Underworld Guardian

Underworld Guardian

This black & white rapidograph illustration is about 25 years old now – still very much a firm favourite from my youthful days and finally receiving a bit of love with some colour!


1985 Australian Grand Prix, Adelaide

Keke Rosberg - Adelaide 1985Patrick Tambay and Stefan Johansson - Adelaide 1985I’ve been poking about in the dusty old Rylee Vault again, and have come up with a couple of illustrations produced 27 years ago!

These are storyboard images, created for an advertisement promoting the Adelaide race, which was at that point held in South Australia. This was a student project of mine which involved shooting a video concept, and was part of my Certificate in Commercial Art. Unfortunately only these two illustrations survive from those that I produced, but I do remember them as the better images from the set.

The top illustration is coloured pencil on black heavy weight paper, and shows Williams-Honda driver Keke Rosberg, who went on to win the Australian Grand Prix – the first time that Adelaide had hosted a race in the Formula One World Championship.

Below that is an illustration completed in ink and coloured pencil. It shows Stefan Johansson (Ferrari #28) ahead of Patrick Tambay (Renault #15) as they race up to the East End Markets section of the Adelaide street circuit.

Year of the Snake

2013: Year of the Snake

The Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, begins on February 1oth 2013 and will continue until January 30th 2014. This follows the Year of the (Black) Dragon in 2012, a year which was predicted to be unpredictable.

2013 is the Year of the Snake – or, more accurately, the Year of the Black Water Snake – a year to show caution, plan diligently, act responsibly, and work towards your greater goals.

The snake is the 6th of the 12 animal signs in the Chinese zodiac. Snakes are considered to be a good omen, and people born in the Year of the Snake are considered to bring good luck and prosperity to a household; it is said that having a snake in the house will never see you short of food on the table. Beware though – for all their financial thoughtfulness, careful planning, charm and intuition, snakes can also be somewhat devious, materialistic and greedy.

The snake mainly contains the fire element from the 5 elements (Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, Earth) in Chinese Astrology, and is therefore in the fire group. As 2013 is a water year and the snake is a fire element, it is possible that both good and bad fortune may be experienced – so, what else is new!

My illustration celebrating the New Year is a coiled snake symbol, created with an ink brush pen on Canson Pastel paper. This sketched design was scanned into Photoshop, where I used various layer styles to highlight the ink effects of the original sketch (areas of wetter, heavier ink coverage showed as a separate tone on the scan), and I also added additional textures to create the finished effect I desired.

Also included in this design were references to two of the lucky components for the snake: the colours of yellow and red, and the directions of southwest and northeast (as seen in the background texture patterns).

Illustrations from the vault

Have finally scanned copies of a few more of my now very old, hand drawn black & white illustrations, produced way back in 1992. These are two individual strip panels for stories featured in the UK science fiction and fantasy magazine Interzone. These illustrations were initially sketched on a light weight drawing paper, before being transferred onto cold press illustration board and inked using a variety of different sized rapidograph technical pens, and brushes.

At the top are illustrations for the Ken Wisman story ‘The Dumpster’ and below that are images for Cherry Wilder’s ‘Bird on a Time Branch.’ Both were stories I enjoyed reading (which is helpful!) and it was a pleasure to determine exactly how to arrange and present the major story elements.

Illustrations from the past

First up, let’s have us a blast from the past – these are so old they’re only in black & white!! From the early 90’s these were magazine illustrations for Interzone (UK) and Aurealis (Aus) science fiction magazines. The following two were strips for Don Webb’s story, “Not of this World”. All of these were completed on cold press illustration board with rapidograph technical pens.

Next up is an early favourite of mine for “Where The Cold Wind Blows” by James Milton. I’ve always been fascinated by dinosaurs an enjoyed having a story to illustrate that required not one, but three of them! Note that the background wallpaper pattern references Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit. Beatrix was a brilliant illustrator (covering many styles beyond the tales of Peter) and a wonderful story teller. Her body of work is very impressive and a helpful inspiration.

Finally, this piece was for a story titled “Next of Kin” – unfortunately I’ve not kept a record of the author’s name. Always enjoy drawing plants and natural settings and the idea here was to camouflage the main character amongst the jungle surroundings.

A few more old magazine illustrations to come in a future update. Looking at these again, I’m thinking that newer versions may well be likely future projects (colour included this time) – especially those dinosaurs!