Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Character Design Sketches

I've always been really interested in character design, and recently I kind of figured out I'm not as horrible as I thought I was at it. I don't really have much self-confidence, and since going to college I've become less and less trusting of my own judgement. I generally think I can't tell the difference between what's good and what's bad - but apparently, I'm not that awful at character designs.
So I thought I'd share some sketches with you, designing characters from novels. These are from some novels I really like - I have odd taste in movies and books. I try not to talk about them too often because of this! But hey, I thought I might share these with you anyway:

Assorted Discworld sketches:

Pip and Estella from Great Expectations:

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Discworld Art

I've been so busy lately, but sometimes I get ideas that I just have get onto paper, so I stayed up late drawing these out.
I love Terry Pratchett's Discworld series of novels, as they have such colourful characters. It's an exciting challenge to try to get them on paper:

Vlad and Lacrimosa De Magpyr (vampires) from Carpe Jugulum.

Agnes/Perdita and Christine from Maskerade.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Charity Christmas Card Preview

So every year I do some Christmas card designs that get printed to raise money for the Irish Hospice Foundation.  One of my most popular designs from was a fashionable Santa's Helper from a few years ago. It was reprinted, and people always wanted more than we had in stock, so this year I decided to update the design, make it look classier and more polished.

Here's a design I've been working on:
{-I went for a retraux style, since the 60's is so very now-}

I was inspired by old print ads, 50's pinups and the art style of Batman the Animated Series. I tried to keep things simple, with bold colours but no harsh black outlines.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Some Sketches

Just some sketches, practicing my painting on Photoshop with some quick fanart:

Gretchen, the strangely adorable buck-toothed girl from Invader Zim.
Kuja, one of my favourite villains from the Final Fantasy series.

Monday, 7 November 2011


Some fixes since yesterday.
That'll be all for now, I think.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


A quick doodle of Jack Spicer:

He was from Xiaolin Showdown - a show that was on when I was around 14, which I really liked. It was the first animated show I had seen where they had a main character (Kimiko) in a new outfit every episode, sometimes going through a few different ones per episode. That impressed me.

The designs in the show were quite eye-catching,  and I especially like Jack's design - it really made him stand out.

Early Animation Test

A rough (I won't say quick because it took surprisingly long to create this sad little scribble) test of animation for our next deadline. 
I may fiddle with it some more but for now I wanted to upload it here, keep a copy safe and all that.
The sounds are stock, as we haven't got to record our live sounds yet.
Although I do like the baby talk, maybe using stock for him would be smarter than trying to get a baby to read my script?

I added colour because I'm a masochist.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Location shots

A quick sketch of a location plan for my film:

Here's what they called a "colour layout" in the production book:
The idea of these colour layouts is to show what a scene from the film might look like.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Watercolours IN SPACE!

Some more background concepts for my film:

Everything sort of fell into place with this one when I realised my Photoshop watercolour brushes were dead ringers for continents ~ one was the shape of Africa, another bore an eerie resemblance to Asia and Eastern Europe, and so forth.
I made the stars by inverting some rock textures and overlaying them on the sky.

It really makes you think there just aren't enough watercolours of space, no?

This is another for the park woodlands, and is in fact nothing to do with outer space at all.
But I do like how it turned out.
Some grapey purple sneaking in there, like a Disney villain I do like my purples and greens!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Alva's Magic Wand

An atmosphere sketch for my film.  
As you can see, I wasn't lying when I said things had changed! It still features Alva, just much younger than she was originally. 

This is part of an action sequence - I drew inspiration (on the recommendation of Gemma and Craig) from the wonderfully absurd special moves from videogames and cartoons of our youth.  I was thinking of something mixing magical-girl style flashiness with over-the-top action, and we began  discussing shots of the world from space, where a flash of light soars out into the universe. 
My favourite of these was the complete ridiculousness of FFVIII's Blasting Zone

Apologies for the grainy quality, but it was on the PSone.

Also, here's a sketch of an angry flying panda
Researching for my strange critters, I came across the awesome art of Aaron Martin, aka Angry Woebot, who as it turns out, specializes in disgruntled pandas.

One of my favourite pieces by him.
Check him out here:

Friday, 21 October 2011

Harry Clarke style artwork

I did these at the end of 2009, based on the illustrations of one of my favourite artists, Harry Clarke:

He does some very strange things with characters' necks and limbs, giving them a very eerie look. I tried to capture a little of that in these pictures.
I was suffering from a fever when I drew the frames for these pictures, and just drew whatever creatures came into my mind ~ I think it shows!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

New Background sketches

These are some new designs for the park in my film, based on a storybook style.
I began with the photos I took of my local park as a starting point - I blocked in the main shapes in the photos with big watercolour brushes on photoshop, then sketched some details over the loose shapes.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Charlotte La Bouff

On the subject of the 1920's, here's some fanart:
Charlotte from Disney's the Princess and the Frog.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Panda-ing to the Audience

More concept work for my film.

Now with Pandas!

Yes, it's the same film. Only different.

Little Alva dressed as a fairy - this was based on memories of my childhood. 
As a kid,  I would dress up in home-made costumes and imagine I was off in some magical world. 

And yes, by 'as a kid' I mean 'two months ago'.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Black Swan

With college being so busy, it seems I have less time to draw in my spare time, but I still managed to squeeze this one in!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Almighty Rattle

Phht, well this makes perfect sense.
The amount of sense that this picture makes, I can't even begin to describe it.
My God, I'm tired.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

More Film Sketches

As always, I am striding purposefully forward into the abyss. I just tend to keep working until someone tells me enough already.

No one seems to believe me when I say that my newer drafts of the script have replaced a shoe with a baby, thus solving many plot holes.

So, I felt it was high time to post some more sketches, proving the shoe really is a baby now:
I have named him Bróg.

It makes me want the end credits just to be all the characters dancing to Dance Magic Dance, though thankfully copyright laws prohibit such nonsense.

Here also are my newest concepts for the forest, combining digital painting and overlays of my photographs from Bushy Park:

Sunday, 11 September 2011


Blackadder is one of my favourite sitcom series, and here I've done a small tribute to one of its most memorable characters, Queenie:

To me, Miranda Richardson will always be the definitive Elizabeth I.
  Here I experimented with detailed clothing: the embellishments on her dress were all part of her original costume on the show, to get that authentic feeling. 
I also wanted to give the piece an old-portrait-style feel.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Padraig's Portrait

This is a scaled-down version of a cartoon portrait I did for my uncle, Padraig.
The boys in the picture are my cousins: Evan, Colm and Seán:

I'm always trying to improve my skills, recently I've been focusing on getting my drawings to resemble people.

The piece was sketched and painted in Photoshop CS5.

Background Concept Sketches

Some rough colour sketches of possible backgrounds for my film:

I've always found creating backgrounds quite difficult, so I tried out a lot of stuff here. 
Personally, I like the purple one at the bottom.

Also, here's another sketch of the Queen, this time from the front:

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Adventure Time - Fanart spot promo

My artwork was featured briefly in this promo for Adventure Time, that aired on Cartoon Network (USA):

You can spot a glimpse of my piece at 1.39, after the dancing kid!

Monday, 29 August 2011

City Concept Sketch

A rough sketch of a city building: a kind of Frankenstein creation made by combining bits and pieces of different art nouveau buildings I was looking at, then adding my own touches to make sure the end result was somewhat cohesive.

I love the verdigris on the windows that buildings from the era have, so I used a bright teal against the sepia tones to get that feeling.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Location Photography at Bushy Park

I went to my local park to do some research for the backgrounds of my film.
Bushy Park in Terenure has a beautiful woodland area with a river and a small constructed ruin, that makes for some great reference material.

Here are some of my favourite shots from my visit:

It's a pity that the poorly-drawn graffiti inside the ruin takes away from the scenery of the place.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

More Fairy Concept Sketches

Some sketches that sprung out of my adventures in colour:

Another sketch of the fairy Queen, finally she's looking how I imagined her.
I was really inspired by the artwork of Elric of Melnibone, a series of fantasy novels. Yoshitaka Amano did a lot of work on this series, and his artwork from this period is very sharp; set in dark fantasy landscapes with figures shrouded in or emerging from the shadows.

I still have to figure out which fairy Queen she is: Titania seems too overdone.  So will she be a Gloriana, Meabh or Lorelai? Decisions, decisions.

Here's another sketch of Alva, now in sepia tones.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Monday, 15 August 2011

Alva Colour Tests

A test of possible colour schemes for Alva.
Originally, the character was going to be totally monochrome, but I thought that choosing a bold, simple colourscheme would create more visual punch.
I love working with colour, especially rich, vibrant colour combinations.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Film Concept Art

I've been doing some more early sketches for my 4th year film:

I am getting closer to the look I want for the film, and nailing down how the main players will look.

Designs of trees:

These trees are based on the art nouveau style to fit with the general period of the piece. 

Some sketches of my main character, Alva:

Alva is a kind of goofy character, not very elegant, with big expressions. 

Test designs of supporting characters

"The Fairy Queene":
The Queen of the fairies needed to be a contrast to Alva, very refined and regal.
Since earlier sketches, I've pared her features down, giving her less wild expressions than other characters.

A pixie/imp:

This character is very small, but I didn't want him to be too cutesy, because that wouldn't fit with his cheeky, somewhat abrasive demeanor. I think he came out looking a tad like a scruffier cousin of the Rice Krispies elves...