Thursday, October 28, 2010
Tonight at the Long gallery (Hobart, Australia) the Menzies Research Institue of Tasmania launches it's 'Art of Christmas' event. As well as this years Christmas card range, see http://www.menzies.utas.edu.au/article.php?Doo=Redirect&id=1184 is my card design for this year. If anyone is interested click on the above link and have a browes. All money raised goes to medical research, the artist donate their time and art work for the event.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Another Naruto image, this one will be on the board until Monday.
I've started watching the Nautro series, the DVDs I have been lent are all in Japanese so I am enjoying trying to follow the story lines while brushing up on my Japanese. For anyone who likes Anime this is a must see series. Lots of fun and greate use of character design. The characters change to reflect different aspects of the narrative.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I’ve been working on some illustrations of my dog Lilly over the past week and a bit. I plan to post some of these images later. For now I thought a catch up on the Tasmanian Coffee Roaster blackboard is well over due.
I’ve been mainly working on Japanese anime characters, partly at the request of the coffee shop staff and partly as it is an interest of mine (except for C3PO which was drawn for my Star Wars loving son Tallis). The challenge for me is still learning how to draw with negative space. I want the black background to do as much work as possible. This is more obvious in the Astro image and the Naruto bad guy. The heavy use of black means that I have to be very precise with the use of light and colour. The Naruto ‘coffee coffee coffee’ image (created this morning) is more challenging in a way, as it is complex, but it is also closer to my normal working process on paper. I am building the image definition through layers of colour. I put down light colour on the blackboard as a ‘ground’ and building shades on to it.
The C3PO image shows the steps used to build the image. I think this was one of the most difficult drawings I’ve done on the blackboard as I was trying to get a metallic look. I was also unsure throughout the process if it would be successful. Just before the last stage of rendering I considered wiping the board clean and drawing up my plan ‘B’ image. Lucky I have learnt to have some faith in my ability to pull the image together in the end.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Above is part of an illustration (still a work in progress) that also shows the benefits of my shamisen and also kimono research. This image is very dark and the only light is from a lantern held by the frog character. As always I will post the completed illustration (in approx 1 week).
I have also included a photo from the Oshima Museum of Picture Books in Toyama. This photo was taken after I had read a picture book (Where is the Green Sheep) to a small group (pictured) at the museum.
Friday, August 27, 2010
I have left the sweltering heat of Japan to arrive home to rain that feels like ice needles and snow on the mountain.
Happy to be home and now starts the hard work of putting all of my visual research in Japan to use. The photo above shows the start of an image idea, created a few days before I left for Japan. Then you can see some of the photos taken in Kanazawa at the Shamisen shop. And lastly on the right is the ½ rendered image of the character ‘Mayumi’ playing the shamnisen. Going to the shamisen shop and playing a shamisen has allowed me to change my sketch concept to allow for more accurate details, ie. The fabric in the right hand that goes between thumb and forefinger to allow the hand to guild along the neck, the rope tie patterns that hold the three strings, the notch between the body and the neck and the skin pattern on the face of the body (that lots like an upside down face of the frog character). I will post more of this image as it continues and others based on my research in Japan. I will avoid the temptation to post many of the photos I have taken while away as this is not a travel blog. So photos will be relevant to images being created (I hope).
Monday, August 23, 2010
Japan is hot, very hot. Even the locals are saying that this is an extremely hot summer. Im in Kanazawa today, I am heading to see a local shameisen manufacturer for research for some drawings im doing.
The Ceremony went well, it was good to catch up with old friends and make new ones. I was luck enough to talk to a few of the judges, they gave me some good insights on what they look for in entries and what they liked about my work.
I had an interesting experience here in Kanazawa last night. I stumbled across a small alternative gallery in a trendy alternative section of the city. Three young artist were having an exhibition. apart of the exhibition was community participation wall of card written or drawn on. People were invited to respond to the sheet that was blank except for the answewr to a question, [ ...... _ Human|.
When I sat down and unpacked my portable studio, water colours, pens and pencils, they were surprised. Appologies to the young artist as I haven not included their names.
Monday, August 16, 2010
If anyone wants a hand drawn coffee cup, head down to Tasmanian Coffee Roaster in Sandy Bay (Tasmania) and say "I'd like that that coffee cup with he Bath House guy from Spirite Away on it". Theres only one so 1st in, best dressed!.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Above is my “Tin Tin” Chalk board at Tasmanian Coffee Roaster. I am really enjoying playing with the black background.
I am also planning my trip to Japan for the Oshima award on the 21st of August. I am hoping to spend some time in Kanazawa. I have visited Kanazawa twice before but on as I passed through for ½ a day each time. Apart from the amazing historic buildings and gardens, I hope to visit ‘shamisen –no-fukushima’ a traditional shamisen manufacturer in the area. The shamisen is a traditional three-stringed instrument made from wood, silk and skin (dog or cat normally, Im sure my pets will forgive me!)
Monday, July 26, 2010
Great news about the International Hand Made Picture Book Contest for 2010 in Japan. I received the Iguchi-Bunshu prize for my pop-up book. See http://www.ehonkan.or.jp/recruit/i-e_2010index.html
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
Now that ‘Gaijin Holiday’ is safe in Japan and I have had a break from cutting, pasting and drawing. It is time to start the next project. I am trying to develop a completely new story and new characters. I am currently thinking and sketching a new work called ‘Ceridwyn’. Ceridwyn is a welsh name from a classic welsh fable about the bard Talisen. The witch Ceridwyn is a central character in the beginning of this story. As my wife is called Ceri (derived from Ceridwyn) and my son is called Tallis (obviously derived from Talisen), I thought it a good starting point. I have decided to not concentrate on the traditional story of Ceridwyn and Talisen but rather draw Ceridwyn up as a story character in her own right. I will concentrate on misadventures of Ceridwyn the witch, with her faithful sidekick, Mif the cat. I have a rough story mocked up on scrap paper and a few sketches already. I plan to try some pop-up images as well as traditional 2D stuff. Above is from the first set of sketches. So if you’re interested in the writing and design process, keep coming as I plan to keep up dating my progress.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Today I’m have put together some of my images from the last page that I made in my Oshima pop-up book ‘Gaijin Holiday’. This page was the battle between Josh and Tallis and the frog Samurai of Matsumoto. The above photos are in 2 sets, 1st one show the original sketch where I was leaning more towards Kabuki characters. It also shows the page as a blank. In the blank page photos you can see the underlying paper mechanism is a set of basic map folds. I like map folds, they are relatively simple to construct and they look dynamic when you open them. This page only became more complicated because I had to get all of the arms and swords to fold back into the page. This required some planning as when they folded the sword tips would often catch behind the heads of the characters and bend the wrong way. As a result when you unfolded the page, the swords were all over the place.
The 2nd image is a series of images showing the unfolding of the page. This might give you some insight as to how the folds collapse on each other.
Monday, May 24, 2010
I have been up to 1am nearly every night for the last month. Working away in the late hours on painting, drawing, cutting, folding and gluing my pop-up book for the World handmade Picture Book Competition (Oshima Picture Book Museum). Last night (or this morning) at 2:30am I finished this 3 month long project. This morning I put it in the post and now I will wait and see what Japan will make of ‘Gaijin Holiday’. I’ll keep you posted. I will also endeavour to go back over some of my working process images and upload some interesting folds and techniques.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Now that I’m getting close to finishing this book, I am finding some time (with help from my wife) to photograph some of the pages from the story. The images above shows some details from the pop up section from the book for the 2nd page. The story is based on our travels last year in Japan. In this scene we were visiting the Osaka Expo Park. When we went to the park I was hoping to go to the International Institute for Children’s Literature, which is in the park. Unfortunately the Institute was closed for renovations. But we did find this boat in one of the play grounds. My sons Josh and Tallis played a game of chasings with some junior high school girls (Fuka, Chiako, Mao and Konomi).
In the story the boat changes in Josh and Tallis’s Imagination from a play ground boat to a real boat and the girls are transformed into mermaids. I have also included the orginal sketches and plan drawings from my travel book.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Images today come from the first page in the pop up book. This is the journey by plane to Japan. I thought the top down point of view, allowed for a dynamic composition. I’m planning if time allow to put some oxygen masks on strings inside the plane body. This will be a nice touch, but only done if I get time after doing the main pages.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Just a quick update. I’ve been working on various pop-up for the Oshima book, above are some photos of a battle with mountain Oni from the story.
This has been a fun page to put together. You can see that I have used the page as a ‘ground’ which the characters stand on at 90 degrees to the page. This forces the reader to reorientate the book when viewing. It’s go to keep the view engaged.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
In the above images you can see the final inked Madam Monster. This sequence is showing the final stages of putting an image into the pop up page. Then the second sequence demonstrates how the hinge works.
This page is the first of the finished pages I am working on fopr the Oshima Picture Book Museum competition. I still have to add a lot more characters and detail before it is finished. The pop up on this page is very simple, just 2 folding flaps that form the central bridge. Extra depth is achieved on this page by layering images that building them up on top of each other.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
At the moment I am working on the image elements of my Oshima Picture Book Museum pop-up book entry for 2010 (see http://www.ehonkan.or.jp). As I plan to make 2 to 4 versions of this book I’m drawing each image at least 4 times. In the image (left) you can see character images repeated at the first inking stage. As the process for me involves creating pop-up mechanics as stages to put characters on, I draw the characters individually and paste them in to position.
When I work on an individual image I use a very simple process to build the image up. The image (above) of the monster geisha you can see the beginning process of my image building. I start with pencil, then ink over with minimal detail and then start building up the colour layers. I will record and post the progress of this image as it develops.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
(above 'Frogs of War' A2,2009)
For anyone who has the time between now and early April, you should have a quick look at the 3x3 Magazines childrens illustration competition entery details. see
I have just entered a series of images from my Masters work ('Frogs of War' being one of them).
On Pop up matters I have just about finished my 'sketch' version of my Oshima Book. Most of the pop ups work well. I have started on some of the finished art work for the stick in/on elements. I will upload some images of my working process as well as the pop up workings soon.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Life is busy! My boys are back at school and I’m trying to work out my pop up designs for the Oshima Picture Book competition.
I have attached some draft or sketch ‘pop ups’ from the story that I’m working on. I will post a more detailed Blog soon about paper wheels and cams that can be used to create movements on a page.
Also if anyone is interested in a very prolific illustrator, you should check out my friend Sadami’s Blog at