Thursday, 10 September 2009

Illustration Friday: Strong

Rumours of my demise we're greatly exaggerated! After a summer hiatus I'm back with a new entry for Illustration Friday, the topic being "Strong". I've been out of the illustration racket for a few months now, so this entry was always going to be a foot in the door first, and a credible illustration second. The picture itself doesn't require much explaining; I think most of you possess enough imagination to inbue the strength in it. With the next topic I hope to hit the ground running and be hot on it's tail from the get-go, so I hope to catch up with you all very soon!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

The Silbadors Revisited

Right! I've had a few months off drawing to concentrate on a few other projects I've had up and running, but my drawing desk is once again calling my to pick up a pencil. Historically I've always had fallow periods in the few months before the summer equinox, and have always found my pace again just as the nights start to get darker.

Anyway, to keep my blog ticking over until I have a brand new piece, I've decided to post something from my archives. This image depicts a 'fake' band I was in with my colleague Raoul McGurk back in 2007. The band was a cross between the Gorillaz and cheesy Spanish ballads, and the ten songs we recorded were intentionally daft and frivolous. The members of the band were The Donkey (Raoul), Lawrence Scorpion (me) and a third member called Chob (the bald one) who was a silent partner played by nobody. There's a Silbadors's myspace page which gets about 1 play a fortnight. Had we not been more concerned with our proper band (Karousel) I may have gone so far as to produce an animation of the characters.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Illustration Friday: Theater

I couldn't really think of any ideas for this week's Illustration Friday topic - at least none that inspired me to pick up a pencil. So, this week I've polished an old turd (so's to speak) and used one of my older stock images involving a movie theater. It's from the epic Biggins versus Burrow 13 comic. I'll be back on the illustration scene properly next week and will present something more deserving of feedback.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Illustration Friday: I'm Possibility

This is my late entry for Illustration Friday this week. The word was "Impossibility".
I decided to cheat and added an apostrophy and a space to the word to make it "I'm Possiblity". The picture I've drawn is an optimistic image - a young boy (Georgie) looking into space and musing upon the notion of what he's possible of. When I was younger I used to do this all the time... sitting on the swing in my garden looking up and thinking about what lay ahead, and later, what lay out there. Although some things are impossible in the real world, as a child the word 'impossibilty' itself seems impossible to me.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Attack From Above 2009

This is my most complex image of the year so far! It's called 'Attack from Above' and this is the fifth time I've drawn it. I first drew the image back in 1998, which at the time was the first full colour page I'd ever produced. I've since re-drawn the image in 2000, 2001 and 2004.
The scene takes place in New York and despite the 9/11 attacks, I have kept the Twin Towers in the background as a sort of dedication.
Even though the image has been drawn on A4 paper, the attention to detail and line quality means that it looks good even when zoomed right in (as these close-ups will testify);

Charlie Pickles.

Manikin Man

It's taken me better part of a week to get this image finished. The final Photoshop image contains 30 layers and I had to create the spaceships in a 3D program. All in all, I think I've raised my personal benchmark and it'll be at least another 5 years before I attempt this again.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Illustration Friday: Fleeting

I haven't had much time to illustrate this week, so for this week's Illustration Friday I had to come up with something quick and easy. The above image is the result of that hurried effort. I just sat down at my drawing desk about 20 minutes ago, came up with the idea and drew it straight out. The idea behind it being that I am presently aware that this year is zooming by at an amazing rate. 2009 is fleeting!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Book Sale

Here is an image called Book Sale. I've drawn this for my department at work who are having a book sale this week to raise money for the Marie Curie charity. What was meant to be a simple project turned out to be rather...complicated! Drawing the main image took very little time, but when I came to colour it, the detail of the books gave me an overwhelming sense of having shot myself in the foot. It's not one of my greatest images, but it was quite fun to produce, and hopefully it will be put to good use later this week.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Illustration Friday: Talisman

For this week's Illustration Friday theme (talisman) I decided to do something really simple.
Instead of drawing good luck charms, religious icons, etc, I realised that the simplest form of talisman that we can all do (except for some unlucky war veterans) is the elegant crossed fingers. How simple is that??

Georgie and the Trampoline

Ladies and gentlemen I give you Georgie and the Trampoline. This is an idea I've had for a childrens book, and I've drawn this image to see how it might look. I've tried to make the drawing a little bit more stylised than my usual output and although I've by no means achieved a perfect end product, I reckon I'm moving in the right direction.
You will notice that I've now given Georgie a canine sidekick. I'm afraid I don't have a name for him just yet. Maybe Geoff? The Adventures of Georgie & Geoff? No... no... I will have to keep thinking...

Monday, 30 March 2009

Illustration Friday: Poise

Following on from my last post, I decided I would like to enter Illustration Friday this week using a more children-friendly image. This is a new character called Georgie and I created him specifically to test out some illustration techniques, so although he's not the most original character, we may see more of him. This image took about an hour to draw and colour in so it's rather a swift piece, but as I'm slowly discovering, sometimes perfection is imperfection and the natural linework adds to the drawing's accessibility. Let me know what you think anyway.
Incidentally - has anyone here ever used acrylic paint? I used to use watercolour a lot, but I want to do some drawings and colour them in with nice solid colours. Is acrylic good for this? I never learnt how to paint things without you being able to see all the unsightly brushmarks at the end. I've tried guash in the past but with my lack of skill, the results were...messy!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Billy & Tinker (Illustration Test)

Here is an image I just whipped-up. For a while now I've wanted to branch out into the competitive world of illustrating childrens books. My style has never really been geared up for the task, though. Well, tonight I thought it was time I began exploring some possibilities. The above image was the first of several experiments, using a new drawing style (for me anyway) and some new production techniques. It's quite basic and not too enthrawling, but considering everything about this image was concieved through experimentation, it could've been a lot worse.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Illustration Friday: Subtract 2

As I'm not too blown-away with my entry for Illustration Friday this week, I've decided to enter a second one and hedge my bets. Interestingly, this is my first ever fully-computerised entry. The heads are recycled from the edit files of my film Waking Up In Wonderland. I had thought them lost until I managed to find them on an old scratched disc last week. The background was an experiment I did last week to see if I could create grass (seen in my Legendary picture).
After I made this just now, I realised that the characters bodies have been subtracted and thus, this image is applicable for this week's topic. I only wish I'd made this image first as I quite like the colourful disposition of the characters and background.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Illustration Friday: Subtract 1

For this week's Illustration Friday I wanted to make something quickly and intentionally-basic. My last four entries have been a little bit on the complicated side so I fancied a change. This is one of the quickest pictures I've drawn in quite a while so I'm not expecting much kudos back regarding it, and in any case, I have a full plate this week - this is the best I could manage!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Some More Texture Tests

Having recently discovered the joys of adding paper texture to old drawings, tonight I conducted a few more experiments. Here are two of the better results:

This is a piece from 2001 entitled "Eleventh Hour". There is a more completed version of this on file, but I chose to use the early pencil version in this instance. The results appear encouraging.

I then went on and tried applying texture to a 2004 drawing called "By The Fire" and this time tried to make it more natural looking. It almost looks like it was drawn on the back of an old envelope!

Whether using paper textures will work on some of my more flamboyant pictures remains to be seen. Watch this space!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Illustration Friday: Legendary

I don't know why, but this week's Illustration Friday word just didn't seem to inspire me that much. Nonetheless I've had a bash at it. I was originally going to do a Samson & Delilah theme, but changed my mind at the last minute and decided to do a King Arthur picture... specifically the legend that refers to the Lady In The Lake giving Arthur his famous Sword. I may've been slightly influenced by Monthy Python and The Holy Grail as I seem to have recreated Graham Chapman's beard to an uncanny degree. From the outset I wanted to do a high-grade image (like my Intricate or Instinct pictures) in the full knowledge that next week I'm going to attempt something more natural. So to help me along this week, I've used a bit more Photoshop than usual. I just hope the image doesn't look too...artificial.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Unfinished Drink

After playing around with old images and new textures on the previous image, I dug out this picture. It's an unfinished drawing I did of Biggins drinking a cup of coffee. At the time I abandonned it to draw another more energetic image (which some of you may have seen on my blog some weeks ago) simply entitled "Coffee". When I stumbled across this image the other day, I found myself wishing I'd competed it.

Biggins Vs Burrow Revamp

This is an old image that I just decided to re-vamped for a bit of fun. This image has been subject to a few experiments over the years (partly because it's a nice clean drawing). I was going to develop it into a more extravagant Boxing Promotion poster, but I stopped because I liked what I'd already achieved.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Illustration Friday: Intricate

This week Illustration Friday gave us the word "intricate". Following on from my image last week I felt encouraged to draw another vocational scene and it struck me that flying a plane (with all those complicated controls) must be quite an intricate process. As it turned out, the logistics of drawing a cockpit full of buttons proved to be slightly more challenging than I had expected... so in the end I scaled-back the details to make the image more managable. Additionally, in certain places the perspective got a wee bit out of hand and I had to be careful about how I coloured things in. Ultimately though I'm rather pleased with this, especially since I threw it together over 3 short evenings.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Illustration Friday: Breezy

For this week's Illustration Friday topic ("Breezy") I came up with about 20 ideas. I spent the whole of last Sunday thinking about which one would be best and as is typical, I simply ended up doing the first idea that had come to me. As you can see, I went for a weather forecast idea, and drew the forecaster in a very breezy pose. In England weather can sometimes be erratic, hence why in the picture I've drawn the wind directions in a very bizarre patterns... this is what it's actually like! I hope you like it!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Starhog 2009

Here's a pimped out copy of my CGI Starhog - with vector accesories and enhanced in Photoshop.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Starhog - CGI

Following on from my blog below - here are some images of Starhog drawn tonight using a CGI program. This is the first image I've ever drawn in CGI with any degree of success. The fact Starhog is made up of four big circles helped...but's a big step forward for me.

Biggins & Company Vs Futurama

Okay - this is just for a little fun. Having just watched the latest Futurama film, I thought it was time to set the record straight on something that's been bugging me for a number of years now.
I'm a fan of Futurama and have watched it for a while now. However, the one gripe I have (not with the show itself particularly) is that Futurama and Biggins and Company have some..."similarities"!

Check out this comparison of the two respective main characters; Fry and Biggins. Is it me or are there some vague similarities? If there are I'm only too happy to point out they are co-incedental as while Futurama has been around sine 1998, Biggins & Co has been knocking around since 1996. Therefore, this interests me because it is a good case study for parallel evolution.
So I believe it's a case of co-incidental design, which encourages me because Futurama has proven there's a big market for this sort of thing - which can only be a good thing for Biggins & Co. Another similarity between the two concepts is their use of spaceships to get around. While in Futurama you have the Planet Express Ship, Biggins has the Starhog. For a little bit of fun earlier, I created the following image;

Friday, 27 February 2009

Biggins the Kid (2001)

Here's an old image from 2001 entitled Biggins the Kid. Though it's stylistically obsolete, I've always had a fondness for this one.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

A Quick Slideshow

Here is a wee slide show. Just whacked it together to show the best of my drawing over the last 12 months, (which is essentially how long I have been drawing properly again after my 5-year hiatus). Enjoy!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Illustration Friday: Instinct

For this week's Illustration Friday, I decided to come up with a very simple idea and take my time doing it. Having said that, this was produced surprisingly quickly and the result is the above image. There are a few issues I couldn't work out, and may revisit this in the weeks ahead to correct some of those issues. I suspect this is the most photo-realistic piece I've done to date.

And before anyone mentions Little Red Riding Hood - believe it or not I was halfway through drawing this before it even occured to me that the theme was similar. When I realised this I changed the girl's hoody from grey to red as a last minute acknowledgement.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Character Posters Through the Years

As promised in the previous blog, here is a brief history of my Character Posters.
Over the last 10 years I've attempted many, but to date only four have been completed, namely the versions from 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2009. Here they are;

I always had a mandate in mind that I should do one of these posters every year, I suppose the main reason being that my cartoons use several different styles and I used to like drawing them all together to see where I could merge the styles together. I was always worried that by employing different styles I was confusing my development, (hence by the time I drew the third one in 2001 all characters were drawn similarly). Lately, I've realised that having different styles only adds to the overall diversity, so in the latest one I have drawn each one as different as necessary. A couple of these include characters designed by my colleague Nathan Manders, as a nod to our history or collaborations.

Anyway, the current 2009 batch of characters looks as follows;

Over the last year I have been drawing each character seperately and adding the designs to a reference database, and this means I can pluck any character out at any time and use it in any context (such as a character poster). By this April (12 months after beginning the project) I should be able to add several more characters to this picture. So, watch this space.

The Characters of Jim Rowland (2004)

Here is the most recent precursor to the current banner (character poster). Drawn in 2004 it is the third such character poster in the archives. I shall present the previous 2 over the coming days.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The Biggins & Company Band (2004)

One of the last drawings I did towards the end of my time at university (before I had to get a job!!) was this band image of Biggins and Company. Every character was drawn seperately and added to the composition within Photoshop. The guitars Biggins and Charlie are playing are both based on guitars I actually own in real life.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Waking Up In Wonderland (2003) Re-edit

Okay - here is a film I never thought would see the light of day... it's called Waking Up in Wonderland and it was my first big project during my last year of university in 2003/04. In the planning stages the idea was promising and it seemed that I might have a good film on my hands. Ultimately, it just didn't develop as I had wanted.

You'll noticed that it's a wee bit on the pretencious side (a classic failing of many art students) and it didn't help that the story was a bit too melancholy. Yes, it was based on myself and in the end that decision came back to bite me on the bum-bum.

Well, when I dug it out this evening it was so badly edited that I had to make some hasty adjustments before uploading it. Gone is 90% of the live action from the start, gone is the original title sequence, and gone is the very ending. I've now included a new piece of music called Follow Me Home (by my good friend Raoul McGurk) to act as background/mood music, and I've also thrown in some a some-what hap-hazard fashion.

It's still a pile of poo but seeing how much time I put into planning this thing in 2003, I figured it deserved a base level of exposure.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Illustration Friday: Celebrate

This week's Illustration Friday topic was Celebrate. When I came around to doing this picture an hour ago, I was in a rather strange mood and didn't want to pour hours of time into drawing something, so I just started drawing in pen with the aim of messing it around in Photoshop. The above image is the fruits of that endeavour.
Don't ask me to explain it because I can't. I guess you could call it a mood piece as I took a very instictive approach. it does have a weird 1980's vibe which I must confess to liking.
This is Jim Rowland Creations at it's most abstract!

Caligo (2004)

This is Caligo, my final film while at university

Starhog 1997-2004

Here, to conclude my current period of introspection, is a brief timeline of Biggins & Company's primary mode of transportation; Starhog.
Origially concieved of in 1997, Starhog made it's first appearance in the a comic called The Invasion, drawn during one of my school holidays in the summer (remember those? Six weeks of bliss!!)
It went through a brief period of evolution then settled into a basic design that would be used over and over again, most notably in the infamous Biggins Versus Burrow 13 comic by me and Nathan Manders, drawn in 1999 (and still being worked on believe it or not!).

This image basically comprises of some of the best images of Starhog in chronological order, as seen in comic, cartoon and animation.

Whether or not Starhog will ever come out of retirement is a question that even I cannot yet answer. I was always quite taken with it's design though - it is so simple... just four big spheres thrown together to make a spaceship - how simply can you get!!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Biggins & Charlie: A Historical Introspection

Having recently blogged about my last ever comic (drawn back in 2004) I feel it would be equally as interesting to cover the subject of my two first proper comics... drawn in 1996. Not surprisingly, both my last and first comics both feature my most famous character; Biggins (originally called "Biggles" as a piss-take of the books by Captain WE Johns).

These two comics were drawn on landscape A3 paper on my family's diningroom table, and the second one introduces the well-known character; Charlie the Pig.

This is the first one. it's entitled "Biggles Learns to use the Phone"

And here is the second, entitled "Biggles Makes the D.I.Y. Sewage Factory"

I feel the point of viewing these is by way of personal comparison. I like to look at these characters, comparing how they're drawn now in 2009, to how they were drawn in 1996.
Biggins has changed the most, though I think I still see a vague hint of the old design in the new.

But here we an see that, although the drawing quality has improved, Charlie is still essentially a naked pig, and thus, his design has has deviated far less than his companian's.
My fascination with these two characters is rooted in the fact that they are my pilots (almost literally). Whenever I devise a new drawing style or a new way of drawing/colouring a style, I try it on these two guys first. They're my plastecine models and have usually been the first to exhibit any new skill I pick up.
Well anyway, back to the present. I shall be embarking upon my first new Biggins comic venture in the coming weeks and this wee blog explaination may prove useful in the days ahead.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Disco Charlie

Not quite sure why I drew this, or when for that matter! Really like this though - can't think why I never finished it.

Waking Up In Wonderland; Screenshots

Leading on from the above image, here are three screenshots from the film Waking Up In Wonderland. These may not be the best screenshots, but they're the only three I have lying around on my PC.

Waking Up In Wonderland, Title Comic

In 2003 I began work on an animation entitled "Waking Up In Wonderland". The story revolved around a comic artist (played by me) who becomes so obsessed with his work drawing comics that upon falling asleep at his work desk, he wakes up inside his own imagination (hence the wonderland reference as an obvious nod to Alice in Wonderlnd). The above comic was used in a title sequence at the beginning of the film, which basically summed up part of the plot.
The words in the speech bubbles are a poem by Edgar Allan Poe which talks about dreams within dreams.
The main reason I have put this up, is that it is officially the last comic I ever drew. It was drawn in 2004 just after the film was completed, and since then I've never drawn a proper comic. Well, this is of key interest to me because over the next few weeks I plan to put an end to the silence and finally draw a new comic. This image will serve as my best comparison when that day comes.

Untitled Dragon Character

I went digging through some archives from my time at University today and found a few images I thought I'd lost. I shall post two now...
The first is the above Dragon character. He was designed as a replacement for a nightclub mascot (already a dragon but badly conceived). In the end I think he went un-used, but I feel quite fond of this little chap's cheerful disposition. I think I shall name him Dennis.
I think when designing him I just ripped off my own Charlie design and made it green!!!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Illustration Friday: Time

I've always had a preoccupation with time and the changes it brings. Whether they be on a personal note, cliche milestones or of a scientific nature, these changes always seem to be part of a larger unstoppable force - against which we have no defense.
For this image I have spelt out some of the the big stages of life. Not everybody goes through the pub phase but I threw it in anyway. Originally there was an image of a graveyard at the end, but I didn't want the image to be overwhelmed by the morbid finality of the subject. I wanted to revel in the various stages without an undue sense of conclusion!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Illustration Friday: Flawed

This week Illustration Friday gave us the word "Flawed" to illustrate. Already having a fairly full plate this week, I decided to make this image very quickly - one might say "cheap and cheerful". The result is the image you see above. I've opted for a musical theme for Illustration Friday before, but I rather liked the idea of Biggins playing a violin very badly, and people around him comitting suidice out of desperation - thus illustrating the flaws in Biggins' playing.
This was eventually considered too time-costly, so I simplified the idea to Biggins simply playing a violin (neither well nor poor), and Charlie simply reacting in an over-the-top fashion. For a quick image it's turned out...okay.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Stunt Manikin (1997 and 2000)

Here are two single (and rather identical) page comics based on the character Manikin Man, from 1997 and 2000. Years and years ago me and my mate Mango began playing around with the idea of him being a stuntman, akin to a crash test dummy. A decade later and for a sentimental challenge, we've agreed to have a bash at drawing what that would actually look like now. Tonight I've played around with a new logo for the venture: this space...

William Morris Homage

This is an image I drew when I was in Sixth Form College a few years back. I just dug it out and added some colour and; Hey Presto - a strange picture. I quite like this image now!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Illustration Friday: Climbing

For this week's Illustration Friday topic ("Climbing") I decided I would scale down my ambitions in order to produce something a little quicker. I bounced around a few ideas (some of which I still feel inclined to do at some point) but for now this picture sums up the word adequately. Unlike other suggestions of late, I think "climbing" is a very direct word and as such, there's a limit to how far one can run with it. Subsequently, I'm quite happy to have come up with such a basic image and only hope that it's simple nature doesn't detract from it's relevance to the topic.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Illustration Friday: Pale

This is my entry for this week's Illustration Friday, the respective buzz-word being "Pale".
Like previous words, "Pale" conjoured up far too many images for me to cope with. In the end I plumped for what I consider to be the most apt picture for this word, when coming from a red-haired artist.
I would like to invite all comments on this one, as it was massively-rushed piece, and I'm still not sure if blurring the background has may change...
What do you all think... (apart from the fact this ginger guy looks a wee bit like William H Macy)?