Friday, 15 September 2023

Big Deal

Here's an interesting cover commission for Al Majalla magazine that came to me almost ready made. The art director Sara Loane had a lovely Biden illustration created by Mona Eing and Michael Meissner pushing a 2d 'Deal' font on an orange background. I was asked to replace everything but Biden with some foreboding 3d typography and a subtle desert background. This would be used on the print cover and also required animating for social media posts. I'd created the font and rubble in Cinema 4d with animating in mind and composited the 3d camera moves and elements with the 2d Biden and background in After Effects before adding sound effects and music. A good collaboration overall. See more work for Al Majalla here.

AI Housekeeping

Here's an enjoyable editorial commission for Good Housekeeping on that familiar big story of the year, AI - a subject matter that, ironically, has been keeping me pretty busy with work as I fret about it being taken from me. Anyway, I love a good techy collage, me, and these two illustrations cover the gamut of potential AI pros and cons with bright palettes and noggin-centric compositions. You can see further science and technology work on the site here.

Friday, 1 September 2023

Into The Lidoverse

Here are some recent experiments from my ongoing Lidoverse personal project inspired by Margate's iconic Cliftonville Lido sign and staring out to sea too much. The Lidoverse gallery has embraced the imposing brutal architecture of Arlington House this year and spliced it's DNA with the Lido for a few daunting appearances so far. The Lido sign itself is transformed into an end of Summer cocktail drinking vessel and makes an appearance on a flyer design for my wife and I's 50th birthday party, Margate Five-0, in July before congregating amongst itself out at a dusky sea. The Lidoverse continues to expand and is all 3d modelled with Cinema 4d and composited in Photoshop with my own photography. You can also see the work on the main site here.


Here's the second poster design for Dance Dance Dance at Margate Arts Club that continues the scifi/psychedelic style and hand rendered typography of the original design. I'm aiming to create a narrative of sorts if I get to do more, loosely inspired by pulpy Barbarella/Flash Gordon tropes, following a central figure on a kaleidoscopic journey. Stay tuned.

Friday, 11 August 2023

Cyber Skullduggery

Here's a fun little personal animation project that began as an alternate concept for a recent BBC Science Focus' AI issue cover commission. The initial brief, before it altered, revolved around Art, Love and Death so I'd modelled the cyber skull to pose with a holographic rose and even storyboarded the animation for it (see above). I was keen to continue with the endeavour and set about animating a motion camera in Cinema 4d to move around the skull. The mini-concept grew to include a holographic paint brush and nuclear missile representing the AI skull's expanding education before culminating in a countdown to annihilation...naturally. All of these elements were composited together in After Effects using camera data exported from Cinema 4d then graded with film stock and noise filters. Really enjoyed adding the soundtrack and mixing in the sound effects for finishing touches. You can see this on the site with other personal work here.

Wednesday, 2 August 2023

Strings Attached

Here are some new cover designs for ABRSM and their 2024 Strings Exam Packs for Cello, Double Bass, Viola and Violin. The brief was to expand on the style established with the recent Piano Exam Pieces design that blended the musician photography with elegantly constructed spaces made of 3d abstract lines and shapes evocatively lit in the dark with bright colours. Had great fun as always putting these together with designer Kate Benjamin and the team at ABRSM. See further work for ABRSM on the site here.

Tuesday, 1 August 2023

3x3 Rush

Happy to hear that my Great Moon Rush animated cover for BBC Science Focus has picked up another plaudit this year winning an Animation Merit in the 20th 3x3 Professional Show. Off to the moon again to celebrate!

Monday, 24 July 2023

AI World

Here's my latest cover illustration and animation for BBC Science Focus on the contentious hot topic of the moment AI. I might fret about it subsuming my job one day but I'll happily take commissions on the subject while I can! The brief for this was representing a general overview of AI and what our future might look like. I initially had a lot of fun generating humanoid concepts, such as the four above, but it became apparent that a global approach was more appropriate and I developed the visual of an AI Earth opening it's beady tech eye. For both the illustration and animation I used Cinema 4d to create the various layers and composited them together in Photoshop and After Effects with an exported camera move. For the inside spread I worked up an alternative angle on the scene. You can see the work on the site here and further Focus commissions here.

Friday, 21 July 2023

Turkish Tightrope

Here's a commission for Al Majalla magazine on the theme of President Erdoğan balancing Turkish affairs after his recent reelection. One of the concepts briefed was to depict Erdoğan on a tightrope so for one of the initial roughs I created a high wire scene over a 3d constructed Blue Mosque. The idea and dynamic composition went down well so I moved forward with that direction and switched out the mosque for the Turkish Presidential complex, Ak Saray, that I also modelled in Cinema 4d. The background was completed with Turkish city elements and a magic hour light. An enjoyable commission.

Wednesday, 21 June 2023

Game On, Zhuri!

Here's a selection of illustrations from a wonderful commission that came in last year from Reycraft to fully illustrate the first children's book from an exciting new US author called Deshaun Zollicoffer, entitled Game On, Zhuri! How To Defeat A Blob Monster. The story centres around a new video game created by programming whizz, Zhuri. The game, Zhuri's World, develops a mysterious bug which enables a blob monster to kidnap her Uncle Mike forcing Zhuri and her two best friends to enter the game and rescue him - a little like a latter-day Tron for the console kids.

I really enjoyed the story and I'd not really been approached to take on an anything quite like this before so, with a little trepidation, I jumped at the chance. The brief involved creating all the characters and the world of Zhuri from scratch, with a 9 year old audience in mind, and delivering a cover and 20 illustrations over a period of six months. The book layout had been pre-designed by the publisher, which was helpful, and there was a requirement for a distinct look and feel for real life and in-game characters and scenes. It was great fun designing the character costumes and appearance for both realities and I developed a pixelated vignette effect to go with the boosted palette of the game world. The writing was funny and imaginative so it was a joy to bring the scenes to life and creating the blob monsters was particularly enjoyable! Overall it was a smooth process and very rewarding to work on an extended commission that allowed the time to attend to the details. More of this please! The book is available for pre-order now and available from 27th June. You can see more of the artwork on the main site here.

Tuesday, 20 June 2023

Dance Triplicate

Here's an enjoyable commission for a recurring Margate Arts Club DJ event called Dance Dance Dance hosted by some of my friends, Katie & Joe, and their guests. They were looking for a new flyer /poster design so I started out with an open brief and flirted around with a few mirrorball-centric visuals before the brief was honed down a little with some classic psychedelic art references from UFO Club to Grateful Dead poster designs. With those inspirations in mind I set about designing illustrated typography and fantastical cosmic scenes with female figures and ended up with the final poster artwork. You can see some of the visuals created en route below the final design above. 

For Escape Only

Here's a recent bit of personal work I've been playing with in between jobs, a mini-project offshoot of the ongoing Lidoverse project called For Escape Only. It's a series of illustrations and an animation that expands on my Cliftonville Lido obsession to include other local landmarks such as the perfectly 80s (and hideous) College Square sign in Margate town and an abstracted take on the area's concrete promenades, coastal hazard markers and seawall escape ladders. With everything built in Cinema 4d it seemed natural to turn the illustration series into a subtle 3d animation exercise with simple camera movements added through the scenes. I paired the animated visuals with an edit from the atmospheric track Kibo by Ashford based band Bossk.

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

It's A Funworld

Here's a colourful commission for IAAPA's Funworld magazine, for all things to do with the global attractions industry. The brief was to create a bright and bustling cover and double page spread illustration on the theme of a post-pandemic Asia-Pacific tourist industry resurgence. I was supplied with a list of relevant countries, famous landmarks and attractions that should be represented in the collage and went about designing compositions that would fit the theme, interact with the cover title and generally look fun and be fun to do - which they were. You can also see the work on the main site here

Thursday, 25 May 2023

The Fliers Of Gy

I entered the Folio Society Book Illustration Awards again this year as it's always a rewarding creative challenge to take on. The chosen book was Ursula K. Le Guin's short story The Fliers of Gy and the brief was to create one illustration based on a passage of your choosing from the set text. The book is about a society of feathered human beings of whom a select few grow wings and face persecution if used to openly take flight.

I worked on two illustrations and chose the first one to submit, titled 'Love Letter' and based on this passage - 'Lovers exchange feathers with which to write love letters to one another, a pretty custom, referred to in a famous scene in the play The Misunderstanding by Inuinui.'

The second un-submitted illustration was based on this passage - '...I turned around and there I had the full run ahead of me, clear across the market-place to the Assay Office. And I ran, and I took off.'

The longlist was announced this week and unfortunately I didn't make it this time but huge congrats to the excellent illustrators who were selected, all fantastic entries. You can see my entries for previous Folio Society book illustration competitions here.