Saturday, April 6, 2019

Present Continuous

A man walks into a bar. Well worn floorboards groan as he makes his way across the floor.
He sits in his favourite chair, creaking a little after 10 years of the habit. He nods at Jerry the barman, who pulls a pint almost on reflex. Jerry's a good lad, always happy to keep a lock in going for a celebration, a funeral, all those big moments spent there when closing time doesn't quite get the job done. The man rests his head in hands for a moment, breathing out the stress of a long day. He catches his reflection in the mirror behind the bar, and it's never very kind. The clock ticks loudly in the corner as it strikes twenty past seven. His best friend Brian always rolls in around eightish, the rest in dribs and drabs as the evening wears on.
Not yet, though. It's his first time here. He takes a sip of his beer. 'Damn that's a good pint', he thinks. 'I should come here more often.'

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in review

What happened this year?

-Worked at Giant- first NOT-A-BACKGROUNDS-designer job! WIN!
-Got first pass of animatic for short film KART done!- WIN...SORT OF
-Got Backgrounds job at Boulder! WIN!
-Got Concept Designer job at Boulder! WIN!
-Got to do some character and prop stuff too on an IP I love! WIN!
-Moved into a HOUSE with a front/back garden, good heating and my own office- WIN!
-Learned to DRIVE! -WIN! (well, still need my license, but drove my family across coutnry this week!)
-Went to THU in Portugal and met lifelong heroes of mine! WIN!
-Went to Amsterdam! WIN!
-Completed the intro course for Cross Fit! WIN!
-Actually began seeing a therapist! WIN!

There was also less cool stuff that happened, like learning my limit when it comes to after hours work and personal projects. Kart's staying where it is for now, because I don't have the juice to get it done myself.
I made a comic for DCCC that didn't get printed because the quality of the finish wasn't high enough, and the Teeny Rex physical copies embarrass me to this day.
I decided to stop doing comic cons for a few years, unless I have a good tangible book to show. It's a disservice to put all the time into drawing and then have a literal lacklustre finish.

Doing streams for Rover was a lot of pressure, but I liked the idea of getting work out more regularly. Gonna have a think about doing it again. Gotta make something, otherwise what's the point? Whatever it is, let's make it great!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Don't fear the Inker

So we're well into Inktober now,  and I wanted to talk about my experience working with wet media.

I used to hate two things ; working in colour and working in wet media. We'd have painting classes in college and sometimes we'd use coloured inks. It was nightmare fuel for me.  Dry media couldn't run,  there were never questions of opacity,  or what it would look like in the page. Every stroke was pure fear,  even though everyone else looked right at home.

In hindsight I actually did good work in some of those classes,  once I pushed through the fear and got in with it.

This leads me to step 1; get stuck in!

Different inks,  paints,  paper types and other media all combine in different ways,  with different results. You're not meant to be a master automatically,  and experiments should be treated as such. You'll find things you love,  you'll find things you hate,  and you'll find things you know you need to work on.
This doesn't start unless you do,  so even make some marks on a page and see where it goes from there!

2- Brush pens.
These are expensive, and daunting to use at first,  but they are my  favourite tool for both drawing in terms of quick emotive gestures AND as a gateway drug to the other wet media.

I use a Pentel one and a similar water brush for washes, but I'll get back to that.

For those that don't know,  a brushpen has a head like a brush with a small reservoir for ink and a squeezable cartridge that makes the handle.  Squeezing it causes more ink to flow into the reservoir and then into the page.  It allows for wet and dry brush techniques, without the need for dipping and wiping.

The first time I tried one I thought ' this is powerful and I'm just making a mess'

The fear was back.

So I took a month during the days when summer holidays are a thing and drew with it every day for a month.  the paper I used was all wrong and it bled everywhere,  but I wasn't scared anymore.

It was FAST,  and the ink was unforgiving.
It required confidence and took no prisoners.  It was a good kind of pressure,  so whenever I would draw at conventions,   I'd reach for the brush pen straight away.

3- Wash my love

Conventions were my proving ground,  as the day job usually involved colouring in photoshop and little actual drawing.

I'd seen Declan Shalvey do con sketches with ink washes so I tried it out on happy con goers! Cups of inky water were eventually replaced by a water brushpen, except filled with a pre-mixed ink wash.
the skills are the same,  but this opened up so many doors for making cool pictures, quickly.

Sometimes this would go horribly  wrong,  and I'd run out of ink or something else,  and I'd be forced to improvise.

I started inking with a brush. A BRUSH. and i was enjoying it,  too. Another time,  I had no ink wash, but an empty water brush so I used that with some watercolours.

4- watercolours! I am a photoshop painter first,  and work from the 3d sensibility of starting with a dark room and add light as I go.  Watercolor works light to dark, so I avoided it for the longest time.  I started thinking about it like inkwashes,  and like step one above,  i've been playing!  Getting stuck in,  and getting a handle on using colour in this medium. I've been playing in acrylics and I've a set of gouache waiting for me to try them out too.

Oh, the water brush and a set of watercolours is a GREAT workforce by the way!  Try it!

None of this is for the day job, just getting stuck in with learning more of the craft,  and getting the confidence to branch into even more things.

If you've seen my inktober stuff you may notice they're not the prettiest things in the world,  and they're not meant to be.  I'm playing!  Learning what I enjoy,  what I don't,  and what I need to work on.

So if you're doing inktober and you're getting stressed about posting every day or other people being wizards,  RELAX. It's a learning thing,  try and have some fun!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Breaking Ground

This was fun-originally based on rain running over paving slabs, but turned into some fun shape exercises mixed with trying some colour things out. I'd had orange pixies in the rough, but opted for big green lilly pads instead :D

Thursday, June 9, 2016


So, as you may know I've been working away at a film for these boys. and I've a smaller little project with them that should be ready soon* here's a pic of them adventuring in a local park!

Oh, and here's one I made earlier! 

These have been SO much fun. Expect to see more of these guys to come!

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Here's a pic based on one of the characters in the film I'm hacking away at in the background! Cian!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dublin Illustration Workshop

Hey everyone; so yesterday I went to the Dublin Illustration Workshop at Digit Games, where Denman Rooke showed us good work methodologies for character design. It was really interesting to see how everyone approached the brief, using both traditional and digital media. This was the first time I put the surface through its paces, and after a few hours I didn't find the screen to constricting.

I find the menus incredibly annoying on smaller screens, and of course working zoomed out (as I prefer to) is inherently *much smaller* on the smaller screen. The touch screen bothered me every now and then, but mostly it was fine. Workable, albeit slower. That's good to know in case I go travelling at some point and need to do some work.

Anyway, Sunday awaits!