Posts Tagged ‘illustration’

screenshot of iPad zombie painting.

June 3, 2010

Thought I would post the final screenshot of the zombie since the video doesn’t do the colours justice. This was a fun thing to play with today. By the way, if you have an iPad you can take screenshots by pressing the power and the home buttons down together. The display is really second to none.


first mess around with sketchbook pro on my new iPad!

May 31, 2010

This is the first proper experimenting I have done since buying sketchbook pro for my new black slate of joy. Have to say that the program is quite versatile in terms of an on-the-go sketch and paint program. It doesn’t begin to touch Corel Painter or Photoshop for ease of use, but for the way that it turns my iPad into a budget cintiq pad, I am well pleased. I am looking forward to being able to think and draw and paint on the move, then email the results as layered Photoshop files (nice option there) to my studio and use the images later to work up possible images from.

I am using a stylus to do the painting. I bought it from eBay. It is called a Pogo Sketch. It’s a simple aluminium tube with a spongey blob on the end. It works quite well, although a little unresponsive. It makes up for this by providing me with more accuracy and with the “feel” of drawing.

5 laxatives for creative constipation

May 30, 2010

Everyone gets stuck. Everyone has times when they feel uninspired. When they feel like they are never going to have a great idea again…….your design work feels stale, your writing suddenly feels predictable, flat.

At times like these it’s easy to panic and that just makes things worse. But there are many things you can do to refresh the well again; to get the creative juices flowing once more. Below are five ways of finding release from the creative doldrums. Believe me, I am talking to myself when I write these. They are a good reminder to me not to panic when the next period of drought seems to arrive……

1. Take joy in the little things…..

This is the Big One in my opinion. Learn to sloooooooooow riiiiiiight down and take some time to find your grounding in the details of each day again. As Ferris Bueller says, “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Really, really sage advice.
Try an experiment. For the first part of the day, carry a notepad around with you and write down everything that you notice around you that takes your interest – the way the sun breaks through the trees, the sound of the bin men as they carry away your rubbish, the sound of birds, the movement of crowds and people in the street, the colours of tiled rooftops, the curl of cigarette smoke through the air…….whatever you see and hear and smell. Don’t try to make it a big thing. Relax and let yourself remember that even within a foot radius of where you are at any time, there are inspirations for composition, colour, concepts just waiting to be realised from the minutiae of this world we have been given to live in.
I once read an interview with a well known illustrator who said that when he watched movies, it was the backgrounds, the textures, the odd camera angles, the little things that reinspired him to take out his notebook and make drawings and think…..
You can make this way of seeing and appreciating the world into a habit. It will affect you in your life generally and begin to show through in your creative work.

2. Share with like-minded people.

This is why I love social networking! A great way to rediscover enthusiasm and creativity is to share your stuff with other people and to spend some time discovering their work too. Sharing work you have done in the past, for instance, is a great way – through feedback – to be reminded that you have something special: a God given, original eye, hand, ear or all of these. Sometimes being in a rut can make us lose our confidence about what we are trying to do. Getting positive feedback about what we have already done is a massive boon. And don’t forget that this one works BOTH ways. Think about how good you feel when someone takes the time to make encouraging comment about something you have made. It feels fantastic doesn’t it? Well…..

3. Try something new.

If you are an innately creative person, then chances are you can put your hand to more than one activity and surprise yourself. Change your medium of expression and treat it as a fun experiment. If you draw, try painting or pottery. If you like poetry, try writing some yourself. If you have been inspired by stories in the past, try making up a short story. Darn it, go out and make art from the pebbles on the beach. The important thing here is to try something new with your mind and hands and treat it as fun. Don’t be ultimate about it! Don’t expect to be “good” at it. The aim is to find a new perspective and a new feeling by trying something new for pleasure. Be playful. You are not producing anything here to impress.

4. Play again.

This might be the fourth point but sometimes learning to have fun and rediscover our sense of playfulness can be a big key to unlocking the door to fresh creativity. My father in law once said to me that when he ran his plant nursery business, he always treated it as if it were a hobby and a passion, not a job. That way, he was never motivated by anything other than love and pleasure in his work. It is a hard thing to do this considering the financial and time pressures we put ourselves under in modern life, but I like what he said. I remember it.
Sometimes we simply have to stop and realise that in order to continue loving what we do, we need to let it go, spiritually and emotionally. We need to say “hey, it’s only making marks and having fun!”. We need to rediscover the playfulness of children in our work. If we feel stale, this playfulness is definitely missing. Young children don’t worry when they make things. To them it’s play. It’s unconcerned joy. They are not critics. They don’t work to “achieve”. They make things because making and doing and using their hands and discovering stuff is FUN. The results are not judged by them. They learn to judge as they grow up and become us! We, as artists and makers, need to remember who we once were before we restrained ourselves with all the criteria we set for ourselves. We sometimes need to take time out and do whatever we need to play and have fun: paint and make a mess in the attic playing loud music, try making faces out of doodles, try sculpting out of old bits of wood.

5. Move!

A practical one that I can’t forget. I am a keen fitness enthusiast and when not drawing and illustrating, I also run a sports massage and bodywork clinic. I often work with people who have what I call “digital pain syndrome”. They are tight and uncomfortable in the neck, back and shoulders because they sit at a computer all day long. I am a firm believer in how much what we do with our bodies affects us emotionally and psychologically. So, when you are stuck for ideas, get UP from your monitor or desk or canvas and get OUT and walk or go to the gym or go and do some gardening. Let your body stretch and move on a regular basis and you will find your mind follows suit.

The above are obviously my own thoughts borne out of my own experience. Feel free to share your own strategies for regaining inspiration in your work. If you have written on a similar subject, share share! I would love to know what you think!

sketch for “ipad is here” illustration

May 28, 2010

Working this morning on a tech illustration on a geeky subject close to lots of geeks’ hearts this morning…..the release of Apple’s Ipad. Have to say, I am the geekiest of geeks and my delivery of gorgeous sleek techness arrived yesterday via a shining UPS lorry. So far I have downloaded a few apps and cruised the net – the user interface is SUPERB. I don’t know about the term “game changer”, but in terms of changing what technology  consumers may buy in the next couple of years, its definitely up there. If I have time I may plonk a few thoughts and recommendations down regarding apps and accessories (I did buy a Pogo Sketch Stylus to use on the pad when doodling). Anyhow, I will post the final illustration later this morning hopefully. Watch this spaaaaaaaaaaace……….

Stage 3 and a jump into Photoshop!

December 5, 2009

Well, I took the plunge and jumped into Photoshop’s painting and masking tools and began working up the face straight off, using the sketch I did in Painter as a guide layer in Photoshop: set over all the other layers using Multiply blending mode.

I jumped in here because I was eager to see what the face would look like using this approach. It isn’t finished quite yet, but I have done enough to know that I like what it promises. I can go back to the sketch stage in Corel later to work up the sun face some more, but I think I am done with Illustrator for the time being, since I have been using the vector tool in Photoshop to create selections from paths and then blurring them softly in Quickmask before using them as masks to paint or fill through.

Stage 2 “Besotted”

December 3, 2009

Heres stage two of what I am calling “Besotted”.

You can see that I have saved the Painter file as a .psd and brought it into Adobe Illustrator as a placed file. I then set that layer as a template and began drawing the base vector shapes of the figure and the clouds. When working in Corel Painter I tend to save out my files as I go along as Photoshop files, because I often jump between the 3 programmes of Illustrator, Photoshop and Painter during a project.

You will also notice that  I have had some more ideas about the image itself and jumped back into the drawing in Painter and added the beginning of a smiley, dopey looking sun and also an extra bird. This is why I LOVE working digitally – the imagination can run wild and things can be added or changed at any stage of the process – it is totally organic.

Illustration Friday – “Music”

November 26, 2009

I made this a couple of years back and thought it would be great for this week’s entry on Illustration Friday – Music.

The image is made up using printed textures that I created by hand with a roller and various papers. I then scanned these and used them to create “cut out” shapes in Photoshop.

For a while I really liked working in this style and you can see more of this approach in the Monkey Temple section of Good Infection Ltd, where I do work under the pseudonym of P. Joliffe. Check em out here if you are interested!

Mad Prof FINAL!

November 25, 2009

Yippee! I am leaving it here. I have added a few touches with some basic Photoshop techniques. The soft shadow to give the cut out effect is created using good old Gaussian Blur on a solid copy of the whole figure dropped behind the main character.

I also couldn’t resist adding some soft shadow to his wonderful hair. The thing is with me, I could go on and on making changes, but what I tend to do is pretend I am on a deadline. This is a good exercise for illustrators as it keeps your brain active and able to make decisions about the direction of a piece as you work on it and within the time limit.

Including all the commentary on this process, this work has taken me about 8 hours.

I hope you like the finished result. I would love to hear your comments and if you are a budding illustrator with any questions on my process and own experience, please drop me a question in the comment section and I will be happy to reply.

Mad prof stage 7

November 25, 2009

First colour try outs on the face and coat….

Mad prof stage#3

November 24, 2009

I have made some changes to the tonal values and am at the moment thinking white coat with some very light blue shadowing, but that could change.

The nice thing about working in grey tones to begin with is that you get a good sense of the contrast values that you need between colours in the palette you eventually go with.

The black outline just gives the figure such a nice punch out of the composition that I know at this point I am going to keep it. The feel I want is mainly flat colour and a quick render is what I am after in this one. When I leave the outline off its usually because I want to deepen textures and give the shapes themselves a more “3d” look with soft shadows and textures created in Photoshop and sometimes Corel Painter. I find that if you try to do both a strong outline and work more into the substance of the shapes, the two conflict and the image looks ugly and overdone.