Introduction

I'm a freelance illustrator/designer/art director and if you think I can help with your project, want to offer words of encouragement or simply say hi, feel free to get in touch.

I'm also on Twitter and Facebook. Follow me to find out every time I haul bits of imagination kicking and screaming into reality.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Trappist artist


Today NASA announced the discovery of 7 planets orbiting the star Trappist-1.

'All of these seven planets could have liquid water - key to life as we know it - under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.'

They're also close enough so that looking up from the surface of one, you could see the other 6 hanging in the sky some the size of our moon.

I don't think the view from the furthest world would look like this as its not one of the ones in the Goldilocks zone, and the sun would be 10 times larger.

However, with an orbit in the region of days, these worlds and their star-field would shift across the sky in minutes and hours rather than the entire night that it takes our moon to move from one horizon to the other. It would be majestic.


NASA claim that they will be able to detect an atmosphere of oxygen sometime in the next few years using information from Hubble and the James Webb Space Telescope.

Get to it, Science!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Locals vs Aliens

Its rare that I'll sit down with the intention of producing some traditional looking landscape paintings, but after a few months of winter with the dramatic lighting that comes with it, I was inspired enough to do just that.

Wharfedale's Almscliffe Crag and the Cow and Calf Rocks on the edge of Ilkley moor, were the inspiration for these paintings.

However, not content with depicting the awesome majesty of nature, I felt the need to add spaceships. Its a well known scientific fact that spaceships make pretty much everything 23% better, so it seemed foolish not to exploit this.



Sunday, 22 January 2017

CHI-RAQ


I've been catching up with a few movies recently, one of them being Spike Lee's CHI-RAQ. While it not going to be everyones cup of tea, I found the theatrical nature of the performances, the delivery of the comedy, and the poetic dialogue, reminiscent of shakespeare's work, especially in contemporary adaptations such as Baz Luhrman's Romeo and Juliette.

If that sounds like your cup of tea, you can find it to rent or at cinemas now.

*Since posting (about 8 seconds ago) I learned it is in fact based on the ancient greek play Lysistrata, making my comments somewhat redundant.

Every day's a school day!


Saturday, 24 December 2016

Yule be good?

Yuletide salutations.

I hope the man in red brings you and yours good fortune and good will.



Sunday, 13 November 2016

They mostly come out at Christmas, mostly.

For the second year running, I was commissioned to create another set of Christmas cards for Last Exit to Nowhere. This year, Ripley is the focus of the hero's fantasies.



If you order a set now, you have plenty of time to get them to your nearest and dearest in time for the festive season.

The John McClane set I illustrated last year are also available here.

In fact, the quality of the prints is far better than a card has any right to be. You could frame them up and pass them off as art prints, thus garnering yourself kudos from your nearest and dearest. Then you could buy yourself a nice T-shirt as a reward for saving money. Just sayin'.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Dead Red

Well played ESA. You may not have had 100% success, but we're still one more step ahead and valuable lessons can be learn for the next ride.

And in the meantime, TGO can continue sciencing as it hangs above the red planet. Alone.

Snif :-(

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Rosie and Phil 4eva

Finally, they are together.


The two little robots sent into deep space by the European Space agency will now drift on the back of the Rosetta comet for millennia. Maybe one day they will be considered ancient relics and gathered up by our descendants, as they move to another star.

Until then.

Congratulations and high fives to everybody involved.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The F in farm

Funny Farm was a great project to work on. Produced by Dubit, for Food Zoo Limited, the virtual reality (VR) aspect provided some challenges that we were forced to solve creatively. For the product to perform well in VR we had to produce a distinct art style with minimal information, yet still deliver a strong brand identity.

Farm animals are always a fun set of characters to produce in any style, as they seem to fit into a natural lineup. From the outset we knew the bull had to be the largest and heaviest of our bestiary, so we wanted him to have a powerful, 'macho' look that left you in no doubt he felt he was in charge of the farm.


Once we had a shape we were happy with, we used him as a model to produce a selection of characters that were on brand, yet faithful to their real life counterparts.


Despite having a fun bunch of personalities, this group didn't knit together as tightly as they should so we did another pass, trying to push the stylisation even further. We focused on a 'hump' as a template and played with scale and colour, arriving as a collective of simple characters that felt fun and unique.



Once we'd found this form, we then discovered some fun routes for animation to fully embrace this simplicity.


The bee proved far harder to break than it had any right to, but once we realised the bee would primarily be viewed from behind we knew that this was the angle that needed to display our 'hump' shape. Once we made this decision it game us some freedom with the head and thorax which allowed the creative process to flow more easily.


When looking at inspiration for farms it became apparent very quickly that the red and white barns, yellow cornfields, and blues skies of the American mid-west provided a far more pleasant aesthetic, than the grey sky, grey stone, brown mud and rusty corrugated iron of British farms.


Performance was our primary goal here so from the outset we went in confident that we needed to focus on a low poly art style. Rather than trying to disguise this decision we embraced it and crafted all elements of the farm yard to suit this approach.


With a final pass to hone the pastel colours and layout of the hub, I produced this piece of art. This, along with the characters, was then modeled in 3D.


The finished product is a lovely looking pair of VR games set on a picture perfect American farm-stead. It's available now at the App Store, and Google Play. If you don't believe me, just watch the trailer.
I hope this wont be our last visit to Funny Farm as there was a whole bunch of ideas left unexplored.


I cant believe I managed this whole post without a farm pun! I deserve a pat on the back.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Artstation ILM Challenge Round 2b

Round 1

For the Second vehicle I wanted to add to the roster of Imperial ships. Their hulking grey, angular forms are descended from the mass produced military vehicles of WWII.

American trains throw up some great shapes. They also frequently adhere to that 'Star Wars aesthetic' of being well used and feel like they've lived for generations. 


I liked the idea of developing a troop carrier, or at least an engine that would transport several 'carriages' with troops in. There are some great images of the optimistic WWII soldiers leaving for war, hanging out of windows and waving goodbye to loved ones.

With young people like Luke desperate to join the Imperial Academy, I imagine there must have been a similar romanticised moment as they embarked on their career as Imperial Storm Troopers.


As I mentioned before, perspective and lighting are something that's always scared me away from this hard surface stuff in the past so to help, I turned my hand to some rudimentary 3D in order to help.


I wanted to capture the hope, enthusiasm and excitement of people leaving home for the first time on the promise of adventure and a vast new world to be explored... before they are butchered in a brutal war, duped by Imperial Propaganda and the lies of their superiors.


And that was that.

The quality of the work on Art station is genuinely phenomenal, so I didn't expect to make it even this far... and these aren't tears... and I'm not gnashing my teeth in frustrated disappointment... I just need a mug of strong tea. NOW.

Regardless, you can see the results of the competition here.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Artstation ILM Challenge Round 2a

See Round 1 here

With my botched second image in round 1, I was genuinely amazed, but delighted, to make it through to round two, (roughly the top 10%!), but with round two titled 'The Ride', I knew I wasn't going any further. Vehicle design is something I've kept away from.

Round 2 - Vehicle Challenge: Brief
Design two new Star Wars vehicles within the aesthetic of Episodes IV - VI. They can be Rebel, Imperial, or utilitarian — your choice; anything from a giant starship to a land speeder. Be sure to finish your images by placing the vehicles within the context of an environment. We want to see the story — not the blueprints.

After initially focusing on Imperial hardware, I started to think about vehicles from the other end of the spectrum. To me, Star Wars was at its strongest, delivering alien cultures, specifically the criminal underworld. We know the Hutts have Sail Barges on Tattooine, so I figured they must have other places to visit than the Sarlacc.


Taking inspiration from Cloud city I came up with the concept of a floating Atoll with enough room to dock several Sail Barges, allowing the esteemed guests of the Hutts to disembark and spend a night gambling in this luxurious, and most importantly, safe, casino above the cooling sands of Tatooine.


To compliment the Atoll designed I added a few more sail ships inspired by the colours and decor of other Tatooine institutions. I also looked at the sails of middle eastern and North African boats to deliver a Sail Yacht, and a Skiff with a daring pilot 'hiking' over the side of his craft.


I loved the idea of designing an up market version of Jabba's Palace hanging above the desert. Safe from Tusken raiders and only accessible via flight. this ensures a certain level of gambler and with a tight security force you'd have to be a fool to risk being thrown overboard... Unless you have a skiff drifting nearby to make a fast getaway.