Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Leonardo da Vinci

Had the opportunity to go and see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the National Gallery, London today and it was well worth it. They had paintings in the exhibition from all round the world. Sadly not the Mona Lisa, but I guess the French couldn't bear to part with it, even for a couple of months! However they did loan Madonna and child, and there's was filthy compared to the second Madonna and child.

The main reason I went was to see the newly discovered portrait of Christ, which is beautiful I must say. I stood in front of it for some time. Here is a picture of it:

Quite magical are his little sketches and working drawings. Some were only tiny thumbnails, which is how I sometimes work. I sometimes find it less inhibiting and more immediate to work in a tiny postage stamp size when I have an idea in my head that I am trying to put down on paper, and so I knew where he was coming from when he worked in that way. Here are examples of some of his sketches that were exhibited:

It is only on until the 9th February and so if you get a chance go and see it!

Friday, 20 January 2012

How to draw a pig

Yes, more farm animals today! Thought you might be bored hearing me go on about my various art projects and so I thought I'd give you another art lesson today! If you want to see some videos of me teaching in action just click on this link and visit videojug: VIDEOJUG

How to draw a pig:

Thursday, 19 January 2012

How to draw a duckling

Sorry I haven't been posting, but I have been busy trying to meet two deadlines for two completely different projects. Not easy. 

Have had a very busy two weeks actually. Managed to get all the roughs for the book completed today and emailed to writer and others. All that's left to do is a map, bit like the sort of map you get in Lord of the rings really, and a rough for the jacket (front cover of the book). I do hope they like the roughs and that they are what they were expecting - you can never tell! I have been drawing lots of animals this week, as they feature quite a lot in the book and it made me think about my recent set of videos with Videojug, which have not been broadcasted yet. I had to do how to draw baby animals, a pig and some other animals and so I thought I would share with you some of my step-by-step preparation.

Today it's how to draw a duckling:

Monday, 16 January 2012

Speedy day

Managed for the first time since I started to illustrate this book to meet today's target - yippee! Three full-page roughs completed. Sounds puny I know, but I am one of those artists who are slow at doing roughs, but quick at finished artwork. Good job really, or I'd never reach a deadline in time.

Speaking of which, it's a race to the line this week for Agatha! Yikes am still waiting for PDF of layout and they artwork is due, erm tomorrow evening! This is a little too close for comfort, but what can you do? At least I have worked out suitable background for the characters, while I've been waiting. I refuse to complain though, because I am exceedingly grateful for the work!

Here are some more lovely references I found for the Agatha Christie artwork, and yes this is research for the background and NOT the characters. And yes the period is Edwardian, that is because although the story is set in the 1930s, the house they are living in is very Edwardian in style.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Last minute!

Late post today. I have only just finished working! Long day, but rewarding as I beat the anatomy issue I was having that had me beat yesterday! So managed to get two more full page pictures and one half page done today. That doesn't sound much, but it's actually a lot of work! Only eight more pictures to go, but some of the hardest yet and one I am actually physically dreading working out, as it is so challenging! i haven't even got any ideas in my head for it, which is why I'm panicking a wee bit about it! 

I seem to be drawing lots of trees with this project and so thought I'd share some sketches of trees with you today.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Grissly, drooling monsters!

What fun! Today has been a day of scary monsters with big claws and long sharp teeth. Not in my home you'll be glad to know, just on paper!

The monster appears in the book I am illustrating, so I have been working hard on getting compositions right, getting anatomy okay (not easy I might add), and adding a sprinkling of humour too! There's a rescue mission scene, which I've made quite farcical, involving a very clumsy rescue, weird goggles and other strange Heath Robinson-esque equipment. 

I'm not finished yet either. Now I've got to switch projects and put my editorial head on and get on with changes to my artwork for the Agatha Christie magazine. I shall collapse on the sofa at some point!

This is not a monster, but he's certainly scary. This is a sketch I did in another artist's stead a couple of year's ago, while they were on holiday. I did it as a favour, so they wouldn't lose the commission for the main book. Ugly brute, isn't he?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Gunk, gunk and more gunk!

Yes, I've been drawing gunk today and characters stuck in it, also the odd grisly monster, scaring away some peculiar birds! All in a days work. Am struggling with some anatomy at the moment that's proving a bit difficult, but hopefully I will get it resolved tomorrow. Have completed (well nearly) two full-page roughs today. Just need a bit of tweaking tomorrow.

Am also waiting to hear back from the editor of the magazine with editorial comments on latest roughs at the moment. Found some lovely references for fashion for this one. What do you think:

Monday, 9 January 2012

The bizarre world of art

One minute you're thinking about making a Superintendent as menacing as you can, in the gleam of his eye, right down to the strut if his walk, and next you're thinking about how best to draw two fantasy creatures, helping a third out of some mysterious icky substance left behind by some villainous, equally fantastical creatures. Yep, that's been my day today.

The Superintendent is of course a creation of Agatha Christie, and yes the advertisements are on the telly box as I write! Have caught the 'commercial' a couple of times now. Exciting stuff! As you can tell I am still working on later issues of the magazine. Hopefully if sales go well the company will decide to go with all of Agatha's novels and I believe she had over seventy published in total! Quite a feat!

Anyway, I feel like I keep teasing you with hints of what I'm working on an no artwork and so here's a published work...

Friday, 6 January 2012

Very frustrating day!

I have tried and tried to work today and all I have produced is one single rough sketch, "why" you ask? Because a mysterious allergy reaction that I get about four times a year has struck today and no histamine known to man works. You try and draw and concentrate when your nose is constantly streaming, and you are violently sneezing continuously all day! I am so angry, I have very little time to get this work done and I have to get this today! I have decided to give up as my concentration is shot to pieces anyway! What a waste of a whole day.

Sorry, but I'm feeling too rough to sort out an image to show you today, maybe Monday. Must go am about to sneeze again!!!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Funny old day really

Didn't get much work done today as I was busy sorting out domestics - no I haven't been arguing, just some work being done to my place.

Did manage however to squeeze in two more roughs for the fantasy book, challenging but fun today. I have been told by the editor of the new Agatha Christie magazine that the first issue is in the shops and the adverts on telly are now happening, although I haven't seen one yet. So, if anyone out there see's one can you drop me a line? He also gave me the next spread that I am working on and it's a Poirot story and is very seasonal - I shall say no more!

Hopefully I will be able to share some artwork with you tomorrow, but not any Agatha Christie stuff until issue five is out, which is the first one I illustrated!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Feisty teenage magical creatures

Well I can't tell you their actual names in case I give too much away you know. But today I have been battling with one small illustration that I must have scribbled about half a dozen times before it started to work. Artists get blocks too just like writers! Got there in the end I think - although my agent may have other ideas - yikes! He is my devil's advocate after all.

I hope to do some more Agatha Christie suspects soon, alongside this fantasy children's novel project, which is a gem of a commission. I get to really stretch my imagination and make fanciful hair-dos, clothes, shoes and creatures! Had fun just drawing a door last week, it was a fantasy door and not just any old boring door you know.

In a way the Agatha Christie commission is the complete opposite, but just as enjoyable, because I have to base all the clothing in fact and not fantasy. I am still waiting for the magazine to come out in the shops before I am in a position to share some of the artwork with you.

I am using this style for the book: