Thursday, March 15, 2018

Where do stories begin?

Can a good story idea come from a single image?

That's the question I've been asking myself. In this post I'll take you through a new personal project idea that began just like this. 

It has been a while since my last post so if you've come back, thank you! And if you're a new visitor, a big welcome! Let’s keep going…

I read that the story of Narnia came to CS Lewis in the single image of a faun carrying an umbrella and parcels through a snowy wood. It's interesting to note that some writers think in visual terms - I've known a few who do. The beauty of being an illustrator is the ability to test these ideas in visual form, which is especially handy in the case of visual narratives. This brings me to the images I want to share with you today.

drawing of elephants travelling in a line

The idea began with an image of elephants traveling in a long line.

illustration of a baby elephant with family climbing a mountain

Not the most original concept. Not much of a concept at all really, and yet something about the visual grabbed me. I began to see what kind of ideas developed as I added a baby elephant as a possible protagonist. A little warmth entered the visuals, and pathos became a real possibility.

early thumbnail drawing

I continued to develop the world that they might inhabit, and it started to look a little more hostile. Now there was some tension, a hinting at some sort of drama.

small planning drawing of elephants walking over lava

small planning drawings of elephants walking over lava

small planning drawing of a volcanic landscape

small planning drawings of a volcanic landscape

finished pencil illustration of a volcanic landscape

There are numerous themes that I feel these visuals could potentially evoke. At this early stage however, a clear narrative eludes me. I will continue to develop these visuals between other projects and see where it leads. I feel at the very least that a visually interesting series of illustrations could unfold.

In the mean time I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, or if you prefer feel free to get in touch with me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Willie's rescue

"Willie was the only cheese maker in the land. In the shadows, a slow but unwavering rescue mission was underway."

Monday, November 2, 2015

Mini outdoor pastels

I've been making a regular exercise of getting out and doing quick small pastel studies. Hopefully I can keep this going. The biggest challenge is often finding a spot to paint. There's a lot to think about - how's the light, the shadows, am I being too conspicuous, is there a shady spot to sit, etc. But it's also kind of fun driving around looking for inspiration. If you enjoyed looking at these, I'll be posting more regularly over at my facebook page, here.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Walter Chipwitther re-design

This was my re-design for the final week of my class back in March(-ish). I haven't yet had a chance to incorporate Stephen's feedback or add colour. Hope you like him. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Mr. Willy Wonka

Trying to put my new understanding of character design to work on some more characters. This is one of my favourite characters from one of my favourite films (I haven't read the book). I love both the original and the more recent Burton version, but being an 80's kid, Gene Wilder will always be the real Willy Wonka to me. For this design I wanted to forget both of these films. 

I based it loosely on Frank Lloyd Wright.

One of the things I loved most about Wonka in the original film and wanted to capture was his ambivalence. I remember as a kid not quite knowing whether he could be trusted or not. I hope that my design has some of that quality in it.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Jekyll & Hyde - WIP

Hyde character design process sketches
Hyde character design process sketches
 Hyde character design process sketches
Jekyll character design process sketches

Here are more design process sketches for Jekyll & Hyde. Doing all this research is a worthwhile discipline which I'm not used to doing as thoroughly as this.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Jekyll & Hyde gestures

I still have quite a bit of work to do in clarifying the designs, but I thought it might help to flesh out their personalities if I did these quick story/gesture sketches first.

My idea for a fresh take on Jekyll & Hyde was to make Jekyll a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor who's obsessed with potency herbs. Hyde would be his wild party-animal state after taking the concoction of herbs.

4 weeks in, and the course has been a lot of fun, a lot of drawing, and a lot of eye-opening. My biggest challenge has been simplifying the design and making it read clearly. The biggest eye-opener has been thinking more of shape than anatomy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

more character sketches


Here are some of my other ideas for the Walter Chipwitther character back in week 1. You can see the initial sketches here for the designs I chose to take further.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Bowler hat gentleman

character design homework for schoolism class

If you caught my last post you'd have heard I'm enrolled in fundamentals of character design at Schoolism. I always knew there was something missing in my approach to character design. Over the years I've managed now and then to intuitively fluke some of the principals I'm now learning with Stephen. However just 3 weeks in I already feel I have a better grasp of these principals. Now when I revisit my favourite artists' character designs I understand much better why I like them and I know my own process will never be the same again.