contact me! (... ? )

Here are a selection of finalists for my 'contact me' page.


Hmm.. Colour

Colouring styles are not my friends it seems.

Can't make a decision about how to colour the characters in these boards..

The background is in a line-less texture fill style with bits of shading blocked in; simple and looks atmospheric.

My problem is in trying to get the characters to look decent in this style; from the back I like him but from the front, he looks very dull and messy.

Sneaky Sneaky

An ink that will unfortunatly be going unused in my latest boarding project :(

Can't win em all!


It finally dawned on me that I might need to learn how to 3D model if I want to work in the games industry when I came across this page a few monthes ago and applied.

Companies actively seeking storyboard artists seems to be something of a rarity. Am I heading in the right direction? For animations, sure but I don't think so for video gaming. Where do I want to work? To be honest, I'm more interested in the gaming industry. Hmm...


I've seen a few artists portfolios with links to their own profiles on a site called Virb.

From what I can gather, it's a blend of social networking, a blog and a portfolio which, sounds pretty darn interesting. I'm a bit confused as to why I've not heard about such a site from elsewhere like from the artists I follow on twitter; maybe its not that popular.

Breath of Fire, Street Fighter and MTG

Here are some more pieces of work I've been staring at inbetween storyboarding frenziedly and building my site.

CAPCOM's 'Breath of Fire' Concepts

CAPCOM'S 'StreetFighter' Concept art

These pieces in particular have instilled the idea of just throwing yourself into drawing a character. They inspired me to shape hooks with my pencil and to try and really squeeze the most dynamic angles out of each shot.

These storyboard panels are so beautiful! Notice how they're not necessairly so clean but the lines are emphasised in the right places so that it's barely noticeable.

And finally, I've been playing a fair bit of Magic: The gathering in sanctioned tournaments around the country in the past month or so. Not been doing any good to be honest but you end up spending alot of your time soaking in the jaw-dropping art work that goes into some of these cards.

Normally the art on these things doesn't bleed out of the upper centre but these have been 'carried on' by a dilligent artist who is in turn selling them on ebay at a suprising mark up. (£20 is not an unusual price for even otherwise very common cards to be sold at). I would really like to own some of these cards and can sort of understand the price jump because it would make each card as if you were actually playing with a piece of art; 'pimping' the object and possessing a much more unusual version than any other player.

This kind of thing though... I'm a bit more dubious of..

Laing Visit

Over the easter break, I took a trip into Newcastle to see what the crack was like.

After being not so impressed by the screeching noises of the exhibits in the Baltic, save for a few of the paintings in the Darwin exhibition, I made my way to the Laing.

Two exhibits there really did a number on me. The first was the small permenant residence of pre-raph art upstairs and the current water colour exhibit.

I think I really discovered what pre-raphelite art could be this easter. Not some stuffy nonsense I had previously imagined but instead a vivid and enthralling code of craftsmanship with a real sense of suspended drama that I've come to admire in Baroque art, for example in William Hunt's 'Isabella and the Pot of Basil'.

Even more interesting though was the Henry Perlee Parker watercolour exhibit in his sketchbooks are currently on display. Parker drew alot of marina town folk which gets me because I'm from a similar area but, importantly, he focuses on drawing the character from these people he has as subjects.

Scott McCloud talks the future of comics

I had meant to show this earlier when I saw it monthes ago but here we go.

This is a lecture on the future of comics by know-it-all comic buff, Scott McCloud.

To summise the video, McCloud more or less describes exactly how computers and the internet have provided the potential for interactive, infinite and otherwise non-linear narrative with the right mindset. This idea of 'infinite space' to tell a story is something I utilised in the construction of my website with my pop-ups that you can drag on for far longer than their size would suggest, ala the tardis.

Cleverly building more on a sense of interactivity and pacing, Balak here really tries to run with what McCloud is talking about.

Speaking of Balak, his confident figures are a source of inspiration. I mean, his work isn't for everyone; its definatly drawn by a red-blooded male but there is so much skill in what he does.
This 'storyboard frame' is a great example:

My Site

After pensively applying for so many jobs, it became apparant that I need a website. Without one, the process of delivering an ONLINE client or prospective employer an insight into your work is a straining and repetitive task. After talking about the subject to several peers and helpful professionals (like karen j lloyd) it is also clear that the first impression an absence of a website has upon said employers is doubting and instantly negative.

There is undoubtedly an expectation that as a young practictioner I should have a web presence of some kind. For that reason, I recently designed and have come very close to successfully launching my own portfolio website. The site is not YET up properly because I'm having some issues with the ftp server but all the files have been uploaded so check soon to see if I've been able to make the push.  

In the mean time, here are some jpegs that give a fairly accurate representation of the site in it's current state. 

Opening page. 

Work/Home page. This becomes the home page after the front one is navigated away from. The site has 'elastic borders' so that it can become quite small without any of the work being lost. This means it doesn't compete as much for space and become an annoyance. 

Storyboard pop-up. When the 9 images are clicked on, they each activate their own pop-up window so that large quantities of boards can be browsed through. The pop-ups are designed to fit snuggly around the work they are showing to save on the viewers desktop space. 

The dog pop-up brings up an Issuu java/flash which allows the user to comfortably thumb through the book. 

Contact page with many methods of contacting me. Though, based on the photograph, would you really want to? I think I might need to change this to something a bit more subtle.. At least there is a downloadable .pdf of my cv so that all I have to do is send my site link and voila! instant job!

And finally, good old twitter to bring me kicking and screaming into the 21st century of web 2.0. .. Sort of. 

Admitedlly the site isn't exactly an eye-opener but it serves its purpose. At the very least, it is a tidy and very quick loading way of presenting my work to alot of people. I think that the important next step is to now ask professionals and peers what they think about the design and how it could be improved upon. That is, once I get the thing live. 

Dog Book!

In an effort to stop my dog book from fading into nothing (after publisher's e-mails stopped. Recession or lack of interest? Hard to tell.) I've re-edited the book for a high quality download/hardcopy purchase and it can be found here. 

The book will feature on my website, twitter, facebook.. anywhere I can push it. 

It occurs to me that if I'm so interested in selling the book, it should be pushed towards the inboxs of other prospective publishers. Though I might take a smaller share of profit, 500 through a publisher is more than 10 or less sold by myself. 

Artists I've been looking over

So that I don't just stagnate, it's a good idea to examine the work of other practictioners; even those from different practices to your own. 

Following that mantra, here are some artists I've been watching recently and what I'd like to think I've learned by looking at their work. 

Stuart Kolakovic 

Freelance illustrator from an eastern europe descent with tight and vibrant 'cut-out' style work.

What I like most about Kolavic is the energy he draws from his work by cramming as much as he can into his compositions; everything is so busy yet simply designed and it reads very easily. There is a 'flat' feel to his pieces but thanks to their expressive poses and playful look, this never becomes a problem. Whats also interesting is how he makes simple shapes into characters just by tweaking corners and adding a few marks to them; giving a laborious feel without actually being anywhere near overworked. 

Finally, the artist's eye for colours which work well together is near flawless; every piece a russian graphic design throwback dream. 

Tiny Kittenteeth

A pair of new zealand comic book artists, Tiny Kittenteeth have brought Mary Blair-style aesthetics to the web comic. Again, these two are very colour-focused but unlike Kolakovic, use alot of contrasting and dark colours to slice against their lights, making for an almost neon eye-ball fest. I don't appreciate their character design as much as Stuarts because they seem somewhat disjointed at times; their individual limbs and features appearing to slide away from the rest of their forms but their poses and expressions more than make up for it. 

What I could learn most from these two again is to consider designs of shots as simply as they need be; don't over complicate a message and to be experimental about what kinds of colours and shades actually tell certain moods. 

Michael Dashow

And Finally, a concept artist who uses photoshop, canvas 4 and 3d studio max to make his art. He might be older than me but already his expertise and somewhat broad skill base is worrying to me. Dashow produces top quality work with a speedy response time that I can't yet picture myself matching. 

His work has a 'cartoon baroque' feel to it. Very dramatic but conversely, doesn't take itself too seriously. 

It would be wise of me to join cgsociety so that I could watch, talk to and learn from artists like him; if I want to forge a career in the games industry, it might be necessary to pick up skills like modelling and giving a high finish to my work in order to get anywhere. 

Art tutorials

Tutorials like this could also be helpful. Several of them appear to be duds such as 'how to draw conventional and boring looking manga characters' but there are some decent modelling and colouring articles that I will report on soon. 

EDIT: One of the comic-style tutorials is actually pretty decent at describing how to achieve a strong finish with your drawings. See it here.