Monday, September 24, 2012

A to Z of D&D Monsters continued!

F is for Fire Elemental!

G is for Gnoll!

Continuing my series of trying to illustrate 26 different classic monsters from the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game.

Fire elementals featured in my D&D campaign recently. The party had to fight them in the hold of a ship, where every movement the fire elementals took set something on fire.

Gnolls have always been a favourite random monster of mine, ever since battling through hordes of the halberd-wielding hyena-men in Baldur's Gate.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

E is for Elf!

I wanted to do a bit of a non-traditional elf for my A to Z of Monsters project. So, here is my grizzled mercenary elf lady.

Monday, August 27, 2012

New D&D drawings!

I''ve just recently returned to an old hobby of roleplaying. Since I just finished up a massive project that has taken all my free time for the last couple of months, I wanted to throw myself into some new art projects, and decided to illustrate a couple of scenes that are coming up for the players in my little roleplaying campaign.

Illustrating friends' D&D characters was kind of how I got interested in doing fantasy art. D&D players always have such a complete vision of their own characters, which made it easy to get a really detailed description to base an illustration on. I did countless orcish barbarians, comely crusaders and malicious elven wizards back then...

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I had the extreme pleasure of joining in the madness at Squishface Studio's monthly drawing group on Wednesday and came up with this delightful fellow. Look at the rage in his furry little face!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Shellac Print Gallery poster!

My friend Liz at the Shellac Print Gallery in Northcote just sent me this scan. I did this poster about a month ago in her store one evening while a couple of local bands played to a crowd of about 40-50.

It was the last day of the Northern Exposure art festival and one wall of the shop was dedicated to my stuff, and I got to set up in front of it.

I had a big easel borrowed from the church across the road and did this over about 2 hours, with brushes and ink. It was a lot of fun and was a really great atmosphere to work in. I enjoyed making a font on the spot as well. I didn't plan the drawing at all before I went into the store, I just did a rough thumbnail that looked alright then went for it.

The actual poster is about 60cm high. The beetle is supposed to be a Shellac beetle, with a few creative liberties taken.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hunter of Beasts!

So I'm trying my hand at black & white fantasy art again, the kind you see in RPG sourcebooks for D&D.

I've always loved that stuff, ever since I got a copy of that board game Hero Quest when I was a kid. I emailed a few RPG publishers about doing some work with them last week but I've realised my portfolio doesn't have any of that really specific stuff, so I've set myself the task of producing a few, and preparing a specific portfolio for this stuff.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Severian of the Order of Seekers for Truth and Penitence!

I'm excited to be getting more stuff happening on this blog! After some sage advice from this beastial yankee I have my drawing mojo back somewhat, so you expect some more pointless fanart like the above. 

Meet Severian, the protagonist of Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun. He is a twenty-something apprentice torturer, and something of a badass. Without going into too much detail and wearing all the letter off the keyboard, BotNS is my favourite book series ever, having knocked Dune off it's immense pedestal about two years ago. I've tried about a dozen times to draw Severian. This is the closest I've ever come to matching the mental image I have of him. This was really fun to draw - I almost gave up after the initial sketch, but after a dishwashing break, I came back and realised it was worth finishing. 

Monday, July 16, 2012


Wolverine! I did this for the Oz Comics Facebook group's weekly challenge. Done with fine liners and felt tip pens, same as Luke that I posted yesterday. I woke up at about 4am today for no reason and, having always vowed that if I were to begin suffering from insomnia, I would use the time well, I decided to do a bit more fan art. I've always meant to enter the Oz Comics weekly challenge as well, but the topic has never grabbed me. This one wasn't really an exception, but I thought I'd do my own absurd take on on a very serious character.


My take on Luke. Just for fun. Done with fine liners and felt tip pens. I really enjoyed doing something just for myself and not for a client or anything else. Plus I love Star Wars and haven't done any real fan art in ages!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Journal 20.4.12

Work is coming along nicely on my little art show. I have totally finished two boards, with another one about 50% of the way there. Above is a sneak preview at one of the finished boards.

Learning a lot about how different sorts of inks, stains and markers work on plywood. Considering experimenting with varnishing a board first, then painting over the top of that. It would mean I couldn't selectively colour the board (unless I start planning things a lot more carefully that I usually do) but I might be able to get a cleaner line. Possibly I could approach it by roughly drawing the design in pencil, staining parts of the wood, then varnishing it, then tidying it all up with brushes and markers at the end. It would probably still need another coat of varnish on top of that as well.

The glossy varnish really makes the boards gleam and look like a proper finished piece of art you might actually consider buying if you were completely wasted (which I'm counting on).

I'm trying to think of what to put on the back of the boards now. At the moment they have horrible, rough grip tape, which I'm thinking of replacing with nice black felt.

Logo design for H.S.S.

I designed a new logo for a Melbourne-based video games news and reviews website called Hold.Start.Select recently. It had to fit in with his existing website, which informed my colour choices. The website is really nice and clean, which really shows off the beautiful promotional art for the featured video games in his articles. For this reason, we decided to opt for a clean and geometric style logo that, rather than competing with the bright and colourful game art, would stand apart at the top of the page and command attention by being big, bold and simple. The client was stoked and I hope to get to work with them again in the future!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Journal 10.4.12

Spent an hour yesterday afternoon sanding back three more skateboards for my June show. A theme is starting to appear, finally. It's actually something a lot simpler than all the previous ideas I've had, and I think it's better for that.

Finished off my first piece after deciding to leave my "Jack O'Neill" piece out. The newer piece is so much better than Jack, a really obvious progression in technique and choice of materials from the earlier piece, and I would feel a bit embarrassed to show it now.

Had some encouraging news on two freelance jobs I'm working on at the moment. One is a logo (which I rarely do) for a video games news and reviews website. I have to incorporate it into a website banner now. The other is a concept for a skateboard that the client was mostly happy with. Still waiting on final sign-off before I can go ahead with producing the finished piece.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Journal 4.4.12

I'm working on a painting of a moose for my exhibition. The wood I'm painting on is apparently extremely thirsty for Chinese Ink; I've applied about 3 coats so far but hopefully when I get home the paint will look even. The only thing left to do is to varnish the whole thing to give it a nice shine.

After that, I have to decide what piece to work on next. I have a few ideas, and I managed to pick up three more secondhand skateboards on the weekend so I hope to have at least 5 pieces ready for June 15.

Liz, the owner of the store I'll be exhibiting in, has been extremely encouraging and seems to have a lot of faith in me which I hope isn't misplaced! Just have to keep working at it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Journal 2.4.12

Yesterday I read some of Jordan Mechner's journal from the mid eighties when he was working on Prince of Persia. It made me want to have a little record of what's going on with my work to look back on.

I had a dream last night where my wife and I were attending a lecture on Pride and Prejudice (something I know nothing about) at a book store in Brisbane. During the lecture, other students were passing around a giant red and yellow lizard that was apparently someone's pet. My friend Bo Lieu was there as well, and when the lizard was passed to him, the lizard suddenly jumped out of his hands and attacked me! Then I woke up.

Last night I sent off some concepts to a client I love, but whose taste I always struggle to really figure out. The concepts were good but I will be nervous all day until I get a response.

Besides that, the premiere of Game of Thrones season 2 last night meant my other plans for my other art projects were put on hold.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Animals and stuff

I just photographed a bunch of stuff from my sketchbook from the last few months. 

Concept for a skateboard that didn't get picked up. I'm going to do something similar for myself anyway though. 

Bad ass Imperial Stormtrooper, complete with looted lightsabers, rebel pistol and hip flask. 

Done on my mini-honeymoon. It's a finch. 

Planned drawing for friends who run the glorious Black Bear Lodge in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. Not sure what else to do with it yet. 

Work in Progress

This is my latest project. A combination of blunt jigsaw blades, crappy sandpaper and stubborn acrylic paint means this one is taking a bit longer that I expected but hopefully the results will be worth it. 

I'm hoping to have 4-5 new pieces for June 15 which is when my show starts. Here are a couple of close-ups. 

I'd really like to get a proper work bench and some bigger g-clamps so a trip to Bunnings will be in order soon, but will have to wait until my next pay cheque. In the meantime I'll be just working on concepts for the other boards. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dune book cover

Just playing around, did my own design for one of my favourite books. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Jack O'Neill portrait

I don't often attempt portraiture, but I've had a crack for the "60 Years of Innovation" thingie - detailed here. The competition closes today - I sent my entry in this afternoon, hopefully the deadline is tonight and not this morning...

This is my take on Jack O'Neill, inventor of the wetsuit. It is done with India Ink and acrylic paint on an old skateboard. I cut it in to the shape of a (rough) surfboard with an electric jigsaw.

Friday, January 20, 2012

New News

I've made a new online portfolio hosted by the good, clean folk at Carbonmade, which I'll be using to showcase all my professional work from now on. That means I can use this site for fun stuff instead!

(In case anyone is interested, Carbonmade offer free hosting for simple online portfolios suitable for any visual arts. I've found it really good so far and would recommend it. There is also an option to pay for more features like using your own URL, and customising some other features of the site. I am happy with the free site for now!)

So, from now on I'll probably still keep posting any new professional stuff on here just to share it, but I'll try to upload some more sketchy stuff I do for my own amusement/arousal.

In other James-related news, it looks like I'll be having a little art show around the middle of the year. Details are a little hazy but I need to produce some new work before then and I'm trying to settle on a theme to tie the 5-6 pieces together. Any suggestions would be welcome!

Just for fun, here is a little flyer I spammed Melbourne with a few months ago, which actually led to me getting this little show: