Friday, 23 December 2011

Season's Greetings!

A quick festive post to wish old friends and new, personal and professional, a Merry Christmas and the most prosperous of New Years!

"Look to the future now, it's only just begun..."

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Skinnyelbows on Game Art at Confetti Nottingham

Hi All,

I'll be doing a quick lecture about Game Art in all its forms at Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies in Nottingham tomorrow at 4pm (that's Thursday, November 10th from 4pm, fact fans!)

The Confetti Cafe.

I look forward to meeting new faces, inspiring them and hopefully shedding some light on the realities of working in game development...

I'll see thee then, then!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Skinnyelbows: Now on T-shirts, Hoodies and Stickers...!

Hello All!

Feel free to pop on over to my REDBUBBLE page to see some of my original designs that you can get on Men and Womens size t-shirts, hoodies and also in sticker form. Here's a sample of the first wave:

Hope you like. We shall see if I sell any, it's a nice way to get some extra use out of my doodles.

I'll be adding more and more as I make them, so be sure to check back from time to time...!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Cover 2000AD Prog 1757

Here's my cover to this weeks 2000AD Prog 1757, "Flight of Angels!":

2000AD Prog 1757
"Flight of Angels!"

As always it kicks off with a brief from Tharg, who wanted Angel Zero on her glider, zooming at the reader -  guns blazing. BLAM!

I knew John Burns was drawing the strip, so I started to think about the strips he did for Look-In but, as I didn't merely want to imitate Johns superlative style (one of the finest comic draughtsman right now) - I wanted to be sympathetic to the artwork and story - that led me to Arnaldo Putzu, cover artist for Look-in magazine.

Me and my sister used to get Look-in when we were children and, while I never knew his name at the time, I LOVED his covers.

Arnaldo Putzu at his best...

Using his bold use of colour as my starting point I ran up two thumbnails based on the brief:

Two similar but different treatments, 
colour was the driving force on this piece.

Tharg liked the one on the right here, but he made sure I kept her eyes on the reader in the final piece - a small but VERY important point for many covers. 

It's the eyes that can grab the viewer.

Now, the reference shot - here I am rolling about on the floor to get an idea of how you'd hold the guns if you were in that position. I look daft, I know - but you've got to break a few eggs to make an omelette. And I sure look like a stupid egg...

Posing can be fun, rolling around on 
the wooden floor - just be 
careful of splinters.

From there I hit Photoshop hard and painted up the final piece you see below.

The full artwork minus cover furniture.

Here's a detail of the piece so you can see it close-up - hopefully the eyes are fixing you with their gaze...

"Look into my eyes... "

And with that, Tharg was happy, I was happy, so we're all happy! Right?

Another fun cover for the Galaxies Greatest Comic, it really has to be one of the best gigs in the Universe!

2000AD Prog 1757 is in the shops now! - you'd be crazy to miss out ;)

Until next time, my fellow Earthlings!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Reminder: Games Day 2011

Hello All,

Just a quick reminder to say I shall be attending Games Day 2011 with those lovely folk from The Black Library this coming Sunday the 25th September, 2011 at the Birmingham NEC LG Arena!

So, if you have any of you have copies of my Black Library covered books, Horus Heresy books or posters (there may also be numbered and signed limited edition prints available on the day), feel free to bring them along to get signed. I believe I'll also be taking part in a seminar about the Art of Black Library!

Oh, and there'll be a bunch of people who write words as well, so you can talk to them about sentences and paragraphs or something... ;)

There may even have a special sneak preview of upcoming artworks on my iphone for anyone who asks very, very nicely...

Tickets available here: Games Day UK 2011

UPDATE - it looks like all tickets are sold out, see you all there!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

First Look: Cover: Aurelian

Hello All,

So, we've had the Pledge, The Turn and now, the Prestige moment...
Those nice folk at Black Library have now revealed my artwork (in their newsletter) for the new Horus Heresy novella by the ├╝ber-cool Aaron Dembski-Bowden, titled: Aurelian

The result of a lot of
Hans Zimmer soundtracks
and a well outlined brief...

Needless to say the messageboards have been getting a lot of heat, people seem to like it, which is always nice to know.

Either way, I'm proud of it. Aaron has a knack of pushing the boundaries of what to expect in a cover and this one didn't fail to push against that. Check out his 'blog for a far wittier take on the cover art.

Sheesh, that boy's a GREAT writer... Cheers Aaron - you wonderful bundle of talent!

Next up on my drawing board, assassins and aliens...

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Music To Paint By...

Hello all,

I just finished a nice big cover for my brothers and battle-sisters at Black Library and, by way of a teaser (kind of), I wanted to share the musical inspiration for the piece (the best bit comes in at 2:50 in):


Without giving too much away, this summed up perfectly the mood I wanted to achieve with the piece.

More often than not, I listen to soundtracks when working, mostly Hans Zimmer. Or have my iPhone on shuffle, so it'll keep me amused when it bounces from Lady Gaga to Dragonforce to Ennio Morricone ;)

So, anyone else use particular pieces of music to get them fired up?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Art Prints at Games Day 2011

Hello All,

A quick note that Black Library will be selling limited edition prints of the 'Path of the Seer' cover at Games Day 2011, alongside Jon Sullivans' awesome 'Battle of the Fang' cover:

Come buy me at Games Day!

You'll be able to see all the insane* amount of detail that went into the cover in this print, there's even a special tribute to an 80's band in there, if you can find it ;)

See you there...!

* Well, 'insane' may be a bit extreme, but I did dream about swirling lines for nights after...

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Cover: 2000AD Prog 1745

Here's my cover to this weeks 2000AD Prog1745, 'First Blood':

2000AD Prog 1745:
The MkI Blackbloods
in their menacing glory.

A neat little brief from Tharg, with the BlackBlood MkI's looming over and reaching out to grab the reader... What's not to inspire an artist!

I took a few reference photos - as always, to get an idea of poses and look for any of those subtle shapes that can sometimes lift an image. In this case it was the angle of the little finger when the hand opens like that. Yeah, that was my big discovery in this pic. Little fingers! GO ME!

The little finger, the way it's angled - LOOK!

Anyways, I drew up a thumbnail I *felt* delivered on the brief, luckily for me, Tharg the Mighty liked it:

I submitted just the one thumbnail this time,
sometimes a risky approach, as I felt it most accurately
portrayed what Tharg was looking for.

So I went ahead and painted up the final image, as you can see here:

The final image, painted in Photoshop.

Tharg was happy, I was happy, we're all happy! Am I right?

I still get a thrill doing covers for the Galaxies Greatest Comic, it really has to be one of the best gigs in the Universe!

2000AD Prog 1745 is in the shops on Wednesday - you'd be crazy to miss out ;)

Until next time, my fellow Earthlings!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Interview: Scotch Corner

Just a quick post to point you to a neat little interview with the lovely people over at the Scotch Corner blog, where I talk about how I started off my illustration career and my work in general - go read!

Cool as der cucumber, ja?

Friday, 15 July 2011

First look: Cover: Path of the Renegade

What a week! First off, space marines actually in space; now I introduce you to my new Dark Eldar cover for Andy Chambers' new novel "Path of the Renegade", from Black Library - out early next year.

Like the Eldar novels,
I lavished little details on
this image - not immediately
visible in this preview...

And here's the piece in it's front cover glory:

The design and type always
sets off the image to a tee!

I'll do a proper post with process, as and when the book comes out - Excellent!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

First look: Cover: Know No Fear

Hello one and all!

So, Black Library have put the final (lo-res) image up for the new Dan Abnett Horus Heresy novel, "Know No Fear" and here it is for your perusal:

Zero-G punchup!
Ultramarine Primarch, Roboute Guilliman
a heretic WordBearer

(Above, detail)
The face was inspired
by the previous Ultramarine I painted
for 'Battle for the Abyss'

I LOVED adding the details
on this one, the blood globules hanging in space,
the ship detailing and all the rest.

The idea for this image was to have a true 360 degree punch up, so the cover was designed to show some combat if you turned the image round to any angle.

I added a harsh lens-flare with lens dust, the kind of which you see on the NASA Apollo Moon-landing photographs (a great inspiration for this piece)

Well ,that's all for this time, when the book's out I'll do a full process post - sketches and reference. But for now, enjoy the hard vacuum of space...!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Process: Oil Paint: Still Life 2011

Hello All,

A quick diversion, if you will - to the realms of oil painting...

Here's a process summary of a little still life I finished in-between jobs:

The basic set-up in the studio.
An oil decanter, grapes, silver bowl
and a platter.

The bowl feels overworked.
Next painting I'm going to vary the
rendering between looser strokes
and refined areas of detail

Still Life, 2011
Oil on Canvas

It was done in one afternoon, approx. 4hrs, in that quick 'alla prima' approach that I enjoy.

The next paintings are a larger format and a more complex subject material - my children!

Until the next time...

Friday, 17 June 2011

First look: Cover: Age of Darkness

Hello One and All!

Here's a nice clean version of the new, NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING ANTHOLOGY "Age of Darkness" from BL Publishing, showing a slightly evil Horus grinding an Imperial Fist Marine into the dirt (a certain Christian Dunn's idea - so BLAME HIM!):

Horus is *starting* to go all evil,
so he's not TOTALLY spiked up yet...

As is usual, I started off with draughting out thumbnails - just two thumbnail ideas this time, as I had a pretty set idea as to how I wanted this cover to look. Luckily, Black Library were happy with them and chose the first thumbnail to work from. Then it was simply a case of paint, Paint, PAINT!

The initial thumbnails,
BL correctly stated I'd made
his armour too purple -
n00b mistake ;)

Horus Detail, armour heavily based
on the classic Adrian Smith
Horus vs Emperor art.

See his panicked eye behind his eye-lens -
that's me, that is ;)

Cool, so that's the skinny on the new Heresy cover - I'm off to finish putting some more spikes on this here certain xenos cover I'm currently working on...

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Unused Star Wars Battlefront Concepts

So, Star Wars Battlefront 3 wasn't even finished (let alone cancelled) when we tried to get number 4 off the ground at the now defunct Free Radical Design (now Crytek UK)

So here a few pages of concepts produced for a game that never saw the light of day:

Environment concepts -
chiefly based around
an infiltration of a
Kaminoan Cloning Facility.

Also, we were working on some crazy Alternative Star Wars Timeline ideas - where the good guys were the bad guys and vice versa:

The good guys were the bad guys,
and the bad guys were the good guys.


Well, that's a brief snapshot into the brief life of a cancelled game ;)

'Til next time, everyone!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Back from the edge...

Hello All,

I'm back from the other side of oblivion - AKA, moving house and stuff and I've emerged leaner and meaner than ever (well, not so much of the lean, actually, and not mean at all)

So, here's a little of what's been going on in my absence...

A little bit of work for the BBC:

Doctor Who for the Sarah Jane Adventures

"Affirmative, Master" - K9

And some charity work for the new 'Spirit of Hope' comic from the Comic Book Alliance:

Spirit of Hope

All profit from the title will go to help disaster victims via Second Harvest and the New Zealand Red Cross.

Right - that's us nearly up to speed - what I can't show you is ALL the stuff that hasn't even seen print yet - Mechs, Monsters, Avatars, Spaceships, Robots... y'know, like EVERYTHING else!

More soon, I PROMISE...!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

First look: Cover: Deliverance Lost

Hello All!

So, Black Library Live! 2011 has been and gone for another year and what a great day it was - it was great to meet up with all those who enjoy the books, hobby and artwork.

A big THANKYOU for making all the hard work feel worthwhile.

Many folk saw the new Corax artwork for 'Deliverance Lost' by Gav Thorpe and Black Library have now put the final (lo-res) image up for your enjoyment and scrutiny:

Corax in orbital drop.
The brief wanted an Art Deco hanging garden city
something we've never really seen in 40K before

Thankfully the artwork has gone down a storm. It was inspired by a specially commissioned illustration by John Blanche - Corax has never been seen before, so who better to define his look ;)

(Above: Detail)
I was inspired by the idea of a 'Dark Knight' style
base-jump mixed with 'Star Trek' orbital drop.

Anyway, here you go - feast thine eyes upon it and feel free to leave a comment.

See you soon!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Process: Oil Paint: Regent Street 2010

Hello All,

Just a quick process post about an oil painting I recently finished. I wanted to do a contemporary landscape, so I chose Regent Street, London. The aim of doing an oil painting was to re-connect with the notion of being an artist - especially after the busy year that was 2010. I wanted to re-establish those traditional skills that are easy to move away from when you've been working digitally for so long.

After a few sketches and reference photo's were taken, I launched into the painting. Below you can see my process:

Regent Street painting in progress

As you can see I used a saturated umber as my ground, mainly because I wanted to get a real warmth to the painting, which would mainly be that rather flat Portland stone colour. Also, I painted it in elements, sky, left side, right - a kind of Alla Prima approach over several days.

The final painting (apologies for the poor quality, will get a better pic when the weather is better)

Regent Street, 2010
Oil on canvas

It's exciting for me, as I've been able to acknowledge a more traditional and considered approach that will, hopefully, inform my future work. I've already gessoed a load of other canvases and panels, so I'm looking forward to exploring the posibilities of oil painting, still life and landscapes further.

I've got a few other paintings almost finished which I'll post up as and when they're done - keep those eyes peeled!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Cover: 2000AD Prog 1721

Hello All,

A quick post about this weeks 2000AD, with the cover art by yours truly:

Basing it on the Henry-Flint-drawn
Shakara strip meant I could
try a more limited palette

I'll do a proper process post soon and maybe Pete Wells over at the EXCELLENT blog, 2000AD Covers Uncovered may have more material at some point as well.

Right, that's it for now, Dr Sketchy's tomorrow.

See you in the funny papers...!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Doctor Who: The Design Conspiracy

So, here's a quick piece on an artwork created for The Design Conspiracy's 10th Birthday:

Doctor Who: 2005 Revival
Digital, 10"x10"

The brief was to choose a year from the decade The Design Conspiracy had been operating and illustrate it. So, obviously, I chose 2005 - the year Doctor Who was 'regenerated' onto our screens again.

TDC HQ, London

The exhibition was held at TDC HQ in fashionable London and we had a great time, meeting up with old friends and making new ones.

Cheer up, Neil - it's Doctor Who!


Monday, 10 January 2011

A New Year - a new 2000AD cover!

A Happy New Year to you all!

Here's a teaser from a new cover for 2000AD:


I'll be sure to put up the full image and process when the Prog is out, sometime soon!

Also, I shall endeavour to update this blog more regularly, as my attention wandered last year with the sheer workload I had - but that's a good thing right?

So fear not, True Believers, there is plenty more work to be seen...!