Saturday, 13 September 2014


Here it is, the  long over due , end of term post!
 I am very impressed by everyone's efforts during the last term. Some really good  breakthroughs. Well done. All of you.
In no particular order, here  are my thoughts.
You produced a good number of finished pieces this term. Well done. Also, as I have mentioned before, I think your strongest work has been your own compositions and concepts. I hope you will bring more of your own ideas to class  to follow through.  It's definitely one of your strengths.

I was a bit concerned  with regards to your progress. It lookd like you were  going through some sort of conflict but then you puled this out of the hat. Excellent work. Definitely one of your best pieces.

I also thought this as being a breakthrough with regards
to figure drawing.

Yes, it may have ben slow going finding your way but then surely this breakthrough was worth the wait?

Your hatching work is improving and also your use of solids. Good work.
I would like to see you develop your hatching technique. Have a look at Virgil Finlay's work.  Notice the tonal range he creates with various hatching and stippling. Also, check out Kelley Jones' work Jones is a fan of Virgil Finlay and you can tell  by his use of hatching and composition. I will post examples of their work in the next blog post.

Great work as always. You have some great ideas, keep throwing them out there. Your composition is getting stronger too.

I know attending class has difficult  due to your work but when you have attended, you have produced some stirling work.  I am a fan.

Great work as usual. I am going to give you a  few additional exercises next term to help you with  parts of anatomy that I know you want to improve upon. Also, I thought of a cool project for you to work on. I will reveal  this in class.

I will also be giving you some additional figure work exercises to push that forward in your work.
Good effort this term.

You prduced some good work  but I  wish you had been able to finish more of it. I will be pushing you for this next term.
I would like to give you a project to work on next term if you are attending.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014


I will be teaching new term of Fantasy Art, beginning Tuesday 23rd September. Swarthmore are now taking bookings.
Swarthmore, 2-7 Woodhouse Square, Leeds LS3 1AD.
Tel: 0113 2432210

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


I guess I really should finish recapping on week 4 before posting stuff from week 6 but  I wanted to get this up for anyone wanting to  fishing off the exercise.
I'll add some text later, for those who missed last night's class. Those who were there will only need the pics.
Before making a start on a final drawing , I like to have a quick warm up session of sketching to get a feel for the subject matter.

Below are the stages to help you sketch out the pose and composition

I know some of you find using  breakdown shapes of spheres and cylinders helpful when constructing a figure ( so, continue to do so if it is working for you) but I  tend to approach a figure by feeling mt way around the shape with the pencil, loosely skeching the flow and dynamic of the pose. Notice how the sketch is  mostly made up of curves and swirls. 

When drawing the wings, it is always useful to have a point of reference if you cannot  imagin it clearly in your head.  A bats wings make a good point of reference.

If you notice how the bat's wings are actually an arm and fingers just like a human's , only with longer fingers, and that the limbs bend  in the same way, you are on your way to having an understanding  of what you are drawing. Having an understanding of what you are drawing enables you to produce a better drawing.

Once I am reasonably hapy with the shape, composition, etc. I begin sketchig in the detail. At this stage you should stil be sketching very lightly, not applying too much pressure with your pencil, image shown here has been darkened so you can see clearly the develpment of the drawing. Keeping your prelinimary pencil work light enables you to adjust your drawing easily.

 From this point onwards the breakdowns are for producing the drawing in ink , pencil or marker etc on white paper. I quickly, and crudely, threw some  tone on in photoshop to demonstrate how I would create the lighting.

 I also produced a version of the sketch in  white pencil on black paper.
Remember what was discussed in class about working on black paper,  instead of applying the darker values of your drawing (because they already exist on the paper) you are applying only the lighter values and highlights that would  normally  be available on white paper. So, you are basically working in reverse.

Monday, 9 June 2014


During week 3 and 4 , we discussed  layout, lighting and composition.For those who missed it and for those who want a recap, I will go through the main points again and also add links to sites I think will be helpful.

When considering the layout of a drawing or sketch it is sometimes helpful to divide the page up into quarters or thirds, using faint lines
 This can help the artist determine the  overall ballance of the content and light and dark.
Using the grid method is also related to the "Rule Of Odds" I have mentioned a few times in class. More about the Rule Of Odds below. If I apply a grid to anything, I do not strictly follow the Rule Of Odds  but use it as a quick way of determining the ballance of  content.

 I have applied this method to two images below The first being Frank Frazetta's iconic Conan painting and a comic book cover by Tom Sutton. Notice how they fit the grid and how the main content also forms a triangular shape. The triagular shape when applied to composition is referred to as the "golden triangle"
Conan by Frank Frazetta

Ghostly Tales cover by Tom Sutton

The, Rule Of Odds (also known as  The Rule Of Thirds), is a method of composition that enables an illustrator or  photographer to compose an image that is visually dynamic and  pleasing to the eye.
Compositions using an odd umber of elements  often make for  a more dynamic images. The Rule Of Odds is used in advertising as a selling tool. Generally we are more stimulated by odd numbers of  things as opposed to even numbers.
There are many variations and examples of layout relating to this rule but as I did not invent this rule (I was taught it when I worked in advertsing) rather than compile a lengthy blog explaining it in depth, I thought I would include some links to sites and blogs that I think explain it simpler that I probably would. which will leave me room for more content relating to the past weeks work.



and this one

Notice how the Poseidon sketch drawn in class falls within the grid
 I will post a rough breakdown of this sketch sometime this week.

Here are some other examples of how the Rule Of Odds has produced  some memorable art.
 Mike Mignola - Creepy. 
Also notice the separation of black and white, just a simple cloud of mist in the background frames the trio and makes them clearly visible and the main point of interest.

 Frank Frazetta
Notice the girl in the center is the talest element, which , flanked by  the caps either side of her , creates the "golden triangle"

Another Frazetta composition but with an even number of elements. Frazetta uses the colour of  the panther and the chimpanzee and the poses to create a visual of one element. There are four elements but for an instant you only notice three shapes. Very clever.

Another by Frazetta. Here there are odd munbers, Five main elements (there are more smaller ones in the background but they are, basically, background)
Notice the shape and flow of the composition. Can you see it?
To be continued.....