Sunday, December 30, 2012

Painting Class: Landscape

I finally finished the second painting I had begun during my painting class (which you can catch up on here if you've failed to read it thus far). It took longer than planned. This was because of the previously mentioned Doctor Who piece I was working on turning out to be rather more complicated than expected. That's finished too, and I'll be posting about it early in the new year.

Once that was done there was this little festive thing that came up called Christmas (you may have experienced this particular time-sink, fun though it is) as well as some curfuffle at work. That particular thing has yet to be resolved, but looks hopeful and should be sorted out by my birthday one way or another. If you have no idea where I work or what the issue is then I won't bore you with it, and if you do know then why would I tell you again?

Anyway, I finished the painting. I expect you'd like to see it?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sketching for November '12

And here is the second sketching post this month, which brings us all up to date on that until January. I still haven't got much juice back for additional sketching/speedpainting, though I have manage a little of both - most of it appalling. You still get to see it along the line though, because that's the entire point of the blog, yes? I'm also hoping to finish the painting I was working on at my painting class this week. That said I've meant to sit down and work on it for the past 3 days and haven't managed to, so we'll see if I can manage it.

Really though, I don't have a great deal to cover in this post, so I'll cut to the chase and get on with the images.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sketching for October '12

I was going to do a mixed post for October and November's sketching, but then I forgot to scan November, so November will be a few days coming. I also had a post planned for the piece I've been working on over the last month, but the publishing got pushed back to January, so I'll write one then. I've finished that piece, and working on it, as well as some head expanding problems at work have left me little artistic mojo left over for much else. The piece is finished now though, so I can resume speedpainting guilt free. We'll see how many I can do between now and Christmas so I can cram another post into December to make up for the lost one.

Anyway, sketching. Didn't do much in October or November (as I've mentioned frequently), but there's enough for a quick post I think (albeit one with a mere three images). On we go then...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Painting Class: Squares and Mutant Rabbits

I blame Assassin's Creed III and our cats on my lack of productivity lately (not really, it's entirely my own fault of course). The cats can prove a constant distraction, especially Ferris, who seems to be going through his kitty teen years and therefore doing the one thing he's not allowed to do, which is go on the table and counter-tops in the kitchen, and then stare contumaciously at everyone until you do something about it. He especially likes to do this repeatedly when I'm sketching and there's no-one else around, so there's more cat moving and less sketching than there should be.

Assassin's Creed III however is just a really enormous game with lots to do and fills me with conflict as it involves murdering my countrymen* in large numbers in a bid to remove them from American shores (It's set during the Revolutionary War of Independence - That's a combination of both the US and UK names for it if you were wondering).

You're not here for excuses though, you're here for ART. Not much to be found unfortunately, but carry on if you fancy a giggle at my expense.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Belated Sketching for September

It's been a while hasn't it? I skipped the first whole month since the blog began (actually closer to two months at this point if I'm honest), and I've not done much art in order to say "Well yeah, but check this out!" either. You may be thinking I've been resting on my laurels after that book cover, or that I've just been slacking. Those in the second group would be closer to the truth; I've totally been slacking, but not without reason.

Some of you already know that the beginning of October (and the end of September) is a particularly hard emotional time for me, and this year saw an anniversary that made it especially so. Before I could get over that little funk there was another emotionally trying time (Mostly for my wife, but obviously what effects her rubs off on me to some extent), and then my Son was sick, and then my wife was sick, and now I'm sick - but it's now more irritating than "feel like death", hence my finally writing a post.

So the emotional stuff basically nuked my inspiration and drive so I did very little for the month. I did enough to get some more posts, but no speedpaints and not much sketching. There goes my one speedpaint a week intent - I'll get back on it soon. Anyway, before all this I did scan in September's sketching, so I have that to show at least...

Monday, October 15, 2012


Normal service will resume soon.

Keep Calm and Carry On up the Khyber.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Psychochronography in Blue (Part 2)

Okay, before you go any further you need to click THIS LINK in order to get some background on this post, because I'm lazy and it saves me typing up a "Previously on Back to the Drawing Board..."

All caught up?  Good, then I'll continue.

Philip emailed me at the beginning of August asking if I'd be interested in doing his second volume of TARDIS Eruditorum since his original artist had seemingly vanished.  If I said yes I would get to do any other books in the series (on the assumption I don't also vanish presumably), including a reissue of the first volume when they finally release the newly discovered Galaxy Four footage so he can write about it (don't stress if this means nothing to you, but it's a big deal in terms of Doctor Who history).

Well, I said yes didn't I?  I mean obviously I did or there would be no post, but really thee was no way I would turn it down.  So here we are about 18 months 6 weeks later and it's finally gone live on Amazon and Phil is about to announce it, so here it is...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More to life than simply Speedpainting

It's not very often you get to start a post by paraphrasing Ghandi, so I think when you get the chance you should go for it, don't you. This month has been a little sparse on posts as you may have noticed. Generally this happens when I get busy elsewhere, and I'm plenty busy right now. Tomorrow I start a 6 week painting class on Wednesday evenings. It worked out as expensive, but I feel it will work out cheaper in the long run (and faster) than pulling out some paints every six months and grimacing at the results. it may turn out I just suck and the whole thing will be a disaster, but at least I'll know, and so will you as of course I'll post the resulting detritus here.

As well as that I've been working on a commission (the one I said I'd be a fool to turn down). It's actually finished, completed last night, but I can't post it for a while (which is something you should be used to with the commissions by now). The good news is that I'm sketching a lot more than I was last month, although quite a bit of that is for the Open Art Group (Which you get to see anyway). Two of this month's speedpaints are sort of for the same, so I suppose I should get on and show them.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sketching for August (and the OAG)

Well, yeah. So I haven't been posting much in the past few months as you may have noticed. This isn't because I don't like posting (although prepping these sketch posts can be a real drag), more it's with me just not having much to post.

August was an especially dry month, it seemed to go by extremely quickly and I didn't do much in the way of sketching; I thought - Turned out I did more than I expected, just not the usual stuff, but more on that in a minute. I had promised another post last month, but in the end I felt that the contents of that were better blended with my regular sketch posts - the aims are similar even though the results are less exciting.

You'll notice some changes this time around - they may stay, they may not. Only time will tell. Oh, The ORG? Read on MacDuff!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bouncing Baby Boyn

Life has been keeping me a bit busy of late. Not with huge and taxing things like "Move House" or "Build Moon Rocket", but with small things that add up, like "Play with Son" (He needs it more than usual right now since his best friend just moved away), "Ensure kittens aren't eating power cables" (We just got two kittens - I think I mentioned this last post) and "Paint a baby" (which this post is about, eventually).

Usually I manage to cram in some video game playing, some TV watching, some sketching and some reading into an average evening. Maybe not all of those things in one evening, but averaged across the week; with some speedpainting on the weekends. Right now this is not the case. I've played for 6 hours since the middle of July, I've managed an hour of TV a night (tops), I've spent a fortnight reading the same book (I usually finish them in 3 days) and this month so far I've done a bare two pages of sketching and not done a speedpaint for two weeks.

Those little things eat up a colossal amount of time I guess. Anyway, Onto the baby!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Best and Worst Sketching of July

Life's funny, full of little jokes. After my last post saying I wouldn't be taking any commissions for a while I remembered I'd already told someone I would do one for them. So I had to do that one obviously. That's done, and there should be a post about it this coming weekend. So with that out of the way I renewed my vow, and then had an offer I couldn't refuse, so I'm probably doing another. You won't hear more about that one for a while, but really I quite literally could not refuse it without kicking myself later.

So with all that going on, as well as other things (New kittens in the house, son being sad because his best friend's moved to Canada, wife starting college in a week etc) I've barely done any sketching so far this month. Luckily last month I was a mite more productive...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Speedpaints

Back once more with the monthly speedpaint roundup. A little different this month, but we'll get to that in a minute. I decided at the Blog's birthday to try doing at least one speedpaint a week for the year, and so far I've managed to keep to that; so I have another four for you to see.

In other related news I'm taking a break from doing the commissions for a little bit in order to focus on improvement. People still want them, and I'd like to do them, but I feel bad taking peoples hard earned when there's improvement to be had (plus, they're a lot of work), so on with that for a few weeks before the money raking (hah!) can continue.

I've also co-started a group at work dedicated to that very improvement. I'm very happy with the response so far as we have artist and non artist alike all wanting to improve. We're not doing lessons and such (so far), it's more like a Weight Watchers type setup where we all admit that we suck and give each other support to improve. Expect to see some of my results appearing in the blog in future - right now I'm drawing a page of circles every night for two weeks, I'm sure you can hardly wait to gaze upon those those now can you?

OK, enough preamble...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Best and Worst Sketching of May and June

This one's rather late in coming, and for that I apologize (you're used to it by now I'm sure).

Since I last posted I've had another virus infect my machine, I've upgraded windows and re-installed twice (partly due to the virus), gone deaf in one ear due to allergies (which cleared up - but now it's happened to the other ear) and discovered my scanner no longer works (Windows 7 incompatible, there's nothing actually wrong with the scanner itself). There was probably some other stuff in there too, but if I don't remember it it's probably not important.

Thankfully I had the good sense to scan sketches before that first re-install, so I do in fact have something to show today.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Children of the Apocalypse

Despite the title of this post it should be noted that the two boys in the picture that follow are actually lovely lads.  The reason for the title is something that's not even apparent in the images, yet it's been the planned title ever since I got the commission for it back in April.

So why was it always the planned title?  Because the original brief required the two boys to be standing in front of a nuclear explosion with an innocent look on their face.  The idea was that they unintentionally bring chaos and destruction with them wherever they go.  They're boys, this is standard operating procedure :)

Okay, let's get to the chase and we can review afterwards.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Experimenting at Speed

I've had my system in it's current configuration for a little over two years - Slightly before my starting the blog in fact. In that time I have not had a single virus on my machine until the one I caught during the Grave Yard Haunt commission. I've now got another one. Annoyed does not quite cover it.

I've spent a good chunk of the day removing it from my system, but there seems to be some residual junk left (or I have a third unidentified one on here) as my system is now running like crud. And yes, I'm running a virus checker - in fact I've got three running as I type. It's taken me half an hour to get this far into the post as things keep locking up, so let's see if I can actually get this post published before midnight eh? You'll forgive me if I keep things brief.

The focus this month has been on experimenting with techniques different to those I usually employ - all of them are done using the oil brush and/or palette knife, but with very different settings; all in ArtRage as usual.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Grave Yard Haunt

There is a saying, allegedly of Chinese origin, that goes "May you live in interesting times." It's thought to be a curse rather than a blessing. I've had an interesting month.
Nobody has died (yet), or ended up in hospital (well, once, briefly), or lost their job (That I know personally), or have gotten a divorce (thus far) but a great many things have occurred to lower my priority on updating the blog. I can't go into all of them, so I won't go into any of them, but this is the reason I've not updated the blog so far this month, and why I've barely sketched at all recently.
That said, I have painted a second commission and I'm working on a third - This entry covers the second. It's not a particularly mature subject, but you should be warned that zombies walk below.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Balance of Speed and Quality

I'm somewhat amazed to find it's been almost two months since I last did a Speedpaint update. Unfortunately I don't have that many good pieces to show, but I do have a lot of awful ones. You see, I don't post every speedpaint I do. Oh, I post the bad ones - there's plenty of evidence to that fact, but I also start a lot of speedpaints that I realise are dreadful early on and then don't bother to finish, or that get interrupted and I don't get back to, or I just realize I'm not feeling it and stop. Usually I'll post them anyway, but a handful have slipped through the net. Today I'll gather them up and post them to get them out of the way - an admission that I probably won't get back to them so I can move along with a clean conscience that I've been true to the mandate of the blog. To make up for the horror to follow you can see a couple of nicer ones though, bringing the speedpaints up to date.

Friday, May 25, 2012

One Little Pony

No, I failed utterly to make a post about the Blog's birthday. I would say I'm rubbish (but you already know that), but instead I'll point to the slightly hectic couple of weeks I've had with dental work and surprise birthday parties and Mother's Day (which we did bugger all for, as usual), and my Son's best friends planned move to Canada (and his sister's utter terror of my very presence)and my wife's car breaking down, and her entrance exam things for College in the Autumn, and so on and so on... What do you mean that sounds like an average week in your household? You need to lay off the caffeine dearies.

Anyway, so I got a bit swamped, but I also got a commission. Have I mentioned this before? No, I have not, if I mentioned anything it was an entirely different commission that I've not started yet (I need to schedule a photo session).

Now I think anyone who commissions me has got to be a bit bonkers, but lucky for me I know a lot of people who are ever so slightly off their rockers. After the last commission I sort of decided that I wouldn't do any more for a while (because it was hard), and so of course I've taken on another two (because I am thick, or at least a soft touch). So, I present to you the first commission I've ever done for which I will get paid (actual job work not withstanding).

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Best and Worst Sketching of March and April

So this post took longer than planned, but it's taken me two weeks to work through all the sketches I did in the previous two months. As usual I had vastly underestimated the number of sketches I'd managed to do in that time.
April had very few sketches of course, which you could have guessed since I was away for a good chunk of it, and what I did while I was away was covered in the previous post, but March had far more than I expected. I could have posted something else I suppose, but in all honesty I had nothing else of interest. I have some stuff in the works, but I wasn't (and I'm still not) in a position to write them up yet, and while it was the blog's 2nd birthday the other day I was too busy to do anything for it - maybe the next post will be a belated birthday post.
But for now, to the sketches...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Trains, Planes, Cars and a Boat

There, that wasn't so bad a wait was it? I'm back, obviously. Where've I been? The UK, again. Usually there's quite a gap between trips, but this one was a mere 7 and a bit months. We went again so soon because of my Cousin's wedding, and it turned out to be one of the most mental trips I've ever been on. It'll be a while before I go again unfortunately, but next time we plan for it to be a little more relaxing.

This post is going to be a little different from most as I want to get down things that happened on the trip so I can remind myself just how crazy it was compared to the usual ones (which are rarely boring). I'll fit in the sketching I did first though. I don't really care if you don't want to read all the text - this one is for my own benefit; feel free to check out the pictures and ignore the text if you want to.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Such Speed and Tom Foolery

Yeah, it's been a while, and last month only had three posts rather than the four I'd rather have, but things got a little hectic what with the space-alien abduction and my son building a particle accelerator in the basement (blew all the circuit breakers!). Oh, and my wife finally took the time she'd been meaning to in order to build a shed that looks like the TARDIS, except it actually works and now every time I see her she's six months older and has an alternating tan.
Other than that though it really has been a little hectic in work and at home, but I have found time to do a handful of speedpaints, which I shall present to you below (and no, there's no more April 1st 'humor' in the post, promise).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Bit Like William Hague

So this one, like "And a Small Hat" before it, started life as a speedpaint. Unlike the previous piece this one was finished and posted before I decided to go back and fix "just that one bit." In fact you've already seen the speedpaint in the previous post, but you'll see it again below.
The end result of all this was one of the best pieces I think I've ever done, it just worked out really well.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Point Five Past Lightspeed

Here we are again with another round of speedpaints. Let me warn you that herein lies some of the best speedpainting I've ever done, but also some dross that will burn your eyeballs and make you revise any opinions you may have of me as a "good artist" (yes, I've awkwardly been called that two or three times in the last week).

Consider yourself warned anyway, and proceed with caution for what is seen cannot be unseen (and so on and so forth)...

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Best and (Mostly) Worst Sketching of February

Well, I suppose it's time I just suck it up and post. I actually prepped all these for posting last weekend and I've been putting off blogging about them because I'm not terribly happy with... well, most of them really. There are a couple of nice pieces though, so I may as well share them. Prepping them took a lot of time last weekend, which was funny because I thought I hadn't been terribly productive last month (I didn't sketch at all for at least a week as I was so disappointed in what I was producing). Turned out I had 12 fairly densely packed pages to scan and sift through. Shame most of it was dross...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Two For the Price of None

So I thought at one point that this month was the death knell for my production of art.  Nothing I was producing pleased me in the slightest; I thought it was all dreadful (mostly because it was all dreadful).  Then I did that Iron-Man speedpaint from the last post and things started to turn around again.
Todays piece was started in January, but finished in February (in fact the final piece was painted entirely in February) and like everything else from the first chunk of this month I'm really not happy with it, but I concede that it's way better than it had any right to be, as you may see upon reading the tale behind it. Before that though, let's take a look at the final work...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Right Up To Ludicrous Speed

Keeping fairly true to promise for a change, here we are again with another round of speed paints. Less of them, but more often. Despite the post's title I've found that my speed painting is slowing down. They quite regularly take more than an hour now, which is just not cool (the occasional hour+ piece is fine, but this was more often than not). I'm making a concentrated effort to do them faster again now I've noticed this trend, but this can mean that some of them are only partially complete or look very rough. Such is the nature of speedpaints.
So, let's take look at what I've done in the past month or so...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Best and Worst Sketching of January

I shouldn't be posting today really, I'm off work sick, so by rights I should be lying on the couch with a book and groaning a lot. Unfortunately my Son has a friend over to play and he's terrified of me. I mean really scared, like run screaming from the room whenever I show my face scared.

This is odd as I've never been anything but nice to him, so I'm forced to conclude that his parents have told him that the bogeyman is a 6'4" Welshman with a deep voice and a gut and he's made the connection.
So I'm banished to the office until he goes home.

But enough about me, and more about the sketches...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Eat, Swim, Make Little Sharks (Before The Blog - 1)

Shortly before I started the blog my hard drive died an ugly and unceremonious death, and of course being the tech savvy person I am I hadn't backed anything up. Smart right? Thankfully for this post some lower resolution stuff had ambled its way onto my flickr page, and it's sat there ever since. I'd never thought to post it on the blog since it's not really what the blog is about (but in a way it's what sparked of the notion that led to it, as you can read about all the way back at the beginning - You'll see one of this posts images there too). But since this month is going to be fairly slow it's time to start dredging the archives. Skip to the end? OK, to pictures!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Great Depression

I have produced next to nothing this month. This is due to a combination of factors, among them is the aspect of pure laziness, the videogame Skyrim, and 'trouble at mill,' as Graham Chapman once said.

If you've been paying attention you'll know which company I work for, and if you frequent the right news sites you'll have seen that company in the news a bit with wild rumors and speculation flying around. It's all been very stressful. Don't ask me if the rumors are true, if I knew I still couldn't tell you and I'd be a lot less stressed...

Anyway, this just means I don't have much to show right now, but I did managed to pick up a paintbrush for the first time since I left school. I have to tell you the results were... well, see for yourself.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Best and Worst Sketching of December

Oh, all right, I'll bring back the bad sketches!  No, nobody has actually asked me to bring them back; nobody ever posts any comments remember? You're allowed to if you want to though, I don't bite. Well, my blog doesn't at least...  And yes someone did comment on the last post, but I'm married to her so it doesn't count ;).  Anyway, I just felt guilty for not showing them.  One of the things I decided way back when I started the blog was that I would show a good sampling of everything I did, good and bad, so I'm letting myself down.  You probably don't care, probably see them and say "Why'd he post that? It looks like I spider sneezed on the page and then died!"  before moving on.  Really I have no idea why anyone would read the blog that by it's very concept is admitting it's full of dreadful pictures, but you do, and I'm happy for that.  And since you do read it (presumably) and look at the pictures (hopefully) I'd better post something for you to look at.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

And a Small Hat

It was only supposed to be a speedpaint, and turned into my favourite piece so far.  You may not agree, and that's entirely fine, but I'm really pleased how this piece worked out.  It's not perfect of course - there are aspects that make me cringe, but as an overall piece this, in my opinion, is the best I've done.  The major problem with it is that it's quite small, because I usually do speed paints at screen resolution, so when you enlarge this one it might not enlarge as much as you'd expect - that said, it will give you ample scale to see my wonky brushwork.  After all that build up I suppose I should show the piece then eh?

Monday, January 2, 2012

And a Happy New Speedpaint

I haven't posted a speedpaint in quite a while, which is partly because I haven't painted many. I'm back in the saddle now, but back around October I'd hit the dry spot I've spoken of (lots of sketching, minimal painting) and hadn't really got back into doing them for a while. I said last time I'd post fewer speedpaints more often, and I thought that since I hadn't done many I'd only have a handful to post now. Wrong! 12 of them (10ve if you want to get technical). Curses, so much for my short post.  Better get on with it then eh?