Jun 30, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #34 - The Final Troll?

Well, my little sojourn with the Trolls draws to a close today. It's been quite a lot of fun and I would like to do something similar to this toward the end of the challenge, perhaps once the Galway Pub Scrawl 31 Day Drawing Challenge (which begins in earnest tomorrow) has finished. I have a good idea of what I want to do if the opportunity presents itself, so we'll see what happens. I don't want to think too far ahead with this challenge, I'm really just enjoying the process and leaving it open to spontaneity.
So here it is... the final Troll-

100 Heads in 100 Days #34
A Neandertroll
Nobody, not even the great Willow himself, knows the exact origin of Trolls. They appear to have existed for as long as anything else has, but it is believed they were one of the few first races to ever call Faerie home. While many of the species and sub-species of Trolls can be linked back to common Troll ancestors, there is one species that seems to have remained true to its original forebears, changing little over the eons... these are the enigmatic Neandertrolls.
There is a school of thought that Neandertrolls are the mothers and fathers of all Trolls, the biological taxonomy adds weight to this belief. They look as though they were built long ago, with their prominent brow, diminutive crown and shortened limbs.
Neandertrolls are surrounded with mystery. Nobody knows where they live, how they spend their lives, how many there are or even if they can communicate. What is known is that Neandertrolls are big, bigger than other Trolls, and they seem to love eating Flower Faeries. Many Flower Faerie plagues have been averted thanks to Neandertrolls.

Me Fact #34 
If I put the radio on, I will always tune it to a classical station. Modern music is full of harlots and posers with very little actual musical aptitude. Give me Brahms, Ravel, Vivaldi or Grieg over that muck any day.

Jun 29, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #33 - Wigglug the Fairhorn Troll

A third of the way along!
The Galway Pub Scrawl 31 Day Drawing Challenge is beginning on Monday. As I mentioned not long ago, I am going to try and participate in it on the days where the challenges can be linked to my own 100 Heads in 100 Days challenge. So here are the 31 Day Drawing Challenges for this year, the ones in red are the ones I intend to do-

Day One - Portrait (not a self portrait)
Day Two - An Advertisement for you, doing what you want to do for a living
Day Three - Your Spirit Animal
Day Four - Quantum Worm
Day Five - Invisibility
Day Six - Trains/Railroads
Day Seven - Favourite Mythical Creature or God
Day Eight - Your idol, role model, hero or favourite person in History
Day Nine - Space(man)
Day Ten - Freedom
Day Eleven - Scenery/Landscape
Day Twelve - Internal organs in unusual situations/Unusual things as internal organs
Day Thirteen - (Transformer) Bugs
Day Fourteen - Tea Party
Day Fifteen - Under the bed
Day Sixteen - Make a mess!
Day Seventeen - Favourite Game Character
Day Eighteen - Something White, Purple, Pink and/or Black
Day Nineteen - Darkness
Day Twenty - Apes!
Day Twenty One - A sign of the Zodiac
Day Twenty Two - A cover for your favourite story as a child
Day Twenty Three - Space Pirates
Day Twenty Four - Bad Hair Day
Day Twenty Five - Summertime
Day Twenty Six - Favourite Actor/Actress in one of their roles and/or as a Zombie
Day Twenty Seven - Colouring In (http://www.supercoloring.com/)
Day Twenty Eight - Teach Something - a lesson in a picture
Day Twenty Nine - Master Copy
Day Thirty - Draw a Viking/Ninja/Wrestler/Cowboy
Day Thirty One - Anything you'ld like!

It's a pretty cool batch this year.  The ones I intend to do might change, and there might be a few not in red that I have a shot at. Anyway...

100 Heads in 100 Days #33
Wigglug, the Fairhorn Troll

Fairhorn Trolls are by far the most civilised of all Troll species. They can be found in most major towns and large villages. They are still considered a solitary species, but only in that they don't gather in groups and don't show any special preference or liking for others of their kind, but they are less likely to be found in the wild places of faerie.
Fairhorn Trolls are wonderful musicians and are often hired by nobles and other well-to-do faerie folk to perform at gatherings or as permanent court entertainment. Wind instruments are by far the most common instruments they use, especially the wood flute.

Me Fact #33
I appear to be a glutton for punishment.

Jun 28, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #32 - OONK!

Ooooh, yep, I'm tired.
I've been doing that extra hour or so of drawing in the evenings for the last week and it is taking its toll. I'm also in the middle of a long haul at the bookshop where I'm doing a 4-1-4-1-5 run (that's four days on, one day off, four days on, etc.). The second 1 is this Sunday.
My wife and I are seriously considering finding somewhere to rent closer to town so that we can get out of our current situation, which is quite unbearable in many respects. I think we've both had enough of not being in control of a large portion of our lives and want to live in some level of comfort for a change. I could really do with cutting my commute to work a bit too, these 6.15 starters are going to kill me, I'm pretty sure.
Also, I'm trying a bit of a health kick at the moment. I was just putting on too much weight and was constantly feeling lethargic. So I'm trying to cut out most of the bad stuff and replacing it with moderately healthier food (i'll never be a super healthy eater). I'm treating it as a change that was necessary, not necessarily a life changing thing. Psychologically, I find that if I get really crazy about something like this, it never lasts, so I'm going to just try to flip that mental switch on the quiet and let it do its thing.

100 Heads in 100 Days #32
Oonk, the Ogroll
Ogres on their own can be pretty nasty. Some species of Troll are almost as nasty as that. Mix an Ogre father and Troll Mother and you get an Ogroll, definitely the nastiest creature you'd ever have the misfortune of meeting. They're just wicked things. They live to eat, kill and sleep. They take evil pleasure in the first two. They especially enjoy eating small animals and spend a great deal of time setting traps for rabbits and birds. But really, anything they see that moves, they will try to kill and attempt (usually successfully) to eat.
Ogrolls have one weakness- warmish water. It turns them to stone very quickly. To evade this, Ogrolls prefer to live in places where warm water is unlikely- arid flatlands, snow mountains, and wintery islands.
If ever you do come across an Ogroll, there really is only one thing for it... spit on them! Saliva is almost all water, and though it won't be warm enough to turn them to stone, it will slow them down and the threat of death will usually deter them for good.

Me Fact #32
I remember when I was about 15, lying on the couch on a hot summer's day in Melbourne. I had no shirt on and as I looked down, my stomach muscles flexed and I had a six-pack for about half a second. That is the only time I have ever had a six-pack.

Jun 27, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #31 - All about Trogres

I like to back the odd project over on Kickstarter. I've picked up a few things on Etsy too. I've received some pretty cool things, including a sweet Dice Ring and a lovely Cory Godbey book.
I'm pondering whether I could put a project together for a Kickstarter-like program myself at some point in the future. My initial thought is to do a Realms of Faerie bestiary of sorts, a kind of traveler's guide to my vision of Faerie and its inhabitants. It's the sort of thing I could do multiple volumes on.
I shall ponder it some more.

100 Heads in 100 Days #31
A Trogre (Troll-Ogre, not to be mistaken for a Ogroll- Ogre-Troll)

Trogres would appear to be some of the most dim-witted creatures in all of Faerie. They're not too pretty to look at either. Trogres roam the wilderness, shying away from any contact with other beings. Except for animals. A Trogre will always be in the company of at least a few animals. They seem to be able to sense that Trogres mean them no harm.
While a typical Trogre does appear to be incapable of communication through speech or any other means; in actual fact, they have a rudimentary telepathic ability that seems only to extend to animals. They can't carry on conversations with them, but they can express emotions and a limited number of words such as 'hungry,' 'flee' and 'welcome.'
Ogrolls, on the other hand, are wicked and malicious creatures, bent on harming animals whenever the opportunity arises. As a result, Trogres and Ogrolls are fierce enemies.

Me Fact #31
I vaguely recall my parents jokingly singing the song 'Dreamer' by Supertramp to me on several occasions when I was a wee lad. I have this tendency to drift off into my head a lot. I like to think it is my imagination drawing me in to my inner world, but it's probably just a short attention span coupled with low brain activity.

Jun 26, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #30 - The James Herriot way

Busy times ahead here, lots of drawing and painting to do.
I usually hit the hay at about 11pm or a little after that most nights, but I think that with the current workload, I'm going to have to start pushing on until 12pm just to ensure it is all getting done in a timely manner. I'm not complaining, mind; this is what I signed up for and what I knew would happen. Whenever my resolve gets a little wobbly though, I always think of one of my favourite authors, James Herriot. He managed to work as a vet on the unforgiving Yorkshire Dales back when living was a lot tougher than it is now. On top of that, he managed to find time to raise a family and write a bunch of internationally best selling books. The way I see it, if he can do all of that, I can handle my comparatively insignificant workload.
So, in the words of Michael Bluth, "put your head down and power on through."

100 Heads in 100 Days #30
Homp, a Hoddle Troll
The Hoddle Trolls are just about the nicest beings you could ever come across. They are known for helping lost travelers and protecting the weak. Hoddle Trolls generally like to live under Holloways or long forgotten hedges. They dig deep into the ground and build quite comfortable little dwellings for themselves. Hoddle Trolls tend to be solitary in nature. They can be rather frightening when one initially sees them, as their horns can get quite large and they have huge shoulders, but they have the eyes of a caring creature.
Tomorrow, the ancient Trolls get a turn!

Me Fact #30
Some days I am really grumbly. Most days I will be a little grumbly at some point. I am generally a happy fellow though, but outside influences get to me more than I would like. My parents brought me up to have manners and be considerate of others. So I don't cut in front of somebody and then walk/drive slowly. I don't go into a shop and put things back in different places from where I got them. I don't do anything noisy out of respect for neighbours and those around me. I speak politely. If I walk into a shop, I say hello to somebody before I ask them a question.
I wish Ireland had my parents to teach them manners...

Jun 25, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #29 - Skleegal Trolls

There's an old writer's saying that I'm sure you're all familiar with, that a character will take on a life of its own after a while and will basically begin to write itself.
I can't help but feel that if that is the case, my characters must be very frustrated with me indeed. Take these Trolls, for instance. Here I am, bringing them into being on the paper and computer screen, giving them faces and personalities, creating a history for many of them... only for them to never go any further...
Creating characters and worlds has always been something I've enjoyed doing. It's probably the strongest part of my storytelling, the initial world building stage.
But I simply must start following through with these story ideas. I think that writing and illustrating my own stories is the one thing I am meant to do with my life. I look at people like Tony DiTerlizzi, Brian and Wendy Froud and D. M. Cornish and I know that they have the careers that I long for.

100 Heads in 100 Days #29
Hergulf, a particularly cunning and wicked Troll from the Skleegulob Wastes
The Skleegal Trolls represent the other end of the spectrum from the Trow. The Skleegulob Wastes are a huge tract of rotten swamps, dank forests and grey lowlands. Here, the resident Trolls, Goblins and Ogres are constantly at territorial war with each other, each species scratching out the filthiest of livings, where hygiene is seen as a weakness and life is short and gruesome.
Skleegal and Trow Trolls bare very little resemblance to each other in both appearance and nature. Neither sub-species can lay claim to being of pure Troll blood, but the Skleegals are most definitely a convoluted mix of many races, including their mortal enemies, the Ogres and Goblins.

Me Fact #29 
The first otter I ever saw was unfortunately a roadkill. I bawled like a baby when I discovered it. I've since seen otters alive and well in the wild several times, treasured moments each.

Jun 24, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #28 - Faarmora, World Watcher Troll

Yep, these Trolls look suspiciously like Brian Froud's Mystics from one of my favourite movies, The Dark Crystal. I always liked the silhouette of them, so simple and unique. But these are just one of many sub-species of Trolls I have in my head. This species, which I tentatively named the Trow, are the most mystical of all Trolls.
I think I'll mix things up tomorrow with a different species of Troll.

100 Heads in 100 Days #28
Faarmora, World Watcher
There is a hill at the center of the Trow domain, surrounded by deep, dark woods. It is the Knowing Hill. At its peak is an oak tree of immense height and girth, its limbs twisting in all directions. This is the home of Faarmora, World Watcher. Every morning, Faarmora leaves his home within the hill and scales the winding stairs that cling to the oak's trunk like ivy. At the point where the branches fork out and the trunk ends, Faarmora sits all day and long into the night.
Faarmora sees all, knows all, feels all. The world from this height is like an immense crystal ball, and Faarmora can scry into it. His wisdom is unfathomed, his patience eternal.

Me Fact #28
I would love to be able to cook, but I couldn't be arsed and I'd probably suck at it anyway. My wife is great at it though. 
As a consolation, I'm a wizard with a vacuum cleaner and duster. That balances out doesn't it?

Jun 23, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #27 - Wyrtle the Stone Witch Troll

I really miss the sheer diversity of fauna and flora in Australia. There is more diversity in a single Melbourne street than in all of Ireland, I bet. Sure, most of the animals want to kill you in one way or another, but I would love to hear the call of the Kookaburra in the distance, or smell an Acacia or Banksia again. That's one thing I really miss, the smell of abundant and varied blooms. Spring smells good in Melbourne, spring smells not so faintly of cow dung here. More than anything though, I would love to walk my dog around the streets of my home suburb of Blackburn or up in the Dandenongs. I want to see him exploring new things and see how he reacts to his first possum. I think he'd love it there. He'd have a pee parade...

100 Heads in 100 Days #27
Wyrtle the Stone Witch
Wyrtle the Stone Witch is quite mad. She's the kind of mad that makes other Trolls keep their distance from her, and sigh in relief as she passes them by. Not that she's dangerous, mind you. She's just that unpredictable kind of mad that makes others wary of her.
Wyrtle has one obsession that occupies most of her waking life. She lives for Stone Rings. So rare are they that she covets them above all other things. She is convinced that she can see into the human world while looking through her Stone Rings, much like some humans believe they can do the reverse. Some Trolls believe that looking in on the human world is what has driven Wyrtle around the bend. This is probably quite true.

Me Fact #27
I find arrogance to be an immensely ugly thing. I struggle with my own formidable ego on a daily basis. Sometimes it wins out, but mostly I keep it in check. If I could change one thing about myself, I would cut that ego out for good.

Jun 22, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #26 - Ordeth, Trune Maker Troll

Up in the little copse I mentioned a while ago, I've created a nice new winding off-shoot path that leads through deep rocks and thick ivy to a secluded spot where I've placed a chair. It's sheltered enough that all around me is green leaves and dark woods. Sometimes the dog follows me there and sits on my lap, but mostly it's just me, the trees and my thoughts. It's the sort of place I would go to read if I had the time to actually read, but most likely, going into the future, it will be a place to sit and sketch. There isn't a man-made object to be seen in any direction, so it's not difficult to imagine I am far away, in Faerie, waiting for a Troll to come along to converse with.

100 Heads in 100 Days #26
Ordeth, Trune Maker
Ordeth, Trune Maker is a traveling Troll. She walks the quiet woods, seeking out prominent stones and trees, on which she etches her Trunes (Troll-Runes). She welds word magic and spiritual shapes together to create a range of wards, signposts, meeting places, warnings and more.
Ordeth is one of the most spiritual Trolls around. Nobody knows who she is or where she hails from, she has simply always been. She is, in fact, a Troll deity. She stands outside of time and is an aspect of the great weaver mother.

Me Fact #26
I'm a firm Atheist. I have been spiritual in the past, but it has slowly turned into an adoration and worship of nature. There's no big god-creator involved. The way I see it, we're evolved organisms. Nothing more, nothing less. We just are. There's no meaning to life, nor is there much sanctity in life. We are born, we run around for a bit, then we die. This is not a sad thing, it's just the way it is, I think.

Jun 21, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #25 - Trolls!!!

A quarter of the way along!
Now that I'm hitting my stride with these heads, I want to try something different.

July for us Galway Pub Scrawlers means a 31 Day Drawing Challenge. I participated in it last year and had great fun with it. I intend to do it this year too, though with a twist. I will continue to do the 100 Heads in 100 Days, but where possible I will be merging the two challenges. So, for instance, if one of the 31 Day Drawing Challenges is something like a 'draw your favourite TV character,' I can easily tie that back to my own challenge. If, however, the 31 Day challenge throws up something like a 'dream house' or some other thing that would be difficult to represent in head form, I will revert back to just drawing a head of my own choosing as I have been since the beginning of my own challenge. Make sense?
More than likely, I won't be involved in each day of the 31 Day Drawing Challenge, but I will certainly endeavour to make as many of them head-based as possible.

But July is still another nine days away, which seems a perfect little window of opportunity for me to try something else out with these 100 Heads. So, for the remainder of June, I will be presenting a new Troll headshot each day. I've gone a little nuts into Trolls these days and there a few Troll stories whirling around inside my brain at the moment. So each Troll drawing will likely be accompanied with some back story and such to give you, gentle reader, a more detailed post.
So here's the first Troll off the rack...

100 Heads in 100 Days #25
Hergroth the West Bridge Keeper
Hergroth the West Bridge Keeper is the oldest of all of the Bridge Keepers. He has seen hundreds of winters and has grown heavy and slow. His eyesight is failing him and he can barely lift his club. He knows his days of flesh are coming to an end, he will turn to stone soon enough.
As West Bridge Keeper, it is his charge to choose and train his successor before he walks into the Mound Woods to take his place amongst the Stones.
But there is, like everything, politics involved. His new successor is from an influential family, and is completely incompetent. Time is running out for Hergroth to leave his post in the right hands. The Mound Woods are calling him...

Me Fact #25
I like to make things out of reclaimed wood. I make boxes and chairs and all sorts of things when I have the time and inclination. I especially like to make cut-to-fit boxes for things like books and art supplies.

Jun 20, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #24 - A Grass Snoogle

One big artistic thing I've learned over the last year is that perseverance is a necessary quality. In the past, I tended to hulk out if a picture wasn't going the way I wanted it to. I'd throw a minor hissy fit and be dark for the rest of the day.
But now, I realise that not every piece is going to be a work of genius worthy of the art history books, nor is it a lost cause if it comes out wrong in the early stages. There have been many occasions where, once upon a time, I would have given up on a drawing, but now I keep my head down and power on through and come up with results unexpected and worthwhile.
Today's piece was one of those occasions...

100 Heads in 100 Days #24
Grass Snoogle
Me Fact #24
My favourite colour, shockingly, is green. I like a nice sap green in particular. Green is the colour of leaves, mosses, grasses and frogs. I have green eyes, green shoes, green pants and green jackets. I disagree with Kermit, it IS easy being green.

Jun 19, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #23 - A Winter Fae

We're having an odd summer here in Galway. I should clarify that. While many places in the world have somewhat predictable seasons, Galway, like the temperamental little brat it is, likes to be stubborn and vexing. Our winter lasted long into the year, the spring was rushed and almost violent in its desire to make up for lost ground, and the summer can't seem to make its mind. One week it is scorching, the next is almost Autumnal. I'm no fan of heat, but I could do with a few more days that weren't windy, wet and cold... wet and cold is fine, but the wind really gets to me. Probably through the fear that the caravan will collapse in on itself at the slightest gust...

100 Heads in 100 Days #23
Winter Fae
Me Fact #23
I want to live in Holland. They seem to have it right.
My wife and I went to Rotterdam and Amsterdam for a holiday last year. Rotterdam is awesome, it has great architecture and a really nice atmosphere. And it is the closest major city to the Rien Poortvliet Museum.

Jun 18, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #22 - I try to draw like Alan Lee

Golly, it's fun to just draw something with a pencil! Somewhere along the line, I seem to have mislaid this artform. I've long been a fan of Alan Lee as a watercolour artist, but it has always been his pencil work that has really blown me away. He's just amazing with a piece of paper and a pencil.
I'd forgotten how versatile a simple pencil is! It can do a whole bunch of things, from intricate detail to smooth tones. It can be rough, smooth, jagged, scribbly, precise and so much more.
It's great when you re-discover an old tool like that. For the last couple of years, I've really only been using a pencil as a layout implement, an initial stage device that always made way for ink or paint. I'm relishing using it as a finishing medium...

100 Heads in 100 Days #22
Old Man Giant
Me Fact #22
I used to be one of those artists who needed the right setup to even consider doing any work. I'd need the right pencil, the right pen, the right paper. It was essentially just a method of procrastination.
Nowadays, I'm much less picky. Sure, I adore Bristol Board, but I can happily draw on anything, anytime, anywhere. I kinda need to be, too, as I don't see that fully furnished studio space becoming a reality any time soon.

Jun 17, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #21 - Ron Swanson

I've never been able to keep up with TV shows like all of the cool folks I know. While they're all talking about Archer and the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones, I'm still watching All Creatures Great & Small and Alan Partridge. But one show I have been watching a lot lately is Parks & Recreation. It's really well written and the characters are diverse and cover a good spectrum.
Here's a quick sketch of perhaps my favourite character from the show, Mr. Ron Swanson.

100 Heads in 100 Days #21
Me Fact #21
My favourite TV show is Arrested Development. Larry Sanders is a close second.

Jun 16, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #20 - A Skyrim Spriggan

1/5th of the way there...
I picked up a copy of the Skyrim Legendary Edition last week. It is just so blasted good. I don't have the internet hooked up to my XBox 360, so I haven't been able to play any of the downloadable content or even get updates, so the Legendary Edition has huge chunks of new stuff for me.
I'm a huge fan of the Elder Scrolls games. I even lined up to get the Deluxe Edition of Skyrim on the day it came out. But I think I play the game for different reasons than the average player. Some folks are completists and have to get everything, win everything, own everything. Other beings are in it for the combat.
Me... well, I like the exploration side of the Elder Scrolls games. I like seeing spots from different angles and searching every nook and cranny. I do collect a lot of things (I enjoy the alchemy mechanism), and I get a kick out of the long range archery element, but I really just love following my eye in that world and seeing what comes around the corner.

Here's a headshot of a Spriggan, a nature spirit that I would just as soon not kill if I could...

100 Heads in 100 Days #20
Skyrim Spriggan
Me Fact #20
I'm right-handed, but left-footed. I swing a golf club left-handed though, just to confuse matters more.

Jun 15, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #19 - The Wind Witch

Here's another bloody witch...
I think witches are really interesting characters. They can be so many things. Most witches are portrayed as evil to some degree, but I think they can be much more than that. I like to think of them as set apart from the daily goings on of most inhabitants of stories where they appear. They are governed by a different set of rules and see reality from a perspective unknown to others. In that way, their motivations and actions are unique to them, and can be perceived by other characters as odd and, yes, evil.

They're fun to mix in with other magical beings too. Witches, to me, are closely tied to natural magic; it is intuitive to them, whereas Wizards have to work hard for their own magic, with spell books and incantations.

This particular witch is as old as the winds over the rocks, as wise as the breeze through the trees, and as dangerous as the gale that churns the seas.

100 Heads in 100 Days #19
The Wind Witch
Me Fact #19
I used to have an earring. And long hair. Never again, on both accounts!

Jun 14, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #18

I think it was in James Gurney's book that I read about the bars of colour an average face can be painted in. The top third can have a yellow tinge, the middle more red, the bottom can be blue. I tried that here. It kinda works because I was going to give this rendition of Gimli a red nose and cheeks anyway.
I saw the trailer for the second Hobbit movie the other day. The dwarves are just wrong, I tell you, WRONG! Mind you, I find a large portion of what Peter Jackson has done with Tolkien's work utterly criminal and an insult to his memory.

100 Heads in 100 Days #18
Gimli looking about as pleased with Peter Jackson as I am.
Me Fact #18
I was a vegetarian for about 4 years in my early twenties. It was easy enough. My Ma's chicken in cream sauce lured me back.

Jun 13, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #17

Here's another female attempt. I gave her an Elfin look because... well, because I like drawing pointy ears, that's why!
I remember an early Bart Sears 'Brutes & Babes' tutorial in Wizard magazine where he stated that every line you put on a woman's face ages her. This is so true. This is also a difficult thing to juggle. Structure and form lines are important with a face, but one too many lines can have a negative effect on the overall portrait. This is especially true when working in line, not paint. With paint, you can use varied colour to show cheek bones, brow and chin, but if I were to go in and accentuate those elements with lines, she'd look hideous!

100 Heads in 100 Days #17
Me Fact #17
My family and I lived in Hong Kong for a year in 1991. I had two girlfriends during that time. One was called Vicky, the other was Belinda, I think. I believe Belinda was of Chinese descent, not sure about Vicky, maybe Korean. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing at the time, they dumped me pretty quickly.

Jun 12, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #16

I can't believe it took sixteen days for me to draw a Gnome. I've mentioned before how much I love them, haven't I?
My love of Gnomes started when I read Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet's 'Gnomes' book when I was very young. Rien Poortvliet, to me, will always be the one artist who captured Gnomes exactly like I want them to be. They are wise, prone to smiling, forgiving, noble, bold and are the ultimate nature warriors.
The main character in the book I have been writing for far too long is a Gnome. I've tried to capture his likeness on numerous occasions, but I've never quite got him right, here's is today's attempt. Expect more over the coming months.

100 Heads in 100 Days #16
Willow 1
Me Fact #16
About once every couple of years, I have a really vivid dream involving discovering a previously unknown hoard of Rien Poortvliet books. The dreams are so vivid that I can picture myself looking through the books, seeing artwork he never actually produced, but seeing them perfectly in his style. The feelings these dreams stir up linger for weeks afterward.

Jun 11, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #15

The small copse of Hazel, Spindle and Ash that is a mere 100 meters from where I am right now is a constant source of delight to me. Each season brings its own magic to the woods; from the starkness of winter to the abundance and sheer explosion of green in May. The breeze shaking the leaves in October and the liquid yellow-green light as the sun sets on the long evenings of July.
Years ago, I established paths that weave through the trees and over the stones, each path giving its own perspective and feel. I have set up a few sitting spots, hidden from view and protected on several sides by haphazard piles of fallen branches and ivy.
Much like Ratty and his river in The Wind in the Willows, that little wood is never far from my mind and is often on it...

100 Heads in 100 Days #15
Me Fact #15
If I won a couple of million in the lottery, after setting up family and friends, I'd buy as much land as I could and plant trees and tell everybody to stay the hell out! I'd build the wife and I a big wooden house in the middle of one of those forests and construct a really high wall around the boundary. Ah, to dream...

Jun 10, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #14

This head is kinda autobiographical. Apart from the bald head, I'm not quite there yet.
I don't like too much noise. In fact, I hate noise. The problem is, I'm surrounded by noise I have no control over, which makes me crave peace and quiet all the more.

100 Heads in 100 Days #14

Mr. Shush
Me Fact #14
I have a good ear for music. I can spot a bum note a mile off. I wish I could play instruments though, but as far as I got was a mediocre ability with the guitar.

Jun 9, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #13

I've always had trouble drawing females. It's one thing to be able to draw a beautiful woman, but to draw a variety of women, with different facial structures and features, is entirely a different thing. I'm tempted to practice by cutting out pictures from magazines and just start copying them from the structure up. I don't necessarily want to be able to draw them like Adam Hughes or Frank Cho, as I don't think that would fit with what I like to draw, but I would like to get a better handle on women... tee-hee... drawing them, that is.

100 Heads in 100 Days #13
bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.
Me Fact #13
I used to be able to swim like a fish. Then I ripped some muscles in my left pectoral whilst doing freestyle. I seriously thought I was having a heart attack. I dare not swim properly again. I really should get those muscles fixed, they still play up every now and then.

Jun 8, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #12

I've never gotten particularly great results when mixing watercolours and pen, I've never been able to strike the balance right, but yesterday's and today's heads came out better than expected. My usual method for this sort of technique is to do some loose pencils, then start working up the values in washes of thicker and thicker watercolour, leaving areas I know I can tighten with the pen. The pen comes last of all, which I thrash around the place rather brazenly. I generally work much tighter when I am black inking with a brush, but I like to keep pen inking rough and scratchy, it feels more organic and lively.

100 Heads in 100 Days #12
A Stone Ogre, or, Stogre.
Me Fact #12
My worst memory is of the family dog, Sheba, being run over when I was about 5 or 6. It was my fault and I have never gotten over it.

Jun 7, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #11

My awesome parents gave my brother Ryan and I each a copy of Brian Froud's fantastic Goblins pop-up book when we were kids. I still have my copy. It instilled in me a love of those wicked little creatures and further cemented my down-to-earth, rough and tumble view of Faerie.
Brian Froud is the master at showing both the beauty and ugliness of Faerie. I don't go quite as deep into the spiritual side of Faerie as Brian and his wife Wendy do, but I certainly share their enthusiasm in exploring its many facets.

100 Heads in 100 Days #11
Hairy-Nosed Goblin
Did I mention that all of these pictures are for sale?
Me Fact #11
I have two younger brothers. Ryan, who makes guitars for a living, and Daniel, who is a camera-man. I love my brothers, I am very proud of them and miss them every day.

Jun 6, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #10

Back in my late teens and early twenties, I was crazy into beast fables. What's a beast fable, you ask? The term comes from Tolkien in his 'On Fairy Tales' essay. Essentially, a beast fable is a story that does not take place in the land of Faerie, and has talking animals. The Wind in the Willows is a beast fable, Watership Down is a beast fable.
I read every beast fable book I could find. I read stories about eagles, owls, moles (William Horwood's Duncton series), squirrels, mink, stoats and a whole menagerie of others.
This lead on to quite a lot of natural history books. From Gavin Maxwell to Derek Tangye and lots of old and obscure otter and badger books in between.
I can see myself writing my own beast fable one day.

100 Heads in 100 Days #10
Me Fact #10
I suck at drawing spacecraft. I'm okay with that.

Jun 5, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #9

I've never been too interested in being a cartoonist. I produced about 50 daily comic strips for a guy a number of years ago that never saw the light of day. It was kinda fun to do, and quick enough, but I found it all very restrictive. The same goes for comics, I think there are some amazing artists working in the comics field, and it IS a great artform, but it isn't for me. I like to work with no border except the edge of the page.

100 Heads in 100 Days #9
Me Fact #9
I'm a dog person. Cats are evil things that hunt and kill wildlife, while a bowl of cat food waits for them at home. Evil!

Jun 4, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #8

One of my big Bucket List items is to see the return of Bart Sears' Ominous Press. Three comics and a bunch of merchandise were produced back in 1994 for it. Unfortunately, the volatile market saw the business close before it reached even a smidgen of its potential.
I've discussed the Ominous Universe for countless hours with Bart since, it's our favourite topic. To think that that world which resides in his head will never see the light of day fills me with dread. Having read all of the material Bart has committed to paper, and through the many, many hours of talking to him about it, I can honestly say that it is the most epic, layered, cool, evocative and exciting story I have ever come across.

This is my quick rendition of Arkon, one of the key players in the piece...

100 Heads in 100 Days #8
Me Fact #8
If I were to get a tattoo, it would be of Bart Sears' Ominous Press logo, with Tolkien's symbol, Frazetta's 'F' and Rien Poortvliet's star organised in and around it. But I'm too much of a chicken to get it done.

Jun 3, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #7

I've always enjoyed drawing Dwarves (I choose the Tolkien spelling). I like the symmetry and chiseled features of their faces. The facial hair is fun too. I think one of the things that draws me to the fantasy and faerie stuff is the variety of beings that you can draw, and because they're not real, they can't be wrong!

100 Heads in 100 Days #7
Left-Eye the Dwarf
Me Fact #7
The chocolate balls my mother makes are the best tasting things in the world. This is not an opinion.

Jun 2, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #6

Like many folks, I was absolutely blown away by Patrick Rothfuss' 'The Name of the Wind' when I read it back in late 2007. It is an amazingly beautiful book. Not many books are life changing, even fewer are from the Fantasy genre. This book affected me pretty deeply.
I would love to do a series of illustrations based on Rothfuss' books, but seriously, who has the time?!
This will have to suffice for now...

100 Heads in 100 Days #6

Me Fact #6 
My wife, dog and I live in a 35 x 12 ft mobile home. It's falling apart. It leaks when it rains, the floor boards sag, there are holes in the floor where slugs and spiders get in. It is terribly damp in winter, it rests on a bit of a slant and half of the electrical wiring no longer works. My drawing station/studio/reading room is actually just an armchair in the sitting room.

Jun 1, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #5

I used to love comics. When I was in my teens, I would hop on a train and head into Melbourne city to visit the comic shops almost every Saturday. I spent a fortune on Image and Marvel comics, DC was never my kind of thing.
My impressionable love of comics and comic art has left a mark on my own drawing style. When shading in pencil, I invariably go for hatching rather than tone. For the layman, that means that instead of working in a nice blend of dark to light, I do lots of individual lines that become more spread out as they move away from the dark spot.
I hate that I do that. I don't want to do that. I will no longer do that!

100 Heads in 100 Days #5
Nanna Orc
Me Fact #5
I can still recall the moment I decided I wanted to be an artist. I was 3 or 4, at kindergarten, painting a cat with a green Santa hat on. It took another 30 years for me to get off my arse and make a serious go of it.