Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Such a nice doggy.
As usual, click for the full size version.

Getting a little bit political here, but I have been quite amused by the emergence of Κανέλλος the "Riot Dog", a stray dog named "Cinnamon" that always seemed to be at the front lines of civil unrest in Greece. He's recently reappeared during fresh strikes / riots, and I thought I would make a play on his odd mixture of cuteness and utter ferocity towards authority.

A true icon for our times, I suppose...

(CORRECTION: I seem to have gotten the Greek onomatopoeia's spelling wrong for a barking dog, it should read "γαβ, γαβ". It's late in the night at the moment, so I'll correct it later...)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Rugby World Cup

All Together Now
Next weekend, the Rugby World Cup begins. The first match is on Friday, however the first in which I have any national stakes takes place on Sunday: USA vs Ireland. Being a dual citizen, I sort of have my pick of loyalties in this case. Being someone with hopefully a sense of morality, I must throw my full support behind the underdog, in this case the USA Eagles. A confident performance this year could give the US Rugby team the visibility it needs to grow the sport in the US (as much as I do enjoy American Football, there is room for the NFL and a healthy Rugby culture in a country as big as America.)

I'm particularly looking forward to seeing how the extremely talented USA winger Takudzwa Ngwenya fares.

This rather fanciful image is, if you haven't yet guessed, a bit of a take on the famous photograph of the flag raising at Iwo Jima, with a beam of sunlight standing in for the flagpole. While I'm waving the flag, I may as well appropriate such things in the process, right?

I seem to have an unhealthy obsession with flooding an image with ridiculous backlighting, don't I? I'll have to start playing around with other ideas soon. I think it was that I found in animation it was quite a nice way to pump a bit of thick atmosphere into an image, and create almost a live-action sensation of light.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Some Science-Fiction to Brighten (Blind) Your Day

Nothing helps you hide
like glow-in-the-dark eyes.
Just a quickie random bit of science-fiction imagery to break things up a bit.

This actually is character / environment I used to draw a lot in secondary school, thinking it was something I could turn into a fully fledged fictional world. While I did wring some ideas out of it what I think are quite good for other potential projects, it was a case of coming up with a "world" before a story, which will almost never work.

Then again, I was 16 at the time, so I don't think I quite grasped that difficulty.

The world in question revolved around a giant city that had expanded upwards to the point where roads and footpaths were all essentially "skyways"between high-rise buildings, glass half-cylinders lit by yellow ribs of light, creating a mix between a cathedral nave and a hamster tube. And of course it being a world devised by a 16 year old boy, it was a society policed by an oppressive corps of quasi-fascistic super soldiers, hiding behind impassive glowing red eyes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On the Beach

A typical Irish summer.

Just a quickie little tonal piece again, this time our intrepid hero shortly after arrival. Still needs work, just wanted to convey the idea of a vast stretch of low-tide beach covered in sky-reflecting tide pools.

Hospitable looking place, isn't it?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Trying to channel a bit of Gustave Doré here I suppose...
Just a quickie little rough tonal sketch here, done in Corel Painter.

I've always been fascinated by the marginal corners of history, people and events either shrouded by obscurity or by not having been chronicled. This is a not-at-all-historically-accurate fanciful rendering of Totila, the 6th Century Ostrogothic warlord the day he conquered Naples. It had been a long siege and the locals were terrified that once they had surrendered they'd be massacred by the supposed barbarian. To their surprise, he instead delivered a speech about how Italians should resent being an exploited colony of the Byzantines, and gave a rebuke of colonialism that sounds strikingly modern.

I imagine him here having just entered the city, standing atop their walls to address them — imposing and alien, yet stoic and egalitarian. Part of the pose was inspired by the Soviet war memorial near Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Must... Keep... Posting...

Going for the "American Gangster" poster's cut-off-face award...

I need to stay on the ball with producing work and uploading. My current job search is occupying quite a bit of time, and when I spend time with one thing, I regret not spending it on another. Not a very helpful attitude to have, so I'm going to do a bit better with scheduling and allocating my time from now on.

This is just a quickie little Corel Painter doodle to get back into the swing of things. I haven't done a whole lot of work on things like page layout and typography, type / logo design. I'd like to develop those skills quite a bit as I go on. I'm not even sure if the type ideas in this little doodle are interesting at all, but the ball must get rolling somewhere.

Why not here?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A bit of Leinster Rugby Socialist Realism

Looking to pass to someone...
... Anyone?
... Anyone??

This weekend I've got tickets to see Leinster Rugby face Toulouse in the Heineken Cup semi-final in Dublin. To mark the occasion, a quick spot o' Socialist-Realism inspired Leinster propaganda. This time it's Leinster's immensely talented Isa Nacewa in an image constructed using the ol' stalwart technique of Divine Proportions. The one thing I'm perhaps not thrilled with is that with all my enthusiasm for lighting (I tried to keep the color scheme to Leinster's colors of blue, white, and gold) I think the detail of the translucent roof structure gets a bit lost in it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

More practice images.

Here comes trouble...
Just another practice image from Land of Winter, same general setting as some of the other images — a rain-swept village that's the site of a brutal bloodbath. 

This week marked the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. For a country that has not had a peaceful history, it's arresting to think that its most devastating, bloodthirsty conflict was against itself. It was the first industrialized war, with mass produced rifled bullets able to fire a straight shot, but strategies that relied upon bunching men together in easily targeted groups. 

It's also intriguing to note the euphemisms that are still used when referring to the war's motivations. The argument that it wasn't slavery that motivated the conflict, but "states' rights" is somewhat misleading, as the only "right" that was under threat was the right to own and exploit human beings.

The Civil War also has the onerous distinction of containing the single bloodiest day in American history — the Battle of Antietam, in which 23,000 men were killed. From 6:00am to 9:00am, one man was killed every second.

"When we came to that beautiful cornfield... That was when the trouble began... Oh but the bullets did fly. I didn't see them, but I saw their effects. Men were falling all around us. Our bugler was standing near me when a cannonball struck him in the head and cut it from his shoulders. I think I got some of the blood and brains in my face... Brave men on both sides are falling, to rise no more. Thousands of them."
J. Polk Racine, on the Battle of Antietam

Monday, April 11, 2011

More "Land of Winter" doodles.

Can't make an omelette without...
Getting doused in an arterial spray.
One of the lessons I've learned from Samurai films.
Batter Up!

Just a couple of quick little Painter XI doodles relating to "Land of Winter". The former being a little bit on the psychotic side, I know.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Land of Winter concept art, and Improving my Posting Habits

I seem to only update this blog annually. That is probably a mistake. I will try to be more diligent about posting new material as I make it. These days have been split between endeavoring to find a job, script-writing, and creating concept art for the script I'm writing.

The current plan is to turn the script into a graphic novel, or a similar format, upon its completion. When working alone, as I am, animation is such a labor-intensive process that it rarely makes sense for the sorts of projects I have cooking up. My main interests tend to lie in narrative. Ideally I like to convey that narrative visually, but I also immensely enjoy dialogue, and occasional forays into conceits that cannot be expressed without a bit of dialogue. I have nothing but absolute respect for the John Lasseters of this world who can convey sophisticated emotional experiences, often in very brief runtimes.

It's a skill I need to improve, it certainly isn't easy. Like the quote that's usually attributed to Blaise Pascal goes, "I apologize for writing such a long letter, I did not have time to write a short one."

Anyhow, with all that said, I may as well explain the images at the top of this post. They're from the script I'm working on, as I attempt to establish a tone and aesthetic. The former is approaching the intended look of the bulk of the piece, with the middle approaching the intended look of a recurring sequence of traumatic flashbacks for the protagonist. The last one is the intended aesthetic for the third act clash, borrowing liberally from the climax of Seven Samurai, if I'm going to borrow, I may as well borrow from the best. These were all done in Corel Painter XI. Usually I work from a sketchbook, scan the drawing, then paint, but in these cases I decided to try my hand working digitally from scratch. For all you lose in immediacy using a tablet instead of paper, you gain a lot in flexibility after the sketch is done.

And finally, just because Ireland sensationally clobbered England in the closing round of the Rugby Six Nations, a quickie little sketch from the week before that turned out to be somewhat prophetic.

Ireland finally coming into form in the 6 Nations Rugby, as imagined a week earlier