Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Kuro Dragon Tests

20 year old male & female character designs - Relatively realistic

2-4 storyboard panels of the Reef Despina leaving port

Character Rough sheet - Construction/ handling

Monday, 20 May 2013

More Digital Painting!

This was actually for a competition for my college, except, I have missed the deadline!
Ah well, it was good as a bit of fun :D

Also I have forgot to mention that I have finally finished Uni!! Wooo!!
Just a few more things left to do such as my final show which I need to paint a lengthy wall mural and try to flesh out my show reel as much as possible!

Peace and love,


Friday, 26 April 2013

Cha Bar

Uni is getting dangerously close to the end! With so much work to get finished I was glad to finally complete this live project brief from Cha Bar - Knutsford for their brand new logo! Purveyors of fine, healthy teas and homemade designer cakes.

It was a nice breath of fresh air from my usual type of work, forcing me to delve into personally atypical creative recesses.

I am rather pleased with the end result and it will go towards filling out my work based learning module beautifully.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, 22 April 2013

Drawing before snoring.

Just a sketch before catching some Zzz's. Thought it would be nice for you to see the before and after process of a coloured digital sketch.

She doesn't look too happy huh?


Saturday, 20 April 2013

Happy Mistakes

Striving for that traditional feel in a digital medium. For this experiment I tried to keep it as 'rough' and 'textured' as I could as well as creating custom brushes for the bristle strokes. Used Art rage to create some nice '3D' brush work to make it seem as though the paint is really layered on top of the canvas.

Pity He's Too Oblivious To See, 'Pretty' He's Too Blind To See.



Thursday, 18 April 2013

Business Cards Ordered!

 Finally sent off for my business cards today, really excited to get them back! All two hundred and fifty of them that is! Here are the final designs for the front and back of my new shiny business cards.

Let me know what you think,


Monday, 15 April 2013

3 Weeks

Until final hand in!

In an attempt to organize myself I have put together a little check list of the work I need to complete in due time.


  • Storyboards, script, proposal & treatment for my animated short
  • 'Cha Bar' Logo design (live brief)
  • 'Transition' album cover designs (live brief)
  • 500 word document on work experience & skills gained during this module
  • Progress file containing research and findings on competitions/festivals, job opportunities, local and international companies, creative skill set, time management & team work
  • Continue to flesh out this blog up until hand in
  • A3 Portfolio & Show reel
  • Print Business cards
  • Creative CV
  • Final Animated Short
By the end of this first week I should hopefully have the whole of Work Based Learning boxed off! I will also be sending off for my business cards to be printed by tonight.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Something Clicked

Around 3 in the morning last night something actually clicked!

I've been slaving away at this digital painting relentlessly, practicing, watching tutorials, practicing, watching tutorials, practicing, you get the idea...

But I have definitely had a 'eureka' moment, here are my personal findings

  1. Have faith and paint over the lines
  2. Make sure the sketch is fine in line weight and accommodated for a painting, not for a piece that will feature line work in the final illustration. I've found that if this isn't the case when you come to paint over the lines and eliminate them if they are too messy or too thick your proportions will be completely out.
  3. KEEP IT SIMPLE! Don't over render and make a clear simple statement with regards to the forms and shadows, especially cast shadows.
  4. Think about the strokes you are making and why they have a reason to the final statement.
  5. Blues, purples, greens, yellows and red hints within the skin tone in the right places and with regards to the lighting really bring your flesh tones to life.
  7. Colours are only registered with regards to the other surrounding colours.
  8. Encourage 'happy' accidents i.e. Don't be too precious with your painting, if you try to keep it perfect it looks plastic and fake. Keep some texture and brush strokes in there.
  9. Render only whats important to the final statement and leave other things less refined.
Well here is my latest portrait practice. No reference was used, I wanted to recognize what I was doing and why I was doing it. Why I chose to make certain hues cooler or warmer, positioning of cast and core shadows etc. I wanted it to register rather than just copying a photo which I have done enough of in the past.

Thanks once again for paying a visit!


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Digital Painting Process

It's been no secret that I've been wanting to improve my digital painting skills for some time now. I feel that my drawing is substantial enough to at least get some work as a professional animator & illustrator. But painting has always been daunting to me. Without the safety of the line I feel lost. I've always had this terrible habit of expecting my work to look perfect from beginning to end which of course, is discouraging and also the wrong way to look at it, especially with someone as impatient as me, it has been fatal to the completion of my past painting attempts. But I now know that you have to gradually mould and sculpt your painting from the general and rough, to the specific and refined.

Anyways here is a print I'm working on which WILL be successful! I'm going to push through!

I've seen Brave twice now, the second time I watched it was on Sky player in order to break down the story after reading 'Invisible Ink' by Brian McDonald. After having read that book, deciphering the tools and mechanisms of the story became unbelievably easy and almost too obvious. I saw all the workings and mechanics of the film, the setups, the dramatisation, the symbols, the underlying armature and how everything served an important part in leading up to the final climax and inherent message therein.

Subsequently I became inspired to draw 'Merida' the lead character. Here is the initial sketch which I began to colour in Photoshop.

As I began fleshing out the face I decided to take the plunge and paint this properly. Here is my current progress...

I can't even begin to tell you how annoying and difficult getting this far has been! That's the reason I'm here to be honest, to relieve some stress! Ha! Alas you can see that I have begun sculpting the form as well as adding a little rim lighting just so I know where I'm going. (really out of panic because I painted over the line work...) It's hard picking the right colours when painting. Knowing where to put the blues and greens in the skin tones, dealing with light, how that effects the hues of the shadows and cast shadows, something I find especially tricky to get right.

Well wish me luck! 


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Art of Journey Book

Man I so wish I had a PS3 just for this game! I've wanted to play it for so long, it looks spectacularly gorgeous.

I recently came across this video promoting the release of the 'Art of' book which I MUST obtain! The art work is to die for, but not only that I think seeing the process that TGC went through designing the game would be incredibly useful for my own means.

A valuable lesson learnt from watching this video is that design is a 'subtractive' process. In other words it's what you leave out thats the key, not what you put in. It must all be concentrated and full of flavour, just like when a chef makes a sauce, they want that intense flavour by reducing the water content. Word.


Monday, 8 April 2013

AH! Adam Hughes

This is my second post on Adam Hughes.

Adam is such a huge inspiration to me and major art hero. It was really his art work that got me into taking this profession seriously. I have recently realised that what you keep in your mind will eventually take effect on your character. Well, I have ART on my mind! Over the years I have watched videos of Hughes drawing, taking interviews and have bought much of his work.

He has shown me the work ethic and amount of hours you have to put in to your craft if you really want to 'master' it. One of the most poignant statements he made was that everybody had tens of thousands of bad drawings in their hands. In order to get to the good ones you've gotta 'write' out all of those tens of thousands of bad ones.

Here are some short videos of him sketching at comic conventions. Pay close attention to the freedom and fluidity in his pencil strokes. You catch on to the fact that although these drawings only take a couple of minutes in the video, they have actually taken decades to produce...

I guess this post is very much about realisation, realising the work ethic needed in this profession, the dedication and passion, but in more technical terms; 'Good drawing is good design, and vice versa.'

Here you can see that Adam isn't necessarily drawing true to life forms, he's nuancing them to 'read' graphically, he's drawing 'symbols,' symbols he's taken years to acquire, symbols he's drawn tens of thousands of times.

Well I hope you enjoyed these videos.

Thanks for stopping by,


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Keeping you abreast of my latest work...

This just happened. It actually started as someones head believe it or not. It turns out however, heads are quite complicated to paint.

It looks like the most pointless painting ever and it's honestly not part of anything larger either...

BUT I did actually learn something from this, it is in fact my first EVER digital line-less painting.

*sigh* such a shame.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Being a Better Storyteller

For so long now I have always struggled with which road to take as an artist. Fine art, figurative, landscape, digital painter, concept artist, comic book artist, illustrator, animator... The list goes on. Although I'm sure I will have the opportunity to work on all of these formats, it is only in the last two years that I have realised how important STORY is. How important it is to attract and keep an audience. How important stories are in all of our lives and all of our cultures. I see now that I enjoy to tell stories! Of all kinds, be it in film, animation, illustration, sequential or painting.

I have started piecing together my story for my final animated short. To help me I have been reading a book called "Invisible Ink" by Brian McDonald.

Invisible Ink, 'a practical guide to building stories that resonate.' Is an absolutely fantastic book. Every page has a 'Eureka' moment where things just 'click' and make sense in such a profound and obvious way.

After having read this book, I feel my skills as a story teller have increased massively, I cannot wait to finalise my script utilising the knowledge I have gained!

A great example from the book are the 'Seven easy steps to a better story.'

They are;

  1. Once upon a time___________________
  2. And every day_____________________
  3. Until one day______________________
  4. And because of this_________________
  5. And because of this_________________
  6. Until finally_______________________
  7. And ever since that day______________

Incredibly obvious, incredibly simple. But very few people understand it. Brian breaks these down in to 'ACTS' and 'Curtains' in the book and with plenty more jewels of storytelling wisdom throughout.

So, if you have it in mind to become a better storyteller, you NEED this book! So go buy it!




I really feel at this current time in terms of my studies that my draughtsmanship skills are more than adequate to produce some high quality work, for both modules and professionally. I have spent a lot of time absorbing all kinds of information from artists in the industry alongside self study with regards to animation, colour theory, composition, story telling, painting, drawing, setting mood, rhythm and much much more!!


It is just never enough! I always want to learn more and more but this means I never actually get round to producing my own work because I'm too busy trying to understand the fundamentals of painting, drawing, composition, colour theory, animation etc.


It is almost the Easter holidays so I will be sending my portfolio and show reel to Atomhawk Design. I will hopefully convince them to let me visit over the holidays for a few days or perhaps fulfil a week's work experience, both of which would be incredibly insightful and beneficial to my advancement as a creative professional.

With these last two remaining months I have the opportunity to work hard and produce a body of work that is far better than any previous and hopefully put me in good stead to working as a freelance animator  and illustrator.


I see no threats... Only opportunities.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Zombie Attack!

This is a little doodle that got out of hand.

The character is a representation of me, the Zombie horde symbolises the ever approaching deadlines for uni work. 


I've noticed since doing these quick little sketches that they often receive favourable feedback in comparison with my more polished, finished work. It just shows that you can get away with A LOT if the story and believability is there. It's not all about technique after all! 

This is all progression to a looser, painterly style. Even though it still has 'line work' I have concentrated more on speed, delivery and story.

Oh and the little scribble in the top left corner is how I sharpen my pencil!


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Modelling & Lighting

Hey there everyone!

One of the areas I am lacking in my artistic pursuit, is my ability to paint! I have always struggled to paint without linework and it has started to get annoying!

So I thought I would try my hand at lighting and modelling a simple sphere in Photoshop to "get the ball rolling."

I utilised various brushes as well as the new 'mixer brush tool' in order to paint this sketch. Implementing my understanding of light and shadow.

Thanks once again for stopping by,


Friday, 22 March 2013

Paul Hess

Paul Hess visited uni today to have a chat about his work and being a freelance art director & illustrator.

He ran through some important information such as working with agents and dealing with clients. Paul also talked about having to work at this career just like you would any other, being at your desk for 9 and clocking off at 5 is most important. Finding the dedication and motivation to master your craft and work at it every day.

It was great to see the methods in which he works as well as the wonderful watercolour art he produces for children's books. 

To the left you can see a few examples of his published work, Peter Pan which was a gorgeous pop up book which actually sold out, Nail Soup & the King with Horse's Ears.

ParaNorman Animation Tour

I just loved this film when I went to see it in the cinema and I still can't get over the level of skill and patience it requires to produce such a work of art!

Major respect.
Major animation inspiration.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Atomhawk Design

I've been researching animation and design studios in the local area and I found this really awesome games design company called Atomhawk Design based in Gateshead!

They are seriously in close proximity to where I live here in Newcastle!

So I will be working to get an up to date PDF portfolio and showreel ready to show them! Hopefully they will let me hang around the place for a week or two during the easter holidays!

So... Wish me luck!

Here is their 2012 showreel featuring much of their work. They have worked on such game titles as Mortal Kombat, Enslaved & the Realm.

I was really blown away by their digital painting skills, the way they get them to move and work as an animation. Hopefully if they let me look around the studio they will give me some tricks, tips and insights on how they produce their work!


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Remaining Use of Time

And reaching goals.

Well, the end of the course is getting ever closer! Time to formulate a time plan for the goals and body of work I want to have complete for my portfolio, show reel and Final Show.

I have 6 weeks of university left with an additional 2 week Easter break in between, on top of this I have an additional 3 weeks until the Final Show
Here is a rough bullet point list of the projects I would like to complete in this time!

  • Five 5 second shorts (possibly more if time allows)
  • 'Sea Gypsy' 3 minute* animated trailer along with pre vis
  • 3D printed, posable character made in Cinema 4D with the use of a model sheet
  • Finish my E4 Ident from last year
  • 3D Ealhdun animation
  • Wall length comic strip for final show
On top of this I want to constantly be pushing and improving my digital painting. Of which I can use for both my physical and digital portfolio.

Wish me luck!


Drawing from Life II

Dropped into another life drawing lesson today with the 1st years. I have to say I haven't performed as well as I would have liked considering I have been drawing quite a lot of late! I guess it's just one of those days!

These are on A2 paper.

45 minute pose - Nero lead, Charcoal, Chalk & Blue ink

2 minute poses - Nero Lead
Cheers Liam.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Drawing from Life

Hey man,

So this week the 1st year student's had life drawing class and a couple of use 2nd years were allowed to drop in. These were done on A2 halftone paper with chalk & charcoal.

These were done in around 30 minutes each.

I'm really proud of the first one and feel I've progressed a lot since last years life drawing lessons. Not so much with the second pose, I really wasn't as eager to draw the model's back, but I suppose it all counts!


Sunday, 24 February 2013

COLOUR! That moves!

Maynn...! How do make a design work with so many vibrant colours?

And how do you animate it so gorgeously?

I'll get there one day...

Also note the cleverly integrated 3D environments and assets. However the majority is 2D.

One day...

One day........

Industry Practice Flash Animation

During my work experience at Kilogramme I learnt a lot about 'character kits' and the animation software 'Flash' in general. There aren't as many opportunities for one to work as part of a large work force these days and a lot of studios are relatively small. Thusly it is important as a freelance animator to be able to do more than one job role and be able to produce scenes on their own as well as part of a team.

Utilising 'Character Kits' in Flash, i.e. Setting up re-usable animation such as expressions and head turns which you can call upon using keyframes saves valuable time and allows you to work a lot faster.

Here is a great example of rough animation from Titmouse studio on the last episode of Motorcity.

Here the animator Ben Li has used pre made head turns whilst animating the rest of the character's movements "tradigitally."

I think it is important for me to strengthen my skills in this fashion in order to reap the most reward from Flash as well as increasing productivity.


Friday, 22 February 2013

The Human Torch

A little animated portrait done today in class. Took around 30 mins to animate.


Thursday, 21 February 2013

Pretty Girl & iMac

Just a little sketch today in class.
Love being able to drop textures in Photoshop and manipulate them slightly to get a better finish and add interest to your work rapidly.



Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Work Based Learning & Competitions

Well as part of my work based learning I have been working on some live briefs of late. I've been currently working on a freelance project for "the Hothouse Sessions" album cover. Here's where I'm at so far!


Also as part of my work based learning module we are required to enter some competitions! Two that I am really interested in are:

'Hidden Stories' competition by Red Kite Animation Studio

AOI Illustration Awards which I have a really cool idea set so we'll see what happens!

Thanks for stopping by once again!


Thursday, 24 January 2013

Some More Inspirational Videos

Here are a couple of 'making of' clips by Vincent Ngheim. Taking you through the steps involved when making a CG 2D animation.

I found these clips very helpful and motivational even if somewhat daunting at the skills required to produce animation at this level. But I must soldier on!


Tuesday, 22 January 2013


I came across this animation by Steambot in class today on Vimeo called "Urbance."

The art direction is just amazing and I love the mix of 3D environments and 2D character animation.

Cheers for stopping by and enjoy!


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

It's Been a Long Christmas...

So here is a little painting of a Faun, in the snow.

Trying to get back up to speed after so long out of the 'game.'

Cheers for stopping by,
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