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
Sketching at Hore Abbey
The impressive Athassel Abbey 
The very well preserved bridge at 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.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Dunmore East

One of the 4 cove beaches in Dunmore east

One of the many thatched houses

The last remnants of the Medieval castle at Dunmore East

Badgers cove in Dunmore East

One of the nice rows of thatched cottages in the village

Was a busy weekend, besides going around Waterford medieval heritage, I had a walk around the little seaside village of Dunmore East in south east Waterford. It has 4 nice little picturesque coves, strange red rock cliffs, about 20 odd thatched cottages and even a little bit of a Medieval castle. A lovely town, well worth visiting

Sketches from Medieval Waterford Sceitse

Beach Tower, one of Waterford City wall towers 

Window at Blackfriars Abbey

Sketches from yesterdays sketch stroll around Waterford citys medieval heritage with the sketch group, Sceitse. Was great to have a chance to properly explore some of Waterford citys medieval heritage

Medieval Waterford Sketch Stroll

Beach Tower 

A mini Drink & Draw

Greyfriars Abbey

A reconstruction of a Viking Longship made using ancient techniques

Another of the city towers

Three of the citys towers and wall

Yesterday I went for a sketch stroll around Waterfords Medieval heritage with the sketch group Sceitse. Was a great day of sketching, laughs and interesting conversations, while visiting medieval city walls, abbeys, city wall towers, church ruins and a Viking longship, cant ask for a better way of spending a Sunday. More on Sceitse here:


Friday, 26 September 2014

Still life sketching workshop Leaflet

From the Ebony & Irony leaflet which shows tomorrows still life sketching workshop at the Ebony and Irony festival. At the workshop you'll be shown the basics of sketching still life, with an archaeological twist, as we sketch iron objects and rocks in graphite from life. More here in this Facebook event:


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Drink and Draw Sketch

On my visit to Cork this week I also went to visit friends of mine at Cork Drink & Draw, probably the best creative meetup in Cork. While there I had a chance to work out the above sketch of a creature sketch. Its got no real purpose, twas simply created for soley for fun

Still life Sketching Workshop

Ill be teaching a workshop on sketching old iron objects and rocks in graphite from life at the Black and White festival at the Brandon House Hotel in New Ross, Wexford. This workshop on Still Life sketching with an archaeological twist is for beginners and is on this Saturday the 27th from 3 pm-4:30 pm with a €5 entry fee, art supplies will be supplied at the event. The workshop is part of the larger Ebony & Irony Fringe Fest going on New Ross this weekend.

You can find out more about the event here on this Facebook event:


The location of the event can be found here on the hotels sight:


All welcome, hopefully ill see some of ye there!

Sketches from Cork Museum

Christ Church Iron Spearhead (Maybe Viking)

Christ Church Iron Buckle (Maybe 17th Century)

I took an hour out of my day on Tuesday as well and popped into Cork Museum in Fitzgeralds Park to look at the collection of later medieval objects they had on showcase there. While there I did these two sketches.

One was a Spearhead found in Christ Church Cork. The plague in the museum said it could be Viking, but the shape of the spearhead is common in quite a lot of periods, like the Lisnacrogher Iron Age Spearhead, I have seen a Norman spearhead found in Britain similar looking as well, the style was quite common. I suppose "if it aint broke, dont fix it"

Another is an Iron Buckle found at Christ Church Cork again, and at the museum it said, that it was probably the 17th. But D shaped buckles were common I believe in the later middle ages too, so Im not so sure

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Cork Life Drawing Group

A drawing from Cork Life Drawing Group on Monday. Really enjoyed their new format with the inventive lighting, cool space and great model, if you're in Cork, you should definitely attend!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

A life of filled with Sketchbooks

Recently, the Islanders (a group Im part of) have been doing a series of posts about each of our sketchbooks and our sketchbooking, so Im posting that post here too.

Right, my sketchbooking life can be broken into two; outdoor sketching, and indoor sketching. Even the outdoor sketching can be split between my kit for painting and my kit for drawing.

For drawing, I always have a little A6 sketchbook in the inside jacket pocket on one side and in the other a little fold up pencil case. (All my jackets must have 2 inside pockets, otherwise they are burnt in flames.... or just not worn)

This is my main sketchbooking, I do this kind of sketching all the time. They are for any time I get a free moment to sketch, whether that is; standing in the queue, having a beer with friends, waiting on transport or a person, sitting in the bus etc, if there is one thing I have learnt from fellow Islander Kevin Gough, its never waste a minute.

I have a variety of pens and pencils in the wrap up pencil case. The pens are mostly just different size nibs as well as different style nibs (felt tipped, hard metal etc), also there is a white pen for highlights and sometimes for error correction and adding white over black. The pencils I carry are: clutch pens, a mechanical pencil, graphite stick, a graphite stick clutch pen etc. Also a white conte pencil, a rubber pencil, some sanding paper for sharpening, a ruler and newly added a Chamomile leather for blending, (not used that much yet). Its amazing how much you can fit into that thing.....

For painting, I carry a camera case for the belt, which I only take on longer walks or Sceitse's, as painting is a longer process thing, it takes 2 or 3 mins just to setup, no matter what kit you have, so not something you do when you have only 2-3 mins to sketch

 Its handy old thing though, as I cram quite a bit into it. It has a watercolour box, an A6 Watercolour pad(I think the same as Mikes), a top of a jar (for water), some rag cuts, small kids paint brushes (so as to fit) and recently added some gouache paint tubes (I havent used them properly yet tho)

The 2nd form of sketchbooking is the stuff I do in indoors, this is to aid final pieces and is geared more towards work and final illustrations. I have several different sketch pads for this, it just depends on the final piece Im working on and what part of the pre-finish piece Im doing. Shown are Hot press papers for paintings, bristol boards for inking, and those cheap moleskins Mike talked about previously, for initial rough sketches for composition, character design etc.  (Also included in the pic below is the tonal paper I use for life drawing, its here solely because I do life drawing indoors :) )

Alot of these pads wouldnt be cheap but not expensive either, middling in price. Generally I do my sketches on the exact same paper as my finals, as I need to know what they will look like before I commit ideas to the final piece. But Im talking more about the more developed idea sketches here rather than initial roughs, which are done in the cheap moleskin as said previously. To show what Im talking about when I say "more developed idea sketches", Ill leave you with ones I did for Corbally Neolithic village before I did the final piece.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Life Drawing at Soma

A sketch from Life drawing today in Soma Life Drawing Waterford, if you're in Waterford I recommend attending, its a great group, very laid back and small intimate sessions. They can be found here:


Monday, 15 September 2014

Visiting Mahon Falls with Sceitse

Mist caked Mahon Falls

On the way up Mahon Falls

Rork cliffs at the top of the waterfall

Sitting on top of the mountain looking down

Treenearla Commons Standing Stone/Gallán 

View from ontop Crohaun Mountain

View of East Cork/West Waterford from Crohaun mountain
During the weekend I went for a bit of a sketch hike with fellow artists in the group Sceitse, where we headed to Mahon Falls in the Comeragh mountains and Crohaun mountain in the Monavullagh mountains. Great day of brilliant views, misty mountains and warm sunshine in the later evening.