Friday, 16 December 2011


Pick of the week is shared this week by Gavin (Gargoyle top) and Vanessa (untitled bottom).
Possibly one of your strongest pieces to date Gavin.
Vanessa, I like the Phantom of The Opera tones to this one.
If any one has any unfinished work they manage to finish over the Christmas holidays please post it up on facebook or e-mail it to me.

Ok, this is the last blog post for 2011, I hope you all have a great Christmas  and I'll see you in 2012.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


Merry Christmas to all my students past and present.
I'd get running if I were you.

Monday, 12 December 2011


Next Fantasy Art term starts Tuesday10TH January 2012. To enrol contact Swarthmore, 2-7 Woodhouse Square, Leeds LS3 1AD. 0113 2432210

Sunday, 11 December 2011


As you already know by now , I am a fan of  Bernie Wrightson's art work. I grew up reading comics that he had drawn, such as DC's Swamp Thing and House of Mystery. I was browsing  found these gems (among others).
For my money, Wrighton is a master of composition and lighting. The beautiful art above is a cover for House Of Mystery  #195

Notice the balance of solid black and white space on the Batman drawing below.
 View more of Wrightson's work here

Friday, 9 December 2011

WEEK 10 7TH December 2011

Here  is a recap of the last few stages of the final exercise so you can finish your artwork. Please scan or photograph your work and post it or send it to me on facebook

Most of you got to the inking stage on Tuesday. Remember the inking demonstration I gave you and how I applied  an uneven line to the stonework (see above) and how it gave a weathered and worn look. Crisp, clean, straight ruled lines will make it appear new and a bit too technical. Add pitted marks  and scratches to give a more authentic stone effect to the architecture and gargoyle.
As we are using sugar paper for this exercise,  it will be difficult to achieve a flat application with a  marker . Notice in the pic above that the colour is not flat. If this drawing were meant for anything other than a fun exercise, like,  for example, a printed publication  or book cover etc, I would produce this on appropriate material for using a marker to give a flat application. For example, layout paper or photocopy paper.
Once the rain has been applied, the uneven marker work will not be as noticeable.
Remember how I started at one end of the illustration and worked my way around .Try to complete your marker application in one continuous flow.
I created the moon surface using a chinagraph pencil. You can get them here

Or use a good quality white pencil  such as Derwent or Faber Castell

Here is some reference of the moon's surface.

 I used permanent white gouache and a no.2 sable watercolour brush which gave me more control when creating the highlights. The highlights should only appear on the upper outer ridges of the gargoyle and stone work.

I used a Pentel correction pen to create the rain. Quick, straight strokes leaves a broken line and make the rain visible but not too intrusive.

You should end up with something resembling the above.

All the exercises of this term (along with some other fun stuff that was not included) can be found in HOW TO DRAW FANTASY ART published by Arcturus Punblishing, available some time in March 2012 and will be available from and most book stores.

I will continue to post anything I find of interest over the Christmas break, so please check back some time soon.
Have a good Christmas Break. See you next year.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

WEEK 9 - 29th November

Here are some pics of the last stages of the Pirate drawing to help you finish  off before next week, which is the final week of the course for 2011, in case any of you have forgotten.
Remember how I built the skin texture with layers of shading and scribbling?

Check out the skin detail on the photos below. Also study the layout of the suction cups.

Here are some pics of Jack Sparrow for those of you who need some more visual reference to finish the clothing.

The mist effect around the skulls was created using  an eraser.

Don't forget to bring a black inking pen, a dark blue marker and a highlighter or correction pen for the final exercise.
 Here those links to the art material suppliers that I use.

Nice composition on this piece by Richard.

Sunday, 27 November 2011


Vanessa brought this little gem in to class  last Tuesday. It was printed in 

Sea Mouse (Anthology Comic)2

Unfortunately I do not have a better image to post as the original artwork has not yet been returned to her. This was not produced as part of the Fantasy Art class, but it incorporates all the points discussed  regarding composition, contrast and lighting, so it definitely deserves a post.
I am hoping the original will be returned soon so I can upload a better scan.
The drawing is of Brigitte Bardot as a teenager.
Nice work Vanessa.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Here's a brief recap of this weeks class. I am not going to retrace every step as I know most of you have made good progress. This is just in case you need to refer to the last stage before we finish this exercise next week.

As I mentioned  in class  I prefer imagery that leaves  more to the imagination rather than trying to explain everything in detail and take away any mystery  of the unknown.  Sometimes less is more.
 Don't forget to practice thumbnail sketching before embarking on a major piece of art. It saves you a lot of time  and waste of materials if you can get used to exploring various options  and layouts  before getting stuck in to your final piece.

Here's my thumbnail sketch...
...and here is the finished piece.
  ...and here is where we got up to this week.

Best way to start this one is to draw a faint vertical , central dividing line to balance you layout around. Everything is roughly central.Sketch out your figure and try  to capture some attitude in the pose. Pay attention to proportions, watch the size of the head. The tentacles are used as a framing device for the figure.. Try to create nice flowing curves. For the skulls at the bottom, make a random pile, try not to make them look too symmetrical.

Monday, 21 November 2011


In addition to what we discussed in class here is a good example of both muscle reference and also lighting and shadow. Notice the amount of shadow cast by Arnold's chest.
I have converted the image to gray scale so you can see the tone variations if , for example,you were to draw this in pencil.
Here is the same image  isolating the solid shadow areas.

Saturday, 19 November 2011


Sorry for not posting for a while. I 've been bogged down with projects  and deadlines and there has been no time left in the day or evening to post a blog, so I am making up for it with this mega post.
To start off with, here is a  recap of the exercise from week 1and 2.
Remember we were discussing the positioning of body weight  to create a balanced and credible   pose and how when the weight is shifted to one part of the body it can affect the angle  of the shoulders and hips/pevlis ?
The images below show arrows indicating the  the tilt of the shoulders and hips and the curve of the spine  when the larger portion of body weight is placed  on one leg.

The previous  recap of this exercise can be found here
Although there are no arrows on the two images below, study the stand and notice the dip of the knee creating the  tilt of the shoulders and hips. Although the legs are concealed in the final sketch, it would be difficult to create a believable pose without working the body frame correctly.

In week 4 we looked at lighting and it's effects and also composition.
I was going to post a repeat of the lighting examples shown in class, but fortunately I was e-mailed this fine piece of information which does exactly the same job only in a nice tidy condensed package.

I have posted information about composition  in previous blogs (which you can find if you scroll back a year or two), so I'll try not to repeat much of the same info.
Many fantasy artists use the tried and trusted circle as a framing device or as a visual prop to draw the viewer to the main point of attention. Study the examples below. All of them used the circle for this purpose.
Adi Granov

Boris Vallejo

Jim Lee

Frank Frazetta

Another example by Frank Frazetta. Although the circle is not as blatant here you can make it out in the background if you looks closely. The balance of this piece is created by a pyramid composition.

Other shapes are often used for the same purposes. Here are some examples of arches.
Frank Frazetta

 Jim Lee

I know some of you where/are having a hard time with figure drawing whether it be the features of the face, hands or general anatomy.  If you study every artist and certainly comic book artists , you will notice that they all have found their own way of drawing the head that more often than not breaks with convention, This is absolutely fine because they have become so proficient at drawing all the components of the face  that they can draw it at any angle and in any shape and knit it  together perfectly. Until you become this skilled, I recommend sticking to the basics which can be found in many how to draw books. Many professional artists and  myself  have found  How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way very helpfull

You can also learn a lot from these books by Burne Hogarth
As I have said many times in class, there is so much to learn about figure drawing that 
  a whole book  can be devoted to just one  the hands or head alone.

You can also learn from shapes and sizes form other visual material such as body building magazines , though  these are best viewed for finishing reference for when you have become familiar with  the basics of anatomy . I would recommend you first try the tutorial books mentioned above.

Learning how the body works and  where and how to place the muscle groups will enable you to build you figure drawing more confidently.