Dream Theatre: The Astonishing

A new piece for Prog magazine. Accompanying the lead review for a new album by Dream Theater, 'The Astonishing'.

The imagery was to be based on the main concept of the album:
'After a great calamity precipitated a gradual societal collapse, medieval-like feudalism has re-emerged. In the midst of this dystopia a lone voice heralds the arrival of a reawakening in human consciousness - to stir the hearts of the people and shake the very foundations of power.'

As usual, the band are required to be featured, so here they are in the swirls emanating from the guitar head.

Dream Theater: The Astonishing

 

Below you can see the progression of the image from the initial thought through to a more accurate pencil drawing. As usual colours are then developed while working at artwork stage.

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Capturing The Graduates

For The Financial Times. Consultancies are moving faster than large brands like Google and Amazon in snapping up the cream of new college graduates.

Capturing Graduates

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Rare Birds

A design based on the idea of imagined bird species. Combination of simple shapes and colours.

 

Rare Birds

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The Inner Cosmos

Rice University's Rice Magazine wanted a cover and interior image to represent the work of David Eagleman, a neuroscientist whose areas of research include time perception, vision, the senses and synesthesia. He is also a Rice alumnus who had a new six-part PBS TV series and book called "The Brain".

 

While being thought-provoking in their own right, it was requested that the images could sit side by side together by using similar graphic elements and colour palette.

 

As the major themes include the brain and human senses I came up with the cover idea of taking what could be seen as a conventional head and shoulders portrait and then disrupting it so the viewer would have to look a little closer to ascertain exactly what they were looking at - almost like questioning one's own senses. I felt that was a nice way to reflect the subject matter and one that provided scope for the second illustration. I usually like to keep colour schemes minimal and here we're basically looking at a two colour palette.

 

Peering Under The Hood

 

The above right sketch was my first thought which then led to the more considered sketch below which was sent for client approval.

 

The Inner Cosmos

 

These are two initial pencil designs for the interior illustration. Rice preferred the sketch on the left which was then taken to artwork. I continued with the head and shoulders theme, taking the profile view and re-arranging the elements.

 

The Inner Cosmos


The background colour and texture was extended across the spread to accommodate the text introduction to the article.

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The Creative Ape

This started as an idea for a tote bag although I had originally envisioned it with a more colourful and graphic execution. When I started working on it though things took a different direction with a more realistic execution and subdued palette - somehow I had in mind 50s circus posters.

The top right is the first thought that came to mind and under it a more refined sketch - had a lot of trouble with the feet!

 

The Creative Ape

 

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Figures and Forms

Experimenting with figure shapes and forms.

 

Figures

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Exercise Enhances Genes

New spot image and rough sketches for a piece about how exercise enhances genes. The evidence includes a customised bike that exercises one leg at a time - hence the solution for the illustration. Although too abstract for the client's requirements I favour the direction of the top sketch and may work it up into a separate piece.

 

Exercise Enhances Genes

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The Pregnancy Brain 2

Two images for Scientific American Mind magazine for a feature on pregnancy and the physical effects on the brain. The first is about fatherhood and how men go through changes too when a partner is pregnant. The second depicts the depression that can affect mothers leaving them feeling isolated and unable to 'escape' the baby.

 

Pregnancy and The Brain

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Communications of the ACM: Language Translation

This is a full page illustration for Communications of the ACM magazine about two fields of computing science, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human Computer Interaction (HCI), and how they overlap in the design of a system for machine language translation.

 

Language Translation


Although it was quite a technical piece, the core theme was actually quite simple - two things working together on language translation. I started thinking harnessed horses, rowers, dancers etc. but once I hit on a tandem bike I knew that could work.

The sketches below show the conceptual process. Once you have something to draw you're up and running! Starting with the idea of the tandem wheels reading as eyes on a face with a digital brain and mouth emitting a stream of words and letter forms. Didn't like the brain so removed it and added figures. Didn't like the mouth so got rid of that. So it was then a question of finding a nice way to unify the tandem and letter streams.

 

Language Translation


As the wheels were moving it seemed they should be generating the language so I tried a few ways to show that. Once I had them working in a shape I liked I added a little brain above one figure to identify it as AI and cogs above the other to identify it as HCI.

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Discover: The Woman with Knives in her Neck

This illustration was created for Discover magazine and was to accompany an article about how the medical use of marijuana might help people manage physical conditions, rather than psychological ones. I was given a free hand with the interpretation of the image with the stipulation that a marijuana leaf should be included as it would provide a quick visual 'read' for the piece.


Life In Balance: Leaving Neverland


I was aiming to create strong representational image that would compliment the title of the article and knew that I wanted a figurative pose that would be arching in some way as a reaction to the pain. The first sketch, left, was well received but because I'd got so caught up in the figure drawing I'd overlooked the fact that I had not highlighted the neck area. I revised it by bringing the head right forward while keeping the figure position the same. The pain referred to is essentially nerve pain so I was able to include the nervous system while relating it colour-wise to the healing powers of the green leaf.


Discover: The Woman with Knives in her Neck sketches

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