Monday, 19 April 2021

Where Next?

Here's a novel cover commission for BBC Science Focus that needed to work for the usual illustrated print version and also as an expanded animated version specifically for the Apple News Plus service. I'd worked on animated versions of their covers in the past but usually as a supplement to the illustration. This time the animation took precedence with storyboards being created first and the illustration evolving out of the animation direction. The theme was exploration and the creative brief required a traveller character surveying a cinematic scene composed of the earthbound and interplanetary destinations covered in the issue, from pyramids to asteroids. I thought the most dynamic and exciting approach would be to build the scene in Cinema 4d and fly a camera through it for the allotted 15 seconds before looping back to the start. The central figure, pyramids, mountains and astral bodies were created and rendered in Cinema before being composited into cloud, sky and space scenery in After Effects. Really enjoyed creating this one and I'm pleased with how it all came together in the end. You can check out more Focus work on the blog here

Monday, 12 April 2021

Monorail Memories

Here's a recent collaboration project with the talented Black Country Type, an old buddy from my home town of Kingswinford in the West Midlands. His ongoing Black Country based photographic project applies his unique aesthetic to the region's post-industrial landscapes, typography and ephemera. He approached me with the idea of creating a t-shirt design based on the Merry Hill Monorail, a short-lived vision of future transport from 1991 that shuttled consumers between department stores at walk-speed. The monorail eventually succumbed to technical difficulties but nostalgically lives forever in my electric dreams. I jumped at the chance to pay design homage and took inspiration from Black Country Type's visual mood board featuring 80s cool graphics from Epcot Center posters to JVC video cassette packaging. I've posted a few of the initial designs here before simplifying for the final three colour design. The excellent Provide Birmingham printed and launched the limited run of 50 t-shirts which I'm happy to say sold out pretty quickly with prints possibly available soon.

Monday, 8 March 2021


Full Video Highlights Reel
Here's a recent 3d animation commission for Sinclair Studio that kept me busy during the first few weeks of the year, an explainer video on 'Understanding Groundworks' for RM Construction & Development. The animation essentially had to show the complicated process of how foundations and basements are created for pre-fabricated houses in a stylised and accessible way. This meant wrapping my impractical mindset around the highly practical field of groundworks. The clear script and process storyboard by Sinclair Studio proved invaluable in getting my understanding kickstarted. Initially, I set about developing 3d environments and construction vehicles in Cinema 4d with RM's branding colours to set the visual tone while the technical details of the script/boards were hammered out. Each scene brought new challenges whilst being constructed in Cinema 4d, such as placing pipes and utilities correctly in the foundation dig, getting a good concrete pour, destroying a barn effectively and putting cameras in the right areas to capture it all. Ultimately it all stretched and elevated my 3d skills in a satisfying and rewarding way and hopefully the final video helps folks get to grips with those tricky ol' groundworks. I've posted the final 5 minute explainer video and a 1 minute highlight reel for the time impoverished plus some screenshots and 3d development imagery. You can see similar work for Sinclair Studio and Solivus here.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Dark Stars

Here's a new cover illustration for BBC Science Focus on the mysterious possibility of Dark Stars. The theory is that these transparent celestial bodies give off no light and cannot be seen by the human eye. So, for something effectively invisible I decided to make the illustration as bright and in your face as possible! The image plays with the idea of the cosmos and dark matter being warped around the transparent star, and the magazine's title for a fun touch. You can see previous work for Focus on this blog here.

Friday, 22 January 2021

Mountain Slider

Here's a little editorial illustration for a Backpacker Magazine survival story about a mountaineer that slid into a huge bergshrund, or crevasse to you and I, just as he thought he'd completed the trek up a glacier. The stuff of nightmares. You can see more work for Backpacker here.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

The Pandemic Issue

Here's a new cover and feature illustration for Hadassah's latest issue on the Pandemic looking at Jewish women's experiences in particular. I went with the visual theme of women being isolated in their own Covid-shaped cells and personal experiences composed within the silhouetted figures. I chose an eye-catching palette with a slightly alarming red for the cover to bump up the anxiety. You can see more work for Hadassah magazine here.

Monday, 4 January 2021

Ageing Well

Happy New Year to all! It's gotta be better than the last one, surely. To kick off '21 here's a nice commission that I snuck in before Xmas for a Washington Post feature on 'Ageing Well'. The main cover collage plays with autumnal colour silhouettes and references to the ageing themes of the articles with an added textural visual nod to tree rings. I also created two spot illustrations for the inside in the same vein. You can see more lifestyle illustrations here.

Friday, 18 December 2020

The Future Of Work


Here's a recent and weighty commission for Virginia Tech Magazine on the Future Of Work no less. Virginia Tech are at the forefront of technological research and innovation across multiple disciplines so it was a joy for me to interpret the institution's future in my own 'tech-centric' style. The colourful cover and feature illustration collages are a mash-up of students, campus buildings, history, science and tech from disciplines such as medicine, construction and the arts. Overall, a very satisfying commission to work on, right up my strasse as they say. You can check out some of my other technology illustrations on the blog here.

Monday, 14 December 2020

ABRSM Crescendo

It's been a bumper year for ABRSM illustration commissions and here's a mega-post to catch up on all of them. The bulk of the work was rebranding ABRSM's Music Theory series which required a new visual concept that could be used across the 5 grades of Work and Answer books. I presented a few approaches before settling on an organic design that emanated from a large central  grade number featuring 3d notation, textures and patterns. The illustration had to be versatile enough to work with the five colour schemes and for the Answer book I inverted the tones of the numbers and background imagery to differentiate them. Monochrome versions were also provided for the Sample Paper covers. Aside from that I created new covers for Piano Exam Pieces and Scales & Arpeggios with designer Kate Benjamin. Great jobs to work on as always. You can see all the previous work for ABRSM here.

Monday, 7 December 2020

Bowery Bronze

Very pleased to discover last week that my recent 3d animated music video, Kilder's 'Down For Whatever Feat. Friday Night Plans' picked up a Bronze award at New York's Bowery Awards in the animation category for Film Craft / Motion Video. Really pushed my puny 3d skills on that one so I'm chuffed with the acknowledgement.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

The Case of the Sherlock Stamp Proposal

Here's some Sherlock Holmes related unpublished work from last year that I produced as unadopted stamp proposals for the Royal Mail. The brief was to create scenes from famous Sherlock stories for a commemorative stamp collection, these two are from The Adventure of the Speckled Band and The Red-Headed League. They were a natural stylistic progression from my illustrated Sherlock submission for the Folio Society in 2018 which you can see here. The chosen illustrator, Karolis Strautniekas did a cracking job on the final set of stamps that were released in August, online here

Unadopted stamp proposals © Royal Mail Ltd.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Red, White and Boom

Here's a recent-ish illustration for Car And Driver with an appropriately US flavoured celebratory theme befitting the current geo-political mood. This is actually about a guy saving cancelled public Fourth of July celebrations in his home state by bringing the bang with his Mustang. You can see more Car And Driver illustrations here.