I've also produced artwork for various publishers around the world including Scholastic, Time-Warner, HarperCollins and Oxford University Press, illustrating popular authors such as Anne McCaffrey, Raymond E. Feist and Harry Turtledove, as well as some classics including Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde and The Silver Sword. I was fortunate enough to receive the British Fantasy Award for Best Artist.
I illustrated the book accompanying the album release of Misterstourworm & the Kelpie's Gift, an orchestral work based on stories and characters from Scottish legend. My artwork was used as large-scale backdrops for live performances of the work by The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, with narration by Lord of the Rings actor Billy Boyd.
As an author, I've written some books about digital art including Digital Fantasy Painting Workshop and Digital Horror Art, and edited Fantasy Art Now published by Collins. In addition to work in publishing, I occasionally do concept and production art for computer games (following two years as an in-house artist at Eidos Interactive), and film and television productions which have included the BAFTA-nominated The Magician of Samarkand for the BBC, and most recently Gulliver's Travels for 20th Century Fox.
Currently: October 2015: My latest picture book The Crocodolly was published in hardback by Scholastic last month, and is available in Australia, New Zealand, and soon to be released throughout Asia in English, also with a translation into Chinese. The Crocodolly is something of a companion to my earlier picture book The Octopuppy which has been doing pretty well internationally -- more info at www.theoctopuppy.com Right now I'm working on my next picture book; so most of my energies have been directed towards my books for children. But I've also just finished another album cover for Axel Rudi Pell, which is the fifth sleeve I've done for his records. I've also been doing a little bit of work on the Game of Thrones computer game.
Ancient Images #5
Another forgotten drawing from the depths of the drawers, a genuine patina of age on this one. Scanned from a yellowed photocopy uncovered while searching for something else.
I'd say it's vaguely interesting as an unsuccessful attempt to illustrate Brian Lumley's short story Fruiting Bodies. Not a very good design and a lot of cross-hatching to little effect, but some parts of the mycelium strands and fungal polyps forming the spongy old lady aren't terrible. I've forgotten why I was trying to illustrate this story, and I've also forgotten who it was for, when I did it (late '80s maybe), and where the original disappeared to. So I can't remember much about it. Or anything else for that matter... who am I and why am I here? Why am I typing this? What the hell is going on?
A squint at the cover I did for Game of Sins, the latest album from Axel Rudi Pell which was released earlier this year.
For this one, Axel asked me to depict a skeletal jester, popping up through a playing card on fire and pointing a bony finger at the viewer-cum-listener.
Couple of rough sketches, the bottom one based on an existing image Axel liked which inspired the design and which he asked me to emulate.
Fighting Fantasy - BANNED Artwork!
As there's been some interest in this lately, I thought I'd present my old artwork for Fighting Fantasy books that ran up against editorial issues at the time. An anomaly for children's publisher Puffin, the 'grittier' FF stuff inevitably caused them problems.
Dead of Night (1989). Two filler illustrations that went unused. In the '80s & '90s the editors at Puffin were very sensitive about the inclusion of any religious iconography, so how I was briefed to do these in the first place I'm not sure now, but due to the crucifixes they had to go.
Moonrunner (1991). These hanging corpses had to be trimmed so less of their bodies were visible. I remember the scene was referred to as being "too morbid". In the olden days before easy digital editing it was a bit of a bugger, but I drew an extention to the picture at the bottom so that it could be cropped at the top. The scan on the left shows the original drawing; the central scan shows the extended section with my crop marks near the top; and on the right the picture as it appeared in print. As a result, thank goodness we now have less dead leg and a better view of the legs of the fascinating bench.
Revenge of the Vampire (1995). I remember the editor at Puffin at the time, Richard Scrivener, phoning me to tell me we couldn't have blood on breasts. Rather than go to the trouble of posting the original back to me for adjustment, he realised he had a bottle of Tipp-Ex next to him so he decided to deal with the problem himself while he was on the phone. An example of the power exerted by a thrusting and dynamic publishing executive in action; his rise to the top unassailable. As you can see, he daubed over the worst of the boob rivulets and the curve of flesh, and raised the neckline using black felt tip (I could almost hear his tongue poking out in concentration over the phone as he worked). This is how it appeared in print, but more recently I reinstated these forbidden details digitally, as you can see on the right. An uncensored print is available here, kids.
Ancient Images #4
In response to its appearance on Twitter, here's what I think might be the most ancient of my ancient images in this series so far. It's from about 1985, done for my own amusement. Drawn quite large (as I liked to do most of my artwork at the time) 370 x 245mm, using rapidograph pens on cartridge paper as was usual for me in those days. For some reason I decided to record the creation of this one, and took photos of its progress. They might be of some slight interest, so I've scanned the photos and I'll stick 'em below.
The photos show the reference I was using, propped next to the drawing on my drawing board. I made the group up as I went along, inspired by combining and adapting the ref photos. I used to cut out loads of photos from magazines and keep them on file for reference and inspiration - and in keeping with this '80s trip, one of them here happens to be a photo of UK radio person Janice Long (sister of Cheggers) in youthful mode. In the final photo we're treated to a glimpse of my horrid 1980s bedroom wallpaper.
I think the drawing got used in Die Rubezahl, the fanzine I helped Pete Blanchard create. And it appeared again a year or two later in a little profile article about my artwork which appeared in White Dwarf magazine #88.
Earlier ancient images posts are here / hare / here.
I've got a couple of pictures and some waffle in this, due to be released next month. It's a coffee table book. If you only have a tea table don't bother, this is in a whole other league. An occasional table might suffice until you can get something more permanent, such as a milking stool. Ideally a coffee table, though. Do you understand?
"Amazingly, there has never been a book quite like The Art of Horror - a celebration of frightful images, compiled and presented by some of the genre's most respected names. While acknowledging the beginnings of horror-related art in legends and folk tales, the focus of the book is on how the genre has presented itself to the world since the creations of Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley first became part of the public consciousness in the 19th century. It's all here: from early engravings - via dust jackets, book illustrations, pulp magazines, movie posters, comic books, and paintings - to today's artists working entirely in the digital realm. Editor Stephen Jones and his stellar team of contributors have sourced visuals from archives and private collections (including their own) worldwide, ensuring an unprecedented selection that is accessible to those discovering the genre, while also including many images that will be rare and unfamiliar to even the most committed fan. From the shockingly lurid to the hauntingly beautiful - including images of vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, demons, serial killers, alien invaders, and more - every aspect of the genre is represented in ten themed chapters. Quotes from artists/illustrators, and a selection from writers and filmmakers, are featured throughout."
There's been quite a bit of interest again lately in my old Games Workshop originals, from collectors of vintage Warhammer stuff. Here are a few more examples from the archives, all late '80s and early '90s stuff. Drop me an email if you're interested in originals like these from the olden days, they're fast disappearing from my drawers.
Previous posts featuring my old GW stuff here and here.