Portfolio and Process

On this page you will find links to the various galleries of my work and a description of my current process and future ambitions.

Sketches are finished pencil sketches, either from my Moleskine, or other media.

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Works in Progress are sketches that I’m in the process of vectorising and colouring. There may be multiple instances of the same work at various stages in the process. This relies on me remembering to screenshot them while I’m working on them, which I may not do if I’m zoned into the work 😉

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Finished Works are pieces that I have completed to my satisfaction and are available for printing. They’ll be posted along with a best suggested size and rough quote for obtaining a signed and numbered print which will be limited to 50 per finished piece.

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Once you’ve bought any product with my work on it, I’d love it if you sent me a photo of it in use or in situ. These will go in my Patron Submissions gallery (which doesn’t exist yet as I’ve not had any photos sent to me)

I’ll be adding a gallery for commissions too once I’ve had some. These will be the finished pieces for commissioned work, so won’t be available as prints, except to those who commissioned them.

The Process

Tools: Graded Graphite Pencils, Ruler, Set-square, compasses, Moleskine unlined notebook, Camera phone, Windows PC, Inkscape, GIMP, WordPress.com, Facebook Pages, Twtter, Instagram, Hootsuite Social Media Manager

My current process starts on the first of each month with the thumbnailing of some compositions and layouts, the aim being to have pencil sketches of each finished before the month is out. I’m currently managing to get 6 or 7 ideas from concept to finished sketch in a month. I have a rule that if I’m in the middle of a sketch from one of my thumbnails and it remains unfinished at the end of the month I abandon it and start on some new thumbnails.

When developing the thumbnail concepts and compositions I generally have a decent picture in my head of what the finished piece will look like and go looking for reference images that may assist me in bringing it together. Oddly the colours and shading fluctuate quite a lot until I come to nail it down in Inkscape,

The sketches are completed in my Moleskine, a standard, unlined 12x21cm, softback notebook. I’m on Volume 7 at the moment with the previous volumes being filled with writing and less ordered sketches and doodles. I plan to get some larger format pads and paper, for sketching larger pieces. The Moleskine is great for portability, but larger works would require far better eyesight than mine.

These are then photographed with my phone and uploaded to the various social networks, and emailed to myself for ease of access from my PC. I’m still looking for a decent setup for taking photos of the sketches, and eventually a scanner will be needed.

The photos of the sketches are then tweaked a bit in GIMP to make them easier to trace. This generally means adjusting the brightness and contrast, and sometimes desaturating the image down to black and white.

I then import the bitmap into Inkscape and am still nailing down a workflow. I tend not to work on sections of the pieces in any particular order, but I do like to finish any section I start before moving on to the next. I get the general shapes traced and outlined as vectors in Inkscape and then start thinking about colouring.

I’ve discovered that using the various options for layering, blurring, and opacity manually are far more flexible and intuitive than the in built filter editor. I’m sure if I read up on it I can make use of it though, it would appear to be useful for applying a series of fill and stroke effects to multiple paths, but I’ll need to look into it more.

Once a piece is finished to my satisfaction I’ll post it as such and make the necessary calculations to price the signed prints. Once I have a PoD supplier sorted out I’ll also make sure that unsigned canvases and posters are available.

Then I move on to the next vector job. I’m currently vectorising the sketches in the order that they were completed. You can work out how far behind I am if you take a look at the galleries…

Commissions and other side projects may interrupt the above process, but will follow it themselves as they are worked on to completion. At which point I’ll pick up where I left off.

Ideas for the Future

I’d like to have the space to work on large pieces, in different media. The largest Sketch I can manage at the moment would be A3. A definite future project if I ever get the space and wherewithal is to project some of my current sketches onto walls or large (I mean really large) canvases and work on them that way.

A longer term goal is to submit some work to the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition. Not only would that raise my profile from a marketing standpoint, with the right people, but it would also give me an avenue to sell a couple of pieces.

Sculpture is another avenue I’d quite like to explore. Paper or card craft would seem to be the best suited to the forms I seem to be developing so far. But I’m also toying with digital 3D modelling, Papier Mache, and LEGO as possible sculpting media.

Print on Demand services are an avenue that I’d also like to explore which will involve adapting and sectioning some pieces of my work to fit various products. I’m still looking for a suitable supplier that has a wide enough range of products and printing options, and offers a decent return for me and decent value for their customers.

Acknowledgements.

I can’t get to the point where I can realise these artistic and creative dreams on my own though, and wouldn’t have the confidence to pursue it without the support of my friends and family.

My heartfelt thanks to my Mum and  Dad (they know who they are) who have been a rock of support and guiding beacon throughout my life and continue to be to this day. More thanks to the Queen of my heart, Anna. I do all this for us, and can do it all the better with your love and support.

Deserved acknowledgements also go to those of my Facebook friends who reacted positively to my first tentative posts of my initial sketchings. Your reactions were the spur that got me here, and maybe further.

Further thanks are in order to each and every person who has ever, shared, tweeted, reblogged, or regrammed anything of mine, and all those who will do so in future.

Patrons Hall of Fame (COMING SOON)

There’s no-one here yet but I’ll be posting the names (or pseudonyms, or simply ‘Anon’, if you choose) of those who purchase any of the limited numbered and signed prints, along with the title of the piece, print number, and a thumbnail of the print itself. There will only be 50 of each finished piece sold in this way and here is where I will show my appreciation. As mentioned above I can post a pseudonym or just ‘Anon’ if you would rather remain a mysterious benefactor 😉

A Final Appeal

As well as not being able to pursue this to the ends I want to without the support of my family and friends. Neither can I do so without your continued support and encouragement. So please, If you can’t afford a print or PoD product, or leave a small tip (how much is a cup of coffee?), and you like what I do; please do share, like, tag, reblog, retweet, regram, and send by carrier pigeon. I get notified every time someone does this and every single time is worth more than any amount of money in the encouragement and validation it gives me.

Thank you for visiting, and reading all of the above. I predict that you’ll be one of a very small number. I wouldn’t have written it if I didn’t think it was important.

M out

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