Saturday, 31 October 2015

Inktober 2015 - Happy Hallowe'en!

Day 31 - brush inking and coloured ink. My last Inktober picture always doubles as a Hallowe'en picture. This year Tabitha is collecting branches for the bonfires that ward off evil spirits on this important night.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Inktober 2015 - Part 3

All but the last one!

Day 21 - mapping pen and grey pen. My hand was still hurting, so I went with something simple again. Although having said that, those crows were an absolute pig to fill in. Lottie isn't sure how to feel about all these new friends.

Day 22 - ink and water. I went blackberry picking, so Sweetpea and Coriander did too.

Day 23 - mapping pen. This is the only one I drew all month where I just started doodling without planning it. I was pleased with it in the end because this is the most on-model Nat has been in years. He may be a bad influence on his sister.

Day 24 - mapping pen. Oh no! Jessie looks like him already! At least she's still got her clothes on. I was trying to avoid using the same type of inking two days in a row, but I thought day 23 could use a companion piece.

Day 25 - fineliners and markers. This one was hobbled by the sudden and unexpected death of my favourite purple marker. Spider is trying to learn how to bend a spoon, but he's about to be distracted.

Day 26 - ink and water. I'm still working on my backgrounds for the ink and water method, but I may have been too ambitious. Shasta's environment is hard to draw at the best of times.

Day 27 - gel pen. Just in case anyone was unclear on where Lottie's new friends come from.

Day 28 - g-pen and grey pens. Isaac is just floating around, doing dead person stuff.

Day 29 - cartridge pen. This is the same pen I use for ink and water pictures, just without the water. Lena is showing Lucas how to tell fortunes with playing cards. That's a real divination system, so bonus points if you can read what the spread means. (It's ace of spades reversed/10 of hearts/4 of clubs.)

Day 30 - gel pen. This is pleasingly symmetrical, both the second and second-to-last pictures are slightly disappointing pictures of Nat hobbled by a misbehaving gel pen. It must not like him.

Part 1, Part 2, Hallowe'en

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Inktober 2015 - Part 2

Here's the next few pictures from this year's Inktober challenge.

Day 11 - G-pen and brush pen. I was short of time so I went with a dolly-style picture again, this time Louise with a bonus Sweetpea.

Day 12 - mapping pen and markers. I hope coloured markers count as 'ink'. Visuk suffers from a skin condition that's a little like eczema and a little like herpes. Flare-ups last about two weeks. Meruch is there to make sure he doesn't scratch.

Day 13 - gel pen. I wanted to check I could still use gel pen reliably after such a long break. Nettle's effect radius for this sort of thing is more than a mile, but you'll be safe as long as she can see you're running away.

Day 14 - brush pen and grey markers. The process for this one went something like this: Brain: Okay, we're going to do something different, something subtle, with a proper background and- Hands: Re-hash a theme we already used with the heaviest pen we have and no background at all, got it!

Day 15 - ink and water. I don't think I've ever drawn the mirror twins in ink and water before, so it seemed a good time to give it a try. It's nice to make new friends. At the graveyard.

Day 16 - mapping pen. Sometimes you're tired and you just want to draw a big pile of hair. Andersen has the biggest hair among my characters so here he is.

Day 17 - ink and water. They're lost. I'm trying to develop a technique for doing decent backgrounds in this style, but it still needs a bit of work. The sky isn't bad I think.

Day 18 - brush inking and ink wash. Fun fact, that roof is the roof of my local church (from memory though). Rooftops and windowsills are the Crow Boy's natural habitat.

Day 19 - G-pen. I wondered what Ely and Trispin would look like in dolly-style, the answer is apparently 'like a much creepier Poppet'.

Day 20 - brush pen. I accidentally crippled my hand copying up notes and could only manage a line drawing. Violet has taught Khet and Vekh anime poses, but they're not as cute when you have terrifying goat eyes. Adorable vampire teeth are okay. These two are perfect for my poor, crippled fingers because as devout Khukh-worshippers (the vrega nature deity) they are forbidden from cutting their hair, wearing piercings, ritual scarification or any of the other fiddly details my vrega usually have. Violet likes it too, since they opted out of the Trial due to the ritual mutilation aspect, and therefore have no back-spikes and can give a decent piggy-back ride. At a relatively short 6', Khet also doesn't loom over her quite as badly as most of them do.

Part 1, Part 3, Hallowe'en

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Inktober 2015 - Part 1

It's that time of year again! Time to have ink all over my hands for a full month. Here are my pictures from the first 10 days of Inktober.

Day 1 - ink and water. Isaac may be an angel or he may be a ghost with delusions of grandeur.

Day 2 - gel pen. This one was done in a bit of a hurry because I forgot we had guests for dinner. No proper background for you, Nat.

Day 3 - brush inking and ink wash. Time to cheat and do a dolly-style picture already! I used it to practice brush inking so it wasn't a complete cop-out. Lena is looking fancy in a shiro-lolita outfit.

Day 4 - g-pen. I was absolutely gobsmacked that my 'frequent use only' cartridge g-pen still worked after months gathering dust in a drawer. That's not a good environment for Chiihon.

Day 5 - brush inking and ink wash. Ill-advised adventures in ink wash may be my favourite part of Inktober, even though I don't like ink wash enough to use it normally. This is where I started to settle into the rhythm of the challenge, I think. Lucas survived this incident, but the police never found the culprit.

Day 6 - mapping pen. Throwing your only friend in the air is the best and most entertaining way to practice your telekinesis, of course.

Day 7 - brush inking and ink wash. I was still thinking about Lucas after being very pleased with day 5, so I drew him again. 7 or 8  years later he's about as fully recovered as he's ever going to be.

Day 8 - ink and water. I wish I'd had time to give this one a better background, but Sweetpea is having a good time with his tree's autumn leaves anyway.

Day 9 - gel pen. Not all the fairies in Louise's house are creepy and bad.

Day 10 - ink and water. I tried specially to have a proper background this time, as I'd gone four days without one. One of the tricks Spider can do with his psychometric powers is translate books in languages he otherwise doesn't know.

Part 2, Part 3, Hallowe'en

Saturday, 18 July 2015

The Spook's Apprentice

I've been working on some book illustrations for a portfolio update, so I picked a few scenes from The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney, which is a book I really enjoyed. Originally I planned to do these in gel pen, but I realised I'm still very happy with the illustrations from The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray that I did in that style, so I tried something a bit different and went for thicker cross-hatching done entirely in dip pen. I also tried a few insets instead of sticking with only full-page illustrations, and experimented a bit with new compositions.

Of course, any kind of horror illustration is still firmly within my comfort zone. Up next, something a bit lighter and more child-friendly.


I only made one new comic (so far) this year, so I thought I'd try something different and do all the comics in graphite. It's made in the same way as Flight, with four short comics based on one-word prompts. In order, these are Line, Place, Compulsion and Kleptomania.

The hardest was the last comic, Kleptomania, because I accidentally scripted a comic that was nothing but a long chain of things I can't really draw. Oh well, these are the ways we improve.

Sunday, 3 May 2015


Another piece from the dark days of computer issues.

This is an example double-page spread from a children's book concept, in which a girl descends through different levels of the ocean in a bathysphere. The full book would have a double page per ocean region, and probably some extra pages in the back with facts about the real sea life that appears and the development of the bathysphere and such.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

More Civil War

The last of the non-fiction drawings from when I had computer troubles.

This was really common when I was in primary school - comparisons of clothing styles between puritans and catholic royalists. One thing I noticed though is that they tended to show upper-class royalists, and middle or lower-class puritans, so I drew a standard upper-class royalist pair (although they ended up looking too much like the actual king and queen...) and tried to find information on what upper-class puritans would wear.

It turns out puritans were very much in favour of the social hierarchy, and upper-class puritans would have worn richer fabrics and embellishments like ribbons and lace edging to visually indicate their social standing. The open-fronted skirt was apparently a more conservative style at the time, because it required less of the more expensive outer fabric.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Civil war soldiers

In today's episode of 'things from when I had no computer', some different types of soldiers from the English Civil War.

Researching these turned out to be very hard, there was a lot of conflicting information. For example, would a pikeman have a sword? I found books saying both yes and no. In the end I thought that being in the front line with only a heavy, 3-4 metre spear would practically be suicide, and I couldn't see anyone agreeing to do it unless they also had a close-range weapon.

Anyway, I did my best with the sources I could find, but I won't be surprised if a historian pops up and points out lots of problems!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Cells, bacterium, virus

Today in ‘things I couldn’t post during computer trouble’, cell diagrams.

I was working on the sort of diagrams I remember from school, so I tried plant and animal cells at the two levels of detail you’d see at GCSE and A Level here in the UK, and a virus and bacterium for good measure.

I’d like to also try a more 3D approach, as they’re getting more popular in textbooks.