Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Newborn - final version

Compositional sketches and final artwork for my 'Newborn' submission from last year. I think the composition might have been stolen from a Hallmark Christmas card I remember from childhood. The foreground Holy family have been replaced by the Buck Rogers type with his lovely Droid wife and wailing biomechanoid sprog. Background-wise the little town of Bethlehem has morphed into a more opulent Alex Raymond style city whilst a Flash Gordon rocket streaks across the sky instead of the traditional star.

Newborn - devolopments

I wanted the characters in my 'Newborn' entry to have a retro feel. This was going to be more fantasy than hard science fiction - leaning more to the surreal even. So the biomechanical baby is an impossible melding of machine and biology rather than an attempt to design a realistic cyborg child. With that and the retro influence in mind much of his design was based on old tin toys from the 30s to 50s.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Newborn - sketches

Below, some ideas I had for's 'Newborn' contest. The competition from late 2009 asked you to “Bring Something Into the World” or “To Life”. I was thinking along the lines of a new biomechanical species - brought about through a literal marriage of man and machine.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

WIP Hobgoblin

Another Gobbolino based sketch, this time for the character of the cream thieving Hobgoblin who gets the hapless witch's cat into more trouble. I was going for a Gremlin/Salacious B. Crumb approach for the character, but he looks a bit like a demented smurf in that cap of his. Something else came up before I got a chance to finish working on him so he remains, like the rest of my Gobbolino ideas a WIP.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Gobbolino - Cat among the Toads

Here's little Gobbolino after being flung to the back of the witches cave amongst the toads, dismissed because of his white sock and blue eyes. I wanted it to have a classic fairytale feel and also wanted to try a pen and ink effect. I spent a lot of time looking at the great black and white illustrators and cartoonists of the past (Joseph Clement Coll, A. B. Frost, Thomas Sullivant, Heinrich Kley, James Montgomery Flagg), and modern masters of the medium (Bernie Wrightson, Mike Kaluta, Gary Gianni), and then stopped because it was getting too depressing.

Of course I'm far too cowardly to try this with real pen and ink so I tried to see if I could replicate the effect with Painter's digital Pens and Calligraphy 'brushes'. I also had a quick experiment with adding a colour wash using Photoshop's wet media brushes (see below).

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Witch Toads

Preparation for my Gobbolino illustration.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Witch Cats

Sometime late last year I decided to try and illustrate a few scenes from Ursula Moray Williams' classic children's book Gobbolino the Witches Cat. Some of these scenes require Gobbolino to walk on his two back feet, so above are my attempts to visualise how this might look.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Web of Philip Reeve

World of Mortal Engines Artwork found at Clockwise from top left - Mortal Engines cover by Leighton Johns (thats me!), US version of Fever Crumb cover by Sam Weber, Early design for Mr Shrike by Philip Reeve, Anna Fang by Alice Duke, Sample Graphic Novel Artwork by David Wyatt, London by Christian Bravery.

I came across Mortal Engines author Philip Reeve's blog recently. As well as finding news about the author's work, and visuals by official cover artists such as David Wyatt and Sam Weber I was more than a little surprised to find in a post titled 'Now That's What I Call a Cover!' my own version of of the first novel's jacket which I'd mocked up for my own amusement. Its pretty thrilling to get a thumbs up from the creator of a fantastical world you've spent hours exploring in your mind!
Mr Reeve, an accomplished illustrator in his own right, has been good enough to use his blog to promote the work of other artists and illustrators who've been inspired by his books. These include talents like Chris Goff, Alice Duke and Christian Bravery. So thanks to Philip for sharing his vision of a future earth with us and for sharing the various interpretations of his work (including my own) with the web.