Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Wednesday 31st July 2013 - Products!

I have finally set up a small place to start collecting the things I'm selling. I'm keeping it restricted to my site at the moment, as I can probably handle the orders myself without the need for a platform like Etsy or BigCartel. Plus, the shirts I will be selling will be printed on demand, so i'll need to affirm with buyers that the week or so wait for me to actually get them printed is fine.

So yeah, interested in a shirt? Check out the designs, and either drop me a message on Facebook: or E-Mail me at:

There will be more designs added as I get round to making them!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Friday 19th July 2013 - THIS IS NOT WORLD OF TANKS!

Yup, being the total nerd that I am, one of my favourite ways of killing time not illustrating is playing games. My current (re)obsession is World of Tanks, a free to play game developed by WarGaming. For someone who doesn't have the lightning reaction times of a 10 year old mainlining red bull, FPS's like Call of Duty and Battlefield just make me angry, whereas this is slower paced to a degree, and the historical factor really appeals to me.

Way back when, in March time, they had a contest as it was their second anniversary, the prizes being £40 worth of in game stuff (Yes, I know I said it's free to play, but it has the option of microtransactions, to buy bonuses and limited edition tanks etc.). It was a creative contest, to design - of all things - a birthday card. Sure! I thought, I'm creative, I have an idea, I'll give it a bash.

I painted this in February. Look! It has tanks in it! I thought I could adapt this...

It was their second anniversary... So, I thought, let's add in a second destroyed tank (A t-34 for those who wish to know), and they could signify milestones passed. I also got rid of the swastika and added in the World of Tanks logo as the helmet decal. So yeah, I done this, attached the image to a folded piece of card, added the moniker "That's the Second one Down!" and posted it off to their PR department in Paris.

So I done this in February, and didn't hear anything back, and I thought "meh" maybe they didn't like the picture, maybe the iron cross on the Tiger tank was against entry conditions, I had numerous thoughts.

What I wasn't expecting, was a month ago to get an e-mail telling me I'd won one of the prizes! Not just a regular prize, but the best possible one, a limited edition tank! The Type 62. So this was awesome, and rekindled my interest in the game, and since then, I've started replaying it.

This has also led to me practicing my software skills, and sourcing some video capture software, and learning how to make animated gifs in Photoshop (awesome by the way, the only other method I knew of involved an outdated piece of software; Ulead), by directly importing video files to layers and simply saving for Web as a looping gif. Do you want to see some? Sure you do!


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Wednesday 17th July 2013 - Sketching Materials.

After Yesterday's post:

I thought it prudent to show what I actually sketch with, as my last post on it:

Is now over 2 years old, and therefore massively out of date.

If we just compare this to the old image:

Yeah, a lot is similar, scarily similar. 2 years and my gear hasn't rearranged or changed case or anything, probably speaks to my OCD.

But yeah, let's go through it (the top image ofc) to see what's what.

1) Pencils!
1a) Wooden Pencils - I keep these mostly for posterity's sake, I barely use them now - sharpening them causes too much mess.
1b) Mechanical Pencils - Similar to above, I barely use them, the leads are too thin, and snap if I use anything more than the bare minimum of pressure.
1c) My now 'go-to' pencil - Clutch Pencils! These basically are lead holders - the lead is about 2mm thick, and can be sharpened to a needle point, as well as dulled and sketched roughly with using the edge of the lead, imagine a wooden pencil with no mess. Yep.

2) These are redundant I think? The ink's probably dried up, and the 'black' lightfastness is more of a dull grey. I just don't know what to replace them with, so for the moment they're just sat there.

3) My inking pens. I always get asked what materials I use, just in case there's some secret formula of such and such tool + such and such paper = a decade of practicing illustration. People are, of course, saddened when I show them what I use, these are Uni Ball's bog standard, black, rollerball pens. I have a few of each size because I'm overly worried that they'll run out in the middle of a job and i'll be stuck.

The rollerball on the far left with the black ring around its end has nearly ran out, thus, I can get a thinner line with it, that's what the ring is there for, to let me know which it is. The blue pen on the far right with the masking tape is an old fineliner I found worked rather well on Bristol Board, so got a slot as a regular inker.

4) Brush Pens. For when I'm out and about, or too lazy to break out a sable brush and my pot of ink.

5) Poscas. These are the 'super fine' ones, meaning they're about 3 times fatter than my pens, but it doesn't matter, I use them basically as a tippex pen - whiting out areas where there's too much detail or I made a mistake, and then I can draw over it again*

** Visible around the lower left mermaid as I was sketching out arm variations, and on the tail on the upper right mermaid.

Right now people may well be shouting at the screen - Jack, you're an idiot, you have pencils! Use a pencil and rubber you daft git. Well, I don't like sketching in pencil. It doesn't get the contrast with the page I want. I might use it on large areas where the lines don't get confused, but I use pencils for the first stage of my digital painting process, not for sketching. For sketching I use:

6) Biros! People start crying when I show them this is what I sketch with. I'm not even sure when I started using them, but they crept in, and I realized they work well with my heavy handed technique, where I try to sketch things with 1000 lines, I then go over 998 of them with my white posca, and weight the remaining 2 by simply using more pressure.

The good thing about using Biros? They're everywhere, they're "normal" pens, they don't need sharpening, and can get some pretty nice tones when used with varying pressures.

7) Sharpie. Used for either bordering a sketch to test the composition, colouring in large areas of shadow or very heavy line weights.

8) Miscellaneous stuff. Highlighters, sharpeners, putty eraser, rubber eraser, and a water brush. They may come in handy, so I haven't yet got rid of them.

And what do I sketch in?

Moleskine A4 sketchbooks. These Things! they're meant to retail for about £20, but with some tactical lurking around the internet *cough*eBay*cough* you can get them for as low as £9.99. This is, apart from a clutch pencil, the only really specialist thing I use for sketching.

They're crap for watercolours - the paper has been treated, so doesn't mix at all with watery media - but have a nice quality reminiscent of Bristol Board for pencils, and works just how I want it to with inks and biros. An excellent tome of messy scribbles which sometimes turn into paintings!

Here is basically all I need to spend hours sketching -
Sketchbook (duh)
1) 2H Clutch Pencil
2) 2 Biros (one ALWAYS runs out)
3) White Poscas (they're temperamental bastards and having two solves any problems)
4) A sharpie

So yeah! You don't need a bank balance the size of a small principality to get down to arting, even the most basic of materials can work it.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Tuesday 16th July 2012 - Sketchbook Pages

As I'm busy spending my time doing work for private clients, and not painting things for the world to see, I thought I'd at least show you guys some sketchbook pages.

Don't know what to say about them - All my sketches are done prior to reference gathering, so are all done totally spontaneously, at work (a lot of these were done at work actually, my bad!), on the bus, as I'm waiting for dinner to cook, etc. Inspiration for them is mostly from music, as I'm *always* listening to music, this is combined with things I've read about, documentaries I've watched, and bits I've seen in other artist's work which i'm really peeved about not thinking of myself - an awesome composition, a great colour palette, and so on.

From here, a lot of the sketches go absolutely nowhere, or are combined into a final sketch. I'd say 20% of what I sketch makes it to the painting phase? I can't say for certain.

Tomorrow I'll probably do a (new) post about my sketching materials, as they've evolved somewhat, as my working process and I myself have.


Monday, 15 July 2013

Monday 15th July 2013 - It's never too hot for coffee.

Yup, this has been the encapsulation of today - Coffee and traditional media.

For those readers who may not know, England is currently going through an unseasonable (unseasonable in that - it's summer and it's sunny) heatwave, and sitting inside in heats ranging from 23 to 30 degrees for about 8 hours straight is a sticky prospect.

What have I been working on? You may shout - I've shown no digital work since graduating, not a good start to my illustration career! You may think. Well, as I've discovered, this is the pain of professional work. I can't flash it off online, or in person, like I can with personal stuff. I think all I'm at liberty to say is, I've done some painting and some storyboards for a company, for their own intellectual properties.

What else have I done?

This! This is 3 years of sketchbooks, from Uni and some personal sketchbooks thrown in. Here they are a little more organized:

On the left are A4 sketchbooks, on the right, A3. These don't include non-ringbound pads, such as my bristol board or marker paper, which I have not (for obvious reasons) put into storage.

Seriously, I never thought shifting roughly 70kg of sketchbooks would take so long!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Tuesday 2nd July 2013 - It's already July..?!


I have so much to do, and as far as I dig into it, the pile doesn't seem to decrease.

Have updated my gallery:
and my portfolio:

I wanted to design a new website but have yet to even begin that, along with setting up an online store for made to order shirts and framed prints.

I also have 4 or 5 images to paint to finish off my portfolio, and some for clients. This I was going to start today, but the insane levels of sunburn I received over the weekend have left me reeling, with a very low tolerance to screen glare and eye focus, as I cannot wear my glasses.

I have been to uni and picked up all my work and possessions however, and, as well as my work, I picked up a couple of prints I bought from Lisa Harper, which are just totally awesome, and as you can see are already framed, and now on my wall.

I've also completed two versions of a design for a Merchandise Competition set up by the London based band: Acrania.

The design is exactly the same, except one is monotone, and one is coloured. I think I personally prefer the monotone version, but the deadline for this is in 2 days, so, fingers crossed!

And a couple of developmental shots:

So yes, I do hope this week isn't wasted being in pain with sunburn, and I hope I can get back to having fun sketching and painting, and keeping you guys updated with it all!