On very rare occasions the gigantic bear spirits may manifest themselves if they sense some good natured folk are in peril. In this incident some fishermen had been caught in a horrendous storm so the bear waded out to rescue them and dragged their trawler back to safety."

Friday, 9 September 2011

Southwold Fisherman II

Here's the other fisherman I drew in Southwold. Again too much ink. Too much Mr.Whippy ice cream hair as well but he did have mad hair.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Southwold Fisherman

As promised one of the two detailed fisherman illustrations I did based on some notable salty sea-dogs from Southwold's fishing history. Unfortunately I didn't manage to get this fellas name.

I think I may have over-inked this one just a tad. I find it very hard to stop sometimes...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

'Wrestlers' original framed artwork

I recently put some original framed artwork up on my shop website. Illustrated with a dipping pen in black Indian ink and white acrylic paint on corrugated card, the 'Wrestlers' are an on-going project of mine. Sometimes when I'm immersed in a heavily detailed piece of work it's nice to break out for an hour or so and do something more fun hence this ever growing series of spandex-clad brutes. Click here for more details.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Donny Shot illustration

I have a huge list of slightly laborious tasks sat in front of me today so I thought I'd limber up with a quick watercolour illustration of my good friend Donny Shot of Oakland, California. He's lead singer in Sacramento based hardcore band Boundaries. They need to work on their web presence though because I thought I found their website and it doesn't even mention that Donny is the singer so it needs some updating. Either that or I need updating.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Moby Dick in Progress

Yesterday I started work on an illustration I'm doing for a forth-coming zine inspired by libraries. I had free reign to do what I wanted so I thought I'd have a crack at Herman Melville's classic 'Moby Dick'. I think conceptually a book coming to life is probably a wee bit tired but I wanted to see what I could do with it all the same and I'm reasonably happy with it although unsure whether to add a sprawling nautical back-drop or leave it fairly simple.

Anyway here are some progress shots. More information on the zine as and when I get it.

First up I penciled in some rough lines - I didn't really have anything to work from for the whale - I knew I wanted to keep to the classic Moby Dick illustrations in terms of teeth and vague structure but that was about it.

I started adding some texture to the whale trying to reign it in a bit (always a challenge for me) as Moby Dick is white. I'm not entirely happy with the blow-hole but then who in all honesty is happy with their blow-hole?

Next came some waves something I've been having problems with of late. I wanted the waves to appear to change into words towards the edge of the page - it sort of works I think.

A bit more detail on the book itself.

Then I started on Captain Ahab and his crew - this was very tricky as I didn't have much room to work with. I'd penciled in a Captain Ahab already but he got a bit lost under Moby Dick so I had to pencil him in again at the rear of the boat and he didn't come out quite as well. In hindsight I should've started with some other crew members first to get my eye in - Ahab is probably the weakest looking of the bunch.

I added a tiny bit more detail to the whale.

And then the rest of the water - I'm aware that there is quite a difference between one side of the wave and the other - it was a conscious decision to create a calmer crest of the wave for the boat to be sitting on but it may look a bit odd as a result.

Finally I added some wood texture to the boat.

And then discovered I had no rubber so proceeded to search around the house for some kind of eraser. Ignoring the untouched rainbow coloured 'Fan Wood Campsite' rubber I discovered at the back of a draw I ended up using an eraser I found on the end of a pencil determined not to go into town just for the sake of buying a new one. Fortunately it worked.