Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Mesolithic Characters- Close up

Close ups of the Mesolithic characters faces that I recently created. 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Mesolithic Shaman

The last of the Mesolithic concepts Im going to do for a while, this one is a Shaman or whatever a religious figure back then would have been called. This one is more fantastical than the others, as she has barely any non perishable materials on her, which are usually the only things found in Mesolithic Sites, except the obsidian rock on the end of her staff, which is one of the worked materials found from Mesolithic Europe. Her tattoos are based off archaeological evidence though, they are from the Ertebølle Paddle found in Denmark..

The rest of her costume is based off what could have been possible at the time. For instance a bear skinned top, using shells sown into tops as decoration, bog cotton hung from her belt etc, these are simple forms of decoration, that were readily available in Ireland as well as elsewhere at the time but wouldnt survive in the archaeological record.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Mesolithic Aquatic Hunter

Just finished another Mesolithic character concept inspired by archaeological evidence. This concept is more of an aquatic hunter compares to the last. Because of this he carries tools used in his hunting  like harpoons, various fish hooks and various implements hanging from his belts. And he also wears the product of the hunting like a mussel and razor shell necklace, seal skin top and fish skin shoes. They probably would have also hunted some animals and birds just for the sake of a particular fur or feather as decoration, so he has some animals like badgers worn as decoration.

Some of what he is wearing is actually based or inspired by European archaeological evidence from the Mesolithic period. So his hair is inspired by Spanish silhouette cave paintings at the time (and a good dose of guesswork, as they are only silhouettes) but some have quite protruding hairstyles, which possibly may have been created with a combination of twigs, leather straps and strings and dirty matted hair (no evidence for combs yet from that period). There has been finds of seashell necklaces from France, though here I used more readily available seashells from Ireland.

Birch bark containers have been foud in Nizhneye Veretye in Eastern Europe, but here the containers dangling from his bag are inspired by the shape of later finds with Otzi but also made of birch bark. As is the leather scabbard from Otzi but the moss hilt is based on an Irish Mesolithic find. The bone fish hooks have been found in northern Germany and Denmark from the time, and the other barbed tools hanging from his belt are based on evidence from Britain and Scandinavia. Finally the Tattoos are mostly from designs found in Denmark on antler shafts or in one case, an oar but the occasional filler is from pebbles found in Mesolithic France and Spain

So as you can see this guy has quite a few bits and bobs inspired by archaeology as well as what materials were available.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Cahir Sketches

One of the corner towers at Caher Castle

Portcullis at Cahir Castle

My Favourite sketches from sketch exploring Cahir castle yesterday with sketch group Sceitse

Cahir Sceitse

The impressive Cahir Castle

The Entrance to Cahir Castle

The Swiss Cottage, just outside Cahir town

Cahir Abbey

Knockgraffon Motte, the tallest Motte in Ireland, just outside Cahir

Great day out exploring Cahir and its surrounds today, a great little town, with lots to see.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Messing with Markers

Just a bit of fun, I sketched out this vehicle, for no reason really but just to sketch for sketches sake. I also recently started to play around with markers, besides the occasional problem figuring out layering, they are great craic to play with! The above is my first finished sketch with them

Monday, 27 April 2015

Early Anglo Norman sites

Dungarvan Motte- a possible Motte in the middle of a residential area

View looking west from ontop of Dungarvan Motte

Dungarvan castle- one of the early 'Royal' castles of Ireland

Inchiquin castle- a much ruined late 12th century Anglo Norman round castle

The river Dissour beside Inchiquin castle
On my way to Cork I took a stop at some of the early Anglo Norman heritage in West Waterford & East Cork, from the late 12th century or around the 1200's, at; Dungarvan motte, Dungarvan castle and Inchiquin castle.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Music in the Woods Poster

I was commission by Glenbower Wood to do a poster for them for their upcoming 'Music in the Woods' event on Sunday May 3rd. I have been to Glenbower in East Cork before and its one of the nicest I have visited for sure, loads there, enough to fill a day. So if you're in the area you should definitely go, it sounds like a great event, music & forest, cant ask for better!

Monday, 20 April 2015

A day in the Galtees

Cahir Castle

The views looking south

Sketching with friends for the day


The Galtees, looking West


The views from Galtybeg

The views south from 

Spent a glorious day in Galtymore with Sceitse, what a day! Brilliant weather, amazing views and lots laughs along the way with great company, a good way to spend a Sunday

Friday, 17 April 2015

Developing the Mesoltihic- A Character

Stage 1: Silhouettes, some based off Mesolithic Cave painting silhouette figures. Stage2:  Picking 14 of these making them larger, developing them a little more 

Stage 3: Taking 5 of the 14 and developing these further to more realised forms

Just showing some of my process involved in making a character, in this case a Mesolithic hunter. I  started with what is quite common in character design, silhouettes, except for kicks, I decided to use Mesolithic Cave paintings from Spain to make it more interesting. They have a variety of great cave paintings from the period, but unlike previous periods where the artwork was quite detailed, in the Mesolithic, they are more like silhouetted figures. Great fun for character design though, as these hint at possible costumes and wild hair that they could have had. Now its possible these were just bad drawing mistakes on the part of the artists, but in this case since its concept design, I decided to go with the interpretation that they are based off real figures.

Probably the most fun was this wild hair hinted, some splayed in all sorts of directions, puting modern hairstyles to shame in their creative mess. This is especially cool since there is no finds which show what kind of hair they had at the time. Now to interpret the silhouettes I have to think how that hair would work in real life, now I know they didnt have gel nor mouse but maybe they used other things, like tying it in leather strings & wraps or even bent twigs. Also they had no combs back then, nor did they probably ever wash their hair, so they would have been thick matted dirty greasy messes on their heads, but on the flipside, probably easier to shape, like dreadlocks except made of matting. And while flint tools are sharp, they arent as precise as metal scissors so their haircuts would have been rough and ready.

I always try to think like this when doing artwork, what would have been possible, what has been found, but also imagine how the clothing/hair/jewelry would have been put together and what it would feel like to move in, and bear these in mind as I design the character,

Another thing I had to keep in mind was the idea that this guy was a hunter, so he couldnt be too mad decorative nor too noisy if he didnt want to startle his prey. The Spanish cave paintings had some really wild looking clothing though, that would be quite noisy but that may be because they hunted in packs in Spain as great herds of animals survived there like in Palaeolithic and noise may have helped in herding their prey. But in the case of Northern Europe there was no great herds anymore to hunt, so they mostly hunted aquatic animals, fish, seals etc. With the occasional hunting large prey in the woods, but this could take a long time to get one and also often ended in failure, so it was the aquatic life that was their more day to day food.

They also would have used snares and trapping to catch smaller animals. Bearing this in mind, I was allowed to be a bit creative in the cloth designs, because noise wouldnt have been as much an issue with fish, seals and trapping, and one can remove clothing/items before approaching a snare. Also one has to bear in mind that sometimes in prehistory by wearing certain animals, they thought they gained some of that animals attributes, so for spiritual reasons they may have hunted wearing them. Finally, they could have been travelling for quite a bit before they finally found prey, so they would have bring quite a bit with them, in case it took them a few days, not like they are moving house, but enough to sleep rough for a day or two. The bags and the like they would probably lay down then once they were near their prey. Of course it also depends in which part of the hunt you are showing them, on the search, or already found them and about to hunt, so the designs reflect these two ideas

Right thats enough of my jibber jabber. I hope you all gained some insight into the thinking that goes into the designing one of these. In the next phase, Im going to take 2 or 3 of these guys and roughly paint them, and then take one on to the final full painting and rendering. I plan to post once more with the conceptual work before I go onto the final. Till then!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Playing around with Corel Painter

After 10 attempts at painting different models from photos with Corel Painter, I'm finally getting something ok-ish from it, great program once you get the hang of it!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Reginalds Tower Sketches

Bone Flute, Hiberno Norse Waterford, 1150

Pricket Candlestick, Hiberno Norse Waterford, 1150

A few weeks ago I had a few hours to sketch in Reginalds tower in Waterford city. One of the best things about the city is its three museums with their great collections and Reginalds tower is one of them, well worth the €3 admission. If you're there to sketch though you have to seek permission from the OPW. But they are very good about it and accommodating, and sketching at the museum makes it well worth the asking!

The first sketch above is a a bone flute from Viking Waterford, or at that stage, Hiberno Norse Waterford, from 1150, its apparently from the bone of a swan or goose. The other is also from around the same time, its a Pricket Candlestick from 1070-1150, it said on the information plaque "its ensconced in a joint in masonry or in a wooden post"

Friday, 10 April 2015

Mesolithic Wanderer- Concept Art Character

I have been toying with the idea of doing concept art for games for some time, while I have played around with it on occasion this is my first serious attempt. Often when I do lots and lots..... and lots of research for archaeological illustration, I have to go with the safe route, sometimes I can be a little adventurous in my interpretations, but I can't go too far. But with concept art I can explore all those other ideas, that have to be left aside as being perhaps too out there as I build a portfolio. Where the image is more inspired by the evidence, rather than restrained by it. Plus all that research (I often end up doing more research than time on an image) just makes me itching to go out and play visually with the information, its great fun! :)

As I said the image is inspired by the evidence though, but also from working with archaeologists and talking with them (sorry if I cant remember which idea came from whom!). Rather than my usual as well of mostly basing imagery off Irish evidence, this image is a combination of Irish and European evidence from the Mesolithic. So for instance the tattoos are based off painted Mesolithic pebbles in southern France and northern Spain, the bow and arrows on Scandinavian evidence, while the back container is from Irish fish traps etc. (No reason they couldn't have used the same technology to make containers as well as fish traps!). It was nice to try and go for the bit more wilder version of the evidence, if you look at Otzi and the items and clothing they found on him, it was way out there, more than one could imagine it being, so the more imaginative interpretations may actually be closer to the truth than we think (or could just wishful thinking on my part too ;) ).

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

A week of West Cork

The flatlands north of Claragh Mountain

Cairn at the top of Claragh mountain, outside Millstreet
Kilmartin Lower Ogham stones on the way home

Beautiful blue from the Goats path in Sheeps Head

Kilcrohane and Mizen head from Sheeps head

Sheeps Head loop

Sheeps Head lighthouse

Sheeps head showing off

Altar Wedge Tomb

The back of Dunlough castle

Seals basking in the sun on the way to Garinish Island

One of the spectacular views on Garinish Island

Nothing but spectacular on Garinish Island

Italian Temple on Garinish Island

Italian Castilla Garinish Island

Lady Bantry Lookout

Im just back from spending a week in west Cork exploring with long time artist friend Richard Smythe and his wife Jurgita.We spent a day climbing Claragh mountain and looking out over the fertile flatlands of North Cork, another strolling in the sunshine on the barren but beautiful Sheeps head, exploring archaeology on Mizen head and finished off with a relaxing day of sunshine and tremendous views in Garinish Island and Glengarriff woods.  Was a great week out, even with a multitude of seasons and weather, still had a great time, lots of laughs and more good memories than you could count!

Monday, 6 April 2015

Uragh & Gleninchaquin Park

Healy Pass

Waterfall at Gleninchaquin Park, looks like an angry monster head

Gleninchaquin Park

Cummeenadillure Loch 

Streams in the mountains above

The spectacularly situated Uragh Stone Circle

Uragh Stone Circle with friends
Just back from a week holiday with friends of mine who came over from Sussex, England, Landscape painter & Illustrator Richard Smythe and his wife Jurgita. The photos are from one of the days where we teamed up with Sceitse and braved the bad weather to do a loop at the base of Beara peninsula, stopping in the Northern part of the Beara, at the astounding scenic stone circle of Uragh and the beautiful Gleninchaquin Park. What a day!