Tuesday 17 August 2010

Commissions [a short post].

Occasionally, I'm commissioned to do personal work. I've been approached over the years by a few people to do private work but many never reply after I've told them my fees. Whether original artwork, which they expect for a pittance, or newly commissioned pieces, there are some people who appear to think such drawing takes no time at all, and involves little or no work. It's just a drawing after all. I beg to differ.

My rant, but enough, let's press on. Below see a few examples of personal work.

The first is the second part of a vertical diptych, I'll add a 'version' of the bottom part of the diptych, which was done a few years ago, but the only version I can find, at present, is sadly of poor quality. I've tried to 'rescue' the image as much as I can. Still you'll get an 'idea', and see how the two parts, produced years apart, are meant to work together.
The bottom part was an original creation, but the latest part, the top part of the diptych, has a link to the original 'entrance' to Firetop Mountain. When FF book 1, 'The Warlock of Firetop Mountain', was originally published, the entrance was not one of the illustrations asked for as such although a drawing of a cave entrance was used. After the books first printing, I was asked to create a picture [see below] using the drawing of the 'cave' entrance as a starting point, that showed a more dramatic 'entrance' to Firetop Mountain, but as far as I know, it only appeared in a Puffin Magazine [but, as is usually, I may be wrong].

This 'new' version [seen above], showing some hideous entrance to the lair of its 'owner' [see bottom part of the diptych shown above], was done at the behest of a client, and as you'll see, is not the same, but has similarities. Below is the original entrance created for Firetop Mountain.
Next, below is a small whimsical picture of Faerie, and has, like the diptych above, it has never been printed.
The following below, is my 'Cyclops', but it is a poor scan, from a photograph, of part of a larger picture, and was originally produced in watercolour and ink pen.
Below is a promotional 'map', which was produced back in 2003 for a local company in Kent, England, and that was never actually printed for public distribution to my knowledge.
Next, a caricature sketch I did for someone [see the one on the left], which I later coloured as an exercise [see the one on the right]. 

Finally, for this short post, a final personal piece that I 'knocked' together from two other cartoon pieces of work as a basis for a Greetings card.
The Basset's name was 'Arthur' and if anyone is aware of how self serving, stupid and greedy Bassets can be, then they will know what a prime number [expletive deleted] Arthur was to me. But Arthur had his public, who all adored and loved them, and they could never understand when I would say, 'Right, take him, he's yours.'  There are Basset Hounds and there was Arthur; you might think a dog on a roof? If he could have reached it, Arthur would have done it.

His favourite form of recreation was seriously rolling in all encompassing fox detritus; many is the time he had to be fetched at 1.00am from another jolly escapade when he had to suffer the indignity of a BATH, followed closely by me having a bath for fear that people would think I had been rolling in fox detritus. Ah, happy days.

Friday 13 August 2010

example of a "style".

I've been meaning to post some work, for some time, where I have tried hard to create, in my illustrations, an 'identity' that matches, or rather mirrors, the written content. 

One such example is my work for the sixth, and sadly last, of the printed versions of 'The Fabled Lands' series: 'The Lords of the Rising Sun: Imperial Akatsurai, land of samurai and ninja'. Where I think, though some may disagree, such an identity is apparent, showing, as Dave [Morris] wrote, 'One of the things I like is that you used a slightly different style in each book, so they really do have the feel of depicting different nations and cultures.
[Dave Morris comment - added to my last posting.] 

See what you think, here are some examples from that book.

and finally, a little pastoral scene.

I had also been working on a draft post, after having a nice related email, that was related to the original FF 'Citadel of Chaos', telling some 'history' of that period of work, and add some 'fresh' news, a related email, and a little more, when it VANISHED!

One moment typing the next - all gone! Tried 'undo' no joy, and after a lot of trying to 'find' the draft and checking, etc. have come to the conclusion, that apparently a lot of other bloggers have found in the past, that the material is 'lost' for ever. What a shame as this was the greatest blog I was ever about to post. It had everything: facts, pathos, bravery, humour, comedy, tragedy, brilliant insight, intellect and rabbits.
What can I tell you? For you'll, sadly now, never know.

I will try to 'rebuild' it at some point, but it will never be the same.

In the interim, although it's been posted before, as requested and an  old favourite of my own from Book 6 - Dragon attack.

Monday 9 August 2010


The 'link' to an iPhone version of 'The Warlock of Firetop Mountain' as mentioned in last post, makes me mention a 'new' iPad and iPhone version of the the first book in 'The Fabled Lands Series' - 'The War Torn Kingdom' produced by Megara Entertainment in France.

My Maps and some of my original illustrations have been converted into colour by other artists and the results are certainly unique as you'll see from those I've posted below.

 First the new title [opening page] for 'The Fabled Lands' - 'The War Torn KIngdom' created by Megara Entertainment and its artists.
next my version of the Maps now coloured and with borders added by others.
Here are some of the original pictures that have been recoloured. First 'places'.
I especially like what has been done with this one [above].  Now for 'character' scenes.

Of course Megara Entertainment's artist's have created, for this new version of Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson' s epic game, artwork of their own.

Below are a few examples [the rights belong to Megara Entertainment and cannot be copied without permission].
This version iPad and iPhone version of 'The War Torn Kingdom' is due for release around Christmas [I believe] from Megara Entertainment.

If you can afford, or have, one of those beasties then do check it out. I sadly cannot - now altogether as the violins reach a crescendo in the distance - 'AH, shame!' .

Right to finish, a couple of related pieces from other books in the series. Dave and Jamie gave me a free hand with the illustrations which were usually more vignettes than large works, but this format allowed me to 'show' panel views, coinage, and so on. As Dave put it, if memory serves , more like a travelogue than scenes from the traditional even conventional game that was prevalent then.
so that's about it for now.

PS - With Dave's nice comment [that he added below] still ringing in my ears - I add one more picture. The original B&W of 'the shops of Conflass'.

Monday 2 August 2010

Experimental stuff {and scribbles} and other pieces

Continuing with my examination of art media I've used, [and have a 'postable' version of], see the following.

To start, occasionally I scribble and doodle [though my doodles are a tad different, often reflecting what I'm listening to and often used when I had to attend droning meetings, to stay awake]. But I digress, as I often do, from the main point which was to start with some experimental bits.

These were done primarily in pen, felt pen and fountain pen ink [a medium that delights in interesting results after being exposed to air], and produced much like a 'Rorschach test', that is starting with a few interesting marks and then 'looking' for the picture within. It's a method as old as the hills and first mentioned I believe by Leonardo, although, in my opinion, Cave Art owes a lot to this method of working.

 They were done [in two stages] as a demonstration for some of my students a few years ago. The idea being to show them how if they felt artistically 'blocked' then ideas can be 'found' if one is prepared to play with materials and an 'open mind'. Stage one saw the initial beginnings where 'we' searched for something in the initial blobs and marks accidentally created. Stage two was the follow up - the tightening of the image to elaborate more details. Of course using such a method can lead to a lot of 'dead ends', but occasionally...  So from such, a more developed piece of work may yet evolve.

Occasionally doodles are more traditional as these next pieces.

I have found that somebody had collected a few pictures of mine on the Internet from Steve Jackson's 'The Trolltooth Wars' and other similar works. The Trolltooth Wars' was a short lived series of books meant to accompany the FF games books, and the first, 'The Trolltooth Wars', was itself an interesting book for me in particular in that, for the first time, I was allowed to not only choose what was to be illustrated from my reading of the manuscript galleys, but also to be allowed to create the layout of how the illustrations would 'fit' the pages in the book. It was a one off experiment by the editor for the book at Puffin but was never [in my case] repeated.

My intent, as I believe all good illustration should be, was to try to enhance the reader's experience. So I sought to create a more interesting visual experience with the limitations of a small paperback format. I split some of the illustrations across two facing pages, I ran them across the top, across the bottom and even was able to create a double page spread.

Not all of it succeeded. It was a noble experiment in my mind, which saw me put a lot into the pictures [sometimes too much ], but I felt seriously let down with the reproduction and paper that was used, which in my opinion, was very poor indeed. In short - it was shit. Or would crap be better? Never mind, here are three examples, plus two other pieces.

That's about it for now folks but more coming soon including some never before seen work [or nearly ]

Update: Quick link to FightingFantasist who has posted an old 'The Warlock of Firetop Mountain' illustration that proved quite controversial at the time. Oh Happy days, He He.