Tuesday, 23 June 2009


I've always enjoyed drawing spaceships since I was a child, this was a test piece to explore this area. The Explorer Class ship concept was one I'd long toyed with and I liked the idea of realising the old arcade game "Asteroids".

This image was created with 3DSMax (for the basic blocking out, lighting and rendering), ZBrush (for the detailing on the asteroids and ship textures) and Photoshop (for the final composite) .

Now that I've seen how I approach this subject matter I'm keen to work on more images with whole fleets of fighter craft, capital ships, dreadnoughts and explosions. That would be cool!

Angry Robot/ HarperCollins Supremo Marc Gascoigne once pointed out that the ship design isn't as interesting as it could be - it doesn't really draw you in and, with hindsight, he's absolutely right! - I'll add more interest and intrigue on any spacecraft next time.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Privateer Press: Year of the Gear

I'd always been aware of Privateer Press, I really like their big steampunk-style robots and 'chunky' design aesthetic, so I jumped at the chance to work on this piece - entitled "Year of the Gear" - a cover for their 'No Quarter' bi-monthly magazine.

The idea was to have Cygnar Major Markus 'Siege' Brisbane and Centurion Warjack defending a hill against a Cryx attack. After a few sketches, and some revisions from the Über-Kool Kris Aubin who was art directing the piece, we settled on the final design:

(Above) The initial thumbnail

(Above) the thumbnail with Kris' alterations -
as with any good art director they always improve a picture.

From there I went on to model, light and finally render each element and their separate passes - compositing and painting it all together in Photoshop. Sounds easy, right! Well, obviously there was much, much more to it than that, but I might cover the more technical and artistic points in another post. Maybe. If anyone is interested.

Near the end of the piece Kris wanted the Cygnar Centurion Warjack to be bearing its shield, to balance the image out - so I quickly modelled, lit, rendered and composited it and it looked great! I find that's how things work being freelance, whatever wants/ needs altering, I'm always happy to oblige! So, here's the final piece in all its glory:

And here's the piece with the final layout and typography added:

And for those still reading this post, here's a detail from the image, showing Siege in full flow:

(Above) ACTION!

Ace! I love this job, making this kind of imagery is what I've always wanted to do - and now I get paid for it!

Well, that's it for now, but don't fear - I've got plenty of other things in the pipeline (logo's, 3D models, more illustrations) of which I'll be showing you as time goes by, so stick around!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Horus Heresy: Tales of Heresy

Time flies when you're having fun, eh! These Horus Heresy posts are fast catching me up, I think this is from one of the latest books to be printed. It means I'll have to start rationing the relevant posts until further books are out. Hopefully I'll be able to add a few more 'How-to' bits to the posts, 'cos it seems people like that sort of thing.

There will still be plenty to read about though, as I can finally start showing exciting and cool work from some of my other clients.

With this piece, the 'Tales of Heresy', I really wanted to capture the raw anger and power in the Primarch Angron as he leads his World Eaters into battle. I like the fact he's standing on the Imperial Aquila (the double-headed eagle), one of the first tangible references to the Warhammer 40,000 future to come.

This Angron was based on the sketches in the Horus Heresy Collected Visions books by John Blanche.

Artwork (c) Games Workshop 2009. All Rights Reserved. Used without permission

I was trying to be a bit more daring with my colour use in this piece, with the greens and reds (I'd been watching a few too many Hammer Horror films at around that time), I thought it'd give the image some Chaotic 'kick'. Plus, I was overlaying many layers of paint scribbles and imperfections to give it a ruddy, grimy, weathered feel.

The rubble and debris are photo-referenced from the old RAF airbase near Manby in Lincolnshire.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Adventures in Life Drawing: 001

Aah, no sooner have we moved into our new house than I have found a life drawing class to disappear to every Monday night! It's run by some old school friends of ours here in Louth, right in the shadow of St James' Church - it's a regular rural idyll here, I tells ya!

St James Church - Photo by Derek Roberts
(no relation)

Anyway, they're a really nice bunch of people of all levels and it's a fairly informal excuse to break out my art tools once in a while - there's no using the Cintiq there, *gulps*

I started this week with a few warm-up sketches using tools I'm familiar with, Blue/ Red pencils, Brush pen, WhiteOut pen and some Letraset ProMarkers:

Blue pencils to define the overall form, Red Pencils to tighten the anatomy,
Black brush pen to define the shapes and Black KarismaColor pencils and WhiteOut Pens to add shading.

Letraset ProMarker pens to block the shapes and shadows, Faber Castell Pitt and Pentel Fountain Pens to add the line details.
Again, WhiteOut pens substitute for the lack of an undo button!

Then I broke out my secret weapon - something I've been threatening myself with all these years... Charcoal!

Charcoal: For The Win!

Using a totally different medium from my normal set was verrrry exciting, the potential use of 'sfumato', 'chiaruscuro' and 'tenebrism' (artsy- fartsy terms, I know - but they do apply here) to the sheer muckiness of it all - I loved getting my hands dirty! It felt like sculpting the picture as opposed to just delineating it. I know it doesn't look like much now, but hopefully this will inform my work and start pushing my artistic side upwards and onwards.

Anyway, I'm stiill buzzing from the thought of doing more charcoal drawing - I'll go and calm down and get on with some work, maybe a Johnny Alpha or two...?