Monday, March 30, 2009

Commission - 13

I've not been able to do any substantial work today. I went out this morning to buy a new computer..after much deliberation we decided to opt for a laptop as opposed to a desk top. now I've got to spend time setting up the Internet connection etc.....

The business women's meeting this afternoon went well and I was able to link up with Nilam who is an artist and lives just around the corner from me!

In today's photo, I've progressed well with the clouds..the effect is quite good. After dotting in the basic shadows in blue, I'm here adding yellow ochre on top..I will then add red and possibly more blue before I'm happy with the effect.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Commission - 12

I've not managed time to work on Cello today...things have been hectic to say the least.To start off with, Jan has a women's Business Lunch here tomorrow,'s amazing how many Women are self employed and running their own businesses in the couple of streets where we live!..artists, actors, authors and wholefood makers !.... so the house needs a good tidy and clean..I said i'd take charge of bathroom/toilet duties and vacuum the stairs etc...Jan went out to a meeting with a colleague so this was the cue for my children to fall out..Annie had been on a sleep over and was exhibiting the signs associated with very little sleep...boys on Play station..daughter wanting to watch TV....light blue touchpaper and retire....all this when my lungs were full of chlorine gas...or whatever noxious cloud my toilet cleaner was creating.

Anyway, here I've completed the background cloud which appears much more yellowy in real life...this photo was actually taken at the same session as the one yesterday, but I wanted you to see how much different it looks when the main supporting cloud is this is the 'before ' pic.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Commission - 11

I've completed the boat and added Razorbills flying across the water too.Now it's time to work on the bed of clouds supporting Kay above the sea.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cello - 51 it is, this is the third figure....and the figure! I bet you didn't expect that?I've taken it from the photos i took for my Comic Relief stunt a few weeks ago.It also gives me a chance show my 'Rats Tail' off quite nicely too!

Finished Big Head Events leaflet...

I thought you might like to see the way the leaflets look now they've returned from the printers..they have a nice glossy finish which is not evident here...I also realised it might have been more 'retro' to have printed them on cream/buff coloured time eh?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cello - 50.

What you can't see here is the pencil work for the third figure...I've decided I need to alter some of the detail on that, so you'll see what I'm doing regards that tomorrow. Today, more clouds...more lightning. The drawing board is the one place where things have been rosy today...outside of that ...certain things are not so good.

Commission - 10

Apologies for skipping through the production of this actual time it took around 135 hours to finish and that was over a two month period. I was also working on Cello at the same time.

Here you can see the finished Gannets ...the completed Bass Rock and the Yacht which used to be owned by Kay's partner.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cello - 49

Sorry (once again..I'm going to buy a camera soon!) for the poor lighting.I've spent the afternoon doing role play at Nottingham University...was good fun (Thank you Tina! ). but this as usual means reduced time working. I should be OK now for the rest of the week to try and bring this piece into it's final stages.
Here you see that I've filled in the arch under the bridge and added more of the Dandelions. you might be interested to see that I've added a Bumble Bee in the lower right hand corner. I had written to a friend on facebook who had been displaying her wonderful of which was a Bumble Bee..those of you who were with me here last year will remember 'Absurdities' which featured Bumbles, wasps, honey bees and hover flies. I incorporate a Bumble Bee because it symbolises to me that even when someone tells you that you are aerodynamically not supposed to don't listen to just fly. We are often frustrated in our lives by people or even ourselves convincing us that we will not succeed..that happiness is not to be had. Don't listen..just fly!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Commission - 9

Poor lighting for this pic as I took it with my lamp on...Still, you can see here I've worked on the Gannets in the lower centre of the page and filled in the Bass Rock island too.Behind the boat you can see the beginnings of the Singapore Skyline.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cello - 49

Spent six hours working on the field today...which has progressed further than this photo shows ( I wanted to photograph during daylight hours). i'm abpout to add in the mystery 'other figure'...I really need to get this picture finished now, i'm begining to get tired of it..

Commission - 8

Here i've penciled in more of the elements for background. The island shown here is Bass Rock,a volcanic plug created millions of years ago just off the coast of North Berwick ( where Kay and John live)which is close to Edinburgh, Scotland.The rock hosts one of the largest breeding colonies of Gannets in the world and is therefore a protected site...I've penciled in some Gannets in the foreground too!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Commission piece - 6

French bread, rose wine,grapes, brie cheese and sausage have arrived on the platter.....a veritable feast!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cello - 48

Back to Cello today..spent time extending the bridge and the sky.Time consuming work in all. the leaflet advertising Big Head Events is now with the printers and should be ready by the middle of next week. It's been a long week work eyes are tired.

Big Head Events - finished artwork with text.

Here is the finished mock up version of the poster...I've added text just to show the printer what I want it to look like..I guess he'll scan the original artwork and add the text on his computer. Below is the finished artwork without the text. Over all I'm pleased with the retro look that I've achieved!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Big Head Events - Creation of a poster.

I have been commissioned to design and produce a poster which will be used by 'Big Head Events' to publicise their murder mysteries and themed parties. For my initial brief, i was given a rough version of the text required for the i was given a list of some of the themed events and characters and developed a short series of rough sketches which were viewed by 'Big Head's' personnel.

I had initially been asked to consider a cartooney type of image rather retro in style along the lines of famous British cartoonist Ronald Searle.Among his most famous creations are the characters of the St.Trinian's school..movies of which were based on his drawings, and ultimately the drawings were used in the publicity and opening credits of the movies.

above you can see a photo graph of my rough sketches on top of a basic version of the text. I am also referring to source material from the St Trinian's DVDs and 'Carry On' movies (which I love!!)
Once the sketch is approved, I then proceed to begin work on the pencil drawing of the images ready to be inked. Remember, I am not a graphic designer and do not rely on computerised methods of image creation (text is a different matter) I go about it in the old fashioned way!

The inking begins with me first establishing the title of the theatre company.Other text will be added by the printer when the image is finished . In the meantime, I shall make a mock up of where I want the text to go and what it will look like.
I want to emulate the retro font used on the St Trinians movie posters.The text gives the impression that some one has used a scratchy pen that dispenses globs of ink off in all directions. I add as a last thought, two naughty little cherubs in the corners...I think I'll have them firing arrows.

The finished inking makes use of defined areas of black ink to create easily recognisable characters which stand out . I like the cheeky detective with the magnifying glass! The next stage is to add some colour.
Join me tomorrow to see the final version before it goes off to the printers.
Thank you for all the recommendations for digital cameras. I've been looking at a few of your ideas and will let you know what takes my eye!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cello - 47's a different view.I'm showing here the remainder of the picture minus one critical element of the composition which I'll reveal soon. sadly the photo is a little blurred and tilted..apart from that, it shows two potential endings.The line you can just see standing vertically towards the right of the picture was to have been the border , but I've decided to extend the picture to accommodate something else.

Tomorrow I have to work on another small commission for a Theatre Company. This should take up most of the day's work, so there might not be any progress on this piece. One other thing...I find that I am now after a few years of saving, in the market for a new camera...I'm opting for a compact digital simply because it's less conspicuous when out and about...and what you loose in aperture and focal length, you gain in stealth! any recommendations?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Commission piece - 5

Here is the introduction of a Chinese themed cushion..The symbol ( meaning 'Love') is a repeated one with the ying yang at the corners. There's rose wine in the glass and a tray of delicious looking goodies ready to be dotted...more about them next time!

Cello - 46

Have mainly progressed the sky today..have done quite a bit more since this photo earlier...I'm really enjoying filling in the clouds...I'm making them up as I go along so I have very little idea as to how they will turn out....just like the weather!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cello - 45 Niall gets into trouble.

It has to be one of the strangest and yet funniest things to have befallen me in a very long time.What am i talking about?....well, cast your mind back to Friday's post.You might recall that I had posted as part of the charity fundraising event here in the UK,two photographs on my Facebook page ..these photographs were very tasteful and tame nude photo's I'd taken that day...I can hear some of you laughing and or choking as I write! But this morning I had a message from Facebook telling me they'd removed one of the photos because it violated the terms of is funny becasue I've seen so many other pictures much worse..In fact there is a full frontal naked shot of an 18 year old lad swinging from a tree branch during a party which leaves very little to the imagination!..and it's been there for do I know?..I know his mum! I can only 'ass'ume that someone has concern that my perfectly formed derriere will corrupt someone!

I find this highly amusing now I've calmed down.....I like being a naughty boy hehehehehehehe!

Commission - 4

The sunflowers are nearly complete...a little sailing boat has arrived at the lower left hand corner....

I've not been able to work on 'Cello ' today....spent 4 hours ironing clothes that will inevitably get creased...wherer oh death is your sting?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Commission - 3

Not had very much time to work on Cello today...have had to look after my daughter Annie all day. She's a beauty, but demanding..watched 'Cinderella Story' with Hillary Duff.

Here's the central theme of the commission piece...Kay wanted me to base the portrait on a photograph taken of her at the 25th wedding anniversary of Allan and Sheridan' was a very special event and one at which Kay felt relaxed and herself. For this portrait, I decided to put her on a cloud of worship over the sea.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Commission - 2

To achieve the depth of colour like this, with my technique, requires intensive and prolonged concentration...I aim to give this picture a richness of colour. Kay asked for the sunflowers to be included because she had been to France with John and seen some of the vast sunflower fields. More tomorrow.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cello - 44 Comic Relief night.

I love the way sometimes,an unexpected effect surprises me.In this case, it's the area around the Cello head and the light from the coach windows. I've worked well on this picture this week, and if you look closely, you'll see pencil lines showing where some pretty dark clouds are going to be added above Cello Girl.

But...this morning I had a great time photographing a series of nudes....the model?...well, it was me! the reason ?..Well, here in the UK, it's comic relief night. A charity set up to raise money for projects helping the poor and needy in the UK and Africa. The evening's viewing on the BBC is devoted to this and features some of the worlds best known stars and bands performing free of charge to bring to the public's awareness the work of Comic Relief .

As part of the fund raising element, I have on my Facebook page, asked friends to leave a joke..for every person that does so, I will donate £1 to Comic Relief. If I contributers total 25 or more, I will publish a full length nude photo of myself taken today wearing nothing but a red nose! So, if you're a Facebooker and you haven't left a joke..please get over there now!

Commission - 1 promised, I am now at liberty to show you the commission piece I've been working on for the last few months. I'm afraid the first developmental sketches of the piece were accidentally deleted by my daughter, so we join the picture after I've completed the main subject..(which I'll arrive at in due course!) and begun work on the very important back ground.

The picture was commissioned by my friend Kay for her partner's birthday (which is today..Happy Birthday John!!) I could not reveal any of the details of the project here because John sometimes visits these pages. I got a wonderful email tonight from Kay telling me that John is very pleased with the picture...I can at last heave a huge sigh of relief!...more tomorrow!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cello - 43

I've worked hard today ..and enjoyed seeing the sky develop..I have an idea of how I want the sky to look, but to be totally honest, I'm just going with the flow as it were and following my instincts...the only thing I want to have is a central area where the lightning comes from.Above is the result of the days work..below you can see me working on the clouds...I usually have a piece of paper between my hand and the surface of the drawing, but omitted it for the purposes of the photo.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cello - 42

Todays work consisted of doing the one thing I try not to have to do..plane areas of the same shade.I have to do this so that there is a basis for the clouds to be added.That will be tomorrow!! You will see the exhaust from the probably won't reach all the way to the girl but will fade out nicely...generally (or at least from my own observations) the greatest amount of smoke seen in a situation like this is where the engine has suddenly been rev 'd to accelerate the train up to speed...and usually it's a small contained 'puff' of exhaust.This would be so if (as my picture depicts) the locomotive was newly built.

Below is a small selection of work bu illustrator Simon Williams..shown here are album cover artwork for a favourite band of mine called 'Pendragon' The pictures contain scenes from the albums song lyrics and form a complicated group of interconnected images based within a larger landscape.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cello - 41 Give me the moonlight...

For the sake of developing the atmosphere of the sky, I've opted to add in some dark wispy clouds...the effect is to contrast with the light coming from the the above picture (after) with the (before) shot below to see the change in dynamics when clouds are added.

you know,it was Tysonice who commented that this section of the picture was a 'picture' in it's own right...I'm inclined to agree. I'm now going to have a search for some paintings by an illustrator I admire immensely who packs many many more mini scenes into his work than I could ever dream of...I'll try to post some tomorrow!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Cello - 40

You can start to get an idea as to the overall atmosphere I'm aiming at now that I've begun work on the sky...the main danger I'm keen to avoid is too many plain expect some seriously boiling clouds. I'm deeply involved with this piece now..which means a lot of my day is taken up on it.My whole routine is dictated by periods of work and consequently one day can almost seem like another. Its the only way to get to where I want to go with a picture...and it's the thing I love...being immersed in a world I'm creating on the page.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Cello - 39..the view from my room.

I found it necessary to darken the whole of the viaduct to gain the right level of contrast (compare to yesterday's photos) the arch still isn't looking right to me...I will have to adjust the curvature a little i think.

It's been a difficult weekend for me..Jan is away yet again , this time acting in Oxford.So I've been in charge ...not that I have any control over my increasingly determined teenage sons. Yesterday they went out into town and then on to a friend's house.I rang them several times to check where they 1:20 am I decided to go to oldest boy assured me "Don't worry Dad...we'll be home soon" So I went off to bed. Got up this morning..their beds were empty..their meals still on the plates in the kitchen..I hate it when that happens.I worked out where they were....I was so angry, not because they weren't safe, but because I didn't know exactly where they were..anything might have happened. when I explain my concerns, they look at me and laugh as if I'm from another planet..well actually I'm from Earth...they're from 'planet teenager' which as far as I can tell, is in a totally different part of the universe to normal existence!...I know..I've been there!

So I was very lucky enough to have Annie's friend invite her round to play leaving me time to work a little. I thought I'd try out the panorama facility on my camera (I've had it for nearly 4 years now and never tried this function!) So here is the view out of my window...I've scribbled some notes to point out some places of interest. Please note the severely pruned willow tree at the bottom of my garden!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Cello - 38

Having decided on the figures, I now need to decide in what way to embed them into their surrounding environment. I want the Father figure to be reaching up towards the sky as if calling lightning down to his hand...I'm not sure if subconsciously I've depicted something from my own childhood, but I remember my Father taking me around the locomotive works and Round House at Derby railway depot in the middle of 1967...Britain's railways were in their final year of steam hauled services and the smell, sound and taste of the steam and coal fired locos struck me and remain with me. the loco seen here is a diesel powered Inter City 125 High Speed Train..designs for which were beginning to take shape even in the 1960's....but my love of railways can be attributed to my Father's influence.
Having established the path of the lightning, I need to work out how I'm going to 'light ' it...when viewed photographically, lightning has an almost perceptible contrast line around it's strands which is more better described as an outline.This looks odd when placed into a drawing like this...but will make sense once the sky continues up past the viaduct and train.

By varying the density of tone from the ground up and towards the lightning, a sense of mist and glowing can be achieved.This will also make more sense when the sky over the train is darkened and the contrast in the dandelions is increased. It's a continual matter of going back to areas already covered to deepen the contrast and detail.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Cello - 37

Continued work on the grass and dandelions including overall darkening of more distant parts of the field to show less detail , it is a night time picture after all. Then right under the viaduct, you can see a couple of figures..I've drawn them on some tracing paper so I can move them about to find the right placing..saying that, right in the middle is probably can also see the rudimentary scribbles indicating where I'm thinking of placing the moon and clouds.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Cello - 36

I didn't push the time today..the progress you see here is around four hours of work. I find I have a lot on my mind at the moment and having finished my commission piece, I usually feel a sense of loss after weeks spent on something.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Cello - 35

The good news is that I've finally finished the commission piece I've been working on since early's off at the framers now. So that only leaves me with time to work on this piece. this evening i've just worked on the skeleton hands which I don't like..i've added more dandelions too.
I generally dedicate around 5 - 6 hours working time each day..sometimes this becomes around 7 hours if I'm really into the groove as it were. I think on some previous works I've done 12 hour days, but that is rare. the strain on my neck, back, hands and eyes is evident after that length of time!

See you again tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Cello - 34

A shaky start to the bridge here...I'll tidy it up tomorrow..I'm really looking forward to depicting the skeleton's legs trailing in the grass and dandelions. I'm currently moving in the direction of advertising my services as a bespoke portrait artist...I'm going to initially advertise myself in the 'Ministry of burlesque'. I love this surreal fetishistic dark imagery....and would be interested working on commissions of a similar theme...How would you like to see yourself in an exotic or surreal setting?..... hold that thought until you've seen the present commission I've been working will be finished tomorrow and should be here for your viewing in the next two weeks or so depending on the commissioner!

Yesterday i told you that I'd be off on another role playing day. Well, without going into too much detail, it was a day fraught with tension and stress. This morning after walking Annie to school , I had to change the punctured wheel on our car...(no mean feat you may say..but I always hate these jobs because i always end up straining my hands which often means a couple of days before I am able to work competently again....also the grease and dirt become embedded and is difficult to work again is compromised!)..I then took the car to the garage to have the puncture mended and the wheel replaced...this took one and a half hours leaving me a short time to return home...shower and dress ready to drive my self and my neighbour Jane to a nearby town to role play as patients claiming incapacity benefit. We were both examined by nurses who were being observed by CCTV cameras.It was a actually a fun time and a good way to earn some money. ..the only sad thing was, that the cost of the repair bill for my car was £ earnings?...£75 !

Monday, March 02, 2009

Jilted...By The Puppini sisters.

You must forgive me not posting any progress on Cello this evening.I've arrived at the final few hours of work on my latest commission piece..I've decided to put my head down and head for the finish line.

Tomorrow I will be reverting to my alternate job of role playing..I am to play a man with some sort of muscular skeletal injury.The scenario brief tells me I need to be prepared to be examined by nurses and may need to wear shorts as I might have to take my trousers off....( and you thought I was doing it for the money!)..I'll tell you tomorrow how it all went.

Meanwhile, here's a stylish and wicked little video of the Puppini Sisters singing 'Jilted' out for the little twist at the end!