Monday, 15 December 2014

Blitzkrieg Bop

I've been tasked, by a band, with designing a logo.

At present I've been given some sample images - one explicitly being the lightning bolt design they want - depicting some classic comicbook-style imagery. Including some pop art and Kryptonian sigils.

I'm awaiting to hear back about a few queries I've had, including colouring, etc. Since I'm unsure if the logo I've been provided is their existing design or just another example piece (it does look a lot like it belongs to Black Adam.)

In the meantime, I've been doing some rough edits on the design and playing with colour variations. Also investigating typefaces, as they would like the band name included in the design.

I'm having to be careful since the colours most of the example images are using are the classic red & yellow, which - when applied to a lightning bolt - basically give you the logo for The Flash.
Examples of potential typefaces. Some may need a little more tweaking than others.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Fight For Your Right...

I recently applied to work at another company that responded asking me to complete a design exercise audition type thing.
I just learnt today that I didn't get an interview, so I've decided to publish the design I did for them.

I had to jazz up a plain text television pitch, for a new show, ready to be sent to a major network. The content of the document is strictly confidential (so I've blurred out the details) but, for context, I will say it was a kinda "teen tropical holiday/party themed reality show".


I wouldn't normally use such a garish colour palette, but it fit with the subject matter of the show.

Preliminary sketches & ideas.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Tiny Twelve

It has been some time since I've heard from the company that requested this test commission, so I'm assuming I have not been selected.
To that end, I am publishing my design.

It's a likeness of Peter Capaldi (in costume as the Twelfth Doctor) in the established style of the company. I'm quite pleased with it, even if they obviously feel it's not enough to hire me over.

Thursday, 18 September 2014


An offhand comment on Twitter lead me to draw this stupid portrait of my brother.
It's not perfect, and you can tell I put more time into the face than anything else, but it's a good exercise in digital drawing.


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Face Off

I applied to a company that creates stylised likenesses of celebrities for use on a variety of products, their response was to request that I demonstrate my capability to create imagery in their established brand style.

I have begun working on something.

Having tweeted it without context, people have managed to identify the individual in question. Which is a good sign.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Playtime's Over

I recently, finally, was granted some progression on the web design job. I was given access to a separate live domain the group have, to which I have uploaded my full site for a full final review. Then, hopefully, they can populate it as they see fit, I can hand over the access information for associated 3rd party sites, they'll pay me and I can walk away from the whole thing.
The project has caused me a great deal more time, effort and stress than I anticipated and I will be relieved when it is over. Thankfully, they seem happy with the website I've created and, at the end of the day, that's all that's important.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014


Inspired by a project called Twitter The Comic, wherein a group of artists illustrate selected tweets and turn them into short strips, I have decided to practice my comicbook illustration by producing fully-fledged comic pages based on tweets I find amusing.

Below are some preliminary sketches based on two tweets I saw today.

 I'll post more when I've collated some finished pages.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Book It

I just finished the final touches to my "Gilliam Animation", which I've tentatively titled Book - for want of a better name - and uploaded to Vimeo.

(You can see it here.)

It's taken me far too long to complete, what with laziness, tedium, losing a load of work and being put off and having to find the right live-action elements to include. But it's done.

It's almost ironic that the part of the process I knew the least about and had never attempted before, took me the least amount of time. I started this morning and finished a short while ago. (That was compositing the animation with the live footage of the book.)

I think it worked out well too, considering I took the lazy approach and avoided using After Effects and masks - instead winging it with the limited effects in Premiere and a prayer that the clumsy edits won't be noticeable during viewing. (I don't think they are.)

I'm actually incredibly pleased with how it's come out. Especially how well I managed to make digitally animated scans, combined with footage of a blank page, look like closeup shots of an actual book.
It was challenging given the inconsistent colouring of a lot of the source images (that I probably should've corrected at the first stage rather than last) and I ended up using a lot more and far different effects than I imagined when I first conceptualised it.
In particular not being able to chroma key the image backgrounds and having to add digital shadows to mimic those of the page-turn to make them more seamless.

Below are some screenshots to pique your interest/allow me to show off.

I had to write a load of nonsense to make the scenes look more like real book pages. They're not even complete sentences; there's nothing before the left edge of the shot.

I'm not going to pretend that I don't think I'm a genius for adding a layer of mirrored text to emulate the look of the adjoining page showing through the paper.

I think the overall effect is convincing. I'd believe this is a photo of a book page, and I KNOW that I made it.

Thursday, 26 June 2014


In my last post, I mentioned my film The Machine.

It's a dark animated short based on Franz Kafka's story "In The Penal Colony".

There is a complete version of it, that I have submitted to festivals, but I personally think it's too short and unfinished (the time constraints of uni, necessitated severe edits to the script).

At the moment I wish to extend it to the level I think is the bear minimum for release, and then hopefully add a little more until it is "properly" finished - at which point I'll release it again as a "director's cut".

Just so you know what it's like and it exists (many people haven't seen it) here are some screenshots I've taken at various points of production.

An exasperating issue I noticed during early stages, that I posted on Twitter.
An early version of one scene. The linework was criticised and so I moved to the style shown in the other images. (This was part of style that was to incorporate additional heavier use of comicbook-style shading.)

B&W screenshots as part of the festival submission.

The submission also required a poster, so this is a rough design I threw together to fulfil that demand.

Stephen Lives!

Since its inception, I've wanted to revisit one of the films I created for my 2nd year of animation during my degree.
The film was called Stephen and it was never fully realised to the level that I desired. I recently poured through several of my old harddrives, pen drives and other storage in an attempt to recover the original .fla file with which to continue the film.

Unfortunately all I could find was the final, unfinished export of the film and an even further unfinished .fla file. Half the final version was missing, but yet I still had the exported version taunting me and reminding me that it once existed.
I had all but resigned myself to the notion of having to painstakingly recreated all the scenes that I had watched over and over as part of the final export.

The world may never know about this chap's weird muffin obsession.


I got in contact with my father and convinced him to let me borrow his old external harddrive to search for it. It was a long shot, but low and behold, it paid off!

I'm now in possession of the rough early edition of Stephen! Ready to roll into production...

Just as soon as I finally get that damn Terry Gilliam-inspired short out, and also finish the director's cut of my final year film The Machine...

Got my work cut out!

Full scene list from the recovered version of "Stephen". The tick shows the half finished scene I had at the end of the only versions I could find before.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Faces in Places

I've been doing a fair bit of travelling recently; taking my sketchbook about with me to practice sketching during my downtime. I realise now why there's so prevalent a cliché of illustrators drawing on trains.

Sleeping woman on a train to Birmingham

The challenge is getting faces without people noticing you staring at them. Easier when they're further away, but harder to see details.

Workmen on a break outside the station

Travellers waiting at the station

Figures on the left were on a train, chap at the top in a cafe.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Logo a-go-go

So, I've been working to implement the notes and suggested improvements given to me from the meeting last week.
I thought I'd throw out a little update while I have an opportunity in the middle of it all.

One of the changes is that header image/logo. The suggestion was that the sunburst was too subtle and it needed to be brought out (the consensus was make it brighter and/or yellow). So I did.
Here you can see the original logo that is currently used by the group. I believe it's an old woodcut print.

This is the original design that was pitched. As you can see the colours are all integrated with the general palette of the site itself. However the sunburst's green is very close to that of the background (although, that was intentional. It was more of a nod to the original logo design/a means of making the background less boring.)
This is the first alternate logo I drew up. One of the suggestions, aside from making the sunburst yellow, was to make the background red to match. I felt this was too bold a step, so I went for a slightly less harsh orange. However, this really offsets the light green of the font and additionally doesn't sit cohesively with the rest of the website. Perhaps changing the font colours would make this a better looking design overall, but it would still stick out on the page itself.
This is the third change I made. I am probably going to stick with this come the review. I'm still not totally happy with it, but we'll see what the board thinks. I tried switching back to the original green background with the new yellow sunburst, but it was too dark. I moved it away from blue towards a lighter green. I additionally drew some of the saturation and orange hue out of the yellow as the warmth made it quite jarring against the green - even with its adjustment. I think it makes it harder to read the font over the top and draws attention, but I don't know how much more subtle I can make it without it changing to a horrid greeny-yellow hue/switching back to the original colour.
It remains to be seen what the feedback is on the change - perhaps they will agree that the first logo was probably the best colour choice after all. Addtionally, I checked what typeface I had used for the logo, so it can potentially be used for rebranding. It's Myriad Pro - an Adobe font - commonly utilised by a number of established quality brands, including: Apple, Rolls-Royce and Google (for their Gmail logo).

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Painful Progress

Finally, after an excessive amount of time, I was called in to a meeting with the board of directors to talk about the website.
At first I was expecting to just be discussing with the chairman, but walking in I was greeted by the entire board and expected to do a presentation with absolutely no prep.

It went surprisingly well, the only downside being my inarticulate explanation (literally no preparation, I swear to Moses) and accidentally clicking on nearly every dead link on the example site.
Thankfully they were all pleased and in agreement over the overall design of the site, so that means no tweaking from me and I can finally finish the bloody thing!

The only things they asked for improvement on were the main header logo. They wanted the sunburst more prominent and perhaps a change in colour to pick it out more from the rest of the site. But they liked it so much that there was talk of adapting all their letterheads and the like to match it.

Current header logo. A warmer colour palette may be in order to pick out the sun and/or highlight the whole thing.

Additionally, they also asked for a few more pages to be added to the navigation, and room to add login and member page functionality - which, at first, I thought was being asked in an attempt to trip me up. Thankfully, I kept my cool and managed to decipher what was required. Also I remembered I hadn't been briefed really on any of that, so it was hardly surprising I was taken off-guard by the request.

Hopefully, though, once I have completed these tasks it can be uploaded to the server to be populated by whoever is supplying the finished copy and photographic imagery. Then I shall be done with this whole shebang! Onto the next quest!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

A Foot Note

I drew this critter on a whim, late last night.

I noticed his hands and feet were quite catastrophic. I've been meaning to work on my hand and feet drawings (it's something a lot of people struggle with) so I started doing studies from image and live references.

Friday, 7 March 2014


I watched a video, the other day, by a Youtuber I follow who is also a bit of an art geek. He has recently enrolled himself on a cartoon course and was relating the various tasks they'd been asked to perform on the course.
They reminded me of some of the drawing exercises I'd done over the years I'd been at uni.

One of which was making a series of quick 30-second drawings of random objects. I found a random object generator online and used a timer set at 30 second intervals to draw the objects listed.
Obviously they're largely imperfect and rough-looking, especially some of the things I obviously find more challenging to draw, but it's a good way to reacquaint myself with drawing, make quick visual decisions and learn what areas I should focus on for improvement.

30 seconds is a surprisingly short amount of time to draw some things, which you don't realise until you're doing it.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Started a new sketchbook

Using this to carry with me for sketching on the go. Had to do something garish, terrible and stupid so I felt less precious about marking in a fresh book.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Terry-ble at updating

I've been working for some time, on-and-off, on this silly little competition project. But I've been very bad at keeping anyone updated on its progress. There came a few stalls when I had some crashes and lost a lot of work - and some of it can get quite tedious to animate, so it's very demotivating to lose it. Additionally, I also intend to splice in some live action footage of an old book. Finding the right book for the job also hindered progress, but I have something now.

Here are a few images to show what caught my eye in the British Library's collection and illustrate the work I did to make them "animateable".
This, I believe, is the original, unedited version of this image that I downloaded.

Here you can see the edits I made to the base image itself...

...and this shows the embellishments and extra elements I added to animate the image.

Another of the images that caught my eye.

Side-by-side comparison of the original (right) and the edited version, with cut out elements in the centre.
Still of one live-action book shots, onto which I intend to superimpose the animations.