Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Ultramassive Black Holes

Here's a new cover animation and illustration for BBC Science Focus on the Hunt for Ultramassive Black Holes. I'd worked on a black hole cover illustration for Focus a few years ago and was keen to differentiate this one in terms of look and scale. The brief mentioned the term 'galaxy-eater' - so not something you could lose down the back of the sofa then. I went about creating a Nolan-esque black hole in Cinema 4d to create the first visuals and have something ready for animating later in the process. Initial ideas included a space ship and an earthbound observatory as seen above but the final design would be all about the black hole. I added galaxy textures, meteors and collapsing planets for detail and made room for the central strap line. For the spread illustration I moved the 3d camera around to get a wider perspective shot and fill the space. 

Once the print version was complete I created a forward camera move in Cinema 4d for the Apple News edition and rendered out the black hole, meteor and planet passes for compositing in After Effects. The title was animated to complement the camera move and to create the loop I designed a brief black hole interior abstract light tunnel effect. Another enjoyable project for Science Focus, you can see further work here.

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Tech At The Edge

Here's a very welcome commission for an MIT Sloan Management Review feature looking at emerging tech tools entitled Tech At The Edge. The brief required a cover and three spot illustrations for the related articles with the cover focusing on a figure surveying a technological scene. I used Cinema 4d to build a 3d wireframe landscape and  layered tablet screens to comp with the photographic figure and digital textures in Photoshop. I maintained the stylings and electric blue/gold palette throughout the spot illustrations that were based on Web3, Quantum Computing and AI Tool integrity. A really enjoyable job overall. You can also see an animated commission for MIT's McGovern Institute here.

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Loose Connection

Here's my latest illustration for a Car And Driver magazine feature called Loose Connection. It's a look at the history of vehicle fuelling from the kerosene era of the 1880s to modern EVs and some of the problems encountered along the way. See more work for Car And Driver here.

Friday, 24 February 2023

Around The World In 80Mbps

Here's a nice cover commission for The Journalist magazine on the transformation of foreign reporting in the digital age. Came up with a few ideas for this one but liked the laptop/travel luggage visual and glad to say the client did too. This first visual took more of a 2d face-on approach and was a little static so for a more dynamic composition I built the luggage handle and wheels in 3d, to attach to an existing Cinema 4d library laptop model, and had the freedom to play around with camera angles. The final illustration with screen graphics and luggage stickers was comped together in Photoshop on top of the 3d render. A fun job overall. Here's some previous work for The Journalist.

Friday, 27 January 2023

Illustration West 61

Happy to say I've had two entries selected for this year's Illustration West 61 annual competition and exhibition by the Society Of Illustrators Los Angeles. Both were cover illustrations chosen in the Editorial category, The Great Moon Rush for BBC Science Focus and The People Worth Watching for MG Magazine. Schweet!

Friday, 6 January 2023

Rise Of The Machines

Happy New Year to all! To kick-off 2023 here's a double page editorial for Populous Magazine that I worked on during the recent World Cup. The feature looks at the state of the art officiating technology being employed there, and across the sporting world, and whether it will ultimately supersede human decision making. Was great fun collaging together all the sporting imagery and tech and you can see similar work on the site here.

Monday, 19 December 2022

Lido Crab and the Lidoverse

Since moving to Margate, just over a year ago now, I've had a bit of a creative crush on the Cliftonville Lido tower. So much so that I built a 3d model of it in Cinema 4d to tinker around with for an ongoing project I like to call the Lidoverse. Here are some of the illustrations created so far mostly envisaging the tower as an enormous monument out at sea that develops a Santa complex at Christmas and, for its latest incarnation, transforms into a crab. The Lido Crab was created as a submission for the 2023 calendar from the wonderful Crab Museum based in Margate. Happy to report the Lido Crab will appear in the calendar amongst some very fine crustacean-centric art and is available here

Editorial Drive-By

Here are a couple of recent editorials for long time client Car And Driver magazine. The first is a map style illustration for a look at London's vehicular based attractions and the second is a rundown of 20 years of SUV history. Always enjoy a good car collage.
See further work for Car and Driver on the site here.

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

ABRSM Ten Years In

It's been great to work with ABRSM and designer Kate Benjamin again this year on a number of cover illustrations for their latest Piano Exam Pieces and Brass Syllabus books. I really enjoy creating these illustrative collages and working with good photography, provided here by Lloyd Winters and Phil Harrison. After 10 years of working with ABRSM it's interesting to see how the cover style has evolved, from loose and painterly to clean and graphic. You can see all the work posted on this blog over the years here and the first post from 2012 here.

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

First Contact

All new animated cover illustration for BBC Science Focus' latest issue on the theme of First Contact and what happens if we discover an extra terrestrial signal. The brief was to visualise this alien message with a silhouetted onlooker in a spartan night time landscape and it made sense to add a radar dish to emphasise the communication theme. With scenes from Contact, Arrival and Close Encounters swirling around my brain I started designing. For the signal itself multiple 3d abstract animations were created to layer up with some optical light effects while the radar dish was modelled in Cinema 4d and comped into mountain scenery in Photoshop. For the Apple News cover animation I wanted to move the camera in close to the signal before being zipped into a wormhole briefly to create a loop. Great fun to work on. See more Focus work on the main site here.

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Lost In The Cloud

I was recently commissioned to illustrate an article for The National Union of Journalists magazine The Journalist that goes out to its 38,000 UK and Ireland members. The feature looks at the phenomenon of online news stories, links and archives being lost over time due to corporate upheavals and other factors. I envisaged this cloud symbol with a data-munching black hole at it's core. The collage was put together with a bit of Cinema 4D and a dollop of Photoshop textures and photography. Worked on an illustration with same title for New Scientist back in the day as it happens, see it here.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

BBC Music 30th Birthday

Here's a fun cover commission for BBC Music magazines 30th Birthday issue. The brief was to create a colourful collage from a selection of famous classical artists and some of the chosen 'must-have' recordings featured in the issue. The cover layout had already been designed with a large central circle of text and attached CD area bottom left which meant I had to get creative with the composition. It was an enjoyable challenge to construct a coherent collage illustration that interacted with the design elements. You can see previous work for BBC Music here.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Beneteau Rendezvous 2022

I recently created the main brand illustration for the Beneteau Rendezvous 2022 event at Two Harbors, Catalina Island. The brief was to showcase Beneteau's fleet of yachts and some of the fun of the annual boating event in an enticing and colourful way. I was supplied a library of images - in lieu of an all-expenses paid trip, unfortunately  - to create the collage which would be used to promote the event on social, printed media and clothing. You can see it on the main site with similar work here.

Monday, 1 August 2022


Here's a new cover illustration and animation for BBC Science Focus on the recently popular notion of the 'Multiverse'. I was initially given the idea of a mirrored cityscape to explore and also supplied a few of my own multi-rough concepts that you can see above. The cityscape visuals won out and a figure was introduced to the scene, with one turning to look at the viewer, to show a subtle difference in the 'verses. I used a 3d city model for the backdrop, which came in handy for the animation that flies into the 'folding' towers to create the loop, and everything was put together with Cinema 4D, After Effects and Photoshop. You can see more work for Science Focus here.