Monday, September 19, 2011

That Thing About The Storks Is Total Rubbish

There have been quite a few lovely, whimsical and serene images of hot air balloons being floating gently being created by a variety of artists.

Though an innate fear of heights, or rather, plummeting to earth from a great height will probably stop me ever actually going up in one, they have always mystified me, and i have always thought they are a wonderful form of transport for exploration.

In allowing nature to dictate direction I can't help but see it as very exposed and vulnerable, and strangely organic.

The tale about the storks delivering babies to the door has always seemed  interesting, if not mildly annoying in it's bullshit factor; why a bird would carry a baby to a human never made any sense to me as a child.

This idea has been around for a while in my head; large organic balloons netted with sinew and blood vessels, gently carrying, nurturing and sustaining the life of their precious cargo across an unkind landscape.

It became a play on the stork story that, while equally misleading to children on "where babies come from", is closer to the truth, and would be infinitely more mesmerizing.

It was also an opportunity to try something stylistically new (for me) as i couldn't imagine capturing the look i wanted painting the way i normally work, and being invited to submit a work into a show being organised by Fire was the catalyst to attempt it. Thanks go out to Chris Oatley who has offered up a selection of his own photoshop brushes on his website, and it is probably the main reason this work didn't end up being a frustrating churn to complete, if it was actually completed at all.

The show is the official opening of The Copper House Gallery (off Synge Street, Dublin 8), on Tuesday 27th Sptember 2011 at 7.30pm.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Subarachnoid Haemorrhage

I was asked by my mother to do a picture of her to use on   an invitation to a 'small raising of a glass' she was having to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of not dying from a subarachnoid haemorrhage.

So i did this, which i think is a pretty good likeness... those who know her might agree.

It has to be in black and white for printing purposes, and done in photoshop due to technical difficulties with my Painter software, and time restraints. Though given this experience, i might use photoshop a little more now...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Life Drawing Sketchbook (part 1)

 Thought i'd scan in a few images from a recent life drawing session i did and put them up here.

I'm fairly confident and happy with my understanding of anatomy, and normally can draw from imagination well enough to satisfy my inner critic. It's been a very long time since I've done life drawing, possibly close to 20 years, and i was faced with the realization that this was actually kinda tricky... i felt pretty retarded trying to draw the person before me, and not fall back into the unconscious habits of drawing a posture from my imagination.

I was also , really trying to get my head around foreshortening, and in some instances fairly extreme foreshortening, and life drawing really helped with that.

Feet too; i was looking for feet. I just can't get them right most of the time for some reason, and again, this really helped. That being said, i haven't uploaded many of the feet ones i liked... maybe next time.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Same Thing Every Year

Another pencil in sketchbook piece.

Not sure what the thing is on his head is - possibly a leech, or a hat with teeth.

Terrible scan though. Will have to try it again...

Submitted for Illustration Friday topic: Perennial.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Smallest Gesture

The feel of lead dragging across good paper. Love it.

Another sketch that began with no real direction while sitting around.  The location of the ears was helped along by my 3yo who found the pencil and sketch pad while i was out one evening, and drew one of them in. I had been thinking about placing them low, but i guess he helped finalise the decision....

Submitted for Illustration Friday topic Gesture.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

iPhone Drawing (part one)

I was recently given an old iPhone by a friend - my first go at one. They're spanky, and it's nice to have the internet in your pocket when trying to avoid quality time with the family.

One thing i was interested in was the drawing apps, as being able to sketch on a device i have with me most of the time seemed quite handy. 

I was fairly doubtful of how they would work and the quality, but as it turns out, its very touch sensitive, and while it took some learning curve for me to pan a zoom effectively, the interface, while miniscule, seems reasonably useful.

Anyway, i downloaded one called Art Studio, and have been having a muck around with it.

Now if i could just work out how to clean to grit off the adhesive back under the screen protector to stop all the little bubbles occurring....

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cock Fight

It is what it is. Two giant cocks battling it out to the death, in a desert dust bowl. Two cocks enter. One cock leaves. This is the way it has to be....

The title, based on that weird bird blood sport, was the obvious inspiration for this painting, but as i was sketching it out in the sketch book, i decided that i wanted to work on painting monumental scale, in a kinda fantasy art wankery way.

Last year sometime i saw some of the artwork done for that abysmal film Clash of The Titans. It was the Cracken emerging from the water,  and while the film was crap, this image was awesome, and the sense of scale of the beast was wonderful, and i kept in in mind while working on this.

The other thing i was looking to study was getting  movement in dust and atmosphere a little more, as the cocks would be rising up and thumping down and twisting like two snakes fighting, kicking up debris, and dust.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Magners Leage Final: Munster vs Leinster

Spent a few of hours putting this together in Painter and photoshop, after being given a very short deadline.

There wass some concern that O'Connell's two fingers up behind O'Driscoll's head might be seen by some as taking the piss out of him. I would congratulate those people on their ability to read into the bleeding obvious... and to point out that if O'Driscoll was any shorter, O'Connell would've been getting it in the goolies rather than the stomach, but that as it stands rugby will win on the day *wretch*.

However, i'm happy that it passed through the design committee successfully and that the tea lady was able to voice her opinions as well. Thank you Beryl.

The use of the text has probably helped everyone along, so credit out to Mrs Brown for the lines!

Appears on the front of this saturdays Limerick Post to celebrate the Magners League final: Munster Vs Leinster, held in Thomond Park, Limerick.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Commission: Wedding Invitation

Now that the invitation has been sent out, i can upload the latest commission: a wedding invitation for my brother in-law and his fiance.

They asked for a superman theme, and this is the finished result.

I was trying to capture a bi of the Eamon's goofy fun nature, and Lois' kinda loving amusement by it. 

My initial sketch i had Lois holding Eamon, as it let me have a bit more fun making him look the part, but was asked to do the alternative one for comparison, which is the one they went with. I probably would have preferred the first one, but i'm still happy with how it turned out.

I manage to slip in a subtle play at them by flipping the 'S' on Eamons outfit, in honour if the dislexia that he wears proudly. I'll add that it wan't picked up until it was basically on it's way to the printer. Make of that what you will.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

It Is Not A Toy.

Taken as far as i can in the small sketchbook i have, the next step is possibly trying to colour it up some how.Kinda like it like this though....

Submitted for Illustration Friday topic: Toy.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It Is Not A Toy. (work in progress - 2)

Got a bit more time at it last night while watching telly.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

It Is Not A Toy. (work in progress)

Good Lord! Is it late March already? I haven't put up anything since before Christmas.... after a very dark and long winter, filled with flu after flu being passed on between the 2 kids, the missus and myself (we all nearly drowned on the amount of snot pooling in the house), it would appear all is clear, the sun is back, and the finger has been pulled out.

So to ensure people that I haven't died, I thought i'd put up a sketch i'm working on, more of a doodle really. It began yesterday when the Girl was asleep (finally) and i had a hankering for drawing, but couldn't leave her alone in case she fell off the couch.

This is not digital, by the way.

It's been quite some time since i used pencil for anything other than scratching out ideas for complete works - really rough sketches - so i took the time here to feel the lead on the surface of the page, and just see where it took me. I'm still not sure where it is taking me, other than i know i probably should have started this in a larger notebook... the spiral bind is going to stop me being able to finish the top of the head, and  the chin may loose out too. ~sigh~
Let's call this a work in progress; I'll put up more as it progresses....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wreck The Balls (Merry Christmas)

Was running a bit late getting a card ready to send out this year. After last years card (here), the pressure was on, but i just couldn't get there... properly anyway.

This started as a sketch when i had christmas carols stuck in my head, and couldn't get them out. This is a take on Deck the Halls. It could have easily have been When Shepards Wash Their Cocks By Night, but after the commission i've just completed , the thought of another landscape just horrified me.

Not sure the blue glitter really worked out, but whatever - at this time of year, it's the thought that counts.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bring Me The Head Of Brian Cowen

Brian Cowen
A man can dream, can't he?

50 x 45 cm prints available, and, this year, would make the perfect Christmas gift!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Solitary Turf War

The finished commissioned piece. It was a Christmas gift for the husband of the client. The husband is referred to as Francis of Assisi by the surrounding neighbours, as when he goes for a walk, his 4 cats, 3 dogs and Billy the goat go with him. And because he uses colourful nylon rope as a belt, because he feels that a normal belt just doesn't cut it. The current colour is bright pink.

During the course of doing this work, the old labrador sitting in the cabbages died, so i was asked to kinda 'nice' it up a bit - i had made it a little geriatric and decrepit  looking.

For some of the background to this work, scroll down, or click here...

Client is very happy with the digital preview, as am I, though like most things, there is always something you 'd like to change, or would like to spend more time on - but sometimes you just gotta leave it alone.

Been a good experience, full of learning and patience - primarily hardware shortcomings. (Taking donations now for replacement gear ;-) )

The print came back quickly from Steve at and looked great printed on canvas, though paper would have been my preferred medium. After meeting the client on a cold windy day in the carpark of Coona Tesco the hand over was done.

Got a call on Christmas day to let me know everyone though it was great, which was nice, and a huge sigh of relief!

Submitted for Illustration Friday topic "Cultivate"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Process Diary: Commission

Thought I'd upload some of the bits for the commission I'm working on at the moment - November has been a very slow month for blog updates! The image has a pile of animals, and getting the particular coats "correct" has proven to be a challenge, as has getting the personality of the critter too... great fun though. 

I'm having to split the job into different parts, as the required resolution and the size of the final output is giving my computer a nervous breakdown, and it's already teetering on the edge. 

For now, however, time is ticking.... 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Interview for Limerick Post

A screen shot of my interview with the Limerick Post digital edition. The paper copy is out this weekend, 23 Oct.

Pretty happy all in all - hopefully it'll drum up some business!

Thanks again to Rose Rushe at the 'Post for making me sound life i might be fun to be around.... sorta.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Still Life With Jeans

muffin top A second to add to the Still Life Series. This had some challenges - the crusty muffin look, and the denim were a bit of a pain. Which is to say the whole thing was tricky, but started with a good sketch, and it made it bearable at least...

I have a screen capture recording that i'll have to edit and speed up, to let any one interested to look at the process that was gone through to get this done. Could be anther couple of days...
Update: Video uploaded! Was a bit of a churn - 10.5 hours reduced to just under 9 minutes, speed increased by 8000% (for god's sake....). 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pencil 2D Animation Software Revisited

Well, maybe i should have found out about it sooner, but i just jumped straight in and began drawing... didn't look at te size of the area i was working to, just pushed through to about 1500 frames (no, not every frame, just the animatic...).

So, then i try to export and it can't handle a file over about 700px wide it would seem. Fine, i'll render it at 600 wide. But now the animation is really small, and can hardly be seen.

Try camera layer, you say? Right! Oh, hang on now nothing renders, though i do get a folder with an image sequence of the entire thing....

I think this may not be for me.

In import into Flash proved difficult with 1500, 1000px wide jpg's, and after a whole lot of crashing, went and batch resized the images for import in Photoshop. A million years later, importing a few humdred at a time seemed the best way.

Then came the deleteing of static frames - when pencil spat out the jpg sequence the were 12 frames or jpgs for every second that the picture stood still as well as for motion. This was expected but it did lead to a bit more arseing around than i was perhaps wanting.

Is there a lesson learned?


Anyway, here's where it's up to now spat out by Flash... the timing is still pretty bad but it's progress people, progress!