Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to be asked to create the cover illustration for the 2nd Call of the Rift book, entitled Veil by Jae Waller and published by ECW Press. As with every cover commission I take on there were some challenges, including painting an arctic scene which I’d never attempted before. Turns out that painting snow and ice is a lot of fun and I was very happy with the finished result!
Last year I was lucky enough to be commissioned to create a cover illustration for an upcoming book entitled “The Darkness Returns” by Michael D. Nadeau. When I first read the description for this painting I immediately thought that this commission would be challenging but a lot of fun at the same time. And, as it turns out, I was right on both counts! I really enjoyed creating this evil and eerie character, as I consider myself a character artist first and foremost, but I was quite surprised at how much I also enjoyed the challenge of creating the world in which he inhabits. If you’re interested in finding out more about this book it will be available on July 12th and is published by Kyanite Publishing.
Here's another illustration that I created for the 'Soldiers of Empires' project. This was the first major battle between the Japanese 33rd Division's Infantry and the British 2Bn Border Regiment. This painting represented a number of challenges for me. First off, I’d never painted a night scene and secondly there was a lot more figures to compose than in any of my previous paintings. I knew that it would be easy to become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of details and elements involved so I just broke everything down into smaller projects and here’s the finished result. Here’s a link If anyone’s interested in reading more about it: www.imphal.co.uk
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to be commissioned to create an illustration for a book on British Literature, and specifically the story of Oroonoko by Aphra Behn. “Oroonoko is a seventeenth-century novella that tells the story of the eponymous hero, the prince and heir to the throne of the African country of Cormantien.” This was a pretty challenging illustration as there was quite a lot of story elements to include and details to get right but it was a challenge that I really enjoyed. Here’s the full backstory:
"Oroonoko’s tale is one of an exemplary man who falls in love with an exceptional woman, Imoinda. However, their love is thwarted by Oroonoko’s grandfather, the king, who desires Imoinda for himself. Despite the fact that Oroonoko and Imoinda are married, the King forces her to become part of his Otan, or harem, separating them. Imoinda refuses to submit to his desires, and Oroonoko manages to break into the Otan and consummate his marriage. As punishment, the King pretends to put Imoinda to death, when he has actually sold her into slavery.
Oroonoko is overcome by grief and distracts himself with the friendship of an English sea captain, who ultimately tricks the prince into slavery, taking him to Surinam where he is sold to the plantation where the narrator resides. There, his true identity is discovered—even as he is renamed Caesar—and he is promised his freedom. There, too, he discovers Imoinda, now named Clemene and the reunited loversfinally live as husband and wife.
Soon after Imoinda conceives a child, Oroonoko begins to suspect further treachery on the part of the English and stages a slave uprising, attempting to lead his fellow slaves to freedom. The uprising does not succeed and Oroonoko is betrayed by the Deputy Governor Byam, who promised him his freedom only to mete out a cruel punishment instead.
Burning with a desire for revenge, Oroonoko decides to kill Imoinda and their unborn child, before killing Byam and then himself. Once again, his plan fails and having killed his beloved wife, his strength leaves him. At the end of the novella, he is brutally killed by Byam’s associate."
Story synopsis from supersummary.com
Here’s my latest personal painting, called ‘Waiting’. This was a pretty challenging painting to get right as there was a lot of really subtle details and low light. And of course, all the drapery…
So I actually made it to another life drawing class and I think there's even a bit of improvement from last week!
So after a year of not being able to get to the studio I finally dragged myself to a life drawing class on Sunday morning. I knew that after that much time away that I was going to be pretty rusty but I just went with the flow and trusted that at least I'd probably start remembering some of the skills that I'd forgotten since my last visit. Surprisingly It actually went a bit better than I thought it would so I'm thinking of making a habit out of it once again. Anyway, here's the finished result.
A recent book cover commission "Hand of the Reckoners" by Dana Crotts. The challenge with this illustration was to convey the world that Dana has created and not making the painting too complicated. Had a lot of fun with this one!
Just completed a 'finished' version of my Return sketch from earlier this year. This is one of those painting's where all the boxes were ticked as far as my picture making is concerned. I've also had a lot of positive feedback on the sketch so I decided to take the painting to the next level and here's the result.
I finished this painting, my first ever fantasy art card illustration, about a year ago now for Arcane Wonders and I'm finally able to share it. This painting also marks the time when my art changed from me mainly creating folio pieces to actually working for clients on a regular basis. Been an interesting year and I've learned a lot about both picture making and the business side of things. It took a long time to get here, a lot of trial and error but I think I'm finally on the right path with my art.
I'm in between commissions at the moment so I thought I'd try out some new brushes and do a landscape sketch - something I don't do nearly enough of. It was a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be so think I'll crank out a few more in the next little while.
Here's another illustration that I created for the 'Soldiers of Empires' project. During the Battle of Imphal, the British were getting air support which mainly consisted of rations, weapons, ammunition etc. But the cannisters were also carrying bottles of rum in them as well. The Japanese managed to to grab some of the stray canisters and were very surprised when they discovered the rum. Here’s a link in case anyone’s interested in reading about it further:
I was commissioned late in 2016 to create an illustration of General Bill Slim in support of a much larger project entitled “Soldiers of Empires”. In this illustration I was asked to portray General Slim creating parachutes out of cheap jute sacks as an affordable alternative to the more costly and less available silk parachutes of the time. The project is primarily focused on the WW2 Burma Campaign and more specifically, The Battle of Imphal. This is the first of a number of sketches and finished illustrations that I’ll producing for this project. Here’s a link in case anyone’s interested in reading about it further:
Last weekend's painting! Since I've started doing a painting every weekend I've noticed that I'm really enjoying just coming up with something that wasn't predetermined in any way shape or form. Giving myself a time limit of just the weekend, or roughly 8ish hours, is also great as it stops me noodling endlessly until it's 'perfect'...
And here's last weekend's painting! Trying out some new stuff, I'll see where it goes... So far it's been fun.
This weekend's painting...
I was recently contacted by a French fanzine, called 'Presences D'Esprits' who were running an Edgar Rice Burroughs special edition. They asked to use one of my paintings for the cover as well as an interview about my art, journey and process. At first I was a bit surprised, but after checking out the magazines' website I realized what an honour it was to be included with a whole host of other great artists that I admire.
Finally made it out to a life drawing class after finishing up a recent commission.
Getting back into the swing of thing's after the holidays so I thought I'd do a quick master study.