Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wacom Inkling Review

Howdy folks

Now this is not something I usually do, a lil' ol review on the site, but felt compelled to share my experience of this new device afte reading some crazy reviews that I feel completely misinform other artists out there.  


The 'Wacom Inkling'  is a new device made by - yup - Wacom.  You probably saw the youtube video a few months back, which was quickly shared between most artists I know and rapidly shared over the internet like a skateboarding dog singing don't stop believin.....the video was full of magic, wonder and promise.  Ooooh....aaah. check it out here....

Wacom Inkling Trailer

Basically, the device allows you to attach a small device to your sketchpad and draw with it's specific pen which will capture every line so u can easily usb the artwork into your computer and thus cutout the need to go and scan every page of your sketchbook.  What also looked exciting was that your captured artwork could be imported as Vectors, and potentially tweaked in Illustrator and give u sweet crisp artwork.

So when I got the chance to try one of these new gadgets out at my new job, I thought 'heck yeah!'  

Skip to the end - Massive Dissapointment.

I attached the wireless device to my A4 sketchbook, and tried it in a few diferent ways - one the train whilst commuting, scribbling ideas was my first test - that didn't go to well, so I thought 'give it another chance'.  So last night I got it all set up at home, comfy seat at the table, and used it to clean up a rough on my layout pad. The pen has a sensor light that should flash as you use it if it's picking up the signal ok, so I kept checking that this was working fine, and was concious of being careful and neat.  But when I imported the images this morning - bad dates Indy.  Bad dates.

Here's the comparison pics - on the left is the scanned artwork, the right is the Inklings...'interpretation'.  

You can see that although sometimes it's not too far wrong the fact that it's not right just isn't good enough.  And as for vectors - well when we tried to use this function it gave the image so many points in Illustrator that any manipulation would be a nightmare, plus it wasn't exactly the smoothest result.  You'd still be much better tracing the artwork in Illustrator itself.

On the plus does bring artwork into Photoshop on a seperate layer from the background, and u can use even more layers within the picture itself by hitting a button whilst u draw - but again, this is mute if the drawing isn't gonna come through correctly anyway. Plus I'm gonna stick up a tutorial very shortly on an easy technique for seperating out your line art in Photoshop.

So in summary my main problem is this - when I want to take my artwork into Photoshop or Illustrator or whatever and give it the digital treatment - or just have the image on my computer - I want it to be pretty much perfect.  And that's what any old scanner out there will do.  For not too much cash either.
It doesn't matter how much time this might save you by cutting out scanning - if the image doesn't match up there's literally no point whatsoever.  Plus you're restricted to using the Biro pen thing that comes with the device.  Which is ok, the pen feels quite nice, a little thick, but good if u like drawing with biro pens....but not all the time.

My advice to any artists out there thinking of picking this up - DON'T.  

Go get a scanner for half the price, and draw with whatever medium you like - your favourite pens, pencils, potato shapes....go nuts.  Or save the money towards a Wacom pad/Intuous drawing tablet thing and draw with the light pen.  Or...if you're feeling flush, get a nice Cintique!   

Just don't waste your time or money with an Inkling.  

Oooft.  I've never written so much!

Next week  - a thesis on why The Dark Knight is the best film of the last gazillion years.

Not really.

But it is.


Ross ( I'm not wearing hockey pads )
I'm not wearing hockey pads

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Yo!  Still waiting to hear a release date for the second Birdsong Anthology wherein this short story is gonna appear, so in the meantime I thought I'd stick it up here so if u really wanna u can give it a read. This was a pretty rapid project, probably 2 to 3 weeks from conception to completion, some late nights but good fun - coz drawing comics is always AWESOME! :)
  Lemme know whatchya think...

Got a bit of a back log of stuff to post at the moment, so will be back mega soon, probably Saturday! 


ps - here's some makin' of doodles. :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nov Scribbles


Bunch of sketchbook stuff this time - the Fuzzball scribbles I'd mentioned previously,  I think of these as sort of jumping on points for developing little stories  - very tempted by an idea around the middle sketch entitled 'Captain Fuzzball and the Slugpits of Saturn'.  But we'll see how that goes...
Other page is just a bunch of doodles recently , was working on some kind of barbarian monster slayer, but it needs some refinement,  not sure if it will go any further.  
    Right now I'm deep in Illustrator, trying to get to grips with it before I start my new job.  More on that soon....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Getting around to pushing forwards with the other 2 pin-ups in my Alien Trilogy lineup ( forget's ok but....well maybe ....lets just see if I get 3 done first )  .....anyway, finally got a composition I'm pretty happy with for this pin-up based on my favourite of the saga, the original masterpiece A L I E N.  The main idea that was always part of the design was using the reflective Alien skull to depict Ripley in her cryo sleep pod....I thought that worked really well,  it was just figuring out the stuff around that.  In the end what I've focussed on is the horror side of things - the chest burster scene is one of the most iconic moments not just in this movie but in cinematic history, so it seems only right that it splatters across the design.  I also like the way the blood can maybe look kinda face-hugger esque, might need to tweak that on the final version to get it reading right, but it's got potential. So I'm gonna be working this up over the next month, stay tuned for the final piece. 
I've also started sketching on the alien3 pin-up  - it's awesome fun drawing a cartoony bald Ripley, but I need to figure out some stronger composition ideas and hooks,  so maybe I'll stick on the Blu-Ray version for the first time ( just picked up the Anthology recently, nice ) , which should give me some ideas.  

And yeah, that finished Zombie Strong is almost done.  
Almost  :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Howdy - back again with some quick thumbnail sketches.  Good to get stuck into some more environment painting, so this is stage 1.  Gonna take a couple of this and develop into a more finished concept.  Good fun doodling these little things....not sure which are jumping out at me xfactor style to make it into the next round....the shantytown towers with the snake creatures wrapped around them are probably high on the list...I do like the weirdnes of the onyx spike thing protruding from the crack in the earth......we'll see!  Vote in the comments!  :) 

..i really should've numbered these.  screw it, I'll go update the concept now, and u won't even know the diference, cozI'll switch the picture before I post it!  haha!  I don't even know why I'm telling u this!  

Zombie concept is almost done, back real soon with that


Monday, November 07, 2011

Found some doodles in a sektchbook the other day, thought I'd work them up a little - so based on the big guy at the top left I gave him a less cartoony head, and expanded out the body, to draw this tough guy Zombie boss character thing. Working up a painted concept for the next post.  Plus I'll post some fuzzball doodles soon I promise! 

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Gang Boss

  So back in the days not so long ago when I was thinking of doing some more Astrofunk,  this guy was potentially some kind of Rival Gang leader that would give Sol a few problems.  I'm a bit busy to be drawing the actual comic strip itself right now,  but I wanted to explore more digital painting processes, so this guy is unusual for me in that there's no pencil used in the process anywhere.  I imagine this guy to be some kind of street graffiti punk that maybe follows Sol into space, but ends up getting all kitted up in this crazy armour to kick Sols ass.  But that might never happen :)  

Was scribbling fuzzball last night, will post some in a couple of days,  great fun.



Monday, October 31, 2011

Couch Kid


Ok, I'll try to get back to some more regular posting on this ol' here blog thing.  Starting with this little guy!  Basically he's just a bunch of couch scribbles and thoughts,  and then some photoshop bits n bobs.  But I like where some of them are going , so will hopefully from this initial ideas pool take one or two of them further into development.  I'm also itchin' to draw some more Captain Fuzzball, but we'll see how that pans out.  Gotta get my comedy head on for that guy!

 -Got more to post, so back tomorrow!

Monday, October 24, 2011


Busy days right now, hence not quite as much posting - basically I've been putting together a new Portfolio website so folks don't have to put up with my blog style ramblings, and can get straight to the artwork.  If you wanna check it out hit the jump below

There's a few things up there that haven't been on the blog, so go give it a look!
Got a few new things in progress though,  so I'll be back here real soon.  Cheers!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Spare Parts - Heroes and Villains

Here's a look at the work I put together for the 2 dudes at either end of Spare Parts - Mar-T, the heroic robot you play as in the game, and Sulba Krung, the evil bad dude you ultimately want to defeat. Getting the chance to scribble ideas for both of these guys was really awesome, had a lot of fun on this project.
Back reeeeel soon.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Harpie Sketchin'


Got out to another Life Drawing session at the pub on Sunday evening, and it was another fantastic night of lager, ladies and Caligraphy pens! I didn't use a pencil all night infact, I went straight for it with all of these, and as a result there were certainly a few pages that didn't make it up here! But , that just meant that I had even less time to capture a pose, and generally i find that works with u when using pen - no time to think too much, just go for it. So the above pics range from 3 minutes for the quickest doodles, to probably 15 mins for the longest ones. And the girls really were dressed up with the wings n stuff m, as it was Greek Mythology themed, hence Harpies, medusa and...-well, i may have exagerated the Boars head from the papier mache' prop!

Great night!

Back soon


Monday, September 19, 2011

Astro Doodles


I could perhaps maybe be possibly tempted to draw some more Astrofunk :)

Been enjoying scribbling away with some new Caligraphy pens - which I used for all of the below - u get a great fresh line with a real mixture if weight to it, more energy. Obviously it means if you make a mistake u either try to disguise it or start over, but hey that's part of the risk reward with these guys! Then I splashed some quick colour in photoshop to punch a few things out.....

But yeah, I am toying with a new Astrofunk idea, looking at what I would want to would definitely be shorter in page count, and I'd probably start looking at just a real short 5 to 8 page thing and see how that goes. Anyway, it's been fun drawing Bad dude Byakko again, it would be cool to pit him against a huge monster. - Thoughts?

Back in a couple days with more stuff!
- Over and out!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Brush with a Giant Robot

Evenin' all...

So I'm trying to do some more digital painting, and this one is just a quick test with some new Custom brushes. Just fly straight in, not really knowing what you're gonna paint, and see what happens. My first attempt didn't fly, but this one started to look ok, so gradually added more elements - all the foreground stuff wasn't there initially, but the value range wasn't large enough, so got some darker blacks in there. Think this one turned out ok...I like that although it looks like the humans are worshipping the robot dude you're not sure whether their gonna fight it or not......hopefully keep going with practising more of this kind of stuff, plus got a few more things in the pipeline. Lovin the photoshop right now!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Old Republic


ok, so I bumped into a couple of Stormtroopers today in hmv, somehow managing not to buy the Blu-Ray complete StarWars saga there on the spot....must wait until payday!
Anyway, it made me wanna come home and finish this off, been doing it on and off in the background for a week or two. EA's 'The Old Republic' looks awesome, and the 3 trailers released so far are epic beyond phantom menace proportions ( actually Attack of the Clones is my least favourite but don't get me started on that! ) This guy, Darth Malgus, really lept out in the first trailer as this bad ass Vader esque sith lord, throwing his saber around and generally kickin' ass! So I thought I'd sketch him up in a much more cartoony style than any of the official art you'll see, and get some of that saber action into the pic.
It's not even that late tonight, so I might just go back to photoshop and do something else! ...Just got to figure out what? hmmm...


Friday, September 09, 2011

Dragon Quicky


I've been awake for hours today...woke up at 5.00am and could not get back to sleep. Too many ideas going through my head...I've been reading a few more comics recently, and it's been giving me the old itch. So rather than go back to bed this morning I ended up doodling Astrofunk! ( with Countdown on in the background ) . It was a lot of fun, and I've got a few ideas I'm messing around with on what I would do if I draw some more. But that's another story, maybe I'll stick some doodles up here soon.

For now, this is a quick digital painting practice - spotted a cool picture of a piranha online, and it was the basis for a dragon creature inspired by aquatic creatures. I like the idea of painting up a full body shot of this dude, maybe eating a Shark to show how massive he is, but this head study took maybe 1 hour or so, around that. I've been looking at creature design a little more recently, so will have some similar stuff up here again shortly.

Have a good weekend all!

Monday, September 05, 2011

SK8 Merc

Yo - back once again with another quickie. Didn't spend too long on this as I've got loads of more important stuff to be getting on with drawing and painting, and I've done stuff like this before, but it was a lunch break sketch I thought I'd colour up simply. I do like the idea of doing something with Skateboarding bad-asses, flying down a half pipe shooting stuff....nice. Gonna go get on with another pic! Back again very soon!


ps - The background graf texture is from my mate Max's texture site, link below, cool stuff. Cheers Max!

Max Textures

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Z O M B A B E !

Hey - I did say Arnie style 'I'd be back' , and here I am - just a quickie with a hotty - Zombabe to be precise. Just a quick doodle that I decided to paint up, not spending too long over it at all, just havin' a laugh - the most fun was figuring out what to write - I came up with some pretty dodgy dirty weird stuff along the way - but that probably doesn't surprise most of you who know me! Back with some more on...Sunday night I think. Adios!


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

GRUNKK! idea what that means sorry - and I didn't spend too long thinking about it either, but it's the name I've given to this guy. He's based on a couple of quick sketches which I've also stuck up here, thought he could be good fun to paint up, so got on with it! Got loads in the pipeline there should be a real onslaught of pics coming yer way in the next few stay tuned!

Back real soon!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Spare Parts

..yet more from the Spare Parts Archives!

If u like what u see go try the game on XBLA/PSN ! It's great fun!


Anyways, here's a mixture of stuff....a little more environment work with the Demo level mountain top that you're ship crash lands upon ( notice placeholder ship rough - just not unique enough! ) , there's also another robot ( the girly one! ) , some enemy stuff in the form of the Spider Monkeyz various incarnations, and a little glimpse of some backstory, with the Krokks that inspired some of the levels and backstory throughout the game.


Friday, August 19, 2011


....under the Bed!

Been a bit slow with the posts in the last couple of weeks, which I will blame on my sons birthday and as such playing too much Dinosaurs/Batman/Starwars games n stuff. Nice :)

Anyways, I should have lots more in the coming weeks, got a bunch more Spare Parts stuff to stick up shortly, plus some Deathly Hallows 2 stuff comin, plus about 5 things I'm in the middle of in the ol' photoshop. So expect more regular doses of sketchtasticity!

But for now, here's a link to a short film for which I did some concept work. I can't stick any pictures up here or it'll kinda spoil it, but it's only a couple of minutes long so give it a watch! Plus it's really good, and was a pleasure to be part of the production, helmed by my good buddy John Fairfield. When he's famous hopefully he won't forget this! :)

Yoy can check out the film here


Back real soon!


Thursday, July 14, 2011


Been doodling a lot recently, which is always a few ideas I wanna try and kick into development and pursue, but most of these here are just random scribbles from the train/sofa/bed/toilet.

ok not the toilet.

Back soon!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Party time!

Just a quick post of a fun little piece I just finished - my son Elliot turns 4 next month, and I got tasked with putting together an invite - Jungle themed! RAAR!
So here's what I came up with, which Elliot seems to giggle at, so client happy = job well done :)

Man that was fun!


PS - I just updated the pic by removing details...sorry interweb yer just not all invited! :)

Monday, July 11, 2011


Another doodle that I decided to colour, similar to the Pirate below...just took the first sketch straight into Photoshop, and mucked around with lighting and stuff.

In other news, I've got a new PC set up at home - feels a bit more studio esque now - albeit a small messy studio ! So hopefully I'll be posting some more stuff regularly, and painting away into the wee hours.

Back soon


Monday, July 04, 2011

Tarot Sketches

Howdy Went to another life drawing session at my local pub last night, this time Tarot themed. So lot's of fantastic poses inspired by the themes of the Tarot deck, and basically a great night. I'd recommend checking out a session if u can, they are run by the very talented Jake Spicer and are held regularly in Brighton, just occassionally venturing upto Guildford to entertain us. Always good to get back to basics and get some practice in! ..especially accoimpanied by a couple of pints!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Indiana Jones....

Throw me the idol!!

So a few days ago it was the 30th anniversary of pretty much the greatest adventure movie ever put to film - Raiders of the Lost Ark. So that seemed like a pretty good excuse to start scribbling Dr.Jones. Got the dvd out, bit of googling of Harrison, and the sketch pad was out. Right off I wanted to focus on the Idol, the opening sequence is probably my favourite bit of the movie, and it's such an iconic moment that I wanted to use it's power....but then I started to think about how many freaky skulls and corpses there are in this movie that u kind of forget about...for a family movie there's a lot of those guys in there, and most of the raiders pics I've seen haven't featured these prominently. So then these guys got added...and the imposing ball of doom just seemed to make sense.

Anyways, it was a quickie really , didn't want to overwork it...just focus on composition and the feeling of adventure. Who can believe this movie is 30 years old, still looks amazing. Even the melting faces :)

Back soon!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Conrad Concept

Howdy! Thought I'd stick up some more of my work from Spare Parts. When we found out Simon Pegg was going to be lending his supreme talents to the game it was pretty exciting - when I found out I was gonna be desiging the character he voices - well that was hot dang awesome. As the pic shows, originally we were going to make this guy in 3D , like a floating retro computer terminal thing. Eventually the design moved to 2D , and also started to reflect more of an actual face rather than a more abstract lifeless object. So we went with something that definitely had a hint of Simon to his look, with the little moustache that also lends itself to the expression set. We ended up with the fun little digital hologram face - how's that for a slice of fried gold! :) I've also put up the Krofax starship - for this one I looked at a variety of inspirations, including Wierd bugs, Prawn like molusk things , the Sydney opera house, and a cool hotel in India. Drawing spaceships is never dull! Last one is another of the robots - this one more Samurai inspired, again sticking to the template to fit the animation skeleton for all robots, but pushing it where we could. One of the more bad-ass of the bots! Back soon with...stuff! Adios!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

In space.... one can hear me draw!

Maaaan, drawing Xenomorphs is fun. A friend said to me the other day that ALIEN is his second favourite movie, and he's Bang on, it is amazing, and my favourite of all the xenomorph movies. So when I was asked to draw this for a friend I defnitely researched more of the classic Ridley Alien, and the background was inspired by the Nostromo, particualrly the mother room with it's orange dotted lights everywhere.
I used to draw these things all the time as a teenager, the Dark Horse comics ( or the titan uk equivalent ) were awesome, and I couldn't get enough. Particularly loved 'Labyrinth' with beaufiful art by Killian Plunkett, no on Clone Wars. So it was surprisingly enjoyable to come back to drawing one of these again properly after all those years. Cheers to Josh for getting me into it! Got some more Spare Parts stuff coming very soon, plus other bits n bobs!

Oh - thought I'd include the original drawing also - you can't beat pencil n paper!!

This is RAB...signing off :)