Harley Davidson

Hello everyone! Hope you're all having a wonderful week. Tomorrow I'm off to Dublin zoo to meet up with a few college friends, but I'll be back here on Thursday. I'm so excited to see them all! In the meantime, I've been working on a requested tshirt design; a Harley Davidson. It's just about finished and is now available on both Society6 (with free shipping right now!) and TeePublic (tshirts on sale for just $14).

This drawing had a somewhat shaky start at life. Originally I wanted to draw it all digitally, but after a fwe failed attempts, I went back to my trusty Moleskine and a reliable 2B. After inking it with a fineliner and throwing it in Photoshop, I tweaked things a bit, played with some colour and settled down with this. Hope you guys like it! :)

Helios Philip Lament

Here's another character design I've been working on recently for a fun personal project I've had in the pipeline for a long time. He's an intrepid explorer and happy hitchhiker, who's been everywhere and back again. His story is closely associated with Arista Spice.

North American P51 Mustang

Last week, taking a break from character designs, I started working on a new illustration for my S6 shop. It's a P51 Mustang - one of the earliest models - to go with my little collection of WWII aircraft blueprints. It took two long days to get the pencil sketch finished, and then another four or five hours on top of that to flip it digitally and finish it off.

WIPs, the finished project, the rest of the collection, and a little more rambling after the jump. :)

If anyone's following along on Instagram or Twitter, you might have seen a preview of the pencil sketch. It's not perfect, but I tried to capture as much detail as possible. That made it very time-consuming, but I'm happy with the end result, so it was worth the monotony. And besides, I got to listen to a whole lot of music and a few chapters of audiobooks while I worked, which is a win-win situation, really. :) Eventually, I brought it into Photoshop, tweaked the pencil drawing, and then converted it to digital ink and gave it a worn and weathered background texture. 

This isn't the first time I've drawn a WWII plane. I'm really just adding to my little collection - now containing a Submarine Spitfire, a Focke-Wulfe 190, and a P51 Mustang - which have been pretty popular on Society 6 recently. I've been wanting to draw a Mustang for a long time now anyway, so I figured now would be as good a time as any to get to it. 

The Spitfire, FW-190, and Mustang designs are all available on lots of fun things in my shop; from art prints and clocks, to mugs and tshirts in both black and white ink. And with FREE SHIPPING and $5 off biker tanks this week! 

Click HERE to go check them out!

(with free shipping and $5 off Biker Tanks this week!)

Arista Spice

Recently, I've been really focused on character design. I'm trying to be more consistent, more efficient, and more distinctive. So I've been trying out a range of different styles of drawing and colouring, and I think I'm finally settling down into a nice rhythm.

WIPs after the jump :)


In an effort to keep a fluid workflow, I decided to try to work start-to-finish in a digital medium. My initial sketches are pretty rough, and I usually draw them up in a colour that isn't black, so that I can draw clean lineart over it without confusing myself. 

Once I'm happy with the lineart, I can then pretty easily take away the coloured "pencil" drawing, so that I'm left with clean lineart. 

Then all that's left is colours! At the moment, I'm working on a HD screen I've borrowed from my brother (cheers, Bubbles!) which makes the job a lot easier. Bonus: I can trust the colours that I'm seeing on screen are true. I've tried to simplify the way I colour and shade as well; so it's still a slow process, but I'm getting quicker! :)

Jazz Musician's Apartment

This is something of a long running project, I suppose. I finished it a few weeks ago, just in time for Pen & Pixel 2014 but I started it way back in the first semester. It's ended up being a kinda hybrid drawing, in terms of media. Traditional lineart, digital colouring, and traditional shading.

The assignment was part of my Drawing Principles module, while we were studying one-point perspective. After studying basic perspective in class, we were given a few titles to pick from and were asked to create a lineart-only layout. If any of you have ever seen my Interior Design and Architecture board on Pinterest, you're not going to be surprised that the title I chose was "messy jazz musician's apartment" which I explored with a 1920s, vintage film kinda twist. I used pencil to sketch our the layout originally, then cleaned it up with a brown ballpoint pen.

Fast forward a few months, and press play when the countdown to the end of the year begins. Our last assignment for the module was to choose a project we'd done during the year, and develop it further. It was entirely up to us which assignment we chose to delve into, and it was our choice how far we took it. Since I'd drawn the lineart for this, I really wanted to toss a splash of colour on it. And because I've been wanting to learn how to colour digitally for a long time now, I decided this assignment was as wise a choice as any.

I started with the base colours. In keeping with a vintage film aesthetic, I kept the palette muted and limited to just three or four colours, with a heavy leaning towards browns. Then I tried to shade it digitally and failed miserably. It was a complete and utter disaster and I'm just going to pretend that it never happened. Instead, I went back to traditional media. Bring out the trusty 2B.

Once I was happy with the shading, I scanned it and used adjustment and multiply layers to deepen the darks and bring out the highlights. The pencil gave everything a slightly grainy, gritty feeling, which I liked. When I was happy with all that, I tied everything back together in a neat little package; lineart, colour, and shading. And then finally called it done.


Today, One Curious Chip is two years old, and I myself am twenty! I decided to take this opportunity to step away from my work for just a little while, and write a short personal post. After the jump I'll talk a little about what I've been up to lately, and I'll probably make vague promises about the future too :)

The past few weeks have been hectic! I finished my first year in college (I miss it already! And I miss the people more!), I attended our end-of-year exhibition, I got my first proper (sorta) job(s), I got going on my motorbike, and had a complete shift of mind in terms of what I want to focus on for the next few months. Between all that, I've been celebrating birthdays, organising mini-reunions with old classmates and teachers, and meeting up with my favourite people as often as I can. It turns out I'm terrible at planning and life is chaotic by nature and basically everything can be summed up in this picture:

A lot of change is on the horizon, in my life and in my work, so expect a few changes to OCC in the not-too-distant future! Some small changes are already falling into place - like my new blog theme! What do you think? - while some of them are going to be much more gradual. I have a hundred things in the pipeline that I can't wait to share with you, from character designs to more pen illustrations, but these things take time! I hope the wait's worth it!

MotoGP Riders - Ballpoint Pen Illustrations

Over the past few years, I've become more and more passionate about motorbikes, riding, and racing. In my mind, MotoGP is the most spectacular motorsport out there. The circuits, the teams, and the riders are all incredible to watch, and every single race has me on the edge of my seat. It's worth watching, I'll tell you that.

Just before I set off for Catalunya to see the 2012 Barcelona GP, I drew two of my favourite riders; Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner. I brought them with me and had them in my hands while I walked down pit lane, looking into all the garages and observing the crews as they worked. It was one of the best trips I've ever been on, without a doubt!

Since then, I've watched every race (including seeing The Doctor winning in Assen last year!) and I've drawn another ten riders, from Marc Márquez when he was riding in Moto2, to defending world champion, Jorge Lorenzo. Each drawing takes a week to draw and colour, so this collection shows twelve full weeks' worth of work. The collection is incredibly important to me, and is ever expanding. Hopefully I'll be adding to it again soon!