Monday, December 23, 2013


Just a little bit of animation for the festive season! Hope you all have a fantastic Christmas, and a happy new year! Here's to good things in 2014!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Digital painting 101 - Tonal Study II - Vases

The second in the series of tonal studies I've been doing lately. This one was a little more complex. I also tried to get in a bit more texture into the subjects. This was something missing from the apple.

For the next one, I think I'll return to something more organic. There's not much texture in a smooth jug!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Giving thanks!

So recently, I finished the final part of the everlasting wedding project! It all started with the Save The Dates. Then came the all-important Invitations. And finally, we have the Thank You cards. These were sent to all the guests and the lovely folks who were so generous to offer us gifts for the wedding. So if you are one of those and you haven't received a Thank You yet, it's on it's way!

This is just me and the wife, looking into the future. The wife is triumphant after having broken her leg seven days before the wedding... having surgery five days before... and still managing to get back on her feet for the wedding. She done well, she done!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Digital painting 101 - Tonal Study I - Apple

So I've begun learning digital painting properly, as I've sort of flown by the seat of my pants up until now. I've also started trying to get a handle on lighting and colour in theory, as those subjects, I know very little about. It's certainly a challenge. There's a lot to learn, but it's actually quite an interesting subject.

So to that end, I decided I'd try doing a regular series of studies to try and lift my game. The first one I tackled was a pretty simple black and white photo of an apple. Simple subject. Quite difficult execution. But hey, for my first attempt, I'm actually pleased with how it turned out. Vast room for improvement though. Still, every race starts with a first step.

Monday, November 04, 2013


So while the busy months have been ticking by, I've continued to sketch in the Moleskine. The book is almost filled, so in the next few weeks, I should be cracking open a new one. If I've learned anything from this book, is that I should do more finished... as sketches go... sketches. Here are two more-

The first is a couple of hipsters. I'm currently working on this as a bigger piece which should be finished soon enough.

And a kid playing with his RC Robot in the park.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Four Seasons

Well, it's been a busy few weeks! Between weddings, leg-breakings, and a whole host of other activities, the blog has been pushed down the list of priorities. But that doesn't mean there's been no work going on! I've a few little projects coming up, and this is the first.

The 2nd Animation Art Show takes place next week in the Science Gallery in Dublin. Last year was a great success, so it was only natural that a second show would take place. For this year, I decided to go traditional, rather than doing a digital piece. So out with the brushes and paper, and here's what I did.

It's just a little watercolour illustration depicting a scene around a lake in the four seasons. Hope you guys like it, and if you're in town, pop along to the show. It's for a great cause, The Children's Sunshine Home.

The final, painted piece. Watercolour on bristol board. I really like the medium and paper.

The initial pencil sketch.

Work in progress.

Detail 1.

Detail 2.

The final, framed painting.

That's it for now. Plenty more coming soon!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"Headspace" Australian National Youth Mental Health Foundation Illustrations Part 2

So here is the final part of my illustration job for "Headspace," The Australian Government's Youth Mental Health program. The final illustration deals with self-harm. Obviously, this is a very difficult subject to deal with. And the illustration didn't want to show self-harm directly. No blood. So, instead, it was decided that to show a teenager somewhat isolated and withdrawn would be the best way to go.


This illustration started out as five girls sitting around, chatting, with one girl different. Isolated. It was decided on draft two, that two of the girls should be boys. The brief stated that there should be a mix of ethnicities included.

The final illustration.

Detail of the self-harm girl.

Teenagers detail.

 Teenager detail #2.

The final illustration as used in the self-harm infographic by Lauren Hollern.

This was a really nice project to work on. The palette was limited, which was a bit of a challenge. And trying not to go all cartoony was also somewhat unusual for me. But for my first properly paid illustration commission, I really enjoyed it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"Headspace" Australian National Youth Mental Health Foundation Illustrations Part 1

Okay, long blog title! So this is what I've been working on for the last few weeks. I mentioned last month that I was approached to do some illustration for "Headspace," the foundation that deals with youth mental health in Australia. I finished the project two weeks ago, and this long blog post is all about that. So... enjoy!


The brief for 'Anger' was to be a young man, a teenager, struggling to pull apart a wall, surrounded by debris of that wall. This was the original sketch for that piece-

After going through line work and painting with Photoshop, here is the final illustration. I was limited to a certain palette, and flesh tones, so what you'll see in these illustrations is... a limited palette-

A close-up of the dude's face. I was quite happy with the tip of the nose and the fingers... for some reason-

And the final infographic by Lauren Hollern, that was posted on the Headspace website, and their Facebook page-


 This one started out as a male and female. One happy and outgoing, the other shy-

On the second pass, it was decided that both of the characters should be the same person, different personas, facing a mirror-

The final illustration-

And the infographic by Lauren Hollern-

So they are the first two parts of the project. I'll post the final part, self-esteem, next week, as it was the largest part of the project.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Me and the future missus invite you to a little shindig!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm getting married in 4 (jesus!) weeks. And part of my duties was to design the invitations for the day. I decided to go with a design inspired by Alphonse Mucha, using the colour scheme for the wedding. Here is the final design.

And here are the invitations after they were printed up on watercolour textured paper. They were printed by the great people at Daintree Paper in Dublin. Pretty pleased with how they turned out. Soon, I'll post a work in progress to show how I got to the final design!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sketchbook... Part XII

So a couple of new double pages from the Moleskine. The first drawing is of one of my favourite aspects of New York City, the roadside newsstand. Small shops with shopkeepers who are jammed in, surrounded by produce, mags and porn!

For this drawing, it started off as the old lady feeding pigeons. Then, I was looking through the great website Humans of New York, and saw the dude with the dreads. Decided he might make an interesting counter to the little old lady.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Headspace, Australia

So I was contacted about doing a bit of work for Headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation of Australia. My first, commissioned illustration gig. It's an ongoing project, so I'm not done yet. But it's nice to see my work actually put to use on the web. And for a great cause too. Here's the illustration-

Not the greatest drawing I've ever done, but everybody is happy with how it turned out, and if it helps somebody, it's totally worth it!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pages from my notebooks... Part XI

A couple more pages from the moleskine. The first is Hagrid and the baby Harry Potter.

And some sort of bored rabbit space pilot. Why? Why not?

Monday, July 15, 2013


I did a sketch recently of a chimp which I wanted to expand to something bigger. The pun came to mind, so it went from there. I had a bit of an idea of how I wanted it to look, but a this piece just sort of grew as I worked on it. I'll post a break-it-down at a later date!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Pages from my notebooks... Part X

Another selection of pages from my moleskine. The first sketch just started out as wanting to draw some sort of Aztec sun stone, and turned into something a little different. I'm working this up to a bigger piece at the moment. Not entirely sure how it'll turn out, but hey ho. That's experimentation for ya!

Got myself a bunch of Copic sketch markers recently. Decided to mess about with them in a designey sort of way.

About half way through this one, I regretted starting it. I haven't counted the zombies. I don't want to.

Monday, June 17, 2013

"Me And The Future Missus" Break-It-Down

So, as I posted a few weeks ago, my primary task for myself and my fiancee's wedding is to do the stationary. The invitations, save the dates, map, and whatever other bits of paperwork that need doing. So far, I've completed the save the date notice and about 80% of the invitation. I posted the save the date a few weeks ago, but also decided to post a couple of work in progress photos I took, so that you can see how the image came about. So, without further ado...

The first thing I did was a couple of thumbnails and small sketches. Once I was happy with these, it was a matter of recreating the drawings at double size. Not scanned and sketched, redrawn.

Here's the final drawing of my character. Well, I lie. This is actually a drawing that got scrapped. When I got around to painting the skin tone, it came out too orange. I looked like an Oompa Loompa. The painting had to be scrapped and redone.

Stage one of Gill's painting. Pants, boots and top done. At this stage, I paused for about two days. Next would come the skin tone, and that stage always terrifies me!

Skin tone done! With a sigh of relief, this stage came off without a hitch first time.

This is the final painting for my character. I'd painted myself a bit longer and slenderer than I actually am, but I could make adjustments in Photoshop. Also, my head isn't quite that big in real life. Quite.

I was happier with Gill's painting. The skin tone came out slightly better and I liked her design more. I painted her dress with acryllic to give it a bit of texture. While this doesn't come across very clearly in the digital form, it's quite nice in the actual painting. Also, the colours of this image would require a bit of work in Photoshop due to the slightly red and blue hues that came out with the photograph. I'd prefer to have scanned the artwork, but I lack a decent A3 scanner. For now.

And the final image. The sunburst pattern and text were done in Photoshop. The flourishes, in Illustrator. A bit of colour correction and a bit of a colour bleed from the bottom corner, for no other reason than I wanted to experiment a bit.

So there you have it. I learned quite a lot from the process. Not everything was a complete success. But I took the lessons from it and applied them to the next project for the wedding, the actual invitations. They're looking a whole lot better. But alas, they cannot be posted for a while yet. But they will come eventually! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Man of Steel

Just a quick sketch from the Moleskine, for the Irish Sketch Society. This week's theme, to commemorate the release of Man of Steel, is the Man of Steel himself, Superman. Have a lot of work on my plate at the moment, so this one just has to be a quick pencil sketch! Plenty more posts coming soon.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Life Drawing May 2013 II

As with the last post about life drawing, I was sans materials for these drawings. Being forced to use just a pen, I thought the drawings wouldn't be up to scratch. But wouldn't you know it, I did one of my favourite life drawings ever in this batch. I've never had a good time with faces or hair, but in two of these drawings, I was very happy with what I managed to draw.

Unfortunately, these are the last life drawings for a while. We're on summer hiatus. But hopefully we'll kick off with the life drawing classes again soon, and then there will be more. Enjoy!