Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Not sure where I found this. I think it might be Roald Dahl. Sums it up pretty well I think.

Best wishes to all for the new year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays

A travelling witch observed over the Gwelf region several years ago on her way to a holiday gathering and enjoying some seasonal cheer. There was no time to create a new card this year, as much as I wanted to, so I hope this one from a couple of years back will do.

Best wishes for this holiday season to one and all.

Much more coming in the new year.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I've been thinking about dwarves lately. The Hobbit is due out in a few weeks and like many, I'm quite looking forward to it. Naturally I'm a little concerned about what is going to happen to the story, but I'm not too concerned about how the film will look. The design, from what little I've glimpsed on line, looks terrific.

Anyway, fingers crossed for the story and get in line when it hits theaters.

More soon.   :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Life Drawing

Anyone working in the animation industry will probably tell you that drawing people in real life is some of the best practice you can get. It's all there in front of you. The pose, gesture, body shapes, proportions, attitude, costume, and all their stuff. And you have to draw it fast, really fast, which in itself is good practice. I'm doing a bit of character design work right now and I can tell you that this kind of practice is very good for you. What's so useful about life drawing is that the people are always moving. You only have a few seconds to get down the pose that you saw before they move again, and this forces you to finish most of it from memory - and that is where you learn ! When you get warmed up you can glance at a person for a second and see everything you'll need to finish the drawing.

These pages were done last summer at a nearby mall. The reason I'm drawing most of the people from the back or side is because I'm trying to avoid that awkward moment where the person you are drawing sees that you are drawing them. And of course the worst case scenario after that is when they come over to see how you've drawn them. This can happen so you'll need to be careful. The people around you will occasionally pick up on the fact that you are drawing but if you haven't been looking at them, they will probably leave you alone. You might even get a compliment if you're having a good day.

I haven't had a chance to get out there lately but I'm really hoping to do some more mall drawing very soon. Maybe I'll see you out there. I'll be the guy hiding behind his sketchbook.  ;)

More soon.

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Sketchbook

I haven't had a chance to share much of what I've been working on for quite a while. Back in the spring I was doing Visual Development work for an animated feature being done in Germany - all top secret. Then I was doing the Scottish Book of Beasties,  and then back to the Arctic Myths which I've been doing pretty steadily for the past several years, and more recently, Visual Development work for a Stop-Motion, animated film. None of this work can be shown. But I do still get into my sketchbook from time to time and so that's what I have for you today.

Up first is an idea I have for a painting which I hope to get to as soon as I get a chance. This idea comes from a drawing I did several years ago where a giant was making off with a cow shed. Now he's taking someone's cottage as they look on helplessly. He's not a malicious giant. He just wants this cottage and so he's taking it.

Up next are a few pages of ideas for skinny, elongated faeries. These were inspired by looking at Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele who both like to draw long, thin figures with exaggerated hands and twiggy fingers.




Next - I am always trying to find new ways to draw faeries with elaborate displays of wings and leaves and tendrils - this is one of those.


And up last are some ideas I had for a character who might be the lead in a story. I was thinking of her as a Pre-Raphaelite figure with lots of hair and big eyes. Maybe she has faerie blood or she might be a witch.

More soon.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Candle Waxer's Cottage

Travel Advisory.

Although this looks like just another run of the mill tree cottage found all over the Gwelf region, it is in fact a fortress housing a very powerful candle waxing coven. A neutral band, neither good nor bad, the Sisterhood of the Silver Flame specialize in the craft of infusing particle magic with slow burning candles, now known as "candle waxing". This art has been discussed here before but I mention it again because a reminder as to the importance of knowing one's allies during these dark autumn days would seem to be prudent.

Not only do these witches provide the candles and magic most commonly used against the darker forces in Faerie, but they give sanctuary to wayward travelers, offer healing to those that need it, and have even been known to provide the occasional hot meal. They are a beacon of light on a dark landscape and despite their neutral stance, tend to be helpful and friendly.

Three of the Elder Sisters.

In this particular coven of related sisters, cousins, aunts and daughters, they keep their practice grounded in the traditional teachings of their order. The elder witches providing the wisdom and experience of age, while the younger members bring in new ideas and the positive outlook of youth. The atmosphere here is studious, progressive, jocular and occasionally ribald. A lively environment indeed where an alert mind and flexible sense of humour are helpful if not necessary - a safe and comfortable shelter from the dangers of the road.

A few of the younger Sisters.

Revealing the exact location of this coven and it's cottage is strictly forbidden. Nevertheless, if you should ever happen across this, or any other candle maker's cottage while traveling, a spontaneous visit is fine, especially if it is getting dark and the road is becoming dangerous. This scenario is all too common while traveling in the Faerie Realm, and knowing who and where your allies are is a valuable survival tactic. You will always know when you are in the vicinity of just such a dwelling because the unmistakable scent of cinnamon and nutmeg will be in the air. This is their sign post, their calling card if you will and an open invitation to anyone recognizing the significance of this fragrance. A fragrance by the way, designed to repel those very creatures we mean to avoid, and attract those of us rallying against them.

So take care fellow travelers. Help is at hand if you know where to look. There are candle makers scattered throughout the Gwelf region in covens, guilds or operating on their own. They can be powerful friends and fellow adversaries against the unholy forces in Faerie. Be advised, your survival may depend on it.

Autumn is here - proceed with caution.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Witch Hats

It's now Autumn in the Gwelf area and as we all know, witch activity is going to increase substantially. I've given you plenty of warnings and survival tactics in the past to help make your travels in this dangerous region a little safer, but today I thought I might draw attention to the common head gear adopted by the covens of the Gwelf region. It is important to keep this shape in mind because you will often encounter these creatures at dusk when all you can see are shadows, and silhouettes will be all that you can see. These distinctive hats may be your first and only clue that you are about to have a close encounter with a nocturnal spell caster. Memorize this shape and be careful. It is also important to note that the trinkets and danglies that festoon their conical head coverings are indicative of the spells and hexes they most often use. In a later post we will delve more deeply into this potentially lethal branch of witch lore. But for now, proceed with caution.

Peace be with you and stay safe. If you are close enough to identify this hat it may already be too late.

Tally Ho

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Hunter and the Waif

A tale of the lost and found, of redemption, forgiveness and ascension - a personal project. A bit of recent sketchbook work.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Raven Witch

With autumn just around the corner, witch activity in the Gwelf area is naturally going to increase. The days will get shorter and the nights will grow colder and darker. Caution is definitely advised and application of all the usual survival tactics is recommended.

Lock all doors and windows as evening approaches. Suspend all travel after dark. But if you absolutely must leave the safety of your home at night be sure to take the less traveled routes and do not use a candle or lantern - stealth is your best friend during these dangerous times. Do not accept gifts from beings you don't know - especially apples. While in your home be sure to burn the appropriate candles infused with witch defeating particle magic and always remember that the oldest melodies are still the best at countering the darker covens. If you've let your instrument practice slip over the summer then you have only yourself to blame.

Be well.
Be careful.
Be safe.

Autumn is nearly here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Random Heads

Yes - two posts in one day. To try and make up for some of the recent strangeness. I've been scanning a lot of bits and pieces lately to add to my Facebook Fan Page, which I'm finally working on - so here are a few random heads and characters.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Still Here

Well, it looks like I'm still here, for now anyway. I must have somehow misunderstood those ominous messages I received from Blogger. So I guess I will continue to broadcast from this station for as long as it lasts. Thanks so much for all your patience and support.

More soon.

Tally Ho !

Monday, May 7, 2012

I'm Moving - The Final Post for this Blog and a link to the new Blog !

Okay - I guess this is it for this blog. It will go off line, according to the e-mail I received from Google/Blogger, on May 31 of this year.

So from now on, you will be able to find me at my new bog here

I hope to see you there.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Wood Carver's Cottage

I ran across this little place the other day while hiking through the Pine Woods on the far side of Gwelf. A very peaceful area to walk as you can well imagine. The hypnotic smell of nutmeg and apples was thick on the afternoon breeze - his wife must have been baking. What's interesting about the area around his cottage is all the little bits of carving you come upon. Ornate little designs carved into tree trunks and grotesque heads fashioned out of old stumps turn up in the most unlikely places. I would highly recommend this walk to anyone the next time you're in the area. I would however avoid the mushrooms in that part of the forest. They are, for the most part very hallucinogenic and will undoubtedly make your return trip an unexpected challenge.

Happy Travels.

More soon.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Designing Oliver Part Two - Fagin

 This is the second part of the little self imposed assignment I gave myself this past Easter Weekend to design some characters from the classic Dickens novel, Oliver Twist. Here I'm thinking about the arch villain of the story and the most evil character among a wide ranging group of nasty characters. Fagin is a paranoid, greedy, two faced, back stabbing fence and exploiter of children - just awful, but really fun to draw - so here are some variations on Fagin.

More soon.

Designing Oliver Part One - Bill Sikes

This was a little assignment I gave myself over this past long weekend. As I've stated before in previous posts, character design for animation is a field I am very much interested in, and having recently had the opportunity to do a little design work for a feature 3d film, I'm convinced that I want to do more of this kind of work. I thought I would start my Oliver Twist assignment with Bill Sikes. He is a brute, a pimp, a house breaker and a beater of women. He also has a dog named Bulls Eye - his only redeeming characteristic and the one aspect of his character that makes him less evil than Fagin.

I love this kind of work and could draw character variations all day long. However I have other things to get to so the fun had to stop here.

More soon.