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!

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