Blog - Illustration

Character Design For AWE

We recently completed work on a character design, along with an assortment of different poses and scenarios, of this fellow for AWE, the company behind our national defence system. 

He's for internal use across the company to promote good practice. This necessitated, in the first instance, several rough designs, and then the final chosen character being drawn up in Adobe Illustrator. The benefit of creating him this way is that Illustrator is a vector-based, not pixel-based, software package, meaning that whatever's created isn't limited by the size it's initially created at. So should AWE require any of the character drawings at different sizes the artwork can be rescaled without loss of quality and remain as crisp and clean as when it was first created.

Drawing Dragons

I'm teaming up with Dr Steven Howard of the University of Wollongong in Australia again following our collaboration on Quincey Quokka's Quest. The plan is for three books based on self-regulation in a child's early years, which is the main focus of Dr Howard's field of study.

Increasingly, children’s self-regulation is being recognised as fundamental to their success in education and later life, with self-regulation relating to stopping doing something even if the child really wants to do it, or to start something even if they really don't. It's a fascinating area of study, and like with Quincey Quokka's Quest we're creating stories around beneficial activities that a child can take part in, so the books can be enjoyed as a rhyming picture book in themselves, but also have the benefit of the self-regulating activities that are tied in directly to the experiences of the character in the story. 

Dr Howard has developed the activities and suggested ways for them to be linked, so it was then my task to work out a potential narrative, construct a fun story in rhyme, and now create the illustrations. I thought it might be amusing to do something with dragons this time, so the first book of the three features Dexter who loses his shopping list while on an errand to the shops and has to recall what he needs to buy. 

Lots of work to still do, but it's interesting just how easy it is to work collaboratively with somebody on the other side of the world thanks to the 
internet. The books are due to go to print later in the year, so more on that when we have it.

Photo Opportunity Board For Hampshire Fare

Hampshire Fare, the not-for-profit group promoting local food and drink, asked us to create a photo opportunity board. They champion over 350 producers, venues and shops, so they had a very specific brief that required the illustration to incorporate as many elements as possible, allow for three face holes, and be suitable for easy construction/collapsing and transportation. 

Working together with Splash Display, a bespoke unit was designed that made the building and moving of it possible, so all that was left was to create an illustration that featured branding, social media messages and logos, a producer and a chef, examples of produce and livestock, a sponsorship logo and relevant cottage, and a cartoon realisation of Hampshire Fare’s hog. Fortunately, this sort of detailed drawing is something we enjoy getting involved with!

The result was revealed at a recent Hampshire Fare networking event at the White Star Tavern in Southampton, where plenty of Hampshire Fare members took full advantage of the new board. Look out for it around Hampshire at events in the coming year.

Theme Park Sign Design: Viking Boats

Paultons Park asked me to redesign their signage for their Viking Boats ride. They've been steadily recreating all their attractions' signs to appear layered or sculpted, giving them a much more interesting 3D feel. To this end, any artwork I create has to bear this in mind so the sign manufacture can select elements to extrude and enhance.

The original sign used a generic viking boat image but I was keen to represent the design of the boats on the actual ride. It's all created as vector artwork using Adobe Illustrator, which has the benefit of allowing it to be scaled to any size without any loss of quality of fuzziness, such as you'd get with a pixel-based illustration. The sign should be in place for when the park reopens in February 2017.

Colour-In Mazes

At the beginning of the year I created a series of colour in mazes for three books to be published by Award Publications on the themes of dinosaurs, farms and the jungle.

It's taken a while to get my copies, but they've finally arrived so I thought I'd share a couple of the mazes here. Each maze comes with a little explanatory text, which I didn't set, hence it missing from the artwork. I'm sure you can work it out.

The Critters Are Coming...

I've been sworn to secrecy up until now, but the artwork's been steadily appearing in the press and online (and there's a nifty TV ad too) so I can start sharing a few bits and pieces I've been doing for Paultons Park. This Easter sees the grand opening of a brand new land, Critter Creek, full of weird and wonderful beasties, odd plants and new attractions. This is a large illustration I did to showcase the land, using a mix of vector drawn elements and a few photos imported into Photoshop as Smart Objects so the illustrations can be resized, rescaled, trimmed down and generally tailored to whatever need. The Critters themselves are the stars of the show, from the Bee-ver to the Duck Billed Newt, and lots more besides, and they're all there to be discovered by the small explorers that visit the park. Promises to be great fun!

Something Secret For Paultons Park

I'm very excited to be involved with a special new project at the brilliant Paultons Park, a family theme park on the edge of the New Forest and home to Peppa Pig World. Part one was to produce a teaser sign, all drawn using vectors in Adobe Illustrator, including the text (so no fonts). It's all going to be a lot of fun, but you're going to have to wait to find out more...

Cartoon Friends

I was asked to draw the above cartoon illustration of two best friends soon to be pulled apart because one family was moving out of the area. Always rough for children to accept and understand, so a really lovely gesture by one of the parents concerned to commission this as a gift for the boys to remember one another. In the finished piece the scarf has their names and date emblazoned across it, but as I'm posting this on the internet for the whole world to see (hello, world) I thought it prudent to remove that part here. 

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