The Yowie


These huge man-like apes are often described as standing well over 7 feet tall, feature long legs, long muscular arms, a very heavy build, dome-shaped head, wide round shoulders with no visible neck, flat nose, thin lips, deep-set penetrating eyes, and are almost completely covered in thick dark hair.

Yowies are most active at night and are believed to have excellent night vision. They are known to observe, stalk, and chase people who are viewed as unwanted trespassers within their area, and are capable of rapid movement at great speed. Occasionally they will break, bite, and tear the bark off trees, and are regularly associated with a strong, foul odour, which they can release at will.


Tales of Quahnarren: Trial of the Alvaiser

Trial of the Alvaiser

Those few that have survived an encounter with an Alvaiser claim to have been generously granted a second chance at life, and speak earnestly of the tremendous awe and humility they felt during what is now commonly described as the ‘spirit judgement’ – a personal trial of the soul.

Alvaiser are supernatural woodland spirits, keenly watching all who venture into their forests. They are guardians and protectors of the natural world, seeking without compunction to redress the actions of human weakness and violence. They are primarily found in areas where trauma and death has affected the natural balance of the environment, and therefore take what is necessary to achieve the required equilibrium within their individual location.

Appearing in human form as beautiful semi-transparent goddesses, they float amongst the treetops, glowing majestically in flowing white gowns that separate into ribbons below their waist, where no further human form remains. Their long hair radiates a warm and enveloping heat, and their hands emit a vaporous blue energy that silently flashes with arcane potential.

All who gaze upon the Alvaiser find themselves stupefyingly transfixed and unable to turn away. Reaching down to touch the head of their target, they communicate solely through direct thoughts and images into the mind, prompting powerful sensations of extreme loss, confusion, and submission, and decisively searching the soul to determine a suitable sacrifice for their needs.

Victims of an encounter with an Alvaiser are never seen again – they magically cease to exist and no remains are ever found. Those who pass judgement however, continue on to live with a new appreciation for the world they share, and believe that their personal destiny is favourably altered forevermore.

• • •

A potentially fatal encounter for travellers in my ongoing fantasy project Tales of Quahnarren. The Alvaiser are equally feared and respected, and feature heavily in the folklore and historic fables told across Quahnarren.

This illustration was created in both Painter and Photoshop, and is one of the enjoyable quicker pieces I’ve completed recently using a palette knife style. This image was initially produced in Painter, only in black & white, and then coloured and altered within Photoshop. This technique allows me to firstly concentrate solely on the complete composition, values, and contrast, before progressing on to determine a final colour palette, add/delete/alter any details and textures, and to fully develop the atmosphere I wish the subject and overall image to convey.

Below are a few small sections of the illustration showing the differences between an unfinished early black & white version, and the final coloured piece. The advantage for this particular image of using individual programs for separate stages of production, was the ability to work with a specific brush style within Painter, and then import that base art into Photoshop (a program I have considerably more experience in using), where I could easily add the required highlighting effects onto my existing art.

As part of this personal project I’ve been compiling various notes and descriptions of the people, creatures, historical events, customs, and spiritual beliefs of all those that play a significant role within this fantasy world, and will continue to produce new illustrations of a diverse selection of these elements as I move onwards in the creation of this world.

Penniless panhandler

Penniless panhandler

The challenge of life in the Wild West

Finding a steady and successful income, even during the boom years of the Californian gold rush, was not an easy undertaking for those who made the long journey out west to start a new life and hopefully find their fortune. At the time America was suffering from a significant economic recession, which considerably contributed to the number of people desiring a move to find new employment and financial reward.

Unfortunately, many of those who endured and ultimately survived the arduous trek across the dangerous overland trails, found only limited work opportunities, poor living conditions, overwhelmingly addictive and debilitating drugs and vices, and severe competition for work due to the massive migration influx into the region. The city of San Francisco itself rose from a population of only a few hundred during the 1840’s, to over 20,000 by the start of the 1850’s.

Many lost their entire savings simply making the journey westward, were robbed or swindled in the often lawless towns and cities, or were then financially ruined by the high cost of equipment and supplies from unscrupulous merchants who quickly took advantage of the numbers requiring their goods and services. Without striking it rich on the goldfields and possessing very little or no money, many people could not find any available housing or employment, and soon found themselves as homeless and itinerant paupers, forced to panhandle on the street to get through another day. This situation could befall both the relatively rich and the poor, as there was no discrimination regarding bad luck, injustice, crime and corruption. Life in the new frontier proved to be extremely risky and uncertain, and a very tough challenge to survive.

My illustration shows a homeless man, formerly gainfully employed, who still attempts to retain a little self-respect by presenting himself with some decency. He has been inspired by various real and fictional western characters, and was an idea I had struggled with for some time, as I sought to find the correct technique and final composition for such a period portrait. Completed in Photoshop CS5 using a few of my custom brushes.

Concept art for Raven Grave

Raven Grave_environment01

Raven Grave_environment02

Raven Grave_environment03

Raven Grave_characters

Raven Grave_PS3 cover

Raven Grave: asleep in darkness is a suspenseful, otherworldly adventure – a mature exploration of personal relationships and individual behavior amid upheaval, regret and recriminations. Set within the extensive and desolate wilderness of a decaying country estate, unspoken truths and unresolved conflicts provoke deadly situations and confrontation with both human and supernatural adversaries.

Disturbingly beguiling and completely without comparison, Raven Grave: asleep in darkness is a sophisticated and elaborately complex adult allegory, ruminating on our frequently dark existence in-between joyous birth and the ultimate finality of death.

Tales of Quahnarren: The Dreamer

Tales of Quahnarren: The DreamerThe Dreamer

The Dreamer is the latest addition to my Tales of Quahnarren illustrated short story project.

This character went through an interesting visual development process, during which he transformed from a troublesome outlaw into a civilised musician and entertainer – quite a switch!

As is my normal working process, I saved many stages of completion whilst producing the illustration, which captures the evolution of the image over time. Below I’ve set up four individual versions into one image, which tracks development (top, left to right, then bottom, left to right) and shows the way I like to work on specific areas of importance, before making balancing adjustments or detail improvements across the overall piece.

The Dreamer: development steps

This illustration initially started with a loose sketch drawn directly in Painter with my Wacom tablet, which at the time was little more than just a head shot without any preplanning for a particular background design or treatment. A key element for this particular character was to capture an expression that matched his nature, which partly explains his personal change in destiny. This pose presented a nice faraway look, which helped to solidify the character in my mind and brought forth the idea to place him in an outdoor setting, suggesting his travels through the countryside as a wandering entertainer. As the focus was purely on the main interest area of the face I only needed to suggest organic shapes and continued to blend his form with the background itself.

As can be seen I wasn’t originally working with any colour, and was unsure until almost complete about changing it from a duotone to a colour piece. I regularly import my finished Painter files into Photoshop for final colour, contrast and saturation adjustments, so after completing that stage added some colour overlays to decide if a suitable effect could be achieved without losing the simplicity of the piece that I favoured. Introducing a light brown for the character of Leahslee and supporting that with a blue-green background added a bit more mood and interest, so I was happy to finish with the final version you see as the main image.

The illustration took about 8-9 hours to complete and is a welcome new part of my Quahnarren series.

Rock Legend: Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper

The musical legend of Alice Cooper (Vincent Damon Furnier) continues into a fifth decade, during which time he has performed some of the most memorable songs and shocking theatrical moments in rock history.

With worldwide hits such as I’m Eighteen, School’s Out, Elected, No More Mr. Nice Guy, Billion Dollar Babies, Only Women Bleed, Department of Youth, and How You Gonna See Me Now, Cooper created his own unique ‘shock rock’ style, a fusion of tortured nightmares, vaudevillian horror and poetic alienation. Both the original Alice Cooper band, and his later solo incarnation, devised outrageous and controversial stage show spectaculars featuring some of the most impressive concert theatre ever seen in rock music. Props used have included electric chairs, boa constrictors, axes, gallows, guillotines and lots of fake blood.

My design is a simple ‘gig poster’ image of Alice, which was assembled in Photoshop using a scan of scrunched and folded paper to create a well-worn texture and appearance. I always think that Alice looks suitably iconic with a top hat, so have given him a white one here, and contrasted that with a red, river-of-blood effect for his hair.

Rock on Alice!

Marco Simoncelli 1987-2011

Ciao Marco – Marco Simoncelli remembered

On October 23rd, during lap 2 of the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix, Italian rider Marco Simoncelli suffered a terrible, and fatal accident. Simoncelli rode with passion and exuberance, and together with his wild long hair and positive attitude became a firm favourite to many motorcycling fans around the world. I’ll miss watching him riding, and will no longer be able to urge him on to win his first MotoGP race.

My illustrated poster is a remembrance and personal tribute to a talented and charismatic young rider, who will be greatly missed. This piece was completed in Adobe Photoshop, using charcoal and watercolour brushes, and the logo was created in Illustrator.

Ciao Marco – RIP.

In The Garden

Titled ‘In The Garden’ this is a portrait of a friend, and is based on an old favourite photograph of hers. Finished artwork is slightly smaller than A2 size and was completed with oil pastels on Canson paper. This was my first large scale pastel piece and provided some unique challenges, particularly in attempting to create fine detail and make specific marks with the pastel sticks. This becomes increasingly difficult as the edge is lost on the sticks through heavy use as layers of colour and texture build up, and the colours also mix and muddy to some extent. I learned a lot right through from start to finish about the required technique and approach for me to use with pastels and have already gained a much better understanding of how to produce the artwork I wish to see in the future.