Caravan Palace

I'm moving back to Clonmel for college this weekend, this is technically my last post of the "summer." and I went swing dancing for the first time last week; so it's couldn't be a better time to share a Caravan Palace! (Note: This illustration is available as a print

here

. :) )

Can you believe it's September? I can't. This summer was such an incredible one, and the time has absolutely flown by! I still can't believe that in less than a week I'll be back in classes and lectures. And this year is going to be different in many ways. For a start; I'm going to be living on my own this semester! I'm moving into a tiny little house on Friday, although I still legitimately think I'd have been better off buying a little caravan and living in that instead.

Buying a caravan and doing it up into something cool and quirky and weird, and touring around Ireland or Europe or somewhere (anywhere), is something that I'd love to do at some stage. It's my idea of a perfect summer really; driving around a country or continent, discovering new places and new experiences. A little caravan palace? That's the dream!

Which brings me on to swing dancing! It's something that I've been wanting to try out for a really long time, and last week I actually managed to find a class and take it! Caravan Palace - a swing band - is one of my favourites (I fully intend to see them perform live someday! Just look at the video above! Incredible stuff!) and because I'm a former gymnast, I really missed dancing. So I took the class, had some fun, and I've been listening to Caravan Palace since.

Ultimately, this post feels like I'm about to head back into the routine. Ballpoint pen in my Moleskine sketchbook; it feels good, and familiar, and welcoming. Tomorrow, I'll have my last full day at work (the photo above was taken on my lunch break this afternoon - I've gone to that bench in that park most days this summer), I'll take a day or two to take a step back and breathe, and then I'll kick off next week in full swing!Till then!

Illustration | Mad Max : Fury Road | The Nux Car

Mad Max : Fury Road. Have you seen it? Did you love it? Can you guess my favourite character? As always click to enlarge the images; both images below are desktop wallpapers. ;)

This was a fun learning curve. It started life in pen on paper, then I painted it digitally. I made a few custom photoshop brushes for the mud splatters and whatnot, and used rust textures where I thought they'd work. Other than that, this was all layers, masks, adjustment layers, persistence, and time. Learning.

PS: I draw vehicles a lot. If you're interested; here's a smattering of links (some of which are to external sites, where you can buy prints and mugs and pillows and other fun stuff of particular designs):

MotoGP

,

MotoGP - Marc v Rossi

,

Harley Davidson

,

Vespa

,

VW Bus

,

F1- Ayrton Senna

,

Mini Cooper

,

FW-190

,

Spitfire

,

P51 Mustang

Go look if you haven't seen 'em! 

The Battle


Weeks ago, before I headed off to Catalunya, I drew two of my favourite MotoGP riders - Marquez and Rossi - battling for a win. Originally intended to be a doodle/a test/me playing around, I never felt the need to share it. After the events of the Dutch GP at Assen, though, I couldn't help but revisit! That last lap battle between these two guys? Amazing.

I didn't really know what I was going for at any stage, but I had the style I used here in mind.. Here's a breakdown of me playing around escalating into something more.* 

Original drawing with pen on paper. Finished off on the plane.
Messed up the lineart in Photoshop. Added lights and darks with line and tone.
Added colour.
Adjustment layers to add a little oomph. Et voila!


The Little Black Book - Character Sketches



Click to enlarge it! 

A few weeks ago, I bought a little black sketchbook. I don't know what I intended to do with it originally, but it quickly became a little book of characters. They're generally quick sketches; usually around five or ten minutes, depending, and they're a lot of fun! Here's a collection of twenty-five of them. Some of them are completely original, some of them are characters I created for other projects, and some of them are inspired by or adapted from books or films or TV shows or art that I've come across.

Some of these characters have backstories, and a lot of them are calling out for colour, so you might see a few of them crop up again soon. I've got a lot of other fun projects in the works too, which I can't wait to share!


Kinetic Text | God's Away on Business

It's done! My kinetic text project is officially complete. So here it is! 

Please do click through to see the complete process, from start to finish! 

This project ran throughout the second semester of my second year in LSAD, Clonmel, studying Digital Animation Production; from January until May 2015. The project was part of the Video I module, taught by Michael Kiely. We were given a brief to produce a piece of kinetic text, together with list of songs which we could choose from. Eventually, I decided to work with God’s Away on Business by Tom Waits. I picked it for a number of reasons; I liked it, it has a good, solid beat, it stood out to me as quirky and interesting immediately, and it had a lot of visual appeal to me. 

The first step was planning out my shots and how they would transition from one to the next. I had two major concerns; one was that they viewer wouldn’t have enough time to read the words as they appeared, and the other was that the shots would appear as separate pieces, rather than as one, comprehensive, unified production. The first problem was partially solved with my song choice, whereas the second one was more challenging, especially because I was very unfamiliar, and really lacking confidence with After Effects. For that reason, I was very careful with my planning so that I was completely certain about how I wanted everything to look, and I could focus entirely on learning how to use the software to achieve that.

From there, I moved on to creating style sheets. As soon as I heard the song, I had a very clear image of how I wanted it to look. God’s Away on Business is a dark, gritty, textured kind of sound, with a steady chugging beat, and a slightly old-fashioned feel. So those were the factors that I wanted to try to capture. I used highly graphic visuals, strong colours, and slid text, all wrapped up with a slightly grunge-inspired texture. 

With those style sheets in mind, I started drawing up style frames. The opening few lines were the first test shots I created, all the time bearing in mind that I would need to keep certain elements of the designs separate, so that I would be able to animate them as I imagined and planned.

Once I had those files set up and ready to animate, I ran a short proof of concept. I took out a lot of the textures, mostly because I wasn’t sure of my footing in After Effects. And at that stage, I was becoming very, very nervous. That twenty-second proof of concept took three or four complete re-starts until I figured out what I needed to do. I spent long, frustrating days on it, only to close the program without saving because I wasn’t happy with the results. Eventually, something clicked and it all made sense to me. Compositions in compositions in compositions. It was a bit of a eureka moment. And after that, I felt a whole lot more confident.

From that point onwards, I worked shot by shot, verse by verse. I brought back all the textures, and spent the next few weeks playing with the project. It very, very quickly became my favourite project of the semester. Whenever I got too stressed out or frustrated with other assignments, I’d work on a shot or two here and there to relax. It was a lot of fun, and I felt like I knew what I was doing. It felt really, really good to be working on my own, inching closer and closer to completion all the time. It helped that I liked how it was turning out and I really couldn’t wait to see the whole thing finished too.

Because I had worked shot-by-shot, as I got closer to the deadline I reached a happy point of being finished to a level I was happy with, but also having time to go back and add extra details wherever they were appropriate. At this stage in particular, talking to others was incredibly helpful. Conversations, suggestions, and help with software, certainly influenced the overall product for the better. There were some things that I just wouldn’t have thought of, or wouldn’t have known how to do, if I hadn’t talked to friends, family, and my lecturer about the project.

As a lover of graphic design, typography, animation, and sound, kinetic text is something that very much appeals to me, and as a lover of things that are quirky, weird, and a little bit wonky, I am really, really glad that I could use this song to try it out. Overall, I am very, very happy with the end result. I had a lot of fun doing it, and I felt like I learned a lot from the experience.

WIP 4 | Kinetic Text | God's Away on Business



The deadline for this kinetic text project is fast-approaching, and so are the deadlines for everything else! But it's pretty satisfying to see a big project like this one creep ever-closer to the finish line, so I'm pretty happy with it. There are still a few little bits and pieces about this section that I want to tidy up, but done is better than perfect, so right now, I'm planning to get everything finished to a standard I'm happy enough with, and then I'll go back over to tweak it to the best that it can be.

Self-Portrait


This is more than a little bit outside my comfort zone: It's really very rare that I post photographs of myself anywhere online. I've been half-wanting and half-afraid to post this for a while now though, and the indecision is starting to seriously frustrate me. Ultimately, because I like to think of this space as a personal account of all the work I do, and because I want to try this project and more self-portrait-ish projects when I have more time, I've decided to go ahead and post it. So, tentatively... here's a (rotoscoped) portrait of myself. Click through to see the original photograph. Consider yourself warned. 





Ballpoint Pen Illustration | Origami





Remember: These illustrations and more is for sale on Society6. Check it out!

The other night, I took a playlist of delightfully questionable taste, a ballpoint pen, a Moleskine sketchbook, and two hours to illustrate this. It felt like I was coming home, and it felt SO good. Ballpoint pen is still my jam. I've missed it oh so much. I missed drawing just for myself, just to get a tiny snippet of my own thoughts out on paper. Click through to read more, and see the rest of this mini collection!


I'm calling this illustration "High Hopes," for a few reasons. It was inspired originally by the legend of a thousand origami cranes. The myth is that anyone who folds one thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish, or will be granted eternal good fortune, by a crane. I like the idea of it, and the image of the paper crane has stood out to me as a symbol of hope since I first heard that story. Over the past few months I've felt a lot of negativity, but things are starting to turn around and I'm feeling optimistic about the future again. It feels good to be making some positive changes, big and small, and so drawing a crane to express my hopes for the future seemed apt.

This illustration is also becoming a part of my mini origami series, which I haven't shared here before. Here are the others in the collection (remember to click to see them bigger!).




Also: I don't know why these images are showing up darker than they should... will try to fix!

Remember: These illustrations and more is for sale on Society6. Check it out!