Iron Giant Study

A study from Iron Giant. Spent a bit longer on it than I normally do for studies, but I think it made a difference.

What to listen to while working

So after telling myself I was going to try and update this blog more often, at least once a week, I've gone and taken a month to sit down and do this. In my defence, the combination of Christmas & New Years and the start of a new bit of work which has needed a bit of commuting to London hasn't helped.
I'm going to try and do better, but I'm afraid it might just be doodles, sketches, and half finished studies for the next couple of months. (^_^;)

My recent travelling resulted in me burning through a lot of music and podcasts, and as someone who doesn't work well to music (I always fall into the trap of trying to find the right song), I thought it would be worth sharing podcasts I regularly play to fill the silence. 

Art

Christ Oatley's Artcast 
There are a lot of art-based podcasts out there, but I generally prefer non-art subjects to listen to. However I always enjoy Chris's podcasts and there have been times when they've been a great help, either bringing up new ideas or providing comforting insight into how things work for other artists and that maybe you aren't doing it all wrong.

Level Up 
OK. Not a podcast, but a Youtube channel where some amazing artists discuss working practice and do paintovers to show technique. The episodes are little long, and they aren't something you can get the benefit of by playing them in the background, but if you're bored and want to watch something more useful than a tv sitcom, these are great.

Comedy

Answer Me This
Podcast where people write in questions and these clever Londoners try and answer them. 

Complete Guide to Everything
New Yorkers Tim and Tom pick a topic and discuss it, usually in a very tangental fashion. It took me a couple of episodes to get into their humour, but once you do its great. 

Throwing Shade
Humour of the more irreverent, sometimes crude and vulgar, vein. 


Factual

This American Life
A gold standard for radio shows that's been running in the US since 1995.

Radio Lab
Similar to  TAL, but with a focus on science and philosophy. Also a bit more experimental in their approach to aduio production.

Invisibilia
A new podcast under the NPR banner. Quite similar to TAL and Radio Lab


Stuff You Should Know
A weekly podcast that covers an immense list of topics, from how to start your own country, dreadlocks, and LEGOs.

Stuff You Missed In History Class
Similar in style to SYSN, but focused on events in history.


Climbing

Enormocast
Writer and climber Chris Kalous gets some amazing climbers to sit down and talk with him about climbing (obviously), life, and overcoming obstacles of all kinds. 

Dirtbag Diaries
More in the style of This American Life, but with a focus on outdoor life.


True Crime

Serial
A 12 episode podcast that follows a reporter as she looks into a case from the early 2000s. It went viral late last year, but if you haven't had a chance to listen to it you should definitely check it out.

Sword & Scale
A smaller, independent podcast venture primarily covering cases of murder. Not your lighter fare podcast.

Criminal
A fairly new podcast, with an NPR feel. Covers various forms of criminality such as hacking, con jobs, and the PMS murder defence.

Thinking Sideways
Three hosts cover a variety of mysteries, many related to crime. Can border on conspiracy theory territory, but the topics are always interesting.


Phew! That took longer than expected! I hope this list helps some of you pass the time while doodling away. 

Thanks for reading.

Office Party

Yesterday was the office Christmas party which, due to the fact I'm a freelancer working from home, mean the only attendees were myself and the dog. The upside was baking fresh food - nothing beats piping hot pigs in blankets. 

Christmas decorations, complete with a roaring fire.

Christmas decorations, complete with a roaring fire.

Somebody had too many mince pies...

Somebody had too many mince pies...

Some Inspiration

Here are some colour studies I've done recently.

These were done from stills of a really cool animation done for Sprite by Paris-based studio Fortiche Production. They've done loads of amazing work and I definitely recommend having a look the stuff they've done. You can check out the animation these studies were done from here, as well as the other three animations done in the series. Beautiful!

October Update

This month I’ve been keeping my head down and churning out a lot of work. The biggest bulk of it has been in conjunction with a friend’s startup, Vicious Circles, which is an excellent source of cycling themed art. It's been really nice to have a simple constraint in terms of theme, but otherwise plenty of freedom to create. Additionally my colleague has a great eye for graphic design and a lot of experience so he's been an excellent source of feedback.

We are hoping to expand the prints to other sports such as running and triathlons, and naturally I’m making the case for climbing themed art. (:

Of course any of the current work would be an lovely gift for that major cycling fan in your life. *wink wink*

And I've been continuing with learning better Photoshop painting skills. It's been a bit "fits and spurts" with all the vector work I've been doing, but I can feel myself improving and what I am learning is seeping into my other work. Currently its a bit of a battle between adding more shading details or keeping things flat. Eventually I'll find the right balance...

 

For the upcoming month my plans are pushing self promotion more, which I'm rubbish at and hopefully finding time to do more of the climbing art I have planned but keeps getting put on the back burner. And, as always, working to become a better artist in general.

My most recent piece, a map of the UK with the 2014 Tour of Britain route. Poor Scotland got left out of the race this year, but it's too pretty a place to leave off the map. 

My most recent piece, a map of the UK with the 2014 Tour of Britain route. Poor Scotland got left out of the race this year, but it's too pretty a place to leave off the map. 

Updates!

Nearly 2 months since the last update! Oops!

But I haven't been sitting on my hands, a lot's been getting done, quietly, behind the scenes.

I've joined a collaborative project with a good friend of mine and if you're a big fan of cycling I think it will really interest you. Check out Vicious Circles for some amazing cycling themed prints. There's a broad range of styles covering graphic design to illustration. And hopefully the range will soon expand to include some other sports.

 

And in my free time I've gotten to do a fair amount of travelling and climbing. At the beginning of August my best friend and I met up in Brussels and had a great weekend exploring the city, enjoying the great beer, beautiful architecture, and I was finally able to see Mannekin Pis which has been on my to-do list for years.

After returning from Brussels there was an unexpected trip back to America to see family in Texas and then Colorado. Every time I go back to CO I find myself wishing more and more than I lived there. You just can't beat that pine tree smell!

And over the August bank holiday had a beautiful camping and trad climbing trip in the Peak District. It was my first time climbing trad, but it was great fun and the local gritstone was such a nice change from the horrible, slippy limestone in the Gloucestershire area.

 

IFSC Bouldering World Cup Posters

I once read some advice by a professional illustrator saying you should focus your art on what you love, rather than try to create what you think people wanted. At the time I thought, "Great advice, but I'm broke and just out of school so that's not going to work!" Now a few years later, I'v finally given up on trying to figure out what others wanted and decided to do a little project just for me. 

For each of the Bouldering World Cups of 2014 I created a little poster with the women's gold medalist climbing one of the final routes with a background of the city in which the event took place, all based on vintage travel posters.

Ultimately the only goal of this project was to start and finish a self initiated project (fellow artists will probably know how hard it is to finish a project when you don't have a client pestering you) and hopefully a few good designs to put up on my walls at home. So you can imagine my surprise when I got an email from someone at the IFSC telling me how much they loved the posters and asking if they promote them through their channels!

So that illustrator I spent so long ignoring was right. Anyway, you can view the posters below, or look at them on the IFSC website here!

If anyone is interested in getting one of these for themselves, you can buy them here. Sorry for the weird pricing, Redbubble's system makes it impossible to get round numbers. The advantage is they print locally in the USA, Europe, and Australia so hopefully you don't have to pay ridiculous international shipping.

June 2014 Update

We're only halfway through June and already it's been the best month of the year. And it seems unlikely that anything will be able to top it. The three main highlights of this month so far are:

 

Frankie and Benny's TappyToonz

Not long ago I was privileged to work with Lemon Moose Games on a flappy-bird style kids game for Frankie and Benny's. The project was a bit of an illustrator's dream as it involved four different worlds and, within each world, a set of obstacles for the player to avoid. You can see the artwork here or play the game for yourself here. Since the game has been coded in HTML5, it should work on desktop or mobile. 

 

Holiday in Portugal

I spent a lovely week with my partner in Lisbon, where we joined in the wedding festivities of two good friends. The weather was amazing (though cold by Portuguese standards, as we were often told by the locals staring at the Brits in the pool and in the ocean), the food and drink were amazing, and the people were incredibly friendly. We'll definitely be returning, and I can't wait.

 

PUPPY!

And the most life changing event happened the day after we returned from Lisbon. In April we managed to secure ourselves a Dobermann and when we got back from holiday she was ready to come home. Seven days in and I think it's safe to say that our little Boomer is the perfect dog!

 


Climbing World Cup Posters

Just over a year ago I discovered climbing, the best sport ever (according to some). 

The IFSC world cups kicked off last month and while enjoying pros climb harder than I'll ever get to do, I've been working on some poster designs. Here's what I've got so far, hoping to do at least one for each stop on the tour 

Spaceman Chim Landscapes

Have had a little time to work on my Spaceman Chim project. Here's a few quick landscape concepts I did. 

Isometrics

Wrapped up a lovely project last week, and exited to be able to share it...but I can't yet. So watch this space. 

In the meantime, have a lookit this. I've been doing some isometric stuff in my free time and enjoying it.

Fish Hut

Light & Colour Studies

Between jobs and personal projects, I try to keep working on technique. Over the last couple of months I've been putting a bit of work into digital painting. Here's some quick colour and light studies I've done from a few of my favourite films.