Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ratchet 2012

Here's where I'm stopping at on this Ratchet pic. Would love to pour a few more hours into this, but I'm capping it at 7hrs so as to match the time spent on the first year's one which can be found over here
Oh crumbs, it seems I had another hour...oh well, I've work to get back to.

I find the old one completely hilarious by the way, mostly because I remember how *proud* I was of that early effort. Anyway, Ratchet and Clank is brought to you by the fine folks at Insomniac.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Never Forget

OK, you were right. Mick suggested I change the layout a bit and he was bang on. Worked up the lines in Flash, which while they were good for knocking out flats were definitely not worth it with Flash's teeny tiny colour selection palette.

Vive le Photoshop!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Best Viewed as Small as possible

So I was walking into town yeterday, and was getting a bit miffed that I couldn't do any colour studies on the fly, which was the final nail in the 'why don't I get an iPad?' coffin.

So I did, and after seeing what Jason got out of his with a lovely little app called Procreate, I swiftly downloaded it to give it a shot. I'm impressed. It's still taking a bit getting used to, but the sheer freedom is amazing. Plus, it's bigger than my sketchbook would be normally, so there's more breathing room in terms of drawing space. You lose out on pressure sensitivity, sure, but that's something I need to force myself not to depend on.

This one's from a Costa, looking out onto Dame St. I was actually a tiny bit too restrained with the colours, having snapped a photo afterwards, but at this stage I'm just experimenting with the program and checking it out.

Any apps you guys absolutely recommend me getting? There is SUCH a world of potential to this thing, I can't wait to play some more, and to make cool things with it.

 Stay cool,


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Colours and things

Have updated my colours portfolio over here mostly with pages I found online elsewhere and thus, I assume, safe to post.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Never Forget

So I went to the zoo yesterday, and the shape of the elephants' heads fascinated me. So I wanted to do something under a terrible pun based title of 'Never Forget'
Still a WIP, but taking it easy this weekend so not gonna wreck myself trying to get it finished. Even taking this break I've noticed a few things that need fixing, so that'll be on the schedule tomorrow evening :)
Decided to push the storytelling in this one and the final thing'll have a few more key elements to it to really sell the story.
For now though, a bit of process. Hope y'all digs :D

Friday, October 12, 2012

Red Riding through the Sky

Yesterday seemed hellbent of me not getting much painting done, but managed to doodle this skycycle thing. Not a finish pic by any stretch of the imagination, but hammered home a need to spend more time trying urban environments.

TODAY however, I wasn't gonna let a lack of internets get in my way and got to play around with the pic above. Work came a calling and had to shelve it for now, but it was the good kind of work so I was happy out. Add in Breaking Bad in the background and you have 11.45 with me still at my desk.

Should probably go to bed, I'm heading to the zoo tomorrow :3

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The thing about tutorials

Occasionally, when I am wont to do so, I watch painting tutorials on youtube. The imagineFX channel is PARTICULARLY good, but the overall thing I feel is that I would have stopped WAY earlier than the artists in the demos. with that, I've decided to keep working on this thing, until I'm sick to the gills of looking at it. So far, I'm still really enjoying it, and thankfully I still have enough layers that changing things like character scale isn't too taxing on the paint-time.

I've really found a favourite in the erodible square brush- JUST enough texture, and works out in a shape that's quite conducive to my line weights- which is sort of the point really, to match trad media

Anyways, I'm also limiting myself to not being on the computer after 10.30 on a schoolnight....and of course by schoolnight I mean work the next day. So I bid thee adieu, and if I get through my receipts tomorrow evening (ew!) I might have another update yet again.

Really interested to see if I overwork this and ruin the pic as a result, or if it pushes me to a new level. LET'S DO A SCIENCE!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A dose of Moonshine

So Graham brought in a copy of Moonshine today, and it inspired the hell outta me.

Topic is tangentially based on a suggestion by Adam :D

Getting the hang of PSCS6, and beginning to find some brushes that work for me. I could quite happily work back into this...I think it was about an hour's worth of noodling :) Kept it about a quarter of the size of my monitor for most of the painting, right up until the lantern appeared. Starting to really like that approach.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Some doodles from tonight and last night. The pandas, harbingers of the artblock. Rargle. First and last one there have the same background, just trying out two different approaches to abstract splotches. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Absence of Self

 20 Mins Photoshop, because I didn't have enough time to paint a badger like I wanted.

ERASING A LOAD OF WAFFLE HERE. Don't worry, it's the internet. I'm sure it's cached somewhere :D

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Warming Up

You may have noticed I've been quiet as of late, and that's been because my computer went and catastrophically died on me, so I've been somewhat stuck for my digital painting and other digital tomfoolery.

More or less back up and running now, and trying to get used to all these upgrades (it's a hard life :D) so I've been angling towards a few of these paintings. Oddly enough, the biggest barrier to productivity is *where I have my keyboard* Significantly less desk space= hardware overlap, so I've been trying different arrangements the last few nights as I refill my machine with backups etc. Tonight I think I hit it, and had a blast painting the top one you see there.

Now to dive into flash and illustrator, and hopefully by the weekend I'll be back up to full working speed. Or, if PS is anything to go by, potential faster. Here's hoping! Still wrangling with my old computer in a very literal sense- the hard drive is in the stupidest place imaginable, and if that comes out I might get the remainder of my old files back.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Legend of Korra

Oh, it'd saved a draft. Here's where I am on this Korra pic.
Might get back to it in a while, but leaving it for now.

NSFW Fishlady

Hooray, I lost all my text.

And now, a picture with insufficient explanation.

This evening's speedy.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


I'm in the middle of a moral dilemna in regards to worldbuilding series, on their experiential value versus their ability to detract from reality, but worries like that tend to vanish when it coems to sitting down to shows like the Avatar franchise.

Worldbuilding is my favourite aspect of this, and it's the same reason I admire the design in BSG, Firefly and the Fifth Element. So much thinking has gone into it, and a world has literally been grown, albeit a conceptual one rather than a physical one.

Avatar: Legend of Aang was expansive, amd had a world nicely compartmentalised and carried out my favourite storytelling game of 'these are the rules, what can go wrong, what can be done' to great effect. The breakup of the books into Water, Earth and Fire seperated the story nicely, and though there was a bit of a lag in the middle, the show was lighthearted, colourful, clever, self referential and had characters with ACTUAL CHARACTER GROWTH. Mentioning that I think I've written about it here before, so I'll take it as read you know that I love that show and watch it on an almost monthly basis.

Korra had a tough sell. The world had grown up and industrialised, the famous characters had aged or died, and telling the same story twice wouldn't wow anyone.
I admit, I do love the sheer tenacity with which these problems were adressed. Industrialised city, well that seems like a pretty major plot point. Old and dead gives way for young and new, and having Aang's descendants as purely secondary characters is something I'm very happy with. If this were another show, with less faith in its world, Korra's team would have had a teenage Tenzen or one of his kids being much older to shout out the airbending end of things. They're THERE all right, but it picks it's moments well.

Not telling the same story twice. I didn't see this take coming. Aang's struggle was based on facing responsibility and earning redemption. Korra's not burdened with that, her attitude more akin to Toph's than her past life...and THAT'S her problem.

It's as if the show said 'OK, she's the opposite of Aang. What can happen, what can go wrong?'

A more evolved world, more evolved expectation, and a more evolved artstyle. LoA took a while finding it's feet visually, and the difference in drawing the characters could be seen artist to artist. Korra's a new beast, and it comes across as more refined and solidified. Best of all, it had the Clone Wars treatment.

With a surname like Lucas, it's hard to wander very in the world of film, comics and geekery without falling under the shadow of Big G. The prequels presented an opportunity to explore the potential of lightsabres, and what was quite cool in ep 1 (Darth Maul fight) turned to blooming ridiculous by episode 3. Was it episode 2 that had the jedi in the arena with padme and the boys being sacrificied? That wall to wall lightsabre fest broke my heart. It was the equivalent of seasoning your food with pepper the first time to add a nice taste following up with a plate filled with mostly pepper. It's not an improvement, just an upscaling.

Korra DIDN'T do this, and I was actually quite worried about this. LoA played with the possibilities of bending over it's 3 series and had done lots of things to the point where my brain would go off and wonder what else they could do. The limits are based on the strength and mental faculties of the bender in my deductions, and this is explored in the new show.
What they did do is find ways to elaborate the possibilities of the fights; mixing and matching bending forms, practical applications and also creating great visual spectacles. It would have been easy to have an army of benders filling the sky with walls of fire, earth, water and...well, air, but they have chosen their battles and absolutely delivered on the promise of bigger and _better_ bending.

All in all the series is more mature, and more teen-based than LoA, with Korra obviously having different things to wrestle with than 11 year old Aang. It's humour is more tongue in cheek, but I still think we may be treated with some silliness in the books to come. I'm not overly impressed with the pacing of the show, and while I understand why this was necessary it left me feeling a little uneasy. Possibly a little residual George RR Martin in my head, but it's nature of not being a standard journey fayre put me off a bit.
That uneasiness is good though. Putting it in a phrase, it could quite easily surmise the whole series 'Nothing is simple' or with horrifying facebook allegories 'It's complicated'

I like it. It's keeping me on my toes. Just watched the finale (if I haven't mentioned already) and I did not know what was coming next. 3 times. 3 TIMES I was suprised, and there's one or two things I think they threw in just for rampant discussion on the forums.

I find myself having set opinions on which characters I like and fervently dislike, though I have to say I initially thought 'Bolin is Sokka, puhlease...' but he completely and totally won me over. Stocky guy with eyebrows? I shall root for you Bolin if only so one day I can dress up like you and act like an idiot. Never in my life have I been so tempted to cosplay.

I can't wait until the series is over, purely so I can buy it on DVD and watch it all in one sitting, like shows like this really need to. Also, to buy the art books. And THEN, HOPEFULLY, to one day work on the show or one very much like it in heart and intent as much as content.

Well, that's one moral dilemma solved.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain

I'm waiting on an issue of MacGyver to open up for a last minute check, and while I do I figured I might write up a bit on my process for colouring comics.

STEP 1- Read the script. OK, this usually isn't step 1. Usually I get the pages- digitally- and drool over them somewhat and THEN read over the script. Twice. Once on it's own, as a squee-filled fan who counts his lucky stars to be working on awesome books, and again with the pages in mind. I play it out as a film in my head, and think about how the colours play out in my brain. Not EVERY SINGLE PANEL, but the main beats.

STEP 2- MR FLATTER, I SUMMON YOU. I've been using a flatter for MacGyver, and this presents advantages and disadvantages. The selections are INFINITELY cleaner than I would do solo, particularly on loose work like Mr Sliney is wont to do from time to time :D So, I send my pages off to Ranvic and he works 'em up for me. The colours that come back are OFF THE WALL, but that's good for selections.

MEANWHILE, STEP 3- I take low res versions of the pages, and thumb out the main colour beats. This is where some of the more off the wall colours come out of. Sometimes.

STEP 4- The pages come back from the flatter, and I press F6, my magical lineprep button. This takes the document, convert the lineart into a transparent layer with alpha (cloned, so I still have the original), set to CMYK and with a plain white layer to obscure the original lineart. This makes colour holds as easy as any other part of the page with locked transparency, and no need to rely on multiply layers  and the strangeness that can have with inks. I still cringe at some of the earlier work I did before I learned about this and trapping your work when I had a multiply layer. Ugh. Great pages ruined.

STEP 5. Correct them flats. No toning this time around, just go on the hues. Like the exact opposite of starting a painting in greyscale, it forces you to make decisions of colours, and shows when things are blending too much , and forces you to push the bar somewhat. I find that if I play it safe with this approach, with completely local colour, I get quite frustrated and change things up dramatically. One such scene had been coloured, finshed and ready for exporting, when I hid the layer and thought 'what would I do if I didn't hold back?' and re-keyed the scene to be what is now my favourite in the book to date.

I try and do different things every book, and for the next project I do, I want to stop at this point. The style we're going for with Mac calls for full on tones and everything, but work like Will's doesn't need rendering- it's all there already. I see other colourists with flat tones and it sings, and to be honest, it's terrified me. I usually feel like I haven't done enough and need to earn my keep more. Pushing my palettes, and not holding back, I can rest easy on a book not rendering things. But for this book, I'm not done

STEP 6- Now's where the rendering comes in. Things like shadows, highlights, material transparency, translucency, reflections, bounce lights and all that jazz. The icing on the cake. The page COULD be sent off now, but I'm not done.

STEP 7- Line Holds. I said before I try to do something different with every book, and for Mac I'm pushing my use of line holds. It looks subtle onscreen, but Danger Academy showed me they really sing in print. SUBTLE PLUGGING IS SUBTLE.

STEP 8- and this is what I'm doing right now. Wait a day (if you can) and read the whole issue. Mistakes should pop if there are any, and any inconsistencies will be more noticeable than if you've done a horrible grind.

I know I haven't gone into WHY I pick certain palettes, but that'll be another blog post. The pages have all opened, and it's time for that last run over. I should finish with

STEP 9- Edits. Writers and artists both pour hours and love into a book, so if they see something they think is wrong, you listen. Thankfully pretty much all the folk I've worked with have known their trade well, so I don't think I've gotten an edit I didn't think 'd'oh!' for missing out on. Hopefully they'll be minimal, but either way the book'll be better for it, and that's the most important thing.

Peace :D

Monday, May 28, 2012

Painting in progress

I'm in the middle of another painting, but don't have the usual amount of time to try and get all done in one sitting, so I'm sticking it up here as it ticks along, a sort of WIP/Tutorial type thing. Just to go through, I start of with an incredibly rough sketch (not seen, but the linework tends to have SO MUCH MORE LIFE than the clean line it's not even funny) always drawn on a midgray background, at about 30% opacity, 60& flow hard round brush in photoshop.

I then do the clean(ish) lines you see above. WHY OH WHY? Because then I can a) lock in the design of things and forces me to think things through a lot more but B) because I can flat em in super fast. Much like in comics stuff, when I got through the flatting process it gives me a time to exclusively think about the tone and colours I want. For this I want it to have the overall air in the place of what-wet-fur-smells-like, with the dragons dropped in over it like a breath of fresh air...or an unwelcome draft, depending on your perspective :D

I then press Ctrl Alt Shift E and that makes a flattened clone of the lot, and then Ctrl Alt Shift B (I THINK) to greyscale it. I then paint up a quick value study, so I'm not getting ahead of myself with colour alone.

NOW is the point where those two techniques clash horribly, but I'm in the porvess of figuring out how to marry the two. Either way, from here on I combine the two and make with the pretty. I have 90 mins painting time left, so FINGERS CROSSED I should have something for ye later on.

Wish me luck.

Normal Service will resume shortly.


OK, my eyes have pretty much called it quits for the day. Here's where I'm at so far :D

Friday, May 25, 2012

Not Quite Right and the Holy Numbers

It's been bugging me lately, pieces not slotting into place. As if it's the exact opposite of being in a rut. Ideas are there, just none of them sing. Going through the same (and some new) processes, but the end result has an altogether Brother-Bear anticlimax to it.

I really liked Brother Bear, but it was no Lion King. Knowing they could make that, it really cheapens the lesser pieces.

I say this not as a moan, because I'm going through some stuff at the moment so I don't EXPECT to be hitting every punch with my personal work, but what I really want to talk about is HONESTY.
A friendwas tweeting about Pascal Campion's work, wondering why it's all so good. I replied saying that is was completely honest- most of his pics look like they come from happy moments in his life, and the emotion's dripping from the page.

Some people's whole careers seem to veer towards their perfect project, the one thing that it seems like they were absolutely made for. There is overdoing it , like the Burton-Depp-Elfman triumvirate of doom, but that's the kind of zest I'm talking about.

The most recent example I've come across is Tommie Kelly's Holy Numbers. His struggle with religious themes has come to fore before, and he's been trying different things over the past few years to push his storytelling visually. His actual linework always seemed very....thick to me, and when he got onto DOWN it really started gelling for me with how he tells stories. There's something gutteral to it (in a good way), and it matches the topics he goes for 100%.

 Tommie sent me the first few pages to read just before he launched, and I held off. Kinda like caviar- it's not something you have at the drop of a hat, the occasion and your mood needs to be right. Today was the perfect time for me to check it out, and I'm genuinely curious to see where it goes from here. It's really great to see one artist and writer who seems to have all the pieces really slotting into the right place.

Honesty, in form and in fiction :D

Here's Holy Numbers by the way:

Tommie's also behind Irish Comic News (amongst a crew of awesomefolk)

Saturday, March 3, 2012


I'm in the middle of moving/changing jobs, but in the eye of this perfect storm of lifechange THIS happened.
 If you haven't seen the show check it out, it's great. BBC's Sherlock.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


So I've a project in the works (three, actually) that'll require a bit of animation, so I've been doing some flash stuff lately. Doing Panda was a _lot_of_fun_, I might do more of that in the future.

Rar. Oh and just to mention again, if you're unfamiliar with Panda check out where you can find all of his adventures to date.

Oh, and have a picture. For those of us without valentines, a big digital hug.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Panda VS Raccoon: Panda vs the Tasty Treats

It was pointed out to me that I don't link to this enough on my site. Before I get into some webdesign FUN, figured I'd throw a link up here. My OTHER blog which updates every Friday-

Panda VS Raccoon: Panda vs the Tasty Treats: TAPES. Every SINGLE time I wrote tapas- and even this sentence, I start writing 'tapes'. This is fact. Tapas = delicious. Their tiny por...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Adventures in Sitting Down

Woop, so here's some of last night's life drawing. In retrospect, sorely missing some colour in these- will be super hued next week :D Classes are at 7 in Sol Gallery on Dawson St every Tuesday if you're interested in joining me.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Streaming this Evening

I've had people say in streams before that they'd like to see how I go about it from start to finish, so this evening I'm going to go through a new pic from start to finish*

I'll do a bit of research before hand so you don't have to sit through alllllll that, but what I SHOULD cover:

-Character designs
-MAYBE some 3d mockups, depends what I need.
-Converting to colour
-Final Adjustments

It starts at 7.30 Greenwich time. If I carry through to finish, I see it taking about 5 or 6 hours at least, probably more if I get chatty. Leave a comment if you've any soundtrack preferences. Otherwise, it'll PROBABLY be Bon Iver.

Spread the word, or come along and say hi :D

Life Drawing Jan 30

Hooray, I need to set up a photo rig. ANYWAYS, here's some of the results from this week's life drawing. Graphite stick on A3 Cartridge paper. I think I've found my new favourite medium. Like a scaled down charcoal. Model was quite possibly the skinniest girl I've drawn, and that had some of it's own challenges. Fun/interesting. Definitely wasn't grooving as well as I was the previous week, but still worth the journey.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Paved Paradise

...and put up a parking lot. The title was an afterthought- I've been meaning to do a pic on this for YEARS.

I should explain.

When I was a kid I was meant to be going for a walk with my uncles, and whatever happened, I got seperated from them and ended up walking along the seafront on my own. It was almost pitch black bar the bright moonlight, and was the first time I'd been acutely aware of the horrible glare those orange (tungsten?) lights have. Awful, awful things. (I found my uncles after a minute or two, everything was fine.)

Flash forward, I moved to the countryside.Walking home at night was amazing, as it would be almost as bright as day but all in blue, with the same pacifying harmony a snow filled landscape would do. Plus, STARS. If I walk a minute out the road, there are tonnes of stars. Wait a few minutes for your eyes to adjust, and you've a clear view of galaxies, nebulae and the milky way itself. They didn't have that in Dublin.

Returning from a walk the other day (a new route, with NO roadlights) I got to the outskirts of the town and saw the orange lights start again. That's when the idea for THIS popped into my head. WHY you may ask was I walking in the dark? When you stare at a monitor all day focusing on minute colour gradations, a bit of darkness is absolute bliss. I remember when I was in Dundee I found myself getting increasingly frustrated by the complete absence of total darkness _anywhere_

That's a tricky concept to sell with a picture, so I decided to amp up the blue instead. Hope it reads OK.