Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Matte painting

Recently I have been working as a matte painter/background artist for an animated commercial campaign made at Picasso Pictures for the directing duo Jens and Anna. The campaign included various 30sec commercials as well as online web films with information about new healthcare initiatives in Kentucky, USA. I began working on the campaign last summer (2013) when I was asked to create high resolution images from details in the commercial that could be used for the accompanying print campaign. This year I was asked to do backgrounds that were used in the actual commercial. My images were then projected onto the 3D elements of the scenes with 2D character animation added from Flash.

I was given wireframes of the scenes from the CG animators which I then painted in Photoshop according to the project style. Below you can see an example of a wireframe and then the finished background:

The images are created at a size that allows for camera moves within the shots. For example, the image below is wider than the TV ratio because the camera move goes from left to right within the image. I also had to draw more information on layers so there was enough imagery as the camera moves around revealing different parts of the picture.

I was also given matte references for the 3D objects to help isolate areas for colouring:

Additional shadow layers were added by the CG programme (Maya) into footage that was then composited together and colour graded for the final output. Here is the finished commercial:

Here is a time lapse video of a background I made for the most recent commercial:

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The Science of Splats

I have been working on an illustrated character for a long time, trying to envisage his macro world (he is very small). His name is Marvin and here is a glimpse of him:

I wanted some paint splat textures to use as background elements. This coincided with an episode of creative funk. It turns out that what I needed to do to regain my illustration mojo was to throw some paint around:

These splats were made flicking paint from a paintbrush about 1 inch wide. They are useful but despite me scanning them at 1200dpi I still wasn't getting a big enough splat for my requirements.

I then tried pouring some paint from a height:

This is better though the paint has a bit too much water in it. Good splat spread (also on my shoes, and the road, but at least I went outside right?).

I love working digitally but also adding real textures and ink lines to my work. It always give the resulting images more freshness, character and life. Marvin is made up of crisp vector lines, ink lines, finger prints and smudges.

It was all great fun and brought up memories of my art school floor which was multi-coloured with paint splats. The only trouble is it makes me want to get big pots of paint, a step ladder and a large bare floor with white walls and just go for it!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The love story of Betty and Barry Bourbon

I created these biscuit characters whilst developing a series of greetings card ideas. I liked the confetti 'Just Married' bourbon biscuits and decided to discover how they met. So here is the love story of Betty and Barry Bourbon:

See more comic sketches on my website here

Friday, 24 October 2014

Greetings Cards

I have been working on some greetings card designs for a while now. I find it a good way of developing illustration ideas into themes. When I first moved into my studio space a year ago I thought I'd start with a small project to develop some characters and little ideas I had into suitable card images. I often make my illustration work into stories so it was good to do a project which was less ambitious than a story book project but with different and specific challenges of it's own.

I decided to dip my toe into the online shop world and am selling some of my printed efforts on Etsy. My shop is here:


I have made a Christmas collection with gingerbread character designs:

and a Birthday collection based on characters from my Monsters work:

I am curious to see which designs are popular and what online traffic I can attract to my shop and website.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Wedding Invitation

Recently some friends asked me to design their wedding invitation. They had seen some examples they liked, so had quite a specific idea in mind. It was to be fully illustrated - they requested cartoon versions of themselves outside the venue with hand rendered type for the information. Here is the printed result:

It is a double sided A5 card:

The Order of Service is designed along the same theme.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Artificial Things

In 2012 I created a resource pack (35 illustrations and layout) for Stopgap Dance Company - click here for more information.
This year they asked me to create flyers and a brochure for their current touring production called Artificial Things. I made A4, A5 flyers and an A2 poster with cast and production information on the reverse side that folds into an A5 brochure, see below:

(The photographs are by Chris Parkes as Christography)

Click here for a trailer for the show.

I visited the show at Sadler's Wells last night and it was a wonderful performance. A visual and visceral treat. I definitely recommend it. They are touring the UK with this show into the autumn - for more information click here: Stopgap Dance or visit stopgapdance.com

Thursday, 8 May 2014


Last summer I was commissioned to create a large scale graphic image. My client had found a pop art style black and white picture they liked and wanted a similar image for their living room.
The original image was very small - 6 x 4 cm but my client wanted it on a large canvas sized 5 x 4 feet (152.4 x 121.92 cm):

I created a version of a face image in Illustrator as a vector file so that I could blow up the scale without losing any information. I then tile printed it on many sheets of A4 paper. If I'd had an overhead projector that would have been a quicker process but I didn't so instead cut out the shapes I wanted to paint in black and drew around them to transfer the image onto the canvas:

I then coloured it in with block colour.

The actual painting process was fairly quick. The most time was spent on preparation.
It was a fun project to take on.

Here is the result:

My client was very happy with the final result and once we found a big enough car to transport it in took it home!