Inky Spooky Goodness – Inktober 2016

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A black cat to start proceedings!

Another year another set of Inktober sketches! Inktober is a yearly challenge to draw and post a traditional ink drawing every day during the month of October. Its a great excuse to experiment and push how quickly you can come up with something – not to mention getting back to grips with traditional art for a little bit. I initially started with a list of Halloween themed characters as prompts but then as time went on (and time became more limited) I decided to just draw what  I felt like at the time instead.

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Vamp-mobile!

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Towards the end of the month most of my illustrations ended up being simple character sketches. It was a nice chance to do something that didn’t feel forced, as well as giving my eyes a break from the screen. You can see the full selection of my illustrations over on my instagram account where I posted them daily. Its always a learning experience and I’m happy to say I managed to get a picture up every day!

I started out using Faber-Castell ink brush pens with water and white ink for highlights, but as the month went on settled back to the old familiarity of the mighty biro. They’re always what I like to use most as you can get all sorts of different lines and textures. Also, because you can pick up a giant pack of them you don’t need to be too precious, or worry about using them up crosshatching a background or a coat or the 15th black cat of the month.

Inktober is always a fun way to push yourself and come up with a lot of brand new shiny ideas. For me its also a nice way of measuring how my style changes over the years (hopefully with some pretty obvious improvement).

So – until next year!

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Cygnet Ink Exhibition – Sugar and Spice

Autumn Gooness
Autumn Goodness

 

Above is my piece for the upcoming Cygent Ink exhibition – Sugar and Spice.

This is an art & illustration show based on all things spooky and Autumn themed. To me, this means warm colours, pumpkins and Halloween – so I decided to combine this all into one handy illustration!

Sugar and Spice Event Image

 

This print will be going on display among the work of some very talented artists at the Gallery At Saint Martins in Lincoln, from the 25th of October onwards.

You can buy prints of any of the work there that you take a liking to, either at the exhibition or through the website later on.

 

Setting up.. image source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BL6WBgwgNiZ/
Setting up.. image from the Cygnet Ink Instagram

So if you fancy taking a stroll round a beautiful city and seeing some fantastic Autumnal illustration, go and have a gander – its a great way to end October!

More details over on the Cygnet Ink website.

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Children’s Fiction – Book Cover Designs

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

 

 

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Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

 

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Holes by Louis Sachar

 

Above you can find a set of book cover portfolio pieces I designed recently, specifically for children’s illustration. Originally I gathered inspiration from classic children’s literature. However, as I worked on these I found myself thinking about the books I enjoyed when I was younger, and ideas for illustrating more recent novels popped into my head.

After initially choosing Alice in Wonderland and Just So Stories as inspiration, I decided I wanted to create a  book cover based on Holes by Louis Sachar. I loved this book when I was younger and it was great to bring my personal idea of the imagery to life. It was a big change for me to use such bright colours as usually I work with much more neutral tones, but I can’t picture Holes without bright yellow sand and big blue skies! You can find some more black and white illustrations for the inside of the  book over on my Bright Artist page if you’re interested. There are also plenty of other scenes from the book I’d love to illustrate – the journey up the mountain and the warden’s scary nails being just two of them.

This was a great exercise as so much of my work focuses on characters and scenes, it was a lot of fun to try my hand at something a bit more design based for a change! I want to get more confident with this sort of composition and typography in particular.

I’m going to keep working on designs for book covers as inspiration strikes me – I love fiction and already have a list of books I’d really enjoy showing my interpretation of!

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Now Represented by The Bright Group!

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I’m very excited to announce that I am now represented by The Bright Group (and Bright Group USA) agency. I’ve admired the work of so many of their artists for years so I’m really pleased to be a part of the group and get to work on some new, challenging projects!

You can see a wider selection of my work over on the Bright Group Website.

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Character Design & Colour Collective

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One of the things I’ve been very conscious of lately is the importance of interesting, striking characters and everything they can add to a story even if they’re only in the background. Because of this I decided to dedicate some time to create a new character every week. I’ll be basing this on the colours set by the lovely colour_collective people over on Twitter. This is a way of challenging myself into really expanding the way I choose who to add to my illustration scenes without going into autopilot drawing mode. If you want to see any more of these just keep an eye on my Twitter feed, as there will be a new character every week!

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Stew Magazine – Two Sentence Story

 Stew Magazine Two-Sentence Story

Here’s an illustration I worked on for Stew Magazine, a bi-monthly magazine for children aged 8 – 12.
Stew features unique stories, art work and puzzles directly from illustrators, and has a really diverse range of work.
I was asked to illustrate the Two-Sentence Story, which was submitted by a reader. The text and other little necessities were added by the Stew designers. It was great to work on such a short, spooky little story, especially as it left so much to my imagination. I had a lot of freedom to add my own interpretation of the scene. Originally I was going for an alien theme with a slimy tentacle reaching out from underneath the bed. But in the end the fluffy monster paw worked a lot better. Though if you search you can still see a couple of alien hints in the bedroom!

Stew Magazine

And here’s the final printed version, with a gorgeous snowy front cover illustration by Jago Silver and my Two-sentence story illustration on the inset. I’m really happy with how this one turned out! Its great to be published with such a great growing group of illustrators. If you’d like to see more of the project and how it came together in more detail, head over to my Behance Portfolio.
Big thanks to the lovely people at Stew Magazine for letting me join in!

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Overheard on a Saltmarsh Animation

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Overheard on a Saltmarsh is a short animation by Anna Mellor Meecham using my illustrations. The story is based on a short poem of the same name by Harold Monro. It was re-written into this form by Jennifer Appleby. This is a happy little fantasy story about greed, theft and strange little creatures that live in the swamp..
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Character expression sheet for the mischievous Nymph

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Above you can see a selection of screenshots from the final animation. I illustrated a set of assets that Anna put together in to little 2d puppets and scenes using her animator wizardry. With this project we set out to create the idea of a story book come to life. These characters cast shadows on the pages and even flip like pages. As someone who works with static images it was amazing to see the characters walk (and dance) around!

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Original character ideas & sketches

It was really important to me to create unique characters, but also that they fit their Saltmarsh environment. I decided the nymph and the goblin should be earthy and human-like, covered in dirt and mud. But the moon-man had to be mysterious and different, to match his own world.

We had the opportunity to go and watch the animation with work from plenty of other talented animators from Sheffield. This was a really inspiring evening with films in a really diverse set of styles. I found it really exciting to see our work up on the big screen!

If you’d like to see the final animation on a slightly smaller scale, you can find it below:

I had a really great time working on my part of this animation and the final film is something we’re really proud of! Take a look and enjoy some saltmarsh air as well as some great narration by Lizzie Lockheart.

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Witch Character Ideas and October Doodles

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If there’s one thing I can get into its Halloween – and I love witch stories!
When I was younger some of my favourite stories were based around witches (Harry Potter, The Worst Witch etc). I had a lot of fun messing around with the idea of my own witchy world and coming up with some character designs. I wanted to create a whole gaggle of witches with unique personalities and roles in this place. Above you can see my favourite witch modeling the Autumn collection. Shes very into stripes this season.

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Here she is cooking up something interesting with Trevor, her tortoise familar. I took the opportunity to work traditionally and come up with ink character sketches. There are mayors, mad scientists and gardeners who grow man-eating sunflowers as just part of the group!

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Travelling in style
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Trevor and his dazzling hot pink shell

I’d love to go further with this and come up with some buildings and environments for this story. But in the mean time I’ve gathered quite a selection of sketches! As well as some unusual questions.. where DOES a witch go on holiday?

If you’d like to see this project in a little bit more detail you can! There are additional images over on my Behance page, so go have a look if you’d like.

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Post, the first

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Welcome to my brand new shiny blog! After finally narrowing down 2 years of work to my absolute favorites, this website is the place to show what I think is the best of my work, but I want to keep a record of all the parts in between.

I’ll be posting updates of things I’ve been working on, sneak-peeks and development work. As well as the art I just do for fun (so expect a lot of monsters and black cats!)

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