"Hurry!" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Hurry!

Oh how life mirrors art sometimes! When I first saw the topic for this weeks IF I was really excited and bursting with grand ideas for what to do. Eventually though, with the 4 day Jubilee weekend eating so much time I scaled down the idea considerably. But even scaled down it was a lot of work and by yesterday morning I threw in the towel and resigned myself that I just wasn’t going to be able to do something for this week.

This morning though, as I sat at my computer, cat on lap, gazing at the rain as it lashed the window I suddenly got a jolt of inspiration. Reaching for the nearest sketch pad, I leave them littered around the house so there’s usually one near by, and a pencil I doodled a little person trying to get out of the rain – a not uncommon sight in Britain – and suddenly knew that he was in a hurry and with that the race to get this posted in time to add to Illustration Friday listings was on!

"Hurry!" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

“Hurry!” by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

It’s probably not the greatest piece of art in the world as it was, as the topic suggests, hurried. I scanned the sketch to get the idea but used Photoshop to redraw and colour the piece digitally.

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"Rare Sight" by A.R Vincent, Copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Sight

For last weeks Illustration Friday I wanted to do a science fiction illustration – something that was darker than my normal subject matter and maybe hinted at adventure – this week I’m diving in to another genre for Illustration Friday… a genre very, very dear to my heart – fantasy.

So here it is, a rare sighting of the very shy and rarely seen Snarkleblaster but careful he doesn’t catch sight of you… you never know what a startled Snarkleblaster might do!

"Rare Sight" by A.R Vincent, Copyright 2012

“Rare Sight” by A.R Vincent, Copyright 2012

This technique, of combining illustration with photography, is something I’ve seen several times before and is something I’ve wanted to try and I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that it was created using Photoshop. I actually used the photo as the starting point for this and created the Snarkleblaster straight on to the computer, without any preliminary sketches, using my much-loved Wacom graphics tablet (not sure how I ever created anything without one!). Obviously the photo I chose dictated much of how the scene would look and, to be honest, other than that I had no clear idea for the details of the character’s look, instead just following my nose and seeing where the character took me, making the end result quite a surprise!

"Shades" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Shades

I must confess, I would have been happier if this weeks Illustration Friday topic had been ‘shade’ rather then ‘shades’. That little ‘s’ changed, in my mind at least, a nice broad topic to a choice of blinds, sun glasses or paint squatches, all of which I found about as inspiring as quadratic equations or filling out a tax return. To be fair, there are weeks when I’d have been happy to embrace the challenge, think outside the box and break new ground but, with a midweek deadline and a dying computer causing me both literal and metaphorical headaches, its not been that sort of week!

However, I have been reading 2 truly awesome books “The Perfect Bait” by Bobby Chui, whose online tutorials I’ve also been following, and “Masters Collection 1: Digital Painting” by those talented chappies at Focal Press.  So, inspired by the former and interested in testing the techniques shown by the latter, I freestyled an illustration in Photoshop – no plan, no sketches! I’m not displeased with the results but have to say it was way out of my comfort zone… especially as I had to use a mouse rather then a graphics tablet!

Introducing… Shades

Timid and shy, Shades lives in the dark and shadowy places in the world. Despite his huge orange eyes he sees only shades of grey.

"Shades" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

“Shades” by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

In terms of inspiration I think he has a look similar to a lemur or, more specifically, an aye-aye and, as usual, I think there is a kitten-like quality to him too. I feel I should also mention here that I was obviously heavily influenced by the illustration work of Imaginism team as well as the character of Gollum from Ralph Bakshi’s animated adaptation of ‘Lord Of The Rings’.

Oh… and I know that my Illustration Friday offerings of late have been sort of charcter-design-tastic so I will try in the next few weeks to do something a little different…. depending on the topic of course!

Illustration Friday - Yeild - A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Yield

I found this weeks IF topic, yield, a really tough one. Everyone I mentioned it to seemed to instantly think crop yield and suggested pictures of corn, wheat or maize, but I just didn’t feel inspired by grain crops! I did have a bunch of ideas that I didn’t really have the time to do justice to (so I’ve put aside for later) and one sci-fi idea that I actually finished working on before I binned because I didn’t like it.

 But then, whilst trying to find a blank page in the sketch book, I found a doodle I did ages ago and thus Sparky the dragon was born.

Here he is guarding his treasure, it is the yield from plundering dwarf mines and rich elvish cities… or so he claims. Personally, I think he looks a little to cute to do a whole lot of plundering but perhaps, with dragons, it’s the cute ones you have to look out for!

"Rich Pickings" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

"Rich Pickings" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

It did take quite a while to change dragon doodle in to fully Photoshopped illustration and I confess, as I was trying to do this in my spare time, that I did rush a little towards the end. Still, though he’s not perfect, I’m pretty pleased the result.

"Hatch!" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Suspense

I was REALLY inspired by this week’s Illustration Friday topic, “Suspense”. Whereas last time I took a while to hit my stride by brain, full of Hitchcock films and urban fantasy novels, was positively bursting with ideas for this. That said I quickly discarded some of my earlier inspirations – breaking rope, dangling knives and hands on door knobs – for this idea.
"Hatch!" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

"Hatch!" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Inspired by a trip to bird sanctuary many years ago, where I spent ages watching a chick hatch from an egg. It took hours, I stood and watched it when we arrived for maybe twenty minutes, hoping to see the moment when the little critter burst forth from the shell, but nothing much happened so I went round the santuary, went had some lunch in the facilities cafeteria and finally came back hours later to find that the chick had managed to produce another tiny crack in the shell. Hatching it seems is not a speedy process! With that in mind I suddenly thought what it would be like to watch an egg hatch and not know what might crawl out of it. A monster? A pterodactyl? A dragon? So this illustration is set in a dark space, maybe a cave, and the creature has just managed to push enough of the shell away to reveal an eye… and its certainly no fluffy little chick in there!!

This image was done almost entirely digitally, without the preliminary sketch that I usually do as a guide. I used Photoshop to create it, of course, and have tried to incorporate the use of more filters, textures and image manipulation.