New website

Pink 70s phone

I painted this bright pink/red 1970s style phone in ArtRage 4 which has an excellent new painting mode called ‘workbench’. Workbench puts all the tools you need into a strip at the top of the screen. I took the idea for this piece from my sketch book, traced the outline and have been painting it up using the ink and oil brush.

I love last centuries old landline phones, each design speaks volumes about it’s time. This is a ‘futuristic’ 1970’s style phone. So expect more in the coming weeks.

This is to be the last post at after some years I’ve decided to shift my blog and create a portfolio illustration site at…

I’ve owned this URL for a while and decided it was time to push forward make a better promotional platform and outlet for my illustration work.

It uses a custom self hosted setup of WordPress which means I can more easily update the main web site and manage the blog in a familiar environment. Which should mean more time for image making. It also means that the website and blog are configured for viewing on phones, tablets and laptops without lots of extra shenanigans and publicising new work is a breeze.


Rocket launch and the 100 Year Symposium

Rocket launch (final)

My painting inspired by old science fiction book covers from last century. Part of my portfolio development work.

This was the first piece I worked on when I moved into my BowArts studio and seems to have taken the longest to finish.

I’m fascinated by space travel and the stark reality of how long it will be before we truly start travelling any substantial distance.

The Monthly recently ran an article about just such possibilities The Stars My Destination by Luke Davies (sorry you can’t see it all here unless you are a subscriber.) The 100 Years Starship website gives you a bit more information. The British Library exhibition from last year Out Of This World also inspired me seeing all the old books and ideas, fascinating.


Technological entanglement hand swipe

Not exclusively created for Illustration Friday this recent work seemed appropriate to this weeks theme. People and technology are entangled, how far are we willing to go. A swipe payment system integrated into ones arm certainly has a certain yuk factor!

Starting life as a pen and ink drawing in my sketch book I lifted it into Corel Painter and worked up this full colour rendering. Painter 11 has a more responsive feel and I’m looking forward to exploring more of the tools.

My project for my MA has become about exploring the issues of technology and biology.  Everyday scene’s with ever more encroaching technology. Surely living in London with all it’s creepy camera’s and surveillance machinery has had an effect.

It works as a topic for illustrations!

Digital Painting Research

Ivan Sutherlands Sketchpad in action, the first computer based drawing system.

Ivan Sutherlands Sketchpad in action, the first computer based drawing system.

I finally completed my research paper on digital painting last month and it was a revelation.

I now have a much clearer idea of what I need to do to meet my goals. Not for the faint hearted I have to learn to paint using traditional methods – either in a digital or physical environment, or both – sharpen my drawing skills and find time to produce work for my MA as well as keep working to pay the bills!

The day after handing my paper in I went to see Ray Caesar’s work in the flesh at the Art London exhibition in Chelsea and had another revelation. Digital (giclée) printing seems to have advanced quite dramatically and some of the work had a textured lacquer that made the work look more painterly.

Regardless seeing these prints was impressive and cemented the real art of his work. The detail and compositions were superb and are pretty jaw dropping in person.

Interestingly Caesar’s work was, for me, among the most cutting edge work on show. His choice of content and technique are challenging and made much of the traditional painted work on display look tired. No matter how much talent is poured into traditional style oil paintings they seemed to lack the vibrancy and inventiveness of Caesar.

There were some other interesting piece’s at the exhibition and next time I vow to allow more time to get round the whole show.

Sutherlands vision of a computer based drawing system is realised by the likes of Wacoms Cintiq drawing screen.

Sutherland's vision of a computer based drawing system is realised by the likes of Wacom's Cintiq drawing screen.

Also as part of my research paper I brought Don Seegmillers ‘Advanced Painter Techniques‘. Seegmiller is very popular with the concept art crowd and this book has extremely practical advice on using Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop to make images. His techniques are strongly rooted in traditional painting being built up in a similar way and he uses the language of traditional oil and acrylic painting throughout the book.

One of the other key concepts that I encountered from traditional UK painter Will Rochfort was the idea that it’s completely acceptable to abandon images that aren’t working. I’ve been working on a couple of pieces that seemed like a good idea in sketch form but whose composition hasn’t worked as painted pieces. The question is do you trash the working files or archive them? A traditional painter might reuse the canvas but in digital this is not necessary.

Hockney was considering destroying the original files of his recent digital work – this would certainly affect the value of the first runs of his digital prints and raises all sorts of interesting questions.

I’ve also joined Wikipedia so I can edit the ‘digital painting‘ entry which is missing much of what my research revealed about the subject.

Lastly in the words of my mate Phoebe (and Camberwell Arts MA graduate) talking about the research paper ‘you can see why they make you do it’. Yes absolutely it has been key to pushing my practice forward.

I found it incredibly challenging not being an academic writer, I still don’t know if it made it over the line, maybe no news is good news!