Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: 'The Emperor's Legs'- Inn Enemy in Shadows: Companion, Cubicle 7

Emperors Legs

Screenshot of the Ratter Article

Another piece I did for the Enemy in Shadows: Companion. Thanks to Charlotte Hamilton, the Ratter magazine has just released an interview that I did for that publication, where I go into detail on the making of this illustration, found here:

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Berebeli -Enemy in Shadows Companion

An illustration of the Berebeli boat, done for the Enemy in Shadows Companion game set in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay universe. This one was great fun to do, it was another collaborative thingy, with Daniel Kovács doing a great creative map of the main boat, which I then took into perspective and matched its dimensions. Thankfully in archaeology I used to take lots of maps and work their specific dimensions out in perspective so it was more of a trip down memory lane. Once that was done I got to have lots of fun painting it up, adding scenes, sails and bits and bobs while also translating alot of Daniels details into the painting. Thats one of the great things about working in Cubicle 7 is this collaborative effort, not being egotistical but sharing in a piece like this can be a very rewarding creative experience, something you cant do on your own and the result only gets better because of it.

The game is out now on PDF, available here:

Friday, 20 March 2020

Moybologue medieval historic landscape reconstruction

Recently I had the absolute pleasure to work once more with the Moybologue Historical Society and with Cavan county council they commissioned me to return to Moybologue. Previously I had done a reconstruction of the church and graveyard as it looked later in the middle ages. This time I was hired to depict the 12th century motte and bailey, field system, church and graveyard and greater enclosure surrounding both. You can also see outside the motte & bailey a series of huts which are native Irish creats and associated crofts/gardens.

The illustration was based on research I partook into what original source material from illustrated manuscripts like Bayeux tapestry described, contemporary descriptions, archaeological evidence in Ireland & Britain and articles on the site itself. It was started in 3D to reconstruct the structures and I used displacement maps for the surrounding the landscape. These were based off aerial photography, historic photographs and various scans of the landscape which Moybologue provided and had commissioned separately. There was also some concept sketching to explore various options, before the final painting was developed adding colour, texture, light and life to the final reconstruction. I hope ye enjoy, more about this here in Moybologue Historical societys facebook page:

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Post Apocalypse sketches

Before anyone says anything, I have been actually doing sketches for a while on the side on this subject, then this coronavirus made it all too real! Still I still like the sketches :)

Friday, 6 March 2020

Berebeli on the Reik

A piece done for the coming soon Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Enemy in Shadows book. The first time I had a go at doing the Berebeli, a fun ship with a fun name. We had a great time making this game and the final book will be gorgeous id say Art. direction by Andy Law. More on the book here:

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Behind the Scenes- the 3D in Archaeological Illustration

3D Model of later Richmond castle provided by English Heritage and below my paint over of earlier Richmond castle with later features in 3D model removed

3D Model of Scollands Hall provided by English Heritage and my paint over

Putton Lane- 3D model provided by Context One archaeology and my paint over
In archaeology, accuracy is of paramount importance, so much so that some clients I work with make a 3D model inhouse, some more detailed than others, and give it to me to paint over.

This is such an important part that usually when my clients dont do this stage themselves, I do it myself by building a model, these days in blender. Sometimes if they have extra detail like scans of the wider landscape, I even make displacement maps for the ground plane to get the contours of the landscape correct. For those of you who dont know, displacement maps are greyscale (a scale of greys between and white) images which you can paint, and then put that ontop of a 3D model to change the models geometry without having to model, great for natural landscapes.

I then take these 3D models and add the light, texture and figures. I start usually by drawing over the model to work out the  perspective of the camera lens, sometimes even going as far as getting the wider cone of vision. This allows me to tweak the model to a better perspective if the image requires it. I then do a paint over of this to get the colour and light and general feel, and then this is finished up with textures and figures to give it more life and realism.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Nuln- Rough Nights & Hard Days

Another one done we did at Cubicle7 for Rough Nights and Hard Days, probably a year ago now,  the game was based in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplays world. The city depicted, is a night in Nuln, one of the major cities in the Reik, art directed by Andy Law. Was a fun game to work on, my second for Cubicle 7, and had me doing lots of these double half page spreads, designing new looks to the various places, was quite the challenge to do such a busy scene!

More information about the game can be found here:

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Dune/Pueblo Sci Fi Sketches

Recently I was recovering from an operation and in the downtime I was reading about SW native american architecture, specifically the Mogollan, Anasazi and Pueblo traditions of architecture as well as watching some lectures on the first cities in the world: Çatalhöyük and Jericho. Always wanted to take the time to read more about the Pueblo such a fascinating and advanced culture with such a distinctive architecture and often placed in magnificent locations like mesas. Its surprising too how similar these cities in America are too the earlier cities of the middle east, and Id say alot of archaeologists look to the pueblo cities to fill out what these earlier cities may have looked like.

While I was doing this I am also playing with combining these cultures to create a new one, albeit with a good mix of sci fi thrown in as Im reading Dune at the moment. Was looking at how batteries and early radio worked as well to see what fun stuff the combination could bring up. Still early days yet and definitely needs a few more design phases to get beyond the initial archaeological inspiration but here are some initial traditional biro sketches to start. Was fun to be get a chance to do some serious sketching with a pen, I always sketch every day with pen but usually just rough ideas and I dont do a full concept with it

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Roman Birdoswald- Hadrian wall

Birdoswald East Gatehouse

Birdoswald West Gatehouse

Early Birdoswald Barracks

Late Birdoswald Barracks

Lighting and colour options for the East Gatehouse- painted in Photoshop

3D models created by English Heritage 

A series of illustrations done for English heritage in 2018. It was done for a guidebook on Birdoswald Barracks along the Hadrian wall. Expert advice given by Carlos Lemos and historians of English heritage. Illustrations showing the east and west gatehouses and also smaller illustrations of the barracks in the 1st century AD and then later in its history, in the 3rd century AD. Working with English Heritage is great teamwork, as they provide the 3D models, and the expert advice and you add light, colour, additional texture, figures and story and together with feedback from them, create the final putting it all this together.

More about Birdoswald can be found here:

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Old Character Thumbnails

Thumbnails from a Personal Viking Rus Game, 2018, I believe each was done in about 15 mins each

15 mins Thumbnails from a Personal Viking Rus Game, 2018

Thumbnails from a Personal Viking Rus Game, 2018, I believe these took a bit more like 20-25 mins each

Another trip down memory with more little thumbnails, this time character ones. I believe these were all done in about 15-20 mins each, was a great way of exploring character options quickly which I picked up while doing the Character design course with Kory Hubbell over at Game Art Institute back in 2018

Old Colour/Mood sketches- a trip down memory lane

Little Colour & Light explorations while I studied cultures from around the world as well as some landscapes

More explorations of cultures around the world, as well as scenes, some of these I think I spent over 2 hrs on, maybe even 3 hrs, been a while!

Rus Viking game- personal project, establishing vibe to the game, then exploring different modes for some scenes, befores and afters, one of these shows a sketch which I added another 30 mins to an hour ontop of

Little 15 mins colour & light mood explorations, trying different colour combinations to see how subtel additions of colours can alter the mood
Recently I was doing a presentation in work, during the prep for which I realised I had aload of these old colour sketches lying around which I have never shown, I thought it would be cool to let the best of them see the light of day. I do alot of this kind of thing nowadays in work so it was also great to see where I came from to compare to now.

These were daily practice sketches I did for years, while I read about the architecture, archaeology, costume, geography and some vehicles from various cultures. Of course I did  buckets of other sketches, studies, character pieces, all done in the hope of internalizing alot of this. In these though, I was experimenting with different kinds of lighting scenarios, materials, compositions, perspectives, colours, value keys and moods, all the while doing Nathan Fowkes courses in schoolism

These were mostly done in an hour, but some were done in as little as 15 mins while others 30 mins, and others in the 1-2-3 hrs mark. Was a great little exercise which it helped me hugely and provided a very solid base for me that I wouldnt be able to do the work I do now without it.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Three Feathers

An older piece, one of the pieces I did for Rough Nights & Hard Days game in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay all those months ago now over at cubicle 7, the company I have the great pleasure to work for

Friday, 20 December 2019

Victorian Film Noir

As some of ye may have noticed I have been playing with Victorian settings for the last while off and on. Just love the mood and feel of the period, and I keep finding more inspiration in it. At the moment listing to "Confessions of an Opium eater" and recently been binging on 'Sherlock Holmes', would love to do a story mixing the two, maybe making Victorian Film Noir, is there such a thing?

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Schloss Grauenberg sketch & Final

Another behind the scenes, showing the initial line drawing and then final for the Midnight Elope at Schloss Grauenberg done for my colleagues over at Cubicle 7, it was for our Rough Nights & Hard Days game in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay universe. More about the game here:

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Podington Medieval Manor reconstruction

Recently I had the honor of reconstructing what the 12th-13th century medieval manor of Podington may have looked like. Done on behalf of Context One Archaeology who excavated the manor near the coast of dorset, off Putton Lane, just outside Weymouth. Expert guidance given by the kind and enthusiastic Dr. Cheryl Green with further guidance given by the rest of the team at Context One Archaeology

The main house was a large cross passage house, across from this a single cell open hall structure, which interestingly had an infant burial beneath, a common practice in the medieval period. The third building shown here is another stone building, there was another building but this was a ruin at this time and behind the middle building shown here so not visible.

The walls were of a local stone called cornbrash with forest marble as quoin stones. The roof tiles were cotswold slates, capped by more elaborate inverted V shaped ridge tiles, with triangular knife cut crests in a cocks cromb effect, these were partly glazed giving a thin olive green colour.

A sample of some other interesting finds at the site were the holloway shown as a path the behind the houses with a horse and cart on it, these were roads that with heavy use over the centuries started to become deeper until sunken in the ground. There was also signs of ploughing found shown above the houses, fish net weights shown in fish net mending on the corner of the last house right and much more besides.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Inn on the Reik

Another behind the scenes, showing the initial line drawing and then final painting for three feathers Inn for Cubicle 7's Rough Nights & Hard Days in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay universe. More about the game here:

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Putton Lane Reconstruction

A recent reconstruction I did is about to be launched at the end of the month. If you are in the Dorchester region it would be worth popping in. Look here for more:

Friday, 8 November 2019

Gainsthorpe Deserted Medieval Settlement

Gainsthorpe Deserted Medieval Settlement, is one of the most impressive deserted medieval settlements in the UK, was a piece commissioned by English Heritage a few months back. You may notice the difference of the black shadow central area vs the outlying parts dshown in hatching only. This was done to show the difference between parts under the ownership of English heritage (black shadow areas) vs those in private hands(hatching areas).

This was an amazing site to try to reconstruct, its always a pleasure to get to do full settlements like this. The illustration was started by coming a drone image and maps of the buildings and street overlayed to ensure accuracy. This was then hand drawn over with 3 pt perspective to give elevation and work out texture, form, set dressing etc. The site had such a variety of buildings from; dovecots, to windmills, fishponds, to various forms of farming houses, church and its graveyard, to even a manor house and ancillary buildings in the upper left hand section of the black shadow region.

More can be read about the site here:

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Slaughter in Spittlefeld

Ubersreik Adventure: Slaughter in Spittlefeld that I did the cover illustration is just out! Done for the great company
I work for Cubicle 7 Entertainment. Art direction by Emmet Byrne and teamed up on the design with Kovács Dániel, his great map of our shared design can be found inside this great PDF adventure. The PDF can be found here:

Friday, 18 October 2019

Scollands Hall, Richmond Castle

Another piece done for English Heritage showing the hall in Richmond castle close up and in the 14th century, rather than the earlier 11th century piece shown previously (here This time we get up close and personal with the people of the 14th century, as they eat and chat in the hall, wait outside before being allowed in or tally the goods downstairs in the store house. All the costume shown is drawn from 14th century material and shows different clothing worn by different classes and genders. Architectural features include the amazing entrances, shutters with panes of glass, chimney & louvre, emblems on the windows themselves, genuine medieval wall paintings in the hall itself and even different stonework around the doorway showing the history of the different phases of building the structure. Being able to do 2 illustrations showing different periods and aspects of one site was great, one that you dont always get to do.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Castle Grauenberg- Rough Nights & Hard Days

Just another behind the scenes, showing the initial line drawing and then final painting for castle Grauenberg for Cubicle 7's Rough Nights & Hard Days. More about the book here:  

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Richmond Castle, English Heritage

Richmond castle as it would have been seen in the 11th Century, commissioned by English Heritage a few months back. The image shows the castle as it would have looked like just after it was first built by the early Norman conquerors of England. It was built by Alan Rufus, Duke of Brittany, to control the north for Normans. And once again shows the term "Norman" shouldnt be used, as it was a northern French invasion of England and all over northern France they came, even Flemish from the lowlands.

This was a great project to work on as English heritage have full time historians who research for your illustration. Which is great as it adds a whole another layer to the image, as that person can spend the time digging deep into the research and so I also learn alot from the experience. So aspects like three different kinds of wattle fencing, several different styles of housing materials, colours of clothing came from this rich research and makes the image much more of a team work experience.

More about the castle can be found here:

Sunday, 29 September 2019

A grudge comes calling

Just another short 1 hour long daily (ish) sketch, with a couple of hours added ontop after I liked it. Not as finished as I would like it but its supposed to be a sketch in the end. Reading recently about the 16th-17th century Irish in Spain. After the fall of the Gaelic world, many traveled to serve in the Spanish armies throughout their Empire, often returning when a new rising occurred back home. This image was just an idea which came to me while sketching. Many of the Gaelic nobility had a prickly sense of honour and often would bring their grudges with them to the new world.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Victorian Streets sketch

Taken to exploring and researching about Dublin recently, as I have mentioned before. Thoroughly impressed by how much of a 18th-19th century architecture survives and been using that as inspiration for sketching Here just one of my daily speed paints tidied up somewhat. Tis fun to do this sort of thing, explore, test out ideas and think things through and if it goes wrong through in the bin, as most of them do! This one I liked enough to finish up to show.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Warhammer Fantasy- Kemperbad- sketch & final

A bit of a behind the scenes for the Kemperbad image, showing the initial sketch and then the final. This was done for Cubicle 7 Entertainment's Rough Nights & Hard Days RPG recently released. I often like to start with black and white like this as its a great way of brainstorming the design of the graphic shapes. Sometimes its just a silhouette but here Im playing with the shadow shapes and working out the rhythm of the elements with something called permutation, where one movement is continued by the next, e.g. each elevator support in a different position, creating a movement. The Book can be found here:

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Inn on the Reik

Another interior illustration I did for the recently released Rough Nights & Hard Days by Cubicle 7, based in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying universe. This from the start of the book, showing the inn where the adventure begins...

Friday, 30 August 2019

Gollums Cave

A recent piece done for Cubicle 7 Entertainment upcoming 2nd edition of the 'The One Ring' core rule book.  Which is now available to pre-order here:

This one was a blast to do but was quite the fun challenge to try and design a cave to represent Gollum and the slow gnawing corruption of the ring.