Friday, 13 December 2013

For Colin Wilson

Very sad to hear that Colin Wilson has died. He was a very fine writer and a bit of a cultural guru to me. I'll put on Deer Park by The Fall and think of you!

Colin Wilson

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Boy

Peter's astonishing tales, and raw imagination made it a pleasure for me to illustrate in a variety of styles, with watercolours, pencils and digital as well as my hatching! Take a look -

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Shock Profits

I was reading Ginsbergs' War Profit Litany, it prompted me to look for the firms that sucked Iraq dry. Then made this picture made up from 48 idiot organisations. The characters from 'Hadda be' are there lurking around.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Karen constellation

carpenters, karen carpenter, when you've got what it takes, cloudpine451

For G, I remember you love the Carpenters (who doesn't!:)), and this is your favorite song.

carpenters, karen carpenter, when you've got what it takes, cloudpine451

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Iain M. Banks's Consider Phlebas - The Ends of Invention

iain m. banks, consider phlebas, the ends of invention

The Ends of Invention accelerating away from Vavatch orbital.

iain m. banks, consider phlebas, the ends of invention

When Banks described Horza seeing stars from an elevator, to realize they were lights from a vast spacecraft, a General Systems Vehicle, I pondered the difficulties of drawing such a big object. The only way I was going to be able to get an overview of the 'Ends', was to zoom out and for any convincing sense of scale, shoot perspectives of a queue of ships waiting to board her. The boarding ships, themselves as large as cities would have to be seen close enough to spot buildings, then again at the GSV as a dash of a pen. You see the challenge, any windows or details on the GSV itself would only begin to be visible a lot closer in. 

I included the three tiers of air pressurization described by banks, that the CAT flies/falls through. I love these details, a passenger wanting to travel from the base of the ship to the top would have to do it gradually or like a deep sea diver get the bends. The rear landscape is based on where I live, next to the Peak District, for all you can see through the clouds. 

If you look closely the front landscape has a mountain and a lake. 

The spacewalkers' drones fields are a happy orange!

In the end it was 3.5x A3 sheets stitched together. I forget how many hours/days/weeks! Being in space is great because there is no right way up, it still makes sense on its side or upside down.

Below is an earlier stage shortly before starting with the colours. The challenge was always the slightly twisted perspective of the GSV. As objects got further away I had to ditch black outlines and any details and fade into colours.

iain m. banks, consider phlebas, the ends of invention

The way I add colour hasn't changed since I was a kid, mum used to tell me off for colouring in our books. Pictures like this were way too tempting when I had coloured pencils.

I tried to get this effect in the far off landscapes, the way clouds level in the atmosphere, although I was only vaguely successful.

Here are some studies I did for the Clear Air Turbulence. I liked to think the three fusion motors would spread out in flight revealing a central warp engine! 

...yes I know, all spaceships are phallic, right?

iain m. banks, consider phlebas, clear air turbulence

iain m. banks, consider phlebas, clear air turbulence

iain m. banks, consider phlebas, clear air turbulence

iain m. banks, consider phlebas, clear air turbulence

Monday, 19 August 2013

Iain M. Banks's Consider Phlebas poster

iain m. banks, consider phlebas, culture, science fiction, cloudpine451

Only read on if you want to see stages of development, there are no plot spoilers.

I looked at these covers which gave me an idea of what to develop. All I knew was I wanted to include the orbital.

I set out to do my version of the book cover, as you can see a wraparound design in the sketch.

From the sketch above I upscaled the right page to some heavyweight A3. Organising flightpaths of shuttles, vapor trails and improving detail.

I realized the mistake of adding text to the artwork, at the top this worked into the artwork.
At the bottom the text was erased as I would later stitch two A3 drawings in photoshop.

Like in other work of late objects in the mid and foreground have a strong black outline. Since the Iain M. Banks tribute piece I have used techniques from Piranesi etchings. Objects you want highlighted are drawn out exactly as if you were designing a tattoo, keep it simple and bold. Up close it can seem crude and basic but it lifts objects crisply from the background.

As I worked on it I opted instead for a longer vertical composition with the intention of including hovercraft in the mid-ground with visible passengers to give a sense of scale. So much for the book cover! A poster then. 

I had a chance to include fluid dynamics in the circlesea in the wake of the hovercraft. The swirls and eddies give the composition a bit of interest and mood and came from Da Vinci's studies of water movement.

Finally this included Perosteck Balveda in the foreground pondering the scene. In terms of the narrative this is a made up event during the evacuation of a megaship, Balveda has just arrived at Vavatch orbital and perhaps it's at the point that Kraiklyn's crew are en route to Vavatch. Without giving anything away it seems Balveda really struck me, which is why I included her and not a gun toting Horza.