Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Back in 2014

Been a bit messy these past 3 months. But I'm getting back into this blog.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Proto-Raum (Mark Gibbons Tribute)

This is based from one of the concepts by Mark Gibbons and I really felt the need to expand it, it’s just so damn cool! I’ve tweaked it a tad (and maybe went way overboard with those teeth).

I’m getting better at adding colour to greyscale paintings…yey!

Original Character Design by Mark Gibbons
Raum is a character from the PS2 Game, Primal

Friday, 11 October 2013

Buried in the Snow

Wow! Has it really been 5 months since my last update.
Reasons are that I have been working on commissions for a blog. So I will not be posting them until that blog does.

Meanwhile this is a commission from a different person, but none the less familiar. Yep, It's The Phoenix Rise again! Always fun doing album covers for his new releases.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Animals of Jör: Shaker Moth


There, clinging to the wall near the entrance, was a Shaker Moth with a great brown fuzzy body decorated with stripes of milk-white. Large wings, with patches of translucence, effortlessly flexed in a slow dance.
Mmrrrrracccc! Out came that noise that seemed to bounce off the walls, caused by the stiff hairs on the bobbing abdomen rubbing against its spiny legs, as it scurried to a clump of flowering thrift on the walls. Scuttling up with eager speed, it dipped that curious appendage into the pink flowers. It seemed to bounce its body up and down with delight, those wings fluttering like a spasm."

Creature sheets from my own personal fantasy world of Jör. I shall be doing more of these for they they will help in future illustrations (when I get round to doing them) and are also good exercises on painting different types of animals.

Shaker Moth

Basic Description: About the size of a human hand. Brown fuzzy body with large striped wings with patches of translucence. It makes a scratching chirpy sound from rubbing stiff hairs on its abdomen on its spiny legs to communicate territories and attract the males. Males are a lot smaller, a dull brown/black and do not chirp. Males are often seen dog-fighting above a female. Caterpillars have white fluff to blend in with the chalky cliffs.
Location: Fëylonn's Chalk Cliffs
Diet: Coastal Cliff plants

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Gruven Zann Portrait

Oh Gruven Gruven Gruven… are you even the main villain of your book? I know some people were curious to who I was going to paint, as the book Taggerung doesn’t really have one major villain, but several. I can see people’s points, but for me it is clearly Gruven, for he is in the book the longest, has the most reason to want to defeat the hero and is the one killed by the hero at the end of the book. It doesn’t really matter that he is probably the weakest villain in the Redwall series. He is cowardly, lazy and only achieves anything because of his pushy mother. But not every villain has to be a great conquer or a great strategists…so I allow Gruven to slide. Besides, I get the feeling that he was pushed into circumstances he was not prepared for by his ‘hockey-mom’ and he should have remained nothing more than a common thug that his qualities (if you can call them that) are suited for. I doubt he would have been the main villain if his mother had not shoved him into it.

Excuses aside, it doesn’t mean I like Gruven…nor do I particularly like the book he is in. Taggerung had the potential to be a lot better. The characters and set-up was very interesting and Brian Jacques could have had something very thought-provoking and deep. But (*sigh*) the hero, an otter raised by vermin, has no problems making friends with the good-guys and it’s very much nature over nurture with no emotional conflict or finding his identity. What we get is a ‘buddy-road trip‘ story with the hero‘s pal (who actually has a much more interesting story than the hero. Domestic violence and the effects it brings? Seriously!? Oh, Mr.Jacques you had the seeds for something really interesting! You were so close!).
Basically because he is an otter he is born GOOD, despite being raised by a tribe of vermin - who are automatically born BAD. I know this theme of ‘racial black and white’ has been used in every Redwall book, it just felt more painfully apparent in this book.

Right, enough of me moaning about the book, back onto Gruven.
His design is based on the type of men that I despise. You know the types: talk all gruff; loud; aggressive for no reason; swagger about; wearing heavy gaudy cheap jewellery; and think they’re tough but instead come off as looking like scruffy Neanderthals who do nothing but smoke, drink and watch football, killing all their remaining seven brain cells. The type that have never picked up a book in their lives. Those that moan and whinge, but are too lazy to do anything.
All I can say is if Gruven was wearing trousers they would be hanging off his ass and showing his underwear…and he would think it cool.
So I used that type of male stereotype as inspiration…all I really needed to do was look out my window to get first hand reference…*sigh*. … Jez! I have moaned a lot in this description…
The colour of the background came from me reading in ImagineFX magazine (issue 91) that acid-yellow can convey a petty personality in a character, so I gave it a go to see if it worked.
The white feathers and his pose are meant to convey his cowardliness. White feathers are symbolic of cowardice and a rooster with white-tail feathers were considered inferior to pure-bred cockerels in Cockfights…and seeing as Gruven is in one big cock-fight with the hero… I shall say no more (haha!) He is pulling up his cloak to conceal himself, but still trying to act all tough. Speaking of that cloak, the book described it as barkcloth and I incorrectly took it a bit literal and thought his cloak was made from tree-bark.

Seeing as I don’t like this character I’ve gone on about it for a bloody long time…
If anyone is curious my favourite character in the Taggerung was Swaney Rath, I found him very interesting and - dare I say - complex. Shame he wasn’t in the book for that long.
Oooo Mr. Jacques you were so close!
His Redwall Wiki Page

Character from Brian Jacques’ book Taggerung

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Mokkan Portrait

While re-reading Marlfox I somehow got this impression that the Marlfoxes were like White Tigers and ancient royal families, terribly inbred all for the vain sake of beauty and purity. Maybe its just my perverse mind, but would you really put it beyond Silth to breed with her brother/father/son to create this brood of ‘beautiful’ children. Coincidence that her mate is never mention and was killed off before the book (there’s a conspiracy I tells ya!) Added to that the fact that the Marlfox brood would probably have to breed with each other to create more Marlfoxes, lucky for us that situation never arose (phew! These are after all still children’s books, its just my sick mind is reading between the lines, haha!).

Anyway, the design for Mokkan is based on a white tiger, albino and other white morphs of the red fox and the books description of the fur being mottled with black and blue-grey patches.
I was also nice to play around with trying to convey the eyes reflecting the moonlight. I used various photo’s of cats eyes and foxes at night for reference.
His Redwall Wiki Page:
Character from Brian Jacques’ book Marlfox

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Damug Warfang Portrait

He’s so badass he don’t care that he is cutting up his fingers on that blade.
Jez’, after three attempts, generally being busy with other things and my brain just melting after doing all these portraits here is Damug’s ‘mug’ (yes, I will hammer in that pun until I kill someone).
I like how the armour turned out and I had fun painting that. Also a chance of play around with some custom brushes for the chain mail and chain.

Out of the characters in this project he is the one that probably sticks the closest to how I have imagined him years ago when I first did these portraits, with the blue/grey fur and facial structure, he even has the same long leather coat. I know that in the book he is never described with a leather coat, but that’s how I picture him. Besides, a coat is a tough handy thing for both land and sea, much more convenient than a cloak when you’re just roaming around, surely?

As to the book itself, the Long Patrol, it felt very much like those classic war stories, like Bernard Cornwell’s “Sharpe” books, and it feels like the odd one out in the Redwall series…don’t know, maybe its just me. It was nice to see the ancient abbey actually showing its age and collapsing so those pesky heroes can’t take it too much for granted and just hide inside and snipe from the walls. They actually had to get out there to defend themselves, which is a welcome change. Ups the threat value.

To the left are the tribal marks that I used on the flags and for his tattoos. It was fun playing around with the designs.

His Redwall Wiki Page
Custom brushes: “Tanathe’s Lazy Brush set”
Character from Brian Jacques’ book The Long Patrol
Character Design by Myself.