Saturday, 22 November 2014

Life drawing (nudity)

A couple of recent sketches from the Thursday night life drawing session I go to from time to time (naked folks ahead).

For anyone in the Edinburgh area here is a link to the gallery.  Its a great venue and friendly bunch of people,  Leigh Chorlton  is the talented artist who runs whitespace.

And the pictures

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Podcasting for the People.

A few weeks ago my good friend and drawing buddy Jay Penn approached me with the idea of doing a podcast together.  Its not something I have any experience or knowledge of and I was concerned about my qualification to do such a thing.  Most of the podcasts I am aware of are from the standpoint of professionals passing on their advice and experiences from working in the art industry.

After discussing it we agreed that if we were to go ahead then the podcast would revolve around our experiences trying to improve as artists, serving as a kind of audio diary, charting our progress as well as being a motivational tool for Jay and myself.   Hopefully we could also provide some inspiration for other artists in a similar position to ourselves, while avoiding coming across as pretending to know a lot more than we do.

We were also keen that there would be some sense of community, listeners could get in touch and be part of weekly drawing challenges, sharing advice and artwork of their own.  To this end Jay would set up a facebook page and accompanying blog.

Since we discussed it the podcast has become a reality, as well as the accompanying web pages.  It is early days and we are learning as we go, if you fancy a listen the links are below.

The blog and link to the podcasts

The facebook page

In the most recent episode I mention a couple of finished ink pieces so here are those also.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Dark Souls

As I might have mentioned I like my video games and have sunk a good few hours into the game Dark Souls.  It wasn't to my liking at first, its a punishingly difficult game that requires a more careful approach than my usual button mashing, at some point though it clicked and I was hooked.

The other thing I love about it is the aesthetic of the game, its a medieval fantasy setting but with some unusual twists, particularly in the enemies.  I have drawn the characters of 'Smough the Executioner' and 'Ornstein the Dragon Slayer'.  These are two bosses the game throws at you to fight at the same time, its tough but the feeling when you master the timing and defeat them is pure satisfaction.

Monday, 15 September 2014


Like a lot of the most fun pictures I have done this started out as a quick sketch.  I wanted to use up the last page in my sketchbook and I liked the picture so much I ended up inking and painting it.  It is of course Totoro from the fantastic film 'My Neighbour Totoro' by Studio Ghibli.

Sunday, 24 August 2014


I have been toying with the idea of selling some work for a little while now and after a little research, I have decided to try the site Redbubble.  For anyone unfamiliar with it, it is one of several web stores that you can upload artwork to.  They then print it on to a variety of media and sell it on your behalf taking a percentage of the sale price.

This is very much inspired by a designer friend of mine Marie who asked me to do a T-shirt design for her earlier in the year, this started me thinking seriously about getting some work out there for folks to buy.  There is a link to some of her work in the sidebar (Tees D'Lacey), it's well worth a look, she has an online shop on the way also.

There are 6 designs up just now with more in the pipeline.  My plan is to do small runs of pictures each with a different theme or style.  Here are a couple from this first series, I am tentatively calling them 'Mechanimals' until I can think of  a better name, suggestions are very welcome.

And of course a link to my new and shiny online shop.

Please have a browse and as always feedback and or criticism is always welcome.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Fisher King

I have always liked the phrase the fisher king without knowing its meaning, when I finally looked it up it was too good not to draw.

The wounded king is charged with guarding the holy grail but at some point has been injured in such a way he can no longer fight, nor can he father children to continue his task.  Left without purpose he spends his time fishing and awaiting a miraculous cure.

I have used pen, watercolor paint and white gel pen on 300g card.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Alphonse Elric

I went a bit mad for anime a few years back, I don't really watch much now but I can still be persuaded too if something grabs my attention.  One of my favorites was Fullmetal Alchemist and the follow up remake brotherhood, so an illustration of one of the main characters was long overdue.

This is Alphonse Elric who due to some very unfortunate events has no body of his own, leaving his soul trapped in an archaic (and beautifully designed) suit of armour.

Done in pen, ink wash and white gel pen.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Inking Practice

One of my biggest failings in learning to draw has been not finishing work.  This has led to me working with pencil the majority of the time with the occasional inked picture and very rare painted or coloured illustration.  Because of this my abilities with other mediums are not nearly as good as I would like.  My main goal for the future is to rectify this by completing more pictures in ink or paint.  To that end here are a couple of recent inked pics.

Some texture practice.

One of the 30 day challenges that I missed, I had an unfinished sketch which I just couldn't leave behind.  An Irish mythical figure, 'Goibniu the Smith' one of three gods of art.

30 Day Challenge

Every year the good people at Galway pub Scrawl engage in a month long illustration challenge.  Donal the tireless organiser of the whole thing, along with the other talented scrawlers, come up with a drawing brief for each day of the month.  I was introduced to the group by Jay Penn who has been going for some time and they kindly encouraged me to get involved, despite only attending one pub scrawl and living in another country.  This year the challenge was in June and it was my second year at having a go at it.  I had hoped to get a picture done for every day but unfortunately missed the odd one here and there.  If anyone wants to follow the pub scrawlers blog and check out the challenge in its entirety then the link is below.

Here is a small selection of some of my illustrations.

Day 1.  Portrait of a family member.  My brother, he wasn't all that happy with me putting this up, being kindle of humble about this sort of thing.  So I hope he can forgive me for doing it again.  Mostly happy with this apart from some heavy handed shading on one eye giving it a glassy look, oops.

Day 5.  Warrior fruit.

Day 9.  Manic Monkey

Day 10.  The blood is the life.  I was a bit off target with this as I think the brief refers to vampires but I went with a picture of the first successful artificial human heart done in red ink.  Missed the brief a bit but I like the result.

 Day 29.  Draw a human/elf/dwarf/halfling.

Day 30.  Anything you like.  I was a little stuck for ideas so went for an illustration of 'The Iron Giant'.  Or as my wife said when she saw it "that looks like a fat iron giant!".

The whole month was great fun, certainly had some ups and downs, drawings that just went well and some which were a struggle from start to finish.  Cant wait to do it all again next year.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Video Games!

I am a bit of a games fan and have dabbled in game inspired illustrations in the past.  The trouble is the games industry is packed with so many talented artists I feel incredibly amateurish by comparison.  That said I have done a couple of pics lately I hope look at two gaming icons from a slightly different angle.

Good old turtle hating plumber.

And a kind of pac-man piranha.

Friday, 18 April 2014


I am a big fan of the alien movies and have been meaning to have a go at a picture based on them.  This is the end result, I am still enjoying the flat digital coloring but have been wanting to try and improve my inking technique.  I am quite happy with the overall composition but the pen work is a little scrappy, all good practice though.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Goblin Summoner

Pencil sketch I have been working on for the past couple of evenings.  I was inspired by Jay Penn's recent blog post on Goblins (Realms of Faerie link in the sidebar).  I also wanted to try drawing something that had more of a narrative to it, too often I draw isolated figures with no backdrop or sense of story to them.  Not sure if I succeeded but it was a fun picture to do.

12 Angry Men

This is the picture I mentioned earlier alongside the portrait practice of Ed Norton.  Its a take on a poster I saw a while back for the play 12 angry men.  The poster was a grid layout with black and white photos of each of the actors.  I wanted to do something with the same composition but illustrated with 12 of the angriest movie characters I could think of.  I haven't quite nailed the likeness in some of them but despite that I am pleased with the result.  This was a very ambitious piece for me and it has been encouraging to see it complete.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Circuitry Fish

This was another idea I was playing with when considering T-shirt designs.  I like the combination of line drawing and flat digital colouring.  I used pen for this one but looking at it now I prefer the brush lines on the previous designs.  One thing I would like to try is a finer line with a looser more sketchy feel, it would hopefully contrast well with the flat colours.  I am looking forward to trying that with the next one.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Work Sketches

In an effort to try and do some drawing every day I bring a sketchbook to work and on a good day usually manage around 20 minutes of drawing on my lunch break.  These are a few of the recent sketches.


Friday, 10 January 2014

Mouse in the Museum

A while back I did a series of pictures for a friend who was writing a short children's story about a mouse who lives in the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The story called for the illustrations to be done in black and white and look like photographs.  Here are a couple of the finished pictures.

Watercolour Pixel Art

I have been doing a bit of pixel art lately and will probably post some of it here sometime soon.  I have wanted to try combining it with traditional art techniques for a while and had the idea of copying the digital art using watercolour paint.

This piece was done as a christmas gift for my brother who is a big Legend of Zelda fan, for future pieces I would be using my own original pixel work.  Dry pan paint on heavy grade paper.