Sunday, 7 December 2014

Megalith hunting

I took a wrong turn but found this cool castle on the road, apparently its a 13th-15th century Butler castle (on a site note, later on it was owned by a family named Sherlock!)

Cnoc an Challaigh/Gaulstown Portal tomb- a lovely secluded but easily accessible tomb, huge too, capstone was over 4m in length!

As all portal tombs, it has a lovely profile

Ballymoat Gallán, an impressive standing stone- 3.7m in height! 

Matthewstown Passage tomb- a moundless passage tomb with lovely views west

I took sometime off today and headed to south waterford, near Tramore and went looking for some pretty famous tombs and megaliths that I hadnt got to yet. It nice, cold as hell, but clear and sun was welcome. All sites were fairly recluse and so I was able to get long periods of quiet time with them to soak up the vibes

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Pen Porn

My main pens in front and my basket of various pens in the background
My post for this months themed week about process etc. Ill just make this post about my tools as I did a post there recently about the overall process of working. Right, my main medium is pen and ink which at this stage I think I have tried every ink pen imaginable in the last 6-7 year of inking, but I mostly like fineliners/multiliners etc. My main pens would be microns and uni pins for most work as they give nice solid lines, but for fine work I use the Copics multiliners as they have a felt tip which is so delicate, great for layering of values and small texture and detail. I also use staedtler Pigment liners.....which I just realised I forgot to include in the photos............ when I need to create a more duller black, can be nice to add more variety in your blacks or greys.

In the last few months I have taken to using a uniball white pen over black to hatch over blacks as well as correct mistakes. Sometimes I then use a stanley knife to hatch over the white to blend them more, kind of like mini etching. I also use this white pen at times to create different shades of white in an image.

Recently I have taken to using calligraphy pens, since they have a nice flat top, which gives interesting lines and shadows but also makes it easier drawing more technical modern buildings. My brush pen is there for creating thick blacks and interesting lines and shapes. I also starting playing with markers like the Staedtler Lumocolor, which I love, as they make fun shaped blacks and lines too

Pen PORN!!!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Rock of Cashel Guoache

Still playing around with Gouache, getting the knack of it now, here is another piece done to experiment with Gouache, its a painting of the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Sheepstown Church, Casltemorris Forest and Aghavillar Church & Tower

Sheepstown 12th century Church, Kilkenny
Castlemorris woods, Kilkenny
Nothing beats a woods in the mist
I just couldnt get enough of it
Rhododendron tunnel
Aghaviller Church & Round tower
I took some time today and went for a forest walk in southern Kilkenny with the other half, on the way I stopped at a 12th century Irish church before having one of the most amazing walks I have ever had through castlemorris mist cakes woods. Right next to the woods is Aghaviller church and round tower, a lovely ruin too, with access to the 2nd floor in the church, which looks more like a castle

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Look what just came in the mail!

Some recreated Neolithic Arrowheads. The one in the furthest left is a Conygar Hill barbed arrowhead type from Britain, but the rest are Ballyclare antrium type arrowheads. 2 are Black English flint, 1 in grey flint and the other in Chert (white one). I had them make 2 of them in necklaces so I can stab myself as I walk ;). They are fantastic, I love the look of flint,  I drifted them from:

Monday, 24 November 2014

Sketches from Ardmore

St. Declans Church

Father O'Donnell's Well

Sketches from yesterdays trip to Ardmore in West Waterford, it lovely ruins there, they were alot of fun to draw

Sunday, 23 November 2014


Cliffs of Ardmore
A modern crane broken off and now resting off the cliffs

The early monastic settlement of St Declan

The Round  tower and gable end with its relief sculpture

Sunset in Ardmore

I spent the day out and about with sketch adventure group 'Sceitse' today, we went to Ardmore for a great day of  sketch walking along its cliff walks with its many great sites while being blessed with great weather. More on Sceitse can be found here:

Friday, 21 November 2014

Ross Castle Gouache Sketch

Still playing around with Gouache, the above is a greyscale painting sketch of Ross castle in Killarney (ahem an O'Donoghue castle) done just to have fun and test gouache a bit

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Neolithic Raid- A Process

Right click and open in new tab to see larger image
Above shows my process in making inked drawings these days. It starts with working on very loose sketches, thinking about the image in broad strokes essentially.

Recently I have added a digital sketch phase to my process, after the suggestion by Eva Widermann at Eoin Coveneys Art Critique group. Its a handy way of doing things because you can be very loose and redraw things 50 billion times without damage to the paper, also I can think a little ahead about roughly how I will ink it and easily work out the perspective/poses/lighting etc

Then I print it out, lightbox it, and then draw it, this is where I start to really setup a map of how I will ink later on, add things like costume, tighten the poses and work out some of the mark making designs for later. Its handy way too, as you are essentially redrawing the image again, and so I can sometimes spot mistakes I made in digital inking and correct them e.g. the 2nd house in the bottom left.

Finally, I take the drawing and render it with ink, essentially cementing the drawing but this is also where the real magic takes place and the fun starts, with adding more mood, real strong values and interesting textures and designs etc.

The Final Piece

Sunday, 16 November 2014

JFK Arboretum, Sliabh Coillte & Whitechurch Stone Row

Visited the JFK Arboretum today, its a nice collection of trees from all over the world

Beside it is Sliabh Coillte, a small 200-300m hill

When ontop the mountain mist descended

A special treat was watching  sunset over the River Barrow
I finished up at the nearby Whitechurch stone row, you can see Sliabh Coillte there in the background
I had a lucky day of clear weather today, so perfect for a bit of walking and exploring, so myself and the other half headed to Western Wexford and visited the JFK Arboretum, created with donations from Irish Americans in memory of said US president. Beside it was a small hill but with great views and I went a bit off the beaten track to finish up in a 3,000 year old stone row, not bad for a day!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Living on a River

Recently I moved to an apartment in Waterford city that has a balcony view of the river, the following are a few shots from my apartment.

The river at Twlight

Mist breaking up on the river

Earlier in the day the river was even more submerged in mist

Early morning on the river

The river has many faces, I have never lived directly on one before, and it is amazing how teeming with life it is and how different it feels at different times of the year or day

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Woodstown Book Launch

I did the illustration of the Woodstown Viking warrior for this book by the NRA and Four Courts Press.

The launch of the book is on Tuesday 4 November 2014 at 7.00 p.m. sharp in the Waterford Treasures Medieval Museum, Waterford

Opening Lecture delivered by Dr Gareth Williams of the British Museum, entitled- ‘The Vikings and their World’. Light refreshments sponsored by the Byrne family afterwards

About the book

Friday, 17 October 2014

Neolithic Raid

An illustration of what an Neolithic raid could have looked like. There is evidence of violence in the Neolithic period, one notable example is Poulnabrone portal tomb in Clare, one of the people found during excavations had a flint arrow head/projectile point in his hip, others had healed fractures.

I cant recall where I read it now, but I believe there was another Neolithic house that was found to be burned down and I think some arrowheads and the like found, which according to the account I read, could point to an attack of sorts (though alternative theories on Neolithic houses in general suggest to them being burnt down as part of a ritual at the end of a houses' life as well).

Personally, id say this kind of thing did happen, perhaps not as much as later periods when the landscape became more occupied and the struggle for resources intensified. But I would bet that some whose livelihood was lost because of one thing or another, may have decided to prey off of others to survive. Or perhaps there were those who made their entire existence off of it, cast outs. Its conjecture but probably then, as now, the biggest danger one had to worry about was other people.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Dream Project

Mesolithic Hunter site at the Irish National Heritage Park
This week, the Islanders are doing a theme week on our Dream projects- where you plan or wish to work. My entry to that, ill put up here in my own blog too. Its a bit more fanciful, as my dream job doesnt exist but sure its a dream project right? What would be great to do is to make whole real life reconstructions from start to finish. So start with the research, then sketches, drawing and painting until you get a full reconstruction illustration and then finally doing the building of that reconstruction. The first part I already do, just need to convince people to let me do the 2nd :).

Viking Longphort at Irish National Heritage Park
Would be so great to have a chance to see you're illustrations in action and start from a vague sketches to fully realised house. Get to see all the pitfalls and intricacies of making that site, filling out the place with various clutter etc. Could make whole settlements, even whole parks! Like the Irish National Heritage park in Wexford or Butser Ancient farm in Sussex etc. Imagine getting to walk around in one of illustrations? Actually be inside your illustration, seeing it in the flesh, getting to touch it! Cant get better than that right?

Early Medieval ecclesiastical Settlement at the Irish National Heritage Park
As I said previously though, such a job doesnt exist at the moment but Im working on it ;). Perhaps someday ill build it out my back garden or just keep creating illustrations until someone lets me do it :)
Butser Ancient Farm, Sussex

Monday, 13 October 2014

Sketches from Cashel and Around

Hore Abbey, beside the Rock of Cashel

A medieval door of questionable validity within Cashel Palace

Yesterday I joined sketch group Sceitse to sketch explore around Cashel for a day. Was a great day out, you can see more about it in my other post here:

Cashel and Around

A misty morning at Donaghmore, a 9th century Church with steep pitched roof
Its beautiful Romanesque Doorway
Carron, a 4000 year old Henge monument, not much left of it now, think stonehenge but in wood
Ráth na Drinne, a 4 embanked ringfort
The highly inappropriately named Hore Abbey, with the Rock of Cashel beyond
The impressive Athassel Abbey 
|The beautiful Gothic doorway at Athassel Abbey
Over the weekend I went sketch exploring south and west of Cashel with sketch group Sceitse. We had a great day for it, starting with spooky mist till around 10 am and the rest of the day being glorious sunshine, it was a joy to be about. Amazing sites too, from a Bronze Age henge, to an Early medieval Ringfort, and then onto later Medieval Abbeys, we saw some pretty amazing places, while chatting, laughing and sketching as we went, exactly as a Sceitse should be.