Monday, 27 April 2009


Poor old fella, just trying to get into work and the entire contents of a child's imagination is being hurled and unleashed at you. Well that's what I'm trying to represent with this illustration anyway.

The strip of pictures shows my rough sketches working up into the startings of a finished drawing, then applying the brakes to get more roughs done. There's a lot to represent in this picture, and it's blummin difficult to fit it all in, especially in that over complicated detailed exciting way that it needs. As you can see the top rough was a splurge. Then I had a vision in my head which I thought was put there by a book cover for a Tom Sharpe book, but I must be wrong. I had a good look for it and it didn't show up, but there is one with a car whizzing on the front, so that might have been it. Anyone know of a cartoon of a car coming over a hill with a frazzled looking driver behind the wheel with his tongue hanging out, then give me a shout! Anyway, the second drawing [notice I've usefully numbered the frames but you can't read them unless you click on the image but that takes you to another page which means you can't read this text. Hmmm. What a dilemma? Personally I would open the image in another browser window and then you can see both, I can't find a way of getting blogger to do that, but if you know a way, let me know! Wow, homework.] is my rough of that vision, which I think came out of my brain without too much trauma. The second one is just tidying that up, I folded one half of the layout paper over the top of the original to make that one, you might be able to see bits of the other one through. Also notice on 3 theres a small thumbnail where I wondered if I had started going down the wrong route and whether actually like my original rough I saw the car flying through the sky vertically towards us. I may well return to that if this one doesn't work out! The fourth sketch is a straight trace of 3 with the 'stuff' added. Dragon's feet dangling down, lazers coming out of labs, marshmallows over head, giant socks int he road and a big load of snow covering the car. Phew. Happy with that sketch I started to draw it up neat, look see, number 5! Nah, I wasn't ready so that got abandoned and 6 came about. I did wonder about having the egg in the middle of the road and our snap shot illustration shows fractions of a second after the car has smashed through the egg. I kinda thought that actually puts the egg a bit too much in the centre of stage. So seeing the egg in the distance with a either a hole in it, or as I've drawn on the same pic [6] the egg smashed on the road but with skid marks by the edge of it where the car has skidded off road to avoid it. The marshmallow factory is annoyingly in exactly the same place as the marshmallow illustration which obviously is a NO NO, so this will probably swap places with the lab. Then however the marshmallows won't be coming over the car but across it, which I'm not happy with. How picky am I? Maybe I could flip the scene so the car is coming over the hill to the left, oh no, NO NO NO... I don't know, but you'll see the decisions in the next few days.

The image on its own at the bottom is the latest sketch, its traced from image 6 on the strip. I've expanded the area for the illustration to closer to the correct dimensions so I can fit everything in!

click on the image to see it bigger

Thursday, 23 April 2009


Toby and a very large egg. Enough said really. I've started to use a brush pen to make a very quick bold sketch of an illustration then overlay layout paper, redraw it with any tweaks or changes I have then retrace that and refine a final time with the finished drawing. Seems to work well because then I don't get into any details early on just if the shapes work. Then when I can see they do I flesh it out. Simple but effective! Just like me.

click on the image to view a bigger one

Saturday, 18 April 2009


There are about 6 more illustrations to be created for 'White Day' which I've started to think about and make loose sketches towards, they are much more current where as much of what you have seen to date has been created over quite a bit of time. I have actually caught up, and this is where the fun/work starts. Creating the out standing drawings for 'White Day' and then moving on to 'Coolio and the Moose'. So things will probably slow down but thicken up as there is more stuff added as and when. So more sketches, more work in progress, just more. Hopefully! 'Coolio and the Moose' is actually quite heavily planned out which is nice and is going to be much more free to do. There are no repetitive locations, no planning of 'place'. The two characters are already designed. So it should be a breeze! Haha. Yes well, cough cough. With 6 roughs to do, tidying up and all the books, one book to totally draw and then possibly up to 9 finished illustrations to do I have quite a lot of work to cram in to however many days it is now till my deadline. Not to mention all the typography and final tarting about with the mock books. Yikes. Enough, I have to get on!

Maybe one game of Call of Duty before then...


Well ok maybe that's a bit over the top and dramatic. Maybe it isn't. Below are 3 sets of images, collections of the initial first sketches and then the second round sketches and then the final tidied up and cleaned up finals to make their way into the mock up book. Look at the original 'Designing Toby' post to see him in his earliest stages:

There were all kinds of problems along the way some major most tiny and all forgotten now. I endured a lengthy photo session in my living room where I dressed in stripey colgate PJs enacted all the situations and facial expressions Toby went through. Much to the amusement of Rhian I hasten to add. My pleas of it's all for art were falling on deaf ears as I clambered behind the TV [the only thing high enough to be used as a window ledge in Toby's bedroom] and stubbed my toes on scart leads and adaptors. Ah well. Those pictures you won't be seeing!


I really am spoiling you aren't I? Look how much effort I'm putting into titles now. More than I am putting into actually doing my drawings. Uh-oh. Not only have I put some effort into the title design but also you get a movie. YES YOU READ RIGHT, A MOVIE! I know. Towards the end of the movie you'll notice I changed my mind about the dragon's neck. It all seemed a bit cliche having a long curled up neck. It had been annoying me for a little while and then I decided to get rid of it and then redraw it.

Hopefully you can see how the dragon illustration was constructed. I think I rendered out about five maquette angles and finally decided on this angle at the last minute.

As the top picture of these 3 grouped pics shows, there were LOTS of false starts and working drawings for this illustration. I still don't think I've truely nailed it but it's a lot closer than any of those drawings were. The second picture shows the sketch which had me thinking EUREKA! I've found it. Then the third shows another false start where the nuances of the eureka sketch were completely lost and the dragon looks old and predictable, where as the eureka one looks motherly, sad, gentle, much more what I was after. Anyway, then we come to all the pictures you've seen in the movie. Last and by no means least is the final pic. Unfortunately I mounted the illustration on some board as it was getting tatty and it wrinkled up badly which shows on the scan :O( You still get the general idea.

click on the image to see it larger


One of the hardest challenges for keeping going and drawing after work, or at weekends is procrastination. I mean, blimey I have to be one of the kings of procrastination. Well I thought I was until reading 'How I write' in Time Out magazine [which is basically an interview with various writers asking them how they go about writing] in which I found nearly all of them do pretty much everything there is to do other than the actual writing and come to that either at the bitter end, or do it for an hour and then do loads more stuff and possibly maybe if they can be bothered do a little later. Trying to keep going is hard, and to be honest I've been doing this for sometime. That's kind of where this blog comes in, it's to help me keep going. It's just as well I have got this blog to keep me going since my cats seem to do everything they can to get me to not do my drawings to either A) play with them or B) feed them. They know which ones they are.

Friday, 17 April 2009


A flying house. That conjoures up so many great images in my brain it was difficult to lock it down to just the one. What would you do? No actually, I don't want to know because it might be better than mine. Anyway, this is how I approached it. Clouds, ground from above, planes. I had to know what they actually looked like so I can get the look right. I know something like google earth or maps shows you the earth from above, but it doesn't look quite like it does from out of a plane window. So I had to scoot about for pictures actually taken from a plane window, and make sure it was more in keeping with the surrounds of the house I had created. I think I also used a reference picture of my house/surrounds for some of the details seen through the clouds. Can you see me waving? Don't be silly, I'm not in the picture.

The angle again was worked out with my maquette and this time I downloaded a freebie model of a jumbo to put into the picture to work that bit out as well. A few alterations to the plane to make it more 'White Day' in style and I was off. One more thing is the outline style I had been rendering off my maquette at didnt do any favours for the plane since the details on that come from a texture. So I had to render two off one for the house and one for the plane.

You see a smaller version of the finished piece second from bottom. Now then, I got some feedback, and not necessarily the sort of feedback you want either especially since the plane is supposed to be in the sky and flying. The feedback was this: 'It doesn't look like it's in the sky and flying'. Bugger. So revision of this was, break the clouds by the edge of the house so you can see there is nothing beneath, add wings and a propeller to the house, as if some inspector gadget way it had been tranformed. The final version at the bottom still doesn't quite work it could be argued [other people might argue, I think it does!] but I think that will come out in the final artwork. When I come to do final finished colour artwork, that may well be one of the ones which gets done. I think the colour artwork will be an opportunity to right slight wrongs in a few illustrations. However I can feel myself 'wanting' to create full colour artwork for my favourite sketches. We shall see!

click on the image to see the large version

Monday, 13 April 2009


So what the formatting is going on? I don't know. I thought I knew how to control the stupidness of blogger but clearly I don't. So if this blog looks at times messy or just weird [ie. where pictures are in relation to text] well don't blame me. I make it all look lovely and then it just goes and plays silly buggers with me. Just so you know.


At one point Toby's house just so happens to be tiny, you know cos a clumsy scientist shrinks it. Can happen so don't scoff. Anyway, in my head it seemed simple so I lined up my maquette to use and printed it off.

The resulting picture would probably look fine if it was drawn up and finished off proper, but to me it looked like some of the others before, it was too boring. So I went back to the maquette and got myself a lovely angle and printed it off.

The illustration you see bottom left of the group of four looks ok at first. Nice angle! I hear you cry, but then WEIRD ANGLES I hear you cry as you realise my perspective is shot to sherbert. I know, awful aren't I? Naughty. So the maquette found some shelves and brackets being added to it, plus a flask and a 'Little Shop of Horrors' plant to the bargain.

The final illustration hopefully does all the prep and false starts justice. As you can see there's a lot of junk on them there shelves. It's quite hard and time consuming coming up with shelf contents for a scientist. As you can see by a small selection of my reference pictures [taken in the science museum] it helps to have reference! Also notice the note at the back of the house, it has a formula on it? Well that's from this source:

click on the image to see the large version

Wednesday, 8 April 2009


Yes well, exploding marshmallows. What can I say? They speak for themselves really. This illustration was pretty straight forward in my head, a marshmallow factory explodes covering Toby's house in marshmallow. Simple huh? So I had a scoot about for the factory, I was thinking a combination of Willy Wonka's and the Rowntree Macintosh factory I grew up going past all the time up in York. Even though a couple of the
images to the left are actually a little bit naff they still triggered something in my head to use them as reference.

Again I used my maquette to get the angle right. Below that you see the first quick rough sketch, similar to the way I went about the second version of the snow scene. However I suffered again at the hands of a boring angle brought on by just not getting it right at the maquette stage. I even wrote on that first sketch boring angle. So god knows why I then went on to draw it up proper!

So I scrapped it and went back to the drawing board as they say. Well it was true. Another angle was found and I went for it. The subsequent pictures are the house and surroundings, then an overlay I created of all the marshmallow action, then this was scanned and taken into photoshop and I whitened the areas that were marshmallow. Put the two elements together and there you have it, a finished rough of the marshmallow factory explosion scene DONE.

click image to see a bigger one