Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sketchbook Update

Occasionally a theme will occur to me and I will run with it, in the sketchbook that is, thinking that it may yield some picture or narrative possibilities.  Like what would happen if you took one of your standard faerie tale mushrooms, pulled it out of the ground, stood it on it's head and then put a or some pixie(s) on it.  I needed to find out.  There are a lot more of these but I think three will do for now.

More soon.  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Just a quickie Gwelf image.  Another take on Mr. Fox examining his map for interesting walking routes.  Also, writing for the graphic novel is progressing.  Fingers are crossed.

More soon.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


There was a pixie in the garden this morning but when we went back later, she was gone.

More soon.  Be safe.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Express Yourself

Okay. A bit of recent warm up drawing while I continue to write the graphic novel.  The first outline I sent in was very lean but they were still interested.  I expanded it and they are even more interested.  The editor came back with some notes and ideas.  That's what editors do, they help you tell your story when you're up to your neck in it and can't see the forest for the trees. I'm getting there with the story but there is still more work to do. Anyway, I still try to draw something everyday, even on writing days, like today. Here's a bit of it.

Thanks everyone for continuing to stop by. The graphic novel is chugging along slowly but I sense it will pick up steam once I have the story really nailed down. I hope you all have a peaceful weekend.

More soon.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hunter and Waif - Graphic Novel Update

As regular followers of this blog will know, I have been writing and designing a graphic novel for the past several months, along with all my usual freelance work - whew! Anyway, the story has been evolving and traveled through several re-wrights and concept changes. The outline I recently submitted to Lombard was accepted (yay) which now means I have to fill in all the blanks and flesh out the full story. Since I cannot share the client work that I've been doing lately I thought I would post some of the designs I did back in early spring when the story was called Hunter and Waif.

The story is no longer called Hunter and Waif and has evolved quite a long way from these early ideas but I still like these characters and would love to be able to find a use for them some day.

Hunter is a rough and tough forester/game warden character and Waif is a wee lost child in need of a rescue. Waif was going to be a bit of a trouble maker and Hunter was going to be too busy and tired to have to deal with her, but being a forest ranger it would have been his job to save her. It would have been a winter survival story.

I have a lot more of this rough work beginning to pile up around here so there is a good chance some more of it is going to end up here.

Thanks for stopping by. More soon.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Return To Gwelf

Okay, let's get caught up, it's been a while.

I've been buried deep in a morass of projects for the past few months writing, rewriting, and grinding away at client work. So the client work is all top secret as usual, blah, blah, blah NDA yadda, yadda, yadda.  But the writing has been really fun and a wee bit scary. A bit of a revelation actually. It's a lot harder to tell a story than I originally thought - big surprise. It turns out that arranging events in an entertaining way with engaging characters and unexpected plot twists - not so easy. But no hero gets stopped by a little challenge. What kind of story would that be?

I eventually came to my senses after having tried several different concepts and decided to set the story in Gwelf, the fantasy world I often blog about here. It is a story about witches and ghosts, haunted B and B's and all the goofy stuff I usually touch on when describing Gwelf. I will be using all of my previous Gwelf posts as background material and also inventing new ideas to build the story with. It is going to be a lot of fun and I can't wait to really take a big bite out of it.

The European publishers who originally approached me about doing this story have the outline now but what they actually think of it is anybodies guess. I however am not waiting for them to green light this project. I have already committed a fair amount of pencil mileage to this idea and want to carry on. I will forge ahead and turn the outline into a script, using every scrap of time I can scrape together between projects and after hours, as I have been up to now. I want to make this story happen.

That's it for the time being. I've been feeling really guilty about not having posted anything recently so I managed to unearth a couple of roughs from last winter and have attached them here.

More soon.

Be safe out there.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Update - Graphic Novel

I wanted to touch base with everyone and let you know that I have not fallen into a pit somewhere but have in fact been quite busy. On top of the usual client work which I am not allowed to share, until one of these days when it is safe to do so and a ton of it will come spilling out, I have been using every scrap of free time to write and design the graphic novel, mentioned in the previous post, and related story pitch.

For those of you who are interested there will be a lot to see on this front very soon as it all seems to be coming together at once. More news to follow. I will sign off now and wish everyone a peaceful Sunday afternoon.

More soon - a lot more.

Thanks again for your time and patience.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Raven Witch 2

Some alternative concept and design ideas for the Raven Witch graphic novel page I posted last week. I had a lot of ideas for that one page and found it difficult to narrow it down to the choices I made. Here are some of the other things I was considering. It looks now like one way or another this book is going to happen, so there are going to be many more choices that will have to be made.

I liked the idea of putting the Twig Pixies under the mushrooms but eventually decided that it might not be right for the gloomy, haunted forest mood I was after. This page got progressively spookier as I worked on it. It seemed to require an ever darkening mood, or at least I became happier with it as the shadows lengthened.

Thanks for stopping by everyone. More soon.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Graphic Novel Page - The Raven Witch

I have been negotiating back and forth for the last little while with Lombard Editions in Belgium. They do graphic novels such as Tin Tin and many others. One of the editors there thought it might be interesting if I did a graphic novel for them, but in order to properly pitch the idea to the committee, he wanted me to do a sample page. We had been talking about a story with witches so I worked up this page with my old favourite, the Raven Witch.

It is not easy to distill down everything you want to do with a story into one page. I had many ideas to sort through and had to make some choices for better or worse. Below are some of the many roughs I did looking for the best way to tell this little bit of atmospheric mood setting. Will anything come of this - who knows ? For now fingers are crossed.

I'm glad you stopped by. More soon.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Owl Hotel

This is an old watercolour from my ill fated first attempt at mailing art out to kid's book publishers. I just found it in a drawer of old art and decided to re-scan it. I still like it - my first tree house.

More soon.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Raven Witch and Thistle Down Pixies

Well, I just spent the last 10 days painting a book cover picturing a wicked looking troll coming up over a hill with a menacing look on her ugly, troll face and I would love nothing more than to be able to share her with you but, there is an equally wicked and menacing NDA attached to said project which prevents me from doing any such thing. However, while I was painting the aforementioned troll I was also drawing. Drawings whose purpose will become all too clear very shortly, if you're paying attention. For now I will leave you with this bit of sketchbook work and the promise that there will be more following very soon, and with any luck much, much more after that, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I always enjoy seeing you.

More soon.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rambling In Gwelf

The winter winds are still rattling the window panes here at the Mythwood Studio and there is more snow ready to land on us tonight. Yet, as unlikely as it seems, spring is still just around the corner and I know that there are some you who, even now, are planning your first walking party of the season. It is to you that I am directing this post. I would like you to consider an often overlooked route that starts at Cherry Hill Gate  and takes you right through Inverary and on to Tweed. Out of the way, yes, but well worth a try.

I mention this now because the Laughing Willow Inn has just been newly renovated and is again open for business. With that nasty exorcism of last year safely in the past and a new breakfast menu receiving high praise, I think you will find, as I did, that the Laughing Willow Inn is an enchanting place to rest your weary bones after a day or an hour of vigorous rambling. There is always an entertaining gaggle of fellow wayfarers for company and a fresh log burning on the fire.

By all accounts the rooms are snug and cozy and the beds are soft and warm. A perfect place to review your map and plan the next days excursion. Barliman Butterbur himself would find little to complain about in this charming and freshly painted little inn.

It should be noted that I am not in any way affiliated with this establishment and pass along this information merely as a courtesy, which is the occasional purpose of this blog.

One more thing before I let you go. It is my job to state the obvious so please allow me to proceed. The Cherry Hill Gate area can be a little damp and spongy in the spring so I recommend another water proofing treatment  for those old walking boots and be sure to include some extra socks when packing. A poncho might not be a bad idea either. And don't forget, there will be a warm fire burning in the hearth when you arrive.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to travel safely.

More soon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

More Inspiration

A few more pieces that are inspiring me these days. First up are couple from a new discovery of mine, although you have probably known about him for years. Rene Hausman, A Belgian cartoonist, illustrator and graphic novel creator. I just found him on Pinterest a couple of days ago and he is my new favourite. I like his exaggerated cartoon style and the subtle watercolour work. I just love discovering new artists.

Next is an artist I have loved for many years now - Myles Bircket Foster. He is one of the Victorian cottage painters operating in Britain at the beginning of the last century. He is primarily a watercolourist but he likes to get in there with the Chinese White and do some opaque rendering as well. This one is just terrific. I love the way he takes the time to carefully work every inch of the painting. I feel like I could stroll into that picture and explore it all afternoon. The stone steps and little wooden railing are just terrific.

 Next is another Victorian cottage painter named Helen Allingham. She is also a watercolourist but I don't think she went in for the Chinese White the way Bircket Foster did. She was more for scratching out and colour lifting to obtain light effects or to place small flowers in front of large dark areas like hedges or earthen banks. She is also very detail oriented. Every part of the picture is important.

This last one is something I found on Pinterest. I don't know who did this but I think it is just brilliant.

That's it for now. Thanks for stopping by. More soon.

Okay, one more Hausman piece, just because those little birds are so cleverly designed. Look at the way he did their feet.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Pencil Dust

A bit of drawing. Even when I'm just messing around I like to try and come up with names or designations for the odd balls that appear on the paper. Giving them names gets them one step closer to being in a story.

A few ideas for some possible Gwelf locations and the scenarios that could unfold in these environments. I've been playing around with the idea of a pine cone shaped cottage. Or perhaps several pine cones pushed together. That's what we have below, and a short cottage with a tall roof. Oh, and some squat little gnome birds that travel those paths and live behind those windows.

I'm also seeing if I can get something going with the idea of an apothecary who has set up shop in a tree. She sleeps in the little cabin built into the upper story of her tree. Since she is a raven witch, she feels at home up there. Her human customers recognize her capabilities and respect her expertise but are nevertheless nervous and intimidated.

Thanks again for stopping by. More soon.