Over the past few months I've been scanning, editing and collating a series of illustrations I did while travelling in China. These illustrations have turned into a series of 3 minicomics that are going to be released in the next month. To celebrate the near completion of the minicomics I've released the 3 covers as well as the podcast covers. Check them out below.
My best illustrations are the ones I spend most time wrestling with. This is something I've had to learn to embrace in my years of illustrating and something that is not often taught. The old quote of "nothing good ever came easy" applies as much to illustration as to any other facet of life.
The art of successfully wrestling with an illustration boils down to these two principals: persistence and perseverance. Without these principles you'll stay stagnant, never progressing in your skill or understanding of how an illustration truly works. I don't say this as an illustrator who has it all worked out, far from it. I still have a mountain of things to learn, but each time I finish a piece I learn something new, even if it's how not to do an illustration.
Here are three things to help you wrestle better! Don't be scared to start over.If you find your illustration just isn't working, go back to the drawing board. Produce some more thumbnail sketches experimenting with composition and colour pallet. Strengthen your weaknesses.If you stink at drawing hands, find resources to help you draw hands. If you don't understand colour, find a video that explains colour. The internet is filled with thousands of resources to help strengthen your artistic weaknesses. Finish the Fight.Lastly, if you start it, finish it! Each time you wrestle an illustration you will become stronger and quicker until you find yourself winning all the fights.
There is nothing like a good mystery! For me it's all about the adventure of a mystery and the maze of dead ends that excite and frustrate...finding the answer is just a bonus. The mysteries that I love the most are ones that can never be completely solved, it reminds me that we can never know everything.
In November 2016 my wife and I went to China for a month. While there, I kept a daily sketch journal of all the peculiar things I saw, of which there were many! I compiled the sketches when I got home in the hope of making a single minicomic, never thinking I would be making 3! I'm nearly finished them up so keep an eye on this space for a release date.
At the end of 2016 I was approached by TrailRun magazine to do 6 illustrations for 2 articles. The first article titled The Revenant was written by adventurer and runner, Beau Miles. He wrote about his imaginative thoughts as he traveled by plane, overlooking the land where The Revenant movie was set.
The second article required 3 illustrations and was about runners nutritional needs. Every illustration for these articles posed a new challenge and pushed my skills as an illustrator. I'm thankful for the experience and the free shirt they chucked in with my magazine! TrailRun magazine is available here.
Spring is here after what seemed like a very long winter! As I sketched ideas for a Spring inspired illustration I began to wonder what Spring actually means to me and why I love it? Then I realised, it's hiking season! Time to get outside and adventure, time to pack my backpack and dust off the tent. It's the perfect season for the outdoors, not too hot and not too wet. I also used Spring as my Mandarin Word of the Day.
Something that fascinates me more than animation is the animation process. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes that never sees the light of day but is invaluable in creating something that is both believable and relatable. This video is a tribute to that process, it shows my process from thumbnail sketch to coloured character. It also gave me a chance to create a score using my Guzheng.
Collaborative projects are always tough work and lead to some sort of conflict...this is what I've always thought until I collaborated with musician and long time friend, Alnitak_Kid. We met in high school and now, nearly 13 years later, we still hang out together. In the past 13 years we've had a lot of collaborative ideas, most of which we just lost enthusiasm for, but not this time. Alnitak_Kid wanted a cover for his new release beat tape, Daymares&Nightdreams. After weeks of throwing around many good and bad ideas we came up with this one, a collection of his instruments and equipment that made up the tape, including samplers, mixers and records.
We tried a few styles and found that brush and ink suited the flow of the illustration best and discovered that we wanted the equipment to be recognizable but not too realistic. We also created a sticker to accompany the tape which is below. This has been my favorite collaborative project to date and has restored my hope in the collaborative process.
(detailed closeup of line and texture)
This is a promo of my artwork that Alnitak_Kid made especially for this post...THANKS!
Check out some of Alnitak-Kid's tracks below and if you like what you hear, make sure you check out some of his other releases on Bandcamp.
To help me learn the mandarin words for different numbers I've created a series of characters that look like and say something about the word. This is Lee-Li, she is inspired by the number 1. She is the kindest and sweetest old lady but she has something against the number 4, she just can't stand him! The mandarin word for one is Yī and sounds kind of like the EE in Lee-Li.
To help me learn the mandarin words for different numbers I've created a series of characters that look like and say something about the word. Today we meet Sandy, she is inspired by the number 3. The mandarin word for three is Sānand sounds kind of like the SAN in Sandy, but is said in a monotone kind of way.
Today is brought to you by the number 2. To help me learn the mandarin words for different numbers I've created a series of characters that look like and say something about the word. The mandarin word for two is Èr and sounds like the AR in Arthur, so I created this character called Arthur.
I thought today's word should be relevant to the season so I picked WINTER or Dōngjì (in pinyin). It took a bit of time to make this animated loop sequence because each cell was hand drawn using a light box, but it was totally worth it for the way it turned out. It really helped me learn the symbol!
I was listening to the creators of Finding Dory speak on The Pixar Podcast and it inspired me to do this illustration. I found myself admiring the incredible storyboards for hours, paying special attention to their treatment of light and colour. I learned a few new techniques as I coloured, my favorite being the glow that comes from the center of this translucent octopus.
The Mandarin word for today is toilet! What a handy word to know, especially when you may have eaten something that flows right through you. I like how happy this toilet is, so happy that it's overflowing with joy...or is that something else? Hehe, just kidding!
The mandarin word for today is NOODLES! I'm guessing knowing this word will come in handy throughout China. Written out in pinyin it looks something like this:Miàntiáo. I spent a bit more time on this illustration because I wanted to get that manga watercolour feel. It was real fun to draw and learn.
I've been attempting to teach myself some Mandarin before I head to China in November. To help me out I've decided to pick out a word every few days and draw a picture based on that word. I'm hoping this exercise will help me to grow in both Mandarin and illustration. As you can see, today's word is FRUIT .
I've been doing a lot of sketching and ink drawings, living in a world of black and white and last week I got tired of it. I wanted to create 80's style, super saturated, colour washed eye candy. I started scribbling some ideas and came up with Spacegirl. I wanted a nostalgic VHS style, Saturday morning cartoon feel that could be a comic cover aswell. Such a fun illustration to colour and I'm real happy with it.
I have been studying a few different aspects of manga technique to try and build upon my style and understanding. One thing I love is their ability to balance a black and white image with good line, tone and contrast. I decided to use my new understanding of theses principals and apply it to my own style. What better way to put principal into practice than drawing a punk kid with a bike!
As an illustrator it’s easy to
get engrossed in your work and happily spend hours perfecting an illustration.
It’s also just as easy to spend hours battling an illustration until you get so
frustrated you throw your sketchbook as far as you can and vow never to draw
again. I call this second scenario creative
congestion,because it’s similar
to the feeling you get when you’re stuck in traffic and you can see where you
want to be but you can’t get there. If you’ve never experienced creative
congestion, you’ve probably mastered the art of giving up, because it is
something every successful artist I’ve encountered struggles with constantly!
Getting frustrated and battling
with your creativity is often a sign of growth in your ability and shows that you
care about your work. So don’t give up! Instead try and find ways of overcoming
these frustrations, because they’re always going to be there. For me, the
solution is found in three words…CLEAR YOUR HEAD! Go for a walk, ride your
bike, go to a café, exercise, just do something that you enjoy that’s away from
your work-space. Don't give up, just take a break!
If there was ever an award for most underrated animated series, Fillmore would take the prize and then some! It's a show filled with the most creative chase scenes around and manages to poke fun at adult crime shows in such a way that is both funny and true. But the thing I love most about it is that it's real! It's what being a detective in school would really be like. No gadgets and outrageous scenarios of world domination, just two kids being kids. So this is my tribute to you Fillmore!