Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Here I'm playing with a concept I first came upon while reading The Hobbit many years ago. The idea is that Trolls will turn to stone if hit by direct sun light. That's what happened here. This poor fellow has been there for decades and a local maiden has decided to turn his back into her thinking and day dreaming place. He's covered in moss with vines and creepers making their way up his arms and torso - he'll be there forever and one day her daughter will discover this very same place for herself.

I don't get much time these days to do personal work but I did manage this one a couple of weeks ago. It may be a while before I get the chance again despite a ready cache of ideas just waiting to be painted. This one is gouache and watercolour on cold pressed paper.

Seasons Greetings all.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Things that go Bump

Our main graphics computer has been acting up lately and I haven't been able to scan anything new in the last couple of weeks - very frustrating because I have just completed a personal piece I'm rather happy with and can't share. In the meantime I'll post a couple from a recent project concerning mythical characters that should be out in the spring.
I hope to have something new up shortly.

Seasons greetings everyone.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Future of Fantasy Art

I hope you can excuse a little horn blowing :)
I was fortunate enough to have been asked to contribute a couple of pictures to this fabulous new volume of Fantasy Art. The book looks terrific if I do say so myself. The reproductions are fabulous and the scope and variety of the art is very impressive.
The title of the book is The "Future" of Fantasy Art. I wonder what they would say if they knew that many of my favourite artists were painting over 100 years ago and in some cases 300 years ago.

Monday, November 30, 2009


I've been picking away at this one for the last year or so. Making subtle adjustments here and there - so subtle that I'm likely the only one that will notice them. This is the process nevertheless and I'm finally starting to feel a bit better about this one. I'm wondering now if I need to go in and really smooth out the flesh tones or if it's okay as it is. This was only intended to be a simple watercolour but once I get this far with the painting I often want to take it all the way and render everything right down to "the shine on the rose thorn" as they say. Will that make it a better picture ? Maybe. I'll have to continue to live with it and think about it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Recent Sketchbook - Faeries 3

Still more sketch work - searching for ideas. The giant carrying the tree with the wood nymphs riding along feels like it could be an idea worth trying if I can work out how some of the finer details might come together - keep thinking - keep drawing :)

Recent Sketchbook - Faeries 2

More drawing - :) That first one was another one of the many ideas I had for the Absinthe Faerie. The other 2 are simple bic pen scribbles.

Recent Sketchbook - Faeries

Some recent sketch activity. I think there are a couple here from my Absinthe Faerie picture but mostly just drawing for fun with the idea that I just might get an idea for something a little more finished.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Recent Sketchbook - Witches

A few years ago I made a painting that I called The Magic Duvet. It showed several witches riding on a magic duvet which is of course exactly the same as a magic carpet. They're zooming over a winter landscape and having a grand old time. This picture was always a favourite of mine but I had a chance to sell it at the Mythic Journey's conference in Atlanta a few years back and I did sell it. I apparently sold it without getting a good scan of it and have been recently messing around with the idea of painting the idea again so that I can make prints and also enjoy reworking a fun idea.

I started to make some preliminary doodles but the idea began to morph into a simple group portrait of a coven, possibly seen at one of their nocturnal gatherings. I think maybe I felt a little guilty about not coming up with a new idea, even though my initial motivation was to re-do an older idea. Anyway - still drawing, still thinking.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Absinthe Faerie Second Pass

I left the Absinthe Faerie alone for a week or so and then decided to go back in and work a bit more on her. I liked what I had but still felt it needed something - it was a little too misty.
She was essentially a watercolour painting and so I went back in with gouache, which is also watercolour but opaque, and just pushed the contrasts a little further in a couple of places. Gouache is a great way to make adjustments on a watercolour because you can work over your mistakes they you would in oil or acrylic. I tightened up her face a little and tweaked her dress. I also added to the wings and darkened the darks in the weed tangle a little more. The changes are subtle but I think it works just a bit better now.

We just got back from Faeriecon where we had a terrific time. We met a ton of great people and just kind of bathed in the peaceful, earth friendly environment - so much fun - can't wait for next year.


Some more recent pencil activity - planning a personal piece I will probably not have time for, but still fun - any excuse to draw witches. My idea is to have the witch sitting in front of her cottage in an old rocking chair. This way I could do a portrait of both the witch and her dwelling - play up their similar appearances. I hope I can get to it because I think it might be a good idea. It's going to have to sit for now though because the clients are waiting :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


We are departing for Faeriecon in Baltimore in a couple of days for a weekend of music, art and fun. There's still a lot to do before we take off.
Here's some recent pencil work.

More soon.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Teeney O'Feeney Group Illustration

Another illustration from the book project Teeney O'Feeney king of the Leprechauns. Here we have a group of characters from the Faerie Realm. I decided to depict this group the same way my sketch pages tend to unfold which is a kind of random spread of characters scattered about the paper. I wanted this last of the full page illustrations to be different than the others and was really curious to see if I could actually paint one of these sprawling compositions which are so easy to improvise in a sketchbook. As it turns out it is rather difficult to try and tie all the individuals together. Brian Froud is of course very good at this kind of picture making and he was definitely the inspiration behind my decision to go this way but I didn't want to just copy his approach. He spends weeks if not months on his very complex pictures and I only had a few days to do mine but nevertheless I wanted to try because I love this kind of group portrait style of illustration - especially when the portraits are whimsical.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More Sketchbook

I'm back on the book project I began nearly 2 years ago with Jim Tague called Teeney O'Feeney King of the Leprechauns. Here we have some more character studies and development work. Watercolour soon to follow - hopefully. I'm also starting a new Arctic Myth project so there's lots to do - lots of drawing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Absinthe Faerie

This was a tough one - deciding which way to go with this concept. The Absinthe Faerie is an hallucination, a psychedelic vision - she inspires us, she seduces us, she destroys us and yet we still love her.

I have her merging with and coming from the ground and the vegetation because she is a natural being. She comes from the wormwood plant which is where the narcotic drink Absinthe comes from. The leaves and plants that surround her are their own beings with their own personalities. The leaves may have faces or they may not. I haven't shown the wormwood plant here. She has been called and is moving.

This is not for me the definitive Absinthe Faerie but one of many possible Absinthe Faeries. I had a lot of ideas for this one and finally decided to fuse several of these ideas together to make this image.
The next time I paint her she will be different. This is a watercolour 7 inches by 10.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Faerie Sketchbook

Some more recent sketchbook activity - just for fun - always searching for new ways to draw them - don't know why - just a diversion from commercial work :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Eragon Art 2 - Eragons Guide to Alagaesia

This was a great project to work on but the deadline was a real killer which left no time for dilly dallying. I was essentially doing these drawings as fast as I possibly could which is why many of them have a monochromatic feel. A tight deadline is a very good learning experience. You have to quickly figure out where to put your effort. For everyone it will be different but for me it was trying to nail a half descent drawing and then focus on tonal relationships rather than colour. Having to also invent original costumes for the characters just added a little more stress, I mean fun. My results were mixed, which is to be expected under the circumstances but I don't mind these ones.

The Eragon series is a terrific set of fantasy novels and just full from cover to cover with cool things to draw. This book, Eragons Guide to Alagaesia will be out in November by Templar Publications in the UK and Candlewick Press here in North America.

Pictured above are one Human Soldier and one Urgal Raider. The Urgals are the bad guys in this story. They are big and mean and do nasty things to innocent people, so of course they were the most fun to draw.

Eragon Art

A few finished pieces from the project I was working on last winter. The book is called Eragons Guide to Alagaesia and is basically a visual reference to everything in the world of Eragon - Eragon being of course a best selling fantasy trilogy by the young and brilliant Christopher Paolini. My part of this project was to illustrate the peoples of this world. Some other very talented artists were brought in to picture the landscapes and the towns and cities and of course the Dragons. Dragons being something I don't do very well, I was more than grateful that I didn't have to draw any.

The guys pictured above with the ram horns are the Urgals - the bad guys. I had to do a lot of them. There's a dwarf up there too.