Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Engineer from the Authority

The Engineer from the Authority drawing comic art Sinclair Elliott
You may be wondering what's in my and improved header - it's The Engineer from The Authority published under DC Comics Wildstorm imprint. I remember browsing the graphic novel, making a snap decision to buy it having being utterly blown away, not only by Bryan Hitch's awesome art (ably inked by Paul Neary), but also the sheer scale of Warren Ellis' story.
I think Bryan Hitch was at the height of his abilities during this run. The last thing I saw him draw was his run on Marvel's Fantastic Four #554-#568 about 3 years ago and since then I haven't come across much by him except the odd cover but what I have seen doesn't seem to be quite as epic as this period of his work.
I was so totally inspired by his stuff that I started to try and bring some of his exacting style into my work, so here's my attempt at the Engineer.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Craic Dealer bumper sticker now in colour

Now with lots more colour - Let's really celebrate those stereotypes

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Girls Rock tshirt gone to France!

One of my Girls Rock tshirts has gone to France. So "Merci beaucoup" to the buyer - hope you are very happy with the garment :-)

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Muppet Movie 2012

Initially I wasn't going to see the new Muppet Movie even though I have a Cineworld Unlimited card. But a friend convinced me and I have some personal issues which means I was looking for something to take my mind away from the "real world". I wasn't expecting much and I got a huge surprise - it was very funny indeed, laugh out loud and get strange looks funny. To be honest I personally never found Kermit or Miss Piggy particularly endearing when I used to watch the Muppets as a kid, but I loved Fozzy Bear, Animal and the dog who plays the piano (I forget his name and I won't be a slave to Google) so it was great to see them again
The humour is contemporary and and there's a bit of nostalgia thrown in for good measure. In fact, I doubt they were aiming the movie at kids at all. Parents will probably drag their kids, who won't be able to understand the lack of CGI, along to see it.
Stars Jason Segel and Amy Adams. Flight of the Conchords star Bret McKenzie provides some of the soundtrack

A definite 9 out of 10 for me

Don't watch any trailers as it's not a particularly long film - just go along a see it

I Love T-Shirts Blog

Someone has been kind enough to feature two of my tshirts on their blog. It's at I love tshirts

It's not just Irish tshirts - there are some other cool designs as well so it's worth a look.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Drawing of the Pharoah at Luxor Temple

luxor temple pharoah drawing
About 2 years ago, before the troubles in Egypt, I took a cruise down the Nile on a riverboat. If anyone wants to see a lot the temples and ancient architecture on both sides of the Nile and have a relaxing holiday I thoroughly recommend this type of holiday. All the excursions to the temples were prearranged, so it up early in the morning, do some sightseeing and then back to the boat for a filling lunch and some lazing out in the sun.
I tried to do some drawing and whilst I was at Luxor I drew one of the large pharoah statues that flank the entrance of the temple. This was done with a fine tipped pen straight onto paper without any pencils. I often like to work this way to challenge myself to get shapes down first time.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Review of zombie christmas card from Zazzle

photo of a zombie christmas card produced by zazzle
I do actually purchase my own products. Hey, if I don't buy my own stuff, how can I expect others to do the same? So, I was very pleased with the cards I received. They were well packed in a stiff backed envelope. The cards themselves were printed on glossy stock. The image was very sharp and the colours were well balanced. I suppose the only criticism was that you'll need to watch out for smudging when you write your greeting on the inside as it is glossy like the outside of the card.
Oh yes, and always bear in mind that Zazzle products are shipped from the States - I think there was a two/two-and-a-half week delivery time on these cards.

Order yours here ;-)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

I'm a Zazzle Pro Seller!

I have recently been admitted to the exalted ranks of the Zazzle Prosellers (basic)! Hurrah!
For those that don't know about this award that Zazzle offer take a look at this page, all the details about what you have to achieve to get the badge. My story is that I joined Zazzle a long time ago - 2004 to be exact - and created one, yes a grand total of one, design. Naturally I thought this was the apex of human artistic achievement and was disappointed when it didn't sell at once. So I left it and forgot about the world of print on demand and returned to drawing comics and fantasy art.

Literally years later I got an email from Zazzle saying "You recently sold 1 copy of your product, Bunny Boiler". I was so stunned that someone, somewhere had purchased one of my designs that I immediately embarked on a quest to reach pro seller status. Believe me, it's been quite tough spending time of designs convinced you've created something special and yet seeing that horrifying message when you filter the products you created by daily views and seeing 0 views. I hope that what I am selling is my own unique view and that others enjoy my designs enough to purchase them, and it still gives me a thrill when I get that email!
By the way here's the updated version of Bunny Boiler - the first thing I did after I got the sale notification

Monday, 20 February 2012

Craic Dealer tshirt now on white

My Craic Dealer tshirt previously only available in a mono chrome design has now been released for white and light coloured shirts (listen to me - I'm practically talking about myself in the third person). The leprechaun in eye popping technicolour!

Craic Dealer keychain

I've released another Craic Dealer product into the wilds of the internet ... go free, find yourself noble keychain!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Ladies Customisable Sport TShirt

Well, now the ladies can get a chance to wear something that will tell them - "It's time to stop the gym feeding off my bank account like a parasite and put some good ol' fashioned wear and tear on their equipment!"
I'm pleased I got the woman's outline to look feminine but still athelic and powerful.

It works well as a spaghetti tshirt as well

My Craic Dealer TShirt design

I guess I shouldn't be gloating for the 30 day cooling off period has passed but I have sold one of my Craic Dealer tshirts. I just love that email from Zazzle, and it's ironic after I vented my annoyance on the change in their product display pages.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Walking Dead creators locked in legal battle

I am an avid fan of the Walking Dead and eagerly await the new series on freeview ( I ain't paying for the boobtube other than that stinking tax our scumbag imposes on us for just owning a TV). Anyway - I have stumbled across the news that Tony Moore is suing Robert Kirkman. Apparently Tony Moore, the co-creator artist for the first six comics, signed away all of his rights for reasons that can be read in the preceding link. To be honest when Charlie Adlard picked up the art duties after, apparently, Tony Moore couldn't make the deadlines, the series got that gritty, dark edge it really needed. I am old enough to know that when money is involved all concepts of friendship and comradeship fly out the window and the bigger the payoff the faster those ideas hurtle over the horizon, however it's still a bit sad.
Just makes me think that all those pages where we blithely click the "I Accept" box as, wide eyed and full of hope for the future, we upload our art to the internet will probably come back to bite us in the posterior.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Zazzle review system badly implemented

Zazzle, the online print-on-demand store, have decided to start displaying reviews on products. A good idea in principle but the execution has been so poor it's turned into a bit of a joke. Basically, under each product description there are up to 4 reviews with a star rating system. The only problem is that these reviews are not actually on the individual design on a product but on the underlying apparel or stationery.
In the case of a couple of the tshirts I have designed there are at the top two very poor reviews. These reviews have come from other tshirts completely unrelated to my design but yet these negative comments appear against my girls rock tshirt (you have to look very carefully to see it applies universally)
One of the comments is "The printing job was very VERY disappointing. It looks like it's been smudged or something (NOT like the graphic that was provided)". If another designer loaded up a poor quality image and the customer purchased that I have absolutely no control over it. It would be like buying a packet of peanuts from Tesco, reviewing it merely saying "Stale and overly saltly" then that comment appearing against a packet of chocolate chip cookies.
The comments themselves appear to be filtered in some way by product keywords but since Zazzle have not decided to inform advise anyone how the comments appear against products no one can give a clear answer.
Whilst I appreciate that the system of having reviews against products should improves sales, in the short term the effect, and possibly the effect of a couple of hundred designers filling the blogosphere and twitter world with "Zazzle review system sucks" or similar will be negative for small time designers like me.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Training tshirt now in blue

I have now released this shirt with the design in blue. I will probably do one especially for black or dark colours even though I personally prefer to wear light tops when exercising - don't know why it just makes me feel less sweaty!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Customisable Sports TShirt

My style of artwork has always been quite detailed and rendered. Tee shirt creation is a great diversion for me forcing me to strip back my style into the most basic shapes and concentrate upon placement and design to put across a message.
In this case the temptation, which I have avoided, would be to add detail to the running figure to emphasize his musclelature. Instead I have drawn the silouhette and reproduced it several times in different shades give the feeling of dynamic movement.
This tshirt can be customised so that you can add to it any slogan that you feel would inspire the wearer.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Corruption at the 2012 London Olympics

I don't consider myself naive. I understand that we live in a world where money and power count for a lot. It's a world populated by humans and human nature will never change.
Howerver, what most sickens me is when our government can run up a 9 billion pound bill hosting a drug cheat ridden competition that most people have little more than a passing interest in and sell it back to us as "accessible to all" whilst in reality a privileged few will cherry pick the best parts of it.
The Dispatches : Olympic Tickets for Sale on Channel 4 last night made for depressing, if unfortunately predictable, watching. In one example major roads in London will be diverted and blocked to allow altheletes and officials to reach their venues "on time". I suppose that elite atheletes who have reached the top of their game frequently roll out of bed and straight on to the track. I'm sure I saw Justin Gatlin run the 2004 100m finals in his pyjamas because he'd had a late one the previous night.
The reality? The routes pass in front of some of the most expensive hotels in London to allow those who have bought premium packages to be taken, bascially at our expense, straight to the venues in air conditioned limousines. Anyone caught using these lanes for any other purpose, maybe like work or education God forbid, will be caught (doubtless by a CCTV system that can't identify murderers), fined 200 pounds and probably CS gassed in the face as potential terrorists for good measure.
Here's the synopsis and more - Olympic Lanes for Sale

Monday, 13 February 2012

Girls Rock TShirt

Struggled with this one for a bit, mainly around the use of PS. I think it works well for digital painting but with line drawings I'm not so sure as I seem to be spending too much time adjusting lines with the eraser tool. The guitar geek in me had to get that Les Paul just right! I used inkscape to "vectorise" the finished drawing. After trying various fonts I just found Courier to make the best simple statement

And on a light coloured tshirt

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Stallone Caricature - pencil drawing

A lot of people pass what I think is quite harsh judgement on Stallone. Admittedly he has been in a lot of really poor films. Possibly the lowest point would be "Stop or My Mom will Shoot!" - a dreadful attempt to cash in by combining one of the cast of the then very popular Golden Girls with the violent action films of the early nineties.
He has speech impediment - "God he can't even speak right, he just drawls" as a lot of film snobs would point out. Hey, just wait a minute here, he suffered from a facial paralysis caused by a botched attempt to use forceps during his birth and despite this quite considerable handicap went on to write and play the lead in a massively iconic American film and star in many others becoming a huge box office draw in the process. Now that is drive and determination. How many people must have told him "You'll never be an actor Stallone - just give it up" when he started out? Yet he pressed on regardless. Wish I had one percent of his drive.
His commitment to any film role is what can be described as full on - even now he is late middle aged he threw himself into the action sequences of "The Expendables". Certainly in my mind he is committed as Daniel Day Lewis (a huge scenery chewing ham in my opinion) yet DDL is feted as an acting genius whilst Stallone is sneered at despite his turn in "Cop Land"
Anyway - he's got a great face to draw and caricature.

sylvester stallone caricature

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Craic Dealer Bumper Sticker

Put this on your car but don't blame me if you get pulled over a bit more often than normal ...

Now in colour too ;-)

Friday, 10 February 2012

The Grey

Talking of wolves I went to see The Grey recently. I'm not sure how Liam Neeson suddenly became the poster boy for aging alpha male action films. Being quite tall and imposing he still gets away with it, especially here where he is swaddled in layers of winter clothing to hide any middle aged spread.
The entire movie seems to have actually have actually been filmed in the frozen wastes of Colarado or some equally desolate environment so I have to give credit for the cast's commitment. Neeson claims to have taken ten minute cold showers every day for a month before filming to acclimatise.
In short a plane crashes (very good scene), and Neeson rounds up the surviving passengers whilst growling orders and snippets of wolf centred wood craft at them to enable them to survive attentions of a pack of the vicious predators attracted by the carnage of the crash site. It isn't, however, as straight forward as that so as their predicament unfolds and we get more of Neeson's character's back story there is enough to keep the viewer interested right to the end.

Chairman Meow TShirt

I didn't create this, but I really wish I had. I think it's absolutely brilliant.

Zombie Trainspotters Mug

Trainspotters ... their overwhelming desire for trains overcomes their zombie desire for brains.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Man on a Ledge

Another cookie of a movie from the Hollywood cookie cutter production line. Attractive leading man - check. Marginally less attractive male side kick with slight comic overtones - check. Hot babe - check. Feisty female detective who's easy on the eye - check. Corrupt finance/banker/property mogul - check. Corrupt cops - check check check It all works out in the end - check.
I, for one, do not understand the appeal of Sam Worthington to the big directors. I think he's bland and unmemorable, possibly because I grew up in the era of big action heroes like Schwarzenegger, Stallone and Gibson. However, Jamie Bell is very good. Not being American I can't vouch for the autheticity of his accent (although it seems way better than the occasional broad Aussie vowel that pops up in Worthington's efforts) but he sounds completely different and moves differently. He could actually be someone completely different. Hey, maybe he's acting! Another oddity is Titus Welliver as corrupt police chief Dante Marcus who played Jimmy O'Fallon in SoA - the man with the worst Irish Accent since Tom Cruise in Far and Away.
Five out of ten.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


I love wolves (well, the idea of them anyway!). Somehow don't know if I'd like to meet a genuine one walking in the forest. I used to do a lot of wolf drawings when I was younger but haven't done one for a long time.
So this time using PS I drew a snarling wolf's head front on using a brush with the dual brush function turned on. Even though I plan to clean it up anyway and make the lines as smooth as possible somehow without the dual brush to give texture it feels wrong trying to draw with it.
This is the finished version - I imported it into Inkscape to give all the lines a very smooth vector look. Need a new computer though, my laptop is slooooow running Inkscape.

I plan to try and use this in a design later on

Monday, 6 February 2012

Two new products for store

A Craic Dealer Button - a little something for St Patrick's Day

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Underworld : Awakening 3D

On the subject of 3D movies went to see the latest in the Underworld series. It was quite entertaining although as usual the 3D added absolutely nothing. I have a member card to Cineworld but I still have to pay an extra fee to watch 3D films which is irritating
As I was watching it I thought - "Was this adapted from a comic?" being as the film's pacing had a particularly comic book feel. I noticed at the end that one of the writing credits was J. Michael Straczynski who among other things has written a lot of comics for Marvel, DC and Top Cow. This may or may not have had an effect, it's really just an observation more than anything.
It was entertaining, basically no worse or no better than the preceding films and they got the mix of live action and CG just right (unlike some of the hideously cheap looking effects in MI: Ghost Protocol) Kate Beckinsale still has an amazing figure, that leather costume looks as snug as ever and her weapon of choice is still a Beretta with an extra large magazine

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Inkscape trace

Below is the result of doing a trace in Inkscape on my George Lucas cartoon. If I had attempted to do this in Photoshop with the pen tool it would have taken me absolutely bloody ages. I haven't done any cleanup or manipulation of the finished trace.
How to trace:
File -> Import
(opens a dialogue window and you choose the image you want to import. Then you can imbed or link the image. I embedded it)
Path -> Trace Bitmap
(This opens a dialogue where you can adjust the way the bitmap is traced. I accepted all default settings. Click OK and it will do it, although the first time you do it almost appears nothing is happening. The dialogue doesn't disappear when it's finished you have to close it )
Once the tracing is complete you can select the embedded bitmap using the Select and Transform objects tool - the black arrow in the tool box - and delete it if you want to.

Pretty interesting, huh?

Please George Lucas - stop flogging that dead horse

So, there I was at the cinema when the trailers come on. Once again George Lucas is extracting as much mileage as is possible from the Star Wars franchise - this time he's jumped on the 3D bandwagon.
It wasn't enough that he pissed all over the original films by adding in a ton of additional computer imagery that didn't fit in at all with the style of the films produced with 70's and 80's technology. At the moment it's only the "first" three films, but I can expect the faux 3D treatment will be applied to the original trilogy.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Girl at the beach

I was quite influenced by Al Rio's girl art and tried something in that vein a few years ago. Interestingly enough it's one of my most viewed items in my store.

Beautiful Girl at the Beach Mousepad mousepad

Al Rio

I was quite saddened yesterday to read about the passing of Al Rio. For those that you who are not familiar with him he was a Brazilian artist who worked on a number of comics for DC and Marvel, and also sold artwork through Zazzle and probably other POD sites. There are examples of his work Comic Art Community. I last saw his work in an issue of The Hulk during the World War Hulk story arc. I was, and still am, a fan of of his draughtsmanship and style of detailed artwork.

Whilst I don't want the manner of his passing to overshadow his work apparently he took his own life which makes it all the more sad. You can read the whole story at Bleeding Cool