Drink & Draw - and a Call to Action

Really excited to be announcing a collaboration with a local venue, The Boileroom in Guildford. 

We will be running a monthly Drink and Draw session! Hopefully these sessions will be a positive, and inspiring place to meet with other members of the local creative scene. Share ideas, share techniques and industry tips and, of course, share a drink or three.

The first session will be Monday 6th of Feb 2107,  6:30pm and from then on we'll be aiming for the first Monday of each month - or as close to it as the venues schedule will allow. It will be FREE entry, but we'll be taking donations which will fund future drawing events, things like: life drawing, artist tutorials, drawing trips, and more.

Keep an eye of THE BOILEROOM and my TWITTER for the most up to date information. Guildford creatives, of all sorts, I hope to see you there!

Now, this may not seem relevant to some readers of this blog (specifically those based outside of Guildford.) BUT of late, there are huge parts of the world that seem darker, scarier, and more threatening, and I think events like this are a direct response to those changes.

I want to extend a challenge, a call to action: start a group, join a group, spread your passion, meet people, create good things. In response to the threat of a darker world, make YOUR world a little brighter. It may seem like a small resistance in the 'grand scheme' of things, but many small good things can easily outweigh the bad. You never know who you might help, or how you might help them.

Illustrated Experiment - WIRED

Hello and welcome to my new portfolio website!

This site and blog are both a lot, lot easier to update than my previous set up. So, ideally this blog will stay as fresh and interesting as my day to day life. 

I've moved over the last few posts from my old blog, which can still be reached HERE if you fancy it.

NEW WORK:

WIRED magazine asked me to draw up a comic page for their ‘illustrated experiment’ segment for the April Issue.

The second time working with WIRED was as pleasant as the first, and i’m pleased with the results. Plus it’s always nice to be able to walk into the local newsagents and grab a magazine with something you’ve drawn in it. With clients all around the world, it’s not every day that you find your work on your doorstep.

Who Was/Who Are Books

For the last little while (I don’t like to think about how long, because it makes me realise how little I update this blog with what I’ve been up to. (Twitter @sector4 might be more up to date, but probably not, if you’re interested.)) I’ve been working with Grosset & Dunlap an imprint of Penguin publishing over the in U S of A to produce black and white illustrations for the interior of their Who Was/Who is series of books.

 

 

Each book contains around 80 illustrations, and I’ve had the pleasure of drawing political leaders to baseball players, Nobel Prize winners and rock stars. And there’s more on the horizon.

I think the part I really love about this work is how much of a chance I get to really dig in to a subject. The editorial work I’ve been more used to picking up is a blast because of the limited timeframe, coming up with the best ideas you can and executing them is a lot of fun and a huge challenge, but with these books there’s the chance to slow down slightly and research a bit deeper. Take Who Is Derek Jeter - I’ve never seen a game of baseball in my life, and suddenly I’ve got the challenge of 80 drawings that need to accurately represent the game, the way the players stand etc. It’s an enjoyable challenge.

On top of that, just getting to sit down with my brush, ink and chosen paper stock and work on my linework and inking for 80 images is invaluable practice. I’m still not where I want to be in terms of inking, (who IS really, with any facet of their work?) but I have noticed an improvement and, have highlighted many more areas to work on to get closer to the work I want to make.

Click on the 'Children's Books' section above to see more!

(I’ve also probably learned as much as the kids that end up reading the series about each books subject!)

Working Traditionally - For WIRED

A few months ago WIRED magazine got in touch with a very cool commission. I thought I’d run through the process here.

The main challenge with this piece was that for the whole issue, every illustrator was asked to work in traditional media. No computers allowed. (Well, some allowances were made. I don’t think anyone wanted to start sending work via the post.)

First things first:

THE ROUGHS.

The article was a short piece on speaking with confidence in public. So after making some mess in a sketchbook or two, I drew up these roughs:

1 - Based on a line in the article: Public speaking is like a musical instrument, everyone can learn with enough practise.”

1 - Based on a line in the article: Public speaking is like a musical instrument, everyone can learn with enough practise.”

3 - A drawing of two realities - the confident, comfortable speaker. And the Nervous, fumble-y speaker.

3 - A drawing of two realities - the confident, comfortable speaker. And the Nervous, fumble-y speaker.

2 - A direct narrative approach - a confident charismatic speaker.

2 - A direct narrative approach - a confident charismatic speaker.

4 - Playing on the idea of imagining the audience in their underwear. Whilst it wasn’t a technique referenced in the article it’s a common enough concept that most viewers would make the leap with just the image.

4 - Playing on the idea of imagining the audience in their underwear. Whilst it wasn’t a technique referenced in the article it’s a common enough concept that most viewers would make the leap with just the image.

Once these Ideas were sent and reviewed, we moved forward with the third idea, but with a female speaker.

THE FINAL ARTWORK:

I knew I was going to approach this image with a focus on the ink work. I could achieve the two coloured drawings by inking each figure in a different colour of ink - that bit was easy to figure out. But, I knew I wanted the image to look a little more ‘finished’ than just a 2 colour line drawing.

If I was approaching this image digitally, I might have used a texture from a library of scans/photos I’ve made and collected over the years. I would have applied a colour to the texture layer and then used a layer mask to erase it away under the main drawing.

So, how to do this traditionally? Make a physical layer mask of course! (I’m aware there are probably better ways to do this. It was interesting to learn how dependent my process is on the computer, and how little I knew what to do!)

Cutting a thick sheet of acetate to create the negative space in the background layer. If you’re following along Blue Peter style, this bit hurts your fingers…

The completed ‘layer mask’ ready for printing. Once this was ready and taped down I mixed up some different types and colours of paint and lightly rolled it over a few different paper stocks until I’d made an appropriate amount of mess and had ….

Here it is in situ in WIRED:

Apologies for the poor process shots, I didn’t think of doing this blog post until afterwards. It was lucky I had these shots really.

Thanks to Mary Lees for the Art Direction on this one!