Thursday, 13 September 2018

Hobbit: Entrance to Rivendale


The second in my series exploring the Hobbit. This shows the group enter Rivendale via a narrow bridge after wandering the uplands for a time. 

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Hobbit: The Lone-lands


Just started to reread Tolkiens the Hobbit, its been years and years since I read it. Still an amazing book though, this was inspired from the early part of the book as the Hobbit and Dwarves head into the Lone-lands, Tolkiens descriptions are really suggestive without being overbearing.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Medieval Parish Church Exterior Redo


Like the interior of the Parish church I redid later, I also redid the exterior, albeit shown a little earlier in the day. I did thorough research for the original church so ill just copy what I wrote then to here so you can read about some of the background of the church, if you are interested:

An illustration of a medieval parish church based on several parish churches I have visited around Ireland but also with evidence from Britain. Parish churches were one of the most important structures ever built in Ireland, as with parish churches came the division of land into parishes. This division seems likely to have begun before the arrival of Normans but it was with the Anglo Normans where it reached its zenith and continues even to this day as one of the ways of dividing the land.

Its hard for us to imagine these days, the power that the church had in the middle ages. It was a power so complete and utter that there was no escaping it. They were the most powerful institution in the middle ages, often in some places, more wealthy than the King himself. Like a local lord, peasants and serfs, had to work some of the year, for free, on their lands. They didnt pay any taxes and they also received tithes from peasants and serfs, that is one tenth of everything they made. You can imagine this made them extremely rich. Also in every important stage of life, there was the church, when you were born, when you died, when you got married, when you gave birth and after, it was always there. And if you shirked your duties to them or didn't pay your tithes, you could be spend time in the stocks or flogging and you may not get your place in heaven in the end. Im sure sometimes they resented this but at the same time, these were extremely devout people and probably believed by doing these things for the church, they were doing it for god too and their place in the after life.

The Church here shows some typical features of parish churches in the middle ages. For instance an embankment is often found to surround an old church, which would have had Lychgate entrance, none survive in Ireland, as with many religious artifices here could be a result of the destruction brought on by the reformation, so this based on British examples. The graves themselves have been found in excavations not to align to east-west, but rather are more often aligned to the element that they are closest to, e.g. aligned to the paths or the church itself. Also a common feature of medieval church graveyards would have been the yew tree, as it was was in prehistory and still to this day, its probably because the yew trees needles sterilize the ground around them, so prohibiting other plants to grow. Also notice the house within the graveyard, this is the priests house, which would have been a common feature within many medieval churches areas.

The Parish church here is the typical of a high medieval church with both chancel and nave. The nave was the part where the parishioners would sit, or more often stand, while the chancel is where the alter was and was the holiest of holy in a church. The nave was the responsibility of the community itself to take care of with their time and money, while the chancel was the responsibility of the clergy. The church also has a double bellcote, the feature with the bells, which is often found in medieval churches in Ireland, this specific one is based on the one in Dalkeys medieval church, in Co. Dublin.

The door is based on one I visited recently in Kilsheelan in Co. Tipperary, which is probably a Romanesque doorway from an earlier church moved to Kilsheelan when the Normans built the church there. The windows are based on ones found in Wells, Co. Carlow, which are high medieval windows, note the sandstone, which is Dundry stone. Dundry stone is often found in churches in the east of Ireland, its an imported stone from Dundry in south west England and is one of the signs of an early or high medieval church. Also note the roof is covered in clay tiles, there has been some found in Dublin during excavations very similar to the ones shown here.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Shop Open


Some people have been asking recently if I could setup prints for them, so I just opened a shop over in Society 6. Let me know if any of ye have specific images ye would like as prints or any feedback regarding the items. The shop can be found here:

https://society6.com/jgodonoghue/

Monday, 27 August 2018

Dystopian Garda


The last of my Dystopian/Post Apocalypse Characters, a Garda for the dystopian/Post apocalypse stuff I have been messing with

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Dystopian Industrial World





I have been reading 1984 recently and so I had a hankering to do a more industrial Dystopian type of future. These 2 are done alot quicker than my usual and are a mix of Russian Constructivism and industrial factory architecture. It was nice to do a stronger sci fi tint, something I havent really done much before, but was alot of fun

Thursday, 9 August 2018

The Lost Conquistador


One from a while ago I forgot to post, still like it so thought to post it now :)

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Post Apocalyptic Farmer



Continuing on from the scobe character, I had an idea that perhaps farmers would use bits of old farm equipment (now probably largely useless without fuel) as armor, so here the characters have used bits of ploughs and other machinery to protect themselves.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Post Apocalypse Garda Compound


Still having fun playing around with this idea of post apocalyptic Ireland. Im thinking that this is just the top floor entrance of a much larger compound underground. I reckon to maintain order the Gards(Police in other countries) would need to become more militaristic and aggressive in a world without totally devoid of order

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Inside a Medieval Parish Church Redo


2 years ago I did a medieval Parish church cutaway and recently I decided redo it a bit. It was mostly based on evidence from the eastern side of Ireland, so would be firmly within the anglo-Norman area. Since most medieval churches in Ireland were left go to ruin after the reformation, very little evidence of the interior of medieval churches survives in Ireland, besides the walls and structure itself, essentially everything made of stone. Because of this, the layout and walls etc are based on Irish evidence but the rest mostly comes from Britain, i.e. everything that isnt stone. So the interior of the church structure is mainly a combination of Wells, Co. Carlow, Kilfane, Co. Kilkenny and Faithlegg, Co. Waterford. There are two main parts in a parish church, the nave and the chancel, ill deal with both individually Nave The nave is where the parishioners were situated in a church during mass, everyone who wasnt clergy essentially. Probably the first thing that would grab most peoples attention is the wall painting and its colour.We are so used to the drab and plain interiors of churches these days, it would quite surprise us just how vibrantly colourful medieval churches were. Most people were illiterate so wall paintings served the dual purpose of beautifying an interior and helping illustrate some of the biblical stories. Its the same with the houses, most were many vibrant colours, it seems the people of the middle ages were quite colourful lot! Most people would have stood in the nave but from excavations there has often been found a small number of seating, most likely for the rich or better off in the community. The seating here is loosely based off ones found in AllSaints, Incklingham, UK. The statue recess is based off such a recess in Kilfane but could have been a wall press too. Separating the nave from the chancel is the Rood or chancel screen, a partitition that divided the interior space of all churches, this one is based off a British example. The roof is Kempleys' roof and it is theorised in England that alot of their churches had ceilings created by the tie beam or bottom collar, instead of open to the roof, which would have been plastered over. The reason for this is that ceilings would have been easier to keep clean, could be even painted on, as the upper parts of the roofs often could be very dirty, full of cobwebs and even bats, so keeping them out of view from below, made alot of sense. Chancel The crowning glory of a medieval church was often its chancel window, many windows in churches would have had glazing or stained glass but others would have just remained open, only to be closed by wooden shutters that could slid into place from the inside. With the alter, illustrations from the time show a cross and two candles ontop of a table cloth as alter decorations. Altars are usually found in Ireland to be either against the gable wall or almost abutting it. On either side of the altar are two statue recesses, found in Kilfane church in Kilkenny. The statues throughout the church are loosely based on ones from the middle ages found in Fethard. co. Tipperary and others from Medieval Waterford city. Just above the altar in Kilfane there was a slight rectangular recess, here I inserted alabaster carvings, which have been found in churchyards in Ireland and were probably imported from Nottingham and elsewhere in England.To the right of the altar is the the piscina. The piscina is from St. Mullins in Carlow, piscinas were used to wash the holy vessels after the mass. This is the recess closest to the chancel gable on the left wall.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Post Apocalyptic Scobe


I am still playing around with the Post Apocalypse. Its been interesting trying to think of those who would come out on top if society collapsed. My guess is, that those who have access to weapons and already have an organisation of sorts would be the most likely candidates. Hence why this fella, from a group we used to call them 'scobes' or 'wa's' in limerick, I know the English call them 'Chavs'. 

Its an interesting design problem to think how they would be, e.g. like I played with the idea here that they may use shovels and bits of wheelbarrows as a form of Armour. I also figure, lack of dental care could be a serious issue in a post apocalyptic world!

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Post Apocalypse Biker


Been reading alot of post apocalypse books in the last while, like the Road, I am legend, Wool etc. So just for fun I have been playing with the genre

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Medieval Mongolian Warrior


In my opinion the mongols were the greatest empire that ever lived. Why? While the later European Empires had more land, they won by technological superiority, so in the Americas, with the Spanish, and later other Europeans, it was Renaissance technology versus late Neolithic/Copper age technology, cannon vs flint essentially. In the later European Empires, especially in Africa & Asia, it was 19th Century technology vs medieval, steel swords vs gatling guns. But with the Mongols they took on people their equal in technology or even more often, their superior, the Chinese, the Islamic Caliphate, even European heavy cavalry, and they still defeated them all. They used their militaristic prowess, and their tactical and strategic brilliance to defeat foes that on paper, should have easily trounced them.

The mongols were not the most heavily armored, in fact if caught by a heavy cavalry charge they would been destroyed, they also could not even sustain alot of fighting with heavy infantry. Instead the mongols relayed on their mobility, and their discipline, their ability to feign retreat, encircle and strike again, showed unmatched discipline which they gained from years of training. Constantly keeping their enemies at arms length till it was time for them to launch the killer blow. This often worked too because their enemies were the superior, whose arrogance led them to charge headlong at them, not understanding who they were fighting against.

They travelled quick too as they did not have a baggage train, this made them have the weakness of relaying on foraging, which the Egyptian Mameluks used to their advantage, using scorched earth tactics to starve them. But this also allowed them to gain the strategic ability to move fast, and often surprise their enemies with how quickly they showed up and the ways they could travel, across a desert for instance. They also had no issue about using sneaky tactics, convincing an enemy to change sides and then when they won, destroy them too or taking the offer of betraying a city, then sacking the city and killing the traitors. The Mongols hated treachery, they of course were practical and used it when if it was offered, but they always punished it after.

Its not all good though, the Mongols have been rightly condemned for essentially putting entire cities to the sword but this was a common tactic of the time, make an example of someone who resisted and others would not. Still in modern eyes this is monstrous and there can really be no justification for things like this in my opinion. Overall though,the Mongols came from nomadic herders in the steppes to creating the greatest empire ever made, against foes their superior, using surprise and tactics and their enemies own arrogance against them. Their military genius was even still studied in WWII by the Germans & Russians for ways to use tanks in warfare and their empire is still a fascination in the modern era when most empires are very unpopular.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Tower House retouch


Recently I have been going over some of my older images and retouching them a bit, like this old image I did in 2015. Its of a tower house, which were a type of late medieval Irish castle, believed to have originated around 1300, or sometime within the 14th century, but most are probably from the 15th to the 17th centuries. They are found quite commonly around Ireland, an estimate on the number originally built ranges from 3,500 by some sources, to 7,000 by others, even today, most of Ireland remaining 3,000 castles are tower houses. By the 17th century, this would have made Ireland the most heavily castelllated part of the British Isles. The tower house signifies changes in Ireland, in one hand it shows a resurgence in Gaelic power in the west and the slow reconquest of Ireland, after years of decline following the coming of the Normans in from the 12th century. On the other side it is a sign of the collapse of centralised power in the form of the English monarchy and a rise in decentralisation. This decentralisation of power was to continue in Ireland from the 14th century to the early 17th century with the final (and the first complete) conquest of Ireland by Queen Elizabeth.

Tower houses can be found elsewhere too, across the water in Scotland and Northumbria and on the continent in France also, some have even suggested at times these areas are the origin of the tower house in Ireland but most now believe the origin lies in a native progression, starting in the Anglo Norman areas and spreading West. It was in the West and South though, that they can be found in most abundance and also in the most evolved and elaborate forms. Tower houses were actually built by various parts of Irish society, while the major lords kept building large enclosure castles or extending them, some also built smaller tower houses, but it was mostly the lesser tenants who were building them,  and it spread further down the chain to even priests and rich merchants building them in the towns. In fact some argue that the proliferation of tower houses was a sign of a new class rising and making itself heard.

It has been found in some surveys in certain areas, that 1 tower house in 5 has a Bawn wall in Ireland, a Bawn is the external wall you see attached to the castle shown here. The bawn here is based on a combination of evidence, including; Barryscourt, Dunlough, Kilcrea castles, among others. The actual design of the tower house itself though is nearly entirely based on Kilcrea tower house, in Cork, my favourite tower house and one which I have visited a few times and read extensively on. The only changes to the overall design of Kilcrea was the inclusion of a second chimney for the kitchen room inside, and the machicolation (the spikes you see that come down off the top floor, which had gaps in the floor to drop objects on attackers, based off Blarneys), I added these elements so the castle would be more representative of Tower houses as a whole. Also the crenellation (the regular gaps in the walls at the roof & bawn, which provided cover for archers) in the castle are a style specific to late medieval Ireland, the bawn crenellation are based off Blarney castle.

Notice as well how white the tower house is? This is probably how most tower houses would have looked, as they were coated with a substance called Harling, a mixture of limewash and crushed pebbles. Because of this, commentators at the time often mention the white gleaming castles of the Irish, as you can imagine these would have been visible for miles around and been quite a symbol of power and prestige. You may also see the little figure on the dark side wall of the tower house, these were Sheela-na-gigs, a type of sculpture common in Ireland at the time, this one is based off the one in Ballynacarriga castle. Tower houses are believed to have been surrounded by mixed farming, some cereal with animal husbandry too as shown in the illustration. Often they are found associated with churches and friaries, some were even built attached to churches, and some probably werent too far from some sort of clustered settlement. The natural landscape around the castle is actually inspired by the Lee valley basin around Kilcrea castle.Note as well the dry moat, not all tower houses had moats, but some did, like Kilcrea, so I included it here.

Notice also the slight batter (where the wall comes outwards at the bottom to defend against a battering ram), also in the bawn towers.  As you can see though, the real bling in the tower house is the top of it, this is where most showing off happened with turrets, crenellations, chimneys, gabled/pitched roofs and machicolations, as shown here. Another place they showed off was the ashlar(fine finished masonry) windows, the top floor in Kilcrea was believed to be the hall with the floor directly below the lords chambers, hence why they have the nicest windows, especially the hall floor. Also notice the variety of windows, some were narrow slits just for archers to fire from inside, others have the addition of a cross slit, which could be used by crossbows too and then there were others with either triangular or circular holes, these were for later fire arms, some windows even had all three. All these windows, except for the decorative ones on the top floors, would have been splayed inwards allowing maximum cover for archers in the event of an attack.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Conquistador


I have been having alot of fun recently developing worlds, here is another one I have been working on. Inspired by the stories of Cabeza De Vaca and Francisco de Orellana. It tells the other story of the Conquistadors, while alot were in involved in bloody conquest, many ended up getting lost or stranded and wondering the Americas. Some even joining the side of the natives against their fellow Europeans, others spent their lives battling for the rights of the natives. Others still became great explorers in their own right, being the first non Americans to set eyes on the wonders of the new world. And encountering other peoples who up till then had no experience of each other. This is probably about as close as we will ever come to meeting aliens, both for Europeans and Americans, we were both complete aliens to each other, and as about as strange to each other as if we had just landed from space ships

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Rus Viking & Medieval Characters

The Varangian Baddies

The daughter of the hero of the story, both of whom live out in the wilds of russia as Trappers
A sword prop for another character Im developing for the Viking world


The villain of the Serf medieval world, the main noble

Head merchant, the world is essentially the merchants vs the nobles, the merchants working to undermine the nobles power, with espionage

The hero of the medieval world, the serf

One of the beggars helping the merchants

Sword prop for one of the medieval characters Im working on

Some of the characters I have been developing for the Viking & Medieval worlds

Monday, 14 May 2018

Rus Viking Streets




Here is a more developed image from the town in the Rus Viking world Im playing around creating. 

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Coast Study


Having alot of fun doing these sort of quick daily paint studies, great way of sharpening your painting skills

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Serf- more medieval sketches




Some more sketches of the medieval world Im making for fun, they just show some possible location ideas to develop further. 

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Just another study


One of the studies I have been doing recently, keeping them between 30- 50 mins

Sunday, 25 March 2018

From 2D to 3D

Just to give a behind the scenes of my process, one thing that often isnt mentioned by illustrators is perspective, while its not as snazzy as other parts of the process, it creates a strong foundation for everything to be built apon and unified with. Its also one of those processes which takes years and years to master, and seems to be something you can never know enough about. 


Accurate map of Khufus pyramid redrawn and tilted for use as reference
 I spent years doing all my perspective by hand, first traditionally and then digitally by hand, I used to use alot of the old school techniques for calculating aspects in space, so for instance every space was calculated by breaking it down to squares and multiplying those squares in space. This could be very complicated like the tower house or just more about accurate spacing like the Pyramid.


In the pyramid I took the accurate map of Khufus pyramid in Ghiza and broke it down to squares, I think each square represented a 100m or breakdown of this, ie like half a square is 50m (its been a while since I did this so cant remember 100%) and then multiplied that back in space. It wasnt 100% accurate but it was in the ball park.

Bases of mastabas and accurate drawing of pyramids in perspective

Final drawing
Final painting

Doing it by hand was long, tedious and prone to human error. In reconstruction work you need to be as accurate as you can be, as there is alot of guesswork after a certain point, so this way of working has its limits, unless you wanted to do the much longer accurate architectural solutions but in commission work one has to bear in mind the budget and time restraints, no one wants an accurate architectural drawing as your final output.

Some of the interior perspective calculations of the interior, floor space widths and lengths were based on accurate maps of floors in Kilcrea castle. You can also see the figures from ground floor to upper floors accurate to each other and even the nightmare of a spiral staircase drawn by hand.

Final interior painting

But there is another way of working, and thats 3D. This is much more accurate, and its also faster, so saves time for both me and the client. What I do use an accurate map of the town like in Clonmel, as a base and then build my model on top. One of the criticisms of reconstruction illustration is its lack of accuracy but with 3D the layout is exact as one can be in layout and stays within budget and time limits.

Goubets 1690 map was used as a base as my clients believed this was the most accurate early street map and would have been more or less the same in the Cromwell siege 50 years earlier, except the addition of ravelins (the external V shaped things in front of the walls & gates)

Down survey map, we used this as the main source for the walls and gates besides what is extent at the site now
3D model of Clonmel over the map, you can see the shape of the plots and the streets are made in 3D and are based on Goubets map, the types of housing and buildings was decided after reading other historical sources.

Then I use this model as a base to paint over. Here is final painting of Clonmel
Plus, perhaps the most important part of it is that 3D allows one to spend your creative energy and time on the other aspects of an image, like the actual painting, the fun art part of a reconstruction. But drawing perspective by hand is an extremely important skill, one often neglected by younger artists these days, who jump straight to 3D or just a program to do their perspective.

Understanding perspective in an indepth way allows you to warp and change your perspective according to your narrative or expressive needs, and also is faster when doing quick sketches in both traditional and digital drawing/painting. 3D may be more accurate but its also takes longer to produce, which is fine for longer images and reconstruction paintings but a real weakness when you need to bang out a sketch in 5 mins or even 45 mins to an hour, as precious time is waisted in 3D. Both have their place of course and neither should be neglected in modern illustration in my opinion.