Friday, 28 August 2009


Hello loyal followers, long time no post. I thought I'd get back to some arty stuff for a while given that that is what I started this blog for in the first place, and I'm sure you're all sick of planes by now.

These ugly fellows are members of the Cornhalli race, the proposed antagonists in mine and Simon Odd's dream project; Deadend. Obviously I've posted a fair bit about Deadend previously but all I've focused on were the main characters, so here's something a little different.

The Cornhalli are an aggressive species bent on galactic domination. They are not members of the galactic senate and have no political relations with any race- in fact no communication has ever taken place with them at all. Immensely powerful, they utilise advanced weapons technology to obliterate any advanced species they find within space they have entered.

As it would turn out, the Cornhalli are actually a genetically engineered slave race who have overthrown their masters and set about expanding their domain throughout inhabited space. Their geneered nature means that specific breeds of Cornhalli exists to fulfill specific roles- those of pilot, worker, warrior etc. Though I thus far haven't drawn one I have little doubt that somewhere within their sprawling empire you will find Cornhalli administrators as well.

The reason for the Cornhalli's aggression stems from their origins- as a genetically engineered slave race recently emancipated they have developed no culture of their own, no society. In this manner I imagine them as being similar to the Borg from Star Trek, although the Cornhalli do not share a hive mind, they do have a common purpose, to exercise their right to freedom. Sadly, the only way they are familiar with earning freedom is through violence.

By the way, you may have guessed from the title that the name 'Cornhalli' stems from the caffine-crazed Beavis alter-ego 'Cornholio' from Mike Judge's 'Beavis and Butthead'. If you can find out what year Cornholio made his debut you will know when simon and I first thought of Deadend.

Yes. That long ago.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Vintage Roundup.

Hope you like pictures of planes, cos otherwise you're not going to get much from this post.

As promised here is a more detailed post about the Bournemouth Air Festival. I'm focusing this one on the vintage aircraft that were on display this weekend (there'll be a separate entry about the aerobatic planes later).

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Consisting of a Spitfire, a Hurricane and the mighty Avro Lancaster bomber.

Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk- I love this plane; there's just something about its proportions that appeals to me!

Boeing B- 17 Flying Fortress. It's important to note that, while this bomber bears 'Memphis Belle' nose art it is not, in fact that plane, which was an earlier model- notably lacking the nose turret. This one is painted as an homage. Still looks awesome though, especially when escorted by its little friends.

North American Aviation P- 51 Mustang. This thing is just beautiful- aside from it being very difficult to photograph with its polished finish (this Mustang is G-BTCD S/NUMBER 44-73419 - Painted to resemble 44-13704, "Ferocious Frankie," Operated by the Old Flying Machine Company, Duxford, Cambridgshire, UK- amazing what you can find out from Wikipedia). I have to say in my opinion, aside from the Vulcan this plane definitely made the best sound of the show!

de Havilland D- 100 Vampire. I love the sound of early jet engines- they kind of whistle rather than roar. There's something a little more refined about them.

Avro Vulcan. It's difficult to describe how awe inspiring this aircraft is. Recently restored for air demonstration flight this plane is a show stopper. Having seen one before, long, long ago I knew what to expect, though apparently many in the audience did not. After completing it's first pass at a leisurely idle speed the crowd seemed slightly underwhelmed, perhaps confused as to what all the fuss was about. The Vulcan, however then turned and proceeded to climb, increasing her engines to full thrust. Then all the babies started to cry. It's a sound felt more than heard and it roared in terms of sheer volume was exceeded only by the Eurofighter Typhoon. I swear at one point as it turned toward the crowd some acoustic hiccough or other caused it to sound as though the plane were actually roaring like a living animal. Everyone knew as it left that they had witnessed something special.

That's it for the vintage planes, hope you liked the pictures!

Ps. Had to include this brilliant picture of my buddy Ross standing next to a Vulcan fan. Not sure which event would be noisier- Download Festival or XH558, heh. If you'd like to make a contribution to the upkeep of the Vulcan you can do so at by the way.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Late, not never.

So the Bournemouth Air Festival has been and gone and left us all with the uncomfortable combination of strained necks, Close Encounters sunburn and ruptured eardrums. I managed to snap 2.4GB of photos and it goes without saying that it'll take me a while to sort through them all, so here's some highlights to tide you over until I can put together a decent post.

Damnit. Just realised that Blogger has posted those images completely out of sequence (Sigh.). Is it too much to ask for editorial control of my own blog?!

I've got some truly amazing shots of some of the aerobatic displays but without context many of them look a bit strange so I think I'll have to stitch some sequentials together in photoshop, but thats for later.

Friday, 21 August 2009

My best friend is a 4.5- 5.6/ 75- 300 lens.

Or at least this weekend it is because the Bournemouth Air Festival is back in town. This photo was taken by me at last year's event and I'm hoping for better this year. The weather's been utterly awful until now and it seems to be clearing up a bit so fingers crossed. I've just worked seven days straight in order to have Friday and Sunday off so if it does turn rainy I might just open up my wrists and bleed out on the sand.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Tuppence a bag.

Seeing as how Untitled Fantasy Project No. 2 was to centre on the idea of flight in a fantasy/ steampunk world I wanted to include some 'birdmen' of some kind, however I was determined not to resort to the standard cliches of angelic figures with dove- like wings.

I actually ended up with two birdman species, the first pictured above in male and female versions was to be an antagonist race- cooperating with a human empire and assisting them in exploiting the resources of their land.

Physically powerful, these people are none the less slight of build, particularly in the legs, which seem underdeveloped to us- this is because their skeletal composition contains quantities of the lodestone mineral effectively reducing their weight and allowing them limited powers of flight using their vestigial winglets. Their limited flight ability is a source of conflict between this race of Avians and the second race, an example of which is shown below.

These 'Flyers' have the true power of flight. Residing in floating island oases their habitat has come under threat from the human population and their Avian allies who seek the valuable deposits of Lodestone that keep the islands aloft. These people sport better developed membranous wings that stretch from their backs to a special joint at the elbow and then out to a specially lengthened fifth finger on each hand.

Devoted pacifists this race would form an alliance with the sky pirate rebels, providing them with a base of operations from which to conduct a guerilla war against the empire as it spreads into the 'floating valleys' in search of mineral wealth.

More on this later. Sleepytime now.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Give the people what they want.

Judging by his comment Den quite liked this character so I thought I'd post some more of her. Afraid I did away with the purple hair though, sorry Den- although her profile does state that her hair colour 'varies' so who knows, it could be back again. I really liked the two-tone hairdo but you might notice that in the head sketchs above the darker tone is clearly at the back- I swapped it around because at that point she was basically Freefall (tm) from Gen13(tm).

Remember I was really happy with the pencils for this one. Sadly, I don't seem to have kept a copy of the raw inks so I couldn't include them here.

Monday, 17 August 2009

I also read.

It would be easy to conclude from the material that I publish here that I am some kind of lethargic scifi loving, snack eating, tv watching, xbox gaming couch potato- but that would be underestimating me. I also read. Quite a lot in fact.

I love reading. Sometimes I like to draw from books I'm reading- mostly character sketches and such- some of which I'm bound to throw out on this page at some point. Very occasionally I'll render something a bit more complete as in this case.

Above is a drawing I did while I was reading Absolution Gap by Alastair Reynolds. Hopefully if you've read it you might be able to recognise some of the imagery in the picture, if you haven't I'm not going to try to explain it. Suffice to say it is somewhat... complicated. Definitely recommend it though, along with Robert Jordan (RIP) Peter F. Hamilton and Naomi Novik, Reynolds is one of my favourite authors. Look him up!

By the way, I purposely left the book binding in this scan so you can see just how much of the page I filled. Unusual for me- it's very rare for me to fill a page that much.

You'll learn one day, won't you?

Ah, the simplest ones are often the best.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Product contains nuts.

Seeing as how I posted a sketch of Faith I think it only fair to post one of James as well. This one kind of ties in with the 'friends as super heroes' sketches I posted the other week, but was produced much later. I'm sorry to say this one is only a concept sketch, as can be seen from the various doodles around the central character, but I think it captured James quite well, even if 'Stick Arms Man' does seem a lot more moody than James generally is in my experience.

Then again the photo below seems to show otherwise, heh (^-^)

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Take my love.

Until now I haven't mentioned anything about another project I have had going on the backburner besides Deadend, Tales from the Darkside and Retail. This project, which I never gave a name but for convenience sake now I shall refer to as 'Untitled fantasy Project No. 2' was, or is, a fantasy project (duh!) set in an alternate world that a protagonist would be placed into from our world (thereby giving the reader someone to relate to, a common cliche I'm sure).

This realm would be filled with a rich cast of characters and beasties and a kind of steampunk technology. An important element would be flight, as in this world flight is the main mode of transport over most distances whether it be by dirigible, ornithopter (a kind of aircraft that mimics avian flight, that is flies by flapping its wings) or skyboat. Important would be the acquisition and possession of 'Lodestone'. Lodestone is a mystic mineral that has negative weight, in other words it has mass, but reacts to gravity in the opposite manner to normal matter, that is, it floats or in sufficient densities, rises.

In a world where air travel is so important the mining and refining of this material means that an industrial revolution of sorts is under way as new and improved Lodestone alloys lead to eventual military application and conquest by the antagonist kingdom.

Above is a picture of Rosemerta; a pirate princess who rises to command of a pirate skyship after the death of her father and elder brother in a botched Lodestone raid.

Much more on this later as writing about it now has stirred memories of ideas long forgotten. For now though I grow weary and must sleep.

Take my land.

Heh, This has always been one of my favourites. It's just something about the way I captured Anakin's demented look of evil concentration upon the bugs that works for me. This one (like all the TFTD strips) was produced between the releases of Episode II and Episode III and was my attempt to hypothesise how Palpatine would go about corrupting poor Ani (ugh, even writing it makes me feel dirty) behind Obi wan's back. Let's just say Episode III came as a disappointment and leave it at that. I had planned to do a whole series of strips where Anakin would be blatantly evil all over the place while Obi wan puttered on, blissfully unaware of goings on. Of course, I never got round to it.

Might have to change the name of the blog to that- "I never got round to it" has a good ring to it (^_^)

Friday, 14 August 2009

Take me where I cannot stand.

Just found that I have three stages of completion for this image saved so I thought I'd post 'em and show you how I work, or at least used to- if you asked me to do this now the inking would be done in Photoshop or Painter. Sorry for the different scaling on these images; blogger does it automatically. If you click on the images you should get the original scale versions- be warned though; they're massive!

If you're interested by the way, this is what you get if you ask me to 'Draw you as a pink fairy'- at least if you're an attractive young blonde. Please dont ask me to do it if you're a thirty year old rocker.

I dont care, I'm still free.

C'mon, say what you like about the prequels, the one thing you can't deny is that these guys frakkin' rock. I know it. You know it. Genndy Tartakovsky definitely knows it, and I wouldn't argue with him, he's like, God or something.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

THIS is what makes a good blog.

I'm sure this won't be of any great interest to most of you, but I know at least one of you out there who will be so I'm posting it anyway.

If you look to the right of my page here you'll notice a section devoted to 'blogs I follow'. At the top of that list is a man called Bear McCreary. Now you might not know who Bear is so let me just enlighten you.

Bear is the composer of all of the music that you'll hear if you ever watch an episode of Battlestar Galactica. "So what?" You might ask but let me tell you it's actually quite unusual to have just one staff composer write for an entire series like that. It means that the music in Battlestar is suffused with a consistacy rarely heard and develops throughout the run of the series as much and as dynamically as any of the characters on screen. As far as I'm concerned that makes Bear as much a member of the cast as Edward James Olmos or Jamie Bamber.

Last week Bear and his orchestra were performing at San Diego Comicon (The fact that they can sellout performances of a TV soundtrack three nights running should tell you what kind of a following this guy has) and from the sound of things it was a truely magical experience.

If you have fifteen minutes to spare and you have any interest in the behind the scenes stuff that goes on on a big show like Galactica, head on over to his blog, and if you're interested in anyof the Comicon stuff check out this post:

One thing's for sure, now more than ever I'm making it a goal to make it to Comicon one year.

I rolled a natural 1 for my search test...

Ooops! With all that waffle about TFTD I completely forgot to mention that I now have five (five!) followers! Hello all of you out there, including the one that I've never met or heard of (that one was a surprise) and a special hello to old friend Den Patrick!

Den has been blogging forever and his is pretty much one of the first I ever started reading and the main reason I chose blogspot as a host. He also used to run a mean Star Wars roleplaying game.

Ah, those were the days. Making a fifty mile round trip weekly to sit in Den's lounge, roll dice and make notes on character sheets. Simpler times. Happier times.

Below are a couple of pics of 'Phil' (can't remember her full name) my character from those old sessions (if you're wonder why I roleplayed a female I'd say it's useful to have at least one character in your party who has the option to 'seduce' as an alternative to attack!) the large hole in her shirt is as a result of a critically failed dodge roll as I remember :-)

Nice to have you Den!