Emperor of Sand

Emperor of Sand


Prog magazine gave me a call and asked if I would be interested in illustrating their review of the new album by Mastodon, Emperor of Sand. A concept album, it features a central character who is forced to wander a desert after being handed a death sentence by the titular emperor. Although I was unaware of the band, who could resist the opportunity of depicting the Emperor of Sand?

Emperor of Sand

I knew almost immediately how the character himself would appear but needed to consider how best to incorporate the band (always a requirement for the review illustrations). Once the pencil sketch was approved I worked out a tonal version to use as a guide and then applied the colours. Consciously using a relatively muted palette so as to not over-dramatise things.

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Harp Love

Harp Love


I was recently working on an editorial piece where I was asked to submit sketches to pinpoint the direction for the final illustration. Among the sketches I sent over was this one. I felt there was a nice image to be had there so took the time to work it up into a final piece. A simple graphic image! Something I always aspire to achieve wherever possible.

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The Sedentary Life

The Sedentary Life


This image popped into my mind seemingly out of nowhere but does reflect something of present day concerns with those who live a sedentary life - beware illustrators, this could be you!

I wanted to do this one fast so instead of cleaning everything up after scanning I just worked directly on top of the rough and kept in all the bits of tracing paper, tape and perspective lines. I liked the idea of sepia toning so as to give it a feel of someone in the future looking back to see what life was like today.

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Diversity

Diversity


I was asked by Georgetown University to produce a banner illustration to show a diversity of people, ethnicities, genders and ages. While waiting for the brief I had started to do some pen drawings of heads and envisaging a way the banner might work. The yellow version here is an option but as it turns out the requirements called for a high level of realism - more of a photo/collage look.

Diversity

These rough line scamps were intended to show the layout. Larger heads in front, receding in size with rows of people behind.

Diversity

These were three alternatives of which the all-blue version was the preferred option.

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Version Galore

Dancer Process


I love to create 'versions'. I got what I wanted with no. 4 here but have continued to look at ways of making other versions.

It's one of the oft-overlooked benefits of the digital age - the relative ease in which 'versions' of pieces can be created and stored. It used to be that traditional materials dictated that the artist 'nailed their colours to the mast' when creating a new piece but with the tools of today that no longer need be the case. Versions can be tried and tested, colour options run through and even different rendering methods are all available to the illustrator to experiment with. The danger of course is getting lost in the myriad of possibilities. To that end personal work is essential from a creative point of view so the results of successful experiments can later be incorporated into professional jobs. In that way the artist can continue to develop and evolve in a commercial marketplace.

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