Character sketches


Quick development sketches for western characters, featuring different beards and hats!


A pickle of a story!

RCHRD’S GLSSS ND TH WRRNG NGHBRSRCHRD’S GLSSS ND TH WRRNG NGHBRS is an entertaining eBook written by new authors Julie and Luca Harper, mostly about Giant Spider Crabs, Greater Bulldog Bats, Green Iguanas, maths, music, timekeeping and vowels!

I was asked to provide a cover design, including a full series logotype and hand lettering, plus a few mono interior illustrations (three shown below) for the book, which at times proved to be more challenging and time intensive than I had envisaged.

RGNTWN_ShoppeRGNTWN_Boris and EddieRGNTWN_Clearview Village mapThe mono illustrations were completed in Illustrator using the pressure sensitive blob brush, and were created as loosely sketched pieces, capturing some of the energy found in the written style of the book. The main characters themselves proved to be somewhat hard to successfully define and capture accurately, and we went through a number of iterations and revisions before I produced the simple character sketches for protagonists Nigel Le Nez, and Madame La Bouche.

RGNTWN_Nigel Le NezThese hand drawn pencil sketches then became desired final art, with colour added (as seen above) to match the cover formatting. This wasn’t planned, and it introduced a number of design issues to solve, as the two standing characters dramatically altered the spacing and balance of all the cover elements, which required an intensive rethink of the layout to retain a reasonable design structure.

Ultimately the client was happy – which is all that really matters – and the book moved on into the final production stage. It is now available to purchase from Amazon for Kindle, or the Kindle Reader App, and can be downloaded HERE. So, if you know someone who would like to read a fast paced rollicking story for 7-10 year olds, then I can fully recommend the eBook as a highly entertaining reading experience. And, don’t worry, the vowels are supposed to be left out!


Alien girls are damn hot!

VeronduureThis is a very old illustration that I had left unfinished for many years – now finally completed, and still retaining the original pencil sketch that I rather liked way back then. The manga influence is obvious in both the character design and the final colouring, something that I was keen to explore as I developed my style and approach, specifically regarding digital illustration, during that period of time.

Tales of Quahnarren: Buhldaag of the Northern Scourge

Buhldaag_The Northern Scourge

From the wild northern regions they came – determined men with empty hearts and pure uncontrolled fire in their hateful eyes. They flowed unhindered into the settled central areas of Quahnarren like a breaking wave eagerly seeking the shoreline, intent only on reaching its destination without hesitation or pause. Their tumultuous wailing attack cries struck a cold paralyzing fear into all peaceful inhabitants south of their homelands, and they created confusion and disharmony amongst normally calm men, who dishearteningly understood that they had neither the strength, nor will, to halt the plundering advancements of the accurately labeled Northern Scourge.

Their raids had quickly become more numerous, more murderous and increasingly uncontrollable. No longer content to just take what they desired, whole villages were now burned to the ground, simply in spite, for sport, and to feed a destructive longing. These men of immoral and vicious temperament were also acquiring a fondness for taking gruesome souvenirs, and reveled in the violence and chaotic mayhem created during their southern incursions.

Chief tormenter amongst them was their unscrupulous leader, Buhldaag – a fearless and driven character, who commanded a horde of easily fooled lesser men, deceitfully misled to serve his own egotistical madness.

• • •

A new piece for my Tales of Quahnarren illustrated short story collection. This black & white character illustration was completed in Painter 12, using a smeary palette knife in a similar style to The Dreamer.

Questioning mind

Questioning Mind

Over the years I’ve sketched quite a few anime and manga inspired characters and illustrations, but haven’t progressed too many beyond the initial drawing stage. For this piece I had the idea to present the character within the page structure of a comic or visual novel design, featuring three panels and thought boxes to explain the unspoken narrative.

My original pencil sketch was redrawn in Photoshop, with flat and gradient colours, multiple layer overlays, and areas of texture added to create the finished piece.

The little chief

This piece, completed in Photoshop, is what I would term a storyline snapshot – a moment in time that asks many questions: Who is this young character? Why his odd appearance? What are his responsibilities regarding the disaster behind him? Exactly what is happening and why?
I don’t know most of the answers myself. Still visible, especially within the face, is the original pencil sketch. This small sketchbook doodle became the basis for an illustration exercise in generating texture and atmosphere without too much detail or with any specific concept planning. Shapes and forms were pulled from quick, random strokes and marks, and many decisions were made to alter the overall direction right through the process of completing this piece.

A devilish little vector

Here’s a vector illustration of a devilish little character that I’ve been having some fun with. This guy was sketched some time ago and I thought he’d make a nice ‘spot’ illustration. Changed my mind repeatedly regarding the final style execution, colour scheme and exactly how much detail to build in to the piece, before finally settling on a balance that wasn’t over detailed and retained some of the sketched looseness from my original concept. Completed in Illustrator CS5.