Sunday, March 29, 2015

Theme thingy

So I thought I would squeeze in an attempt at this weeks theme of making an image with as few strokes as possible.

Naturally I failed miserably because I decided to try filming it while I was at it and towards the end I sort of forgot what I was doing :D

This is the final painting done in watercolour of an old building in a field

And here is the dramatically sped up video

Friday, March 20, 2015

River Stour sketch

For this weeks theme of producing an image using limited strokes/marks/line/tone I have done this little sketch. It is a mixture of continuous line and limited mark making done rapidly and trying to be economical with technique. It was done with a thick graphite crayon. Hopefully you can tell what the sketch is of!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Themed week 2 - 5 minute rapid painting challenge

Thanks to Richard for coming up with the theme for this week.  I just completed this half an hour ago.  It's a sunset from the front of my house.  I broke the 15 to 20 brush stroke rule, but stuck to 5 minutes.  It was a good subject cos you only get 5 minutes anyway to capture it before it changes.  Got a little dazzled at first but by the time I was finished with the trees on the horizon, the sun had dimmed to a deep red.  Photo of it didn't pick up highlights I'd put on the clouds immediately around the sun.  It's not even half good, but still I enjoyed the experience and it's my first plein air work in 2015.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Back to Basics

Remember when we all had specific days on which to post... that was a long time ago... Anyway!

Lately I have been focusing my daily practice on improving my tones for painting and seeing things as shapes that interrelate and so on and I won't lie, it's almost always women in various states of undress because... I like drawing and painting women in various states of undress :D

By the way anyone interested on learning more on painting tones and so on I have been reading a really good series on the subject lately HERE and part two HERE and as far as I understand it, there is more to come.

I do these digitally and in about 30 minutes to an hour depending on how I'm working that day i.e. how tired I am

These are all done from reference by the way, I usually just google art models or if I come across something online that I like the lights and darks of I save it to paint.

Also, I post my daily sketches or paintings on instagram now as nolanthecelt so if any of you guys are on there gimme a shout.

Also if anyone has any good tips or knowledge of working tonally that they can see Im not getting right or something, let me know in the comments :)

All the love.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dreamscape: The House On The Edge Of The Cliff

Been wanting to do something more imaginative for a long time.  I put it off cos it's easier to do stuff that you immediately observe in front of you or when you use a photo reference.  My home stands a mere 160 metres from the eastern side of Garryvoe Beach. Eight to ten foot high clay 'cliffs' are constantly eroded by wave action; each year between a foot and a metre of ground are washed into the sea.
                 About once or twice a year I get a recurring dream where the cliff has suddenly come up to the house just outside the fence. Like a lot of anxiety themed dreams, just before the house falls in, the dream ends.  Also skies are usually dark and menacing in such dreams.  The painting looks real to match how vivid the dream feels but if you look at where the windows should be in the house, the background sky is visible instead of walls. Therefore the house is a façade and imagined.
                 The painting is also a prophecy, it's only a matter of time before the cliffs do come up to the house, depending on how bad global warming kicks in. 
                 Painted using water mixable oils on linen canvas.  Took 2 weeks and 2 days to complete.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A really late entry for the themed week...

Wow I'm late with this, I had written this for the last themed week since it was my suggestion. Then my computer had a hissy fit and I've been on file recovery until now. I hope you guys find it interesting!

My family background is almost universally sciences and Medicine, I'm the odd one out, however most of the family members who had a strong influence on me as a child had strong creative streaks.  

 My history with art started when I was six or so and my Grandfather started to teach me how to use watercolours. His preferred medium was oils, however given my then preference for exploring the world primarily with my mouth, he felt  watercolours a safer bet. Due to him being a professor of anatomy, he  liked to make sure my sister and I grew up with an understanding of how things worked, particularly the skeletal and muscular system.

 I suspect he thought that we would also go into medicine at a later date. 

That basic understanding has been immensely useful when it came to drawing in general as I was able to work out  how the muscles and bones assisted and restricted each other in poses and in movement, both for real and imaginary creatures.

My secondary school  while it was more keen for you to follow the more mainstream subjects still had a very good Art department and the teachers while having to follow the curriculum for GCSE and A level  loved discussing any areas of the subject if you were interested (The assumption was you weren't interested so You had to ask them)  I do feel that while the teachers were lovely and did what they could, the curriculum somewhat shackled them.

My general drawing skills are mostly self taught with assistance from various lovely Teachers. I learned a lot from art books and strangely even picked up tips from Dick Francis novels, Read 'To the Hilt' it's actually got some very nice tips on how to handle Acrylics sneaked into the narrative.

I Completed GCSE and A-level Art, I suppose from that I learned how to follow a brief as the assignments tended to be quite restrictive when I did them. They had a strange fascination with the theme of 'Food & Drink' it was an Irritatingly regular topic in the exams.

After that It was a Foundation in Art & Design in the UU Belfast. anyone who isn't sure where in the field of art they want to be, do the foundation year. We got to try nearly everything and Personally I fell in love with Illustration and Animation from the modules I completed.  That in turn prompted me to apply for an Illustration and Animation degree in Southampton. (I was under the impression that getting a Degree was what you did.) 

From the degree I learnt about those pesky things 'project management' and 'time management'. While at the time these seemed like horrible concepts, I have come to rely on them heavily to balance a fledgling freelance career with 'pay-the-bills' work.

That 3 years I think made me a better person, I learned to manage money (admittedly badly at the beginning) deal with running my own life and balance work with my coursework. Not to mention that I met some of the best people I know there. The course was a 2D animation class as 3D was only just becoming a mainstream thing (2000) so while we looked into 3D we all believed that 2D would never fall out of favour. We covered all aspects of the 2D animation process and had more life drawing classes than you would ever believe, from static poses to children running about with a dog. they was even a day that an eagle came in for the day. while I am sure we complained about the Life drawing, I can honestly say it's one of the most lasting and useful skills to have.

I have to say that I don't actually think it matters if you have a degree or not in the arts. Its more what you do with your skills. Some of the most talented and successful people/artists that I have met in the last 10 years had no official training and were so good at what they do, that  it was somewhat of a challenge to try and be as good as them.

I think that as long as you are enjoying the way you work and the things you create, keep doing it. If it becomes a chore and a hassle maybe it's time to try something else.

Currently I do a variety of things in my practice, I work on commissions, I teach, I run a Web comic, and I draw purely for my own enjoyment. 
I am always learning new ways to work both practical and digital I don't think I will ever get Bored with a pencil and paper handy.

My comic is a collaboration with a writer John V Clerkin and normally is posted weekly. He writes issues at a time and we plot out characters and storylines together, this is a project we do for enjoyment and because we love the characters. it's been ongoing since 2011 when we thought of it and launched I believe in 2012. 
You can really tell when I changed jobs when reading through it, as the styles change greatly depending on the amount of free time I had available. Currently I hand draw, ink & watercolour the pages before sending them to John for dialogue to be added, previously the pages ranged from just pencils to completely digital. It's been a lovely learning experience and I plan to keep drawing it as long as I can.

I range from a specialty in watercolours and illustration to vivid cartoon inspired acrylic paintings which can be rather large, so far 8 foot by 4 foot was the biggest, commissioned for a show jumping event as an attraction in the ring and a distraction to the horses. My commissions range between the two, paintings in acrylic selling well over the last year, with illustrative commissions in watercolour and inks also being popular. I like drawing and painting attractive bright images with a story to them. From my childhood in a farming community, animals feature strongly, mischievous sheep, with a tendency to attempt Houdini like escapes, aloof horses, inspired by my sisters small herd who always saw humans as beneath them and a pantheon of high energy dogs and cats, all begging to have their story told.

Monday, February 23, 2015

My artist background , by Raúl


well, it is time for the themed week!. This time is about our artist background. It´s quite bit extended, I hope it was worth it, otherwise it will be another failure to learn from XD.

I could resume this themed week by just saying that all skills I´ve acquired are a matter of the time I´ve spent on drawing, and which ways I´ve wanted to take (as you can see finally I´ve taken a little more to explain it XD). 

In fact I have come to the conclusion that, there is no book or degree as recomendable as the determination of keeping on drawing (and unlike the other two, this one is free!!). Anyway it is true that many times books and courses (and also people XD) have been a a nice input (other times just procrastination).

Childhood: memories of my childhood are not the happiest of my life, I was demanded to clear loads of tasks I didn´t liked plus I wasn´t recognized in tasks where I was skilled. For teachers many times my drawer tendencies were looked more as a trouble than a virtue in my education, and my parents (a very demanding ones) were always underlining that I was a lazy boy that could do it better taking to account my supposed abilities. Maybe, the most crucifying topic for me was to believe all this, specially the fact that my creativity was something magical fallen from the sky. Later I would realice that that was not true… so for that time drawing was a way of evasion, and I was practicing constantly XD. My main drawing topics where dinosaurs, animals, monsters and similar, and one of my biggest influences were Dougal Dixon and Akira Toriyama.   

Adolescence: Things went better at the age of 16, I moved from my town (Barakaldo) to do art secondary studies to Bilbao. The best thing I´ve met there was more people with similar concerns. The best memories of that time where the loads of hours drawing together and learning from each other. At school things were similar to primary school, plus I had a regular teenager attitude (a horrible one XD). My arguments with teachers plus the lack of interest in the subject-matter made me not to pass from 6/10 in drawing, design or painting studies in the two years I´ve spent there… but something funny happened during my university selectivity exam…

University: I can define this period as what it is, 5 years of time. Time for doing what you want with no responsibilities. The little demand of the teachers on their subjects made me to pass everything without effort. I spent loads of time partying and improving my drawing skills by my own, even I consider many of my teachers as a bunch of pretentious windbags, there where many of them that made really well with me…

Also I spent one year in Barcelona (horrible windbag experience). and a half a year in Norwich (with many ex-islanders). I remember Norwich studies as one of my best periods in the university, I met the teaching system revolutionary and excellent. Plus the classmates where people to learn a lot from. People there where less competitive and more competent. Between the things I´ve learnt at the university, there are, inking skills, watercolor skills, deep anatomic drawing knowledge, character design and graphic narrative.

After University: This time was a critical one, after spending time building dream projects at the university during years without a filter. You realice that you´ve spent 5 years with no contact or learning about the working market (should we? what the university was supposed to be for? ). Even more, as a result of my two years out my city, I was left alone with no  “sponsors” to introduce me to nobody (the main way to get a job at least in Spain) or no “dance partners” to work with on something. Some teachers recommended me as a scholar in collaboration with the university (4/4 priority) but for higher directions it didn´t seemed important, so I spent a few months on bureaucratic issues for nothing.

Finally I started working as a carrier and children keeper. You will think that this period is irrelevant for my artist background, but in fact, there I learned the meaning of hard working, discipline, and how to handle in professional relations (I feel really thankful to one of my main workmates who taught me all this things that nowadays I still putting them in practice).

On my free time y started learning digital painting properly by my own(I had some contact with it before but not very much). In fact I realized that in many places it had more value knowing photoshop that drawing, so I spent loads of hours a day practicing and looking for a nice job as a graphic artist.

Professional life: After spending 4 years as a carrier and after being bundled with broken promises from different companies, I finally was hired for first time as a creative  in a small company, and for that time I had already made big improves with my confort area, offering cartoonist services by my own and doing some exhibitions in shops and bars. So i was gradually becoming busier. As long as i was learning new skills for necessity reasons, I kept on offering more services as graphic designer, video marketing services etc… 

The bad situation in Spain since 2008, has made people having some status, leave aside their scruples and take advantage of anyone who can. In my case, most of my clients knew each other (Bilbao is not to big) and they where always trying to make me work for less money. The situation went worse when the company I was working for 3 years was broken, and you know, businessmen are thoroughly diplomats even not having ethic on your conditions… so I started searching for a new job, and I shoot creative work offers worldwide. Fortunately I was called from Madrid (not so far XD), and I escaped leaving most of things in Bilbao.

Today: A half a year ago I started my new life in Madrid, I´m pretty happy here with my new job, I´m learning more about graphic design (I´ve got a perfectionist partner I have to adapt to XD) plus I have a lot of time for me to work and improve on illustration. In the other side as a newcomer here life is a bit lonely.

Reached to this point, I feel very lucky about finally having the lifestyle I wanted, specially taking to account how difficult has been. 

As short time goals, I´m a bit saturated on realistic portraits and caricatures, so I will like to make some own projects related with synthesis, something more “cartoon style” (working on it XD). As a long period goal I would like to make things somehow easier to the people who has been as the same situation as me, by changing the concept about how this lifestyle is seen and valued, unfortunately many times supported by those isolated art markets (personal opinion). 

I will keep on drawing and trying to implement my work in places where a drawer is not expected.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ancora Imparo- Im still learning

Kilmartin Upper Stone Circle, Cork- Gouache on HP paper self toned using ink, coffee & gesso
As ye all probably know at this stage, for the last week or so, the Islanders have been doing a theme on our background and skills- self trained or educated in a college etc. I've been away all weekend so wont have much time to go into this.

As for my background, oddly enough for a mad traditional artist I actually did Digital Design in my degree (on a side note, thats where I met fellow original Islander Richard Smythe), only in my Illustration masters did I start to drift more towards solely using traditional illustration work, though of course I did traditional in my degree too, just less so. Both are handy, as I have a innate knowledge of digital creative software because of the Degree, which is useful in this digital age, especially these days where Im starting to drift more and more towards digital in my work. And with the masters obviously illustration, self motivated and independence skills I learned still are very useful today.

I often hear though people talk about self trained vs college trained and I think the argument is largely irrelevant. Whether you get your knowledge from reading books and practising or listening to tutors and practicing, all of us have to continuously learn in our lives and probably will never stop. Even those who went to college still had to spend long hours self training in things not taught in college and after we finished college too we still had & have to (and probably forever more). So really for me there is no division and you should always be self teaching as well as picking up as much as you can from whichever sources work for you.

Which brings me to the title phrase of this post, a friend of mine, some of ye know her as 'Alexis', mentioned over the weekend the above 'Ancora Imparo' meaning- "Im still learning", referencing mans life long quest of learning, supposedly attributed to the 87 year old Michelangelo.

Alas, a quick google search sadly says its been misattributed to him, so destroying that great image of the aged master uttering these words (though on reflection, knowing some of Michelangelos life story, it seems improbable that he would never utter such humble words, being an arrogant so and so), but apparently it was a commonly phrase in Renaissance Italy, so it sums up that age in a way, as it does these current days too in my opinion and seems fitting to this months theme.

PS yep, that was me being brief :P

Hello! from me to you. Plus some tips on self-education.

Respite, oils on board, 122cm x 92cm by Caitlyn Rooke

Hello, Caitlyn Rooke here. Many thanks to the excellent contributing artists for including me in this lovely community. I’m chuffed to post alongside you all!

As this is my first post, I’ll share a bit about myself. I am originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and landed myself in Dublin, Ireland in 2013. I’ve been working as a full time painter since then.  

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t enchanted by drawing and creating. But it wasn’t until I was about twenty that I committed myself fully to art as a career. Initially, I fell in love with metalworking and spent a large part of college soldering and tinkering away. It was an exciting first love and served me well as a teacher of craftsmanship and patience. However, I’ve found in painting a challenging companion that I hope will stick with me well after I mistake my cat for a paint brush and mineral spirits for my tea.

I studied fine art at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 2010 with a BFA and absolutely no sense of how to make a living. My education focused on experimentation and the generation of new ideas over skills. Personally, I feel it's important to have that freedom, but that it needs balanced by technique. Thus, I have spent the past five years catching up on technical skills and professional development. I’d like to share the most formative of those resources with you now:

And for those of you living in Dublin, if you're interested in figurative work, I highly recommend The Drawing Studio’s Echorche/Sculptural Anatomy Course, as well as, The Bargue Drawing course.

Thanks and happy creating to you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Friz - Background and Training

Been awhile since I posted, about time I contributed to the monthly theme! This week is a background in how the Islanders came about doing the things they do.

After Leaving Cert I did a one year preparatory Art and Design course in the VEC in Sligo. I highly recommend it. It gave me a year to grow up a bit, and gave me a broad taste of various artistic disciplines; painting, print, sculpture etc. Maybe it's not the case any more but back then there was a big leap between how secondary level and third level art was taught, so it was nice to ease into it.

From there I studied Classical Animation in Ballyfermot College of Further Education in Dublin. Another course I'd recommend. It was demanding deadlines-wise, which is reflective of the animation industry as a whole. My style is informed from all I studied in that course, whole days of life-drawing being one of the best experiences I found to really develop my drawing skills.

Unfortunately I knew by the end of the two years that animation wasn't suited to me. You need to be the type of person who wants to work for weeks/months/years one one project, drawing the same characters over and over.

When I moved to Belfast seven years ago is when I found my own voice for what I do. I took a week off work and did a week long 'Street Art Masterclass' through the Urban Arts Academy. Met amazing artists, learned loads and got a taste for mural artwork. Spraypainting I learned from artist friends who showed me the ropes. There's not much to spray painting technically, you could run through the basics in five minutes. Actually getting the spray paint to do what you want and go where you want is where it's a pain and that's what takes time to get your head around. Practise, practise, practise...and repeat.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

View of Ballycotton Bay from Knockadoon

This is based on a photo I took 3 years ago.  I've been using aluminium composite panels the past few weeks.  I'd read somewhere that some canvases in museums had been under attack from an insect that eats the weaving.  Realising that canvas is vulnerable to fungus, insects and to tearing I decided to give a new surface a go.  Plus I've been wanting to work on metal for the last couple of years.  It's the stuff used in road signs so it's as tough as it gets.  To get it ready for painting, I give it a good sanding on a medium grade sandpaper.  Then I apply a coat of gesso on to it.  The gesso gives a good rough surface, perfect for bonding with paint.
                       I decided to do a pointillist style; there's dashes in the sky, foreground and sea.  It gives a 'moving' feel overall.  Unfortunately the dashes in the cliffs didn't come out as good as in real life, there was too much contrast with the white area next to it when photographing.  The location is the cliff below the signal tower on the head of Knockadoon peninsula, you're looking across 4 or 5 miles of ocean.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Children's Poetry Bookmark

This is the character design that I created based on a poem by 9 year old Kanturk school pupil Kyle O'Sullivan. Kyle won a poetry competition that was run by the Cork County Libraries. His poem about a strange Cork animal eating peas was selected to be illustrated by myself. I created a character based purely on the words of Kyle's poem. I chose a Heron for the Cork animal because I have often seen Herons on the River Lee and they seem to me, to be an ideal animal that would struggle to eat peas.

Friday, January 30, 2015



long time without posting!!

actually my life is getting great changes, definitely, I will probably  be in Madrid for many years and I´m trying to bring some stability here XD. So forgive my long period missings in the blog.

At least this time I will post a work It has taken me months and finally I have finished last week.

The topic is (as the title says), how would the street fighter II characters look like in the year 1700.
 I started with a relative clear idea about the concepts, but during the way I started getting obsessed about the historical veracity of each character costume, which is not exempt of romanticism. So many times I´ve ended searching about the clothing weapons one other stuff of the era.

The result, many people meet this work something extremely geek, specially the part where I try to explain that I´ve made a history research with something related to street fighter (nobody cares), but in the other way I´ve enjoyed pretty much during the creation of this illustrated serie.

So this is just for fans  of street fighter with restlessness in history XD.

Ryu: Japanesse ronin

Balrog: Mandinga brawler taken to america

M.Bison: Pirate 

Blanka: Guarani indian warrior from Amazon

Quing Dynasty soldier

Dhalsim: Malabar warrior from south india

Guile: Sea Captain

E. Honda: Kabuki Samurai

Ken: Outlander Ronin

Sagat: Khmer Warrior

Vega: Spanish fencer

Zangief: Outcast warrior from Russia

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The airbrush is my ally and a powerful ally it is!

Hey guys, a kind of double post as I put this on my own blog as well and most of you have probably seen these on facebook anyway :) I just thought I would share them here as well as it has been a while since I posted on Islander, as always, hints tips and critiques are most welcome and appreciated. 

Some recent works I have done. I started watching and listening to the Vlogs of Jeff Lafferty as I was working and got all inspired to do some traditional stuff again just for myself as most of the work I have done in the last year has been commissions and all digital at that. Jeff is a fantastic artist, go check him out here.

A work in progress of Grand Master Yoda, I think I will only take this one as far as black and white paint though, but who knows.

Terminator inspired, if you have any interest in the process of how I made it you can go here.

Well lads, the weather is crap and therefore perfect painting weather, GET TO IT!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Waterford Medieval Museum Sketches

12th century Inscribed Knife graphite drawing 

1495 Seige Canon Ink Drawing

Its been a while since I posted artwork here, so here are two sketches done today at the brilliant Waterford Medieval Museum of Treasures

Children's Poetry Character

This is the pencil work for a character Im designing based on a poem written by a 9 year old. I was commissioned to illustrate this poem by the Cork County Arts office. Ill have more details on the project next week and the finished artwork and poem but for now, here is the main character in pencil!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Big Cat

Chalk pastel and charcoal on canson 42x 30 cm

Some while back, until about ten years or so, I used to use only chalk pastels. 
I worked in this medium and nothing else for quite a long time
and then one day abandoned it, hardly ever touching it again.
Since that time I have been using a much wider variety of mediums.
But maybe everything works in a cycle and here I am again, back where
I started. Hopefully with a better and more thorough understanding 
of what makes a good design and how colors can work.
I must admit, it was nice to be back on familiar ground.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Judoka

Have you ever thought, I don't read enough books about martial arts and the very deep philosophy contained therein? 

The answer is almost definitely yes! 

In which case go here, buy the thing and read the thing!

And if you are feeling fancy, buy the terrible artwork too

P.S. The Japanese kanji was harder to do than anything, never try it, never move to Japan, it's to hard to write things.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

David Purley trying to save Roger Williamson at the 1973 Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix

I've been following Formula 1 on and off for the last 20 years.  This painting shows one of the most horrific fatal accidents in the history of the motorsport.  On lap 8 of the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix, Roger Williamson, a young English rookie driving his second race, had a sudden tyre deflation on his car.  The car rebounded off a barrier, flipped upside down and the fuel tank caught fire.  Williamson was trapped in his overturned car.  David Purley had been racing just behind him and on seeing the accident, parked his car and desperately ran towards the blazing machine.  Williamson was still alive, screaming.  Later, Purley said he heard him plead, ''For God's sake David get me out of here''.  First Purley tried to flip the car right side up, but it was too heavy.  Then he got a fire extinguisher off a nearby marshal but it was hopeless against such an intense fire.  The painting records his second attempt to try and right the car, which didn't work.  After that, he was ushered away by one of the marshals.  The marshals weren't given fireproof clothing in those days so they couldn't assist in pushing the car over, although one did. 
           No other driver stopped, some misunderstood, thought Purley was the driver of the burning car.  Purley kept waving at them to slow down and stop and help.  Amazingly the race wasn't stopped.  The authorities thought that Purley drove the burning car not knowing Williamson was still in it.  Apparently.  The race continued so a fire truck which was fairly close couldn't get there straight away as it would have been driving against the flow of traffic.  It took several minutes for it to arrive.  Williamson had suffocated to death by then.  He was 25.  Purley, an Englishman, was given the George Medal for bravery a few months later.
           There's low resolution video footage of the crash and all the photos are black and white so there was a gap there for a detailed painting to fill.  I didn't find working off black and white too bad, using oils on this one, they blend well.  The car was ok to do too.  Then came the figure of Purley.  The pose in the main reference photo was not what I wanted.  He was leaning away slightly.  So I'd to construct a post of him leaning against the wheel.  The days doing the helmet and arms were tough, at the end of the day I'd be wrecked.  His right leg was improvised, it was hidden in the reference photo.  I had trouble with the overall length of it.  Once the figure was done I got through the rest ok.
           Purley died 30 years ago in a plane crash.  I think he deserves to be remembered as does Roger Williamson.  Depicting a real event where someone died horribly meant I had to try to be as faithful to the scene as I could.  It's up to the viewer to decide whether I've succeeded or not.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Deadly tunes bai!

It’s been great listening to the music you guys have put up, I love discovering new things to listen to that I can then to listen to until I absolutely hate it :D

When I listen to stuff for work, I try to get two things going.
  1.  Something that won’t really distract me while I am working
  2.  Music that fits the piece

Herein discover what makes my art go 

Be warned, listening to the following music will make men slaughter their enemies and cause women to fall pregnant with honey badgers

Need to create something hateful, Eminem is your man. I am not a big fan of rap, but he is at least original so I like it. 

Feel the need to mentally support the lack of money you are making, look no further than the eighties for inspiration!

Forget who it was that brought down Spartacus, FOR SHAME, here, get educated with your bad self.

This is just because I love it 

Illustrating some ancient people (JG I’m looking at you) 

I don’t know much about this song, but I hum it alllll the time 

This song, is a song about nightlights… deal with it

And I like this one cos my Granda used to brew his own 

Well, that’s just a few of the millions as I’m sure you all have also, feel free to explore the full library of Horrible Histories awesome songs, way more interesting than some people we know who ramble on about old stuff

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tunes to scratch a pen to

I have a bit of a schizophrenic taste in music..... ya ya suiting my schizophrenic personality :P I have tried to always be open to all forms of music, so I have found a bit of everything that I like. Music and podcasts are my constant companion in those long hours working on artwork, so my library is gigantic. So like the rest I have way too many favourites to fit into a single post but ill throw up some that jump to mind:

 John McLaughlin, Paco DeLucia, Al DiMeola- Friday Night in San Francisco
Still a favourite of mine after many many years listening to it, three of the greatest guitarists got together to do a tour but it was just one night in San Francisco everything just seemed to work

Rolling Stones- Paint it Black
One my all time favourites, it reminds me of my time in 'Nam ;) A great period in American music

Anam an Amhráin- Cailleach an Airgid
From a series of brilliant animations by Cartoon Saloon, where they were commissioned by a TG4 show which is about Irish traditional songs, they made a modern recording of some of them from the best talent in the Gaeltacht and matched that with animation, this one from Connamara

Kíla- Cabhraigí léi
One of my favourite bands, they are the best modern reinterpretation of Irish trad in my opinion, always experimenting and searching

Nico Vega - Beast
Discovered these guys recently, the album this song is from is the first album in a long long time I have heard that the whole thing is great

System of a Down- Prison Song
A really acquired taste, System of a Downs form of metal never gets old for me

Bob Dylan- Let me Die in my Footsteps
Probably my favourite song of all time

Seán Ó Riada-Marcshlua Uí Néill/O'Neills March
I love the marches in Irish trad, this is my favourite

Brian Hughes- The Ships are Sailing
Tin whistle rocks! So lively, great music to listen to while illustrating, Besides Mary Bergin, Brian Hughes is the best

Survival of the fittest Mopp Deep
I fell in love with Hip Hop in my teens and I have never been able to shake it off, it kind of reminds me of growing up in Limerick city, the mentality, the modern city environment. Mobb Deep were the best

Biggie & Tupac Freestyle
Another great one, not a huge fan of either of them by themselves but they really pulled out all the stops for this

Rachid Taha - Barra barra
I love Rachid Tahas music, a great mix of North African music with modern elements

Tannas - Sabbal Ia'n Ic Uisdean
From the Western Isles in Scotland, a Scots Gaelic Band, Tannas, have some great music

Louis Armstrong-A Kiss To Build A Dream On 
A great period in American music, the 1930-40's had so many great songs, something about wars that lead to good music. Louis Armstrong is of course one of the greatest voices in history

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The painter's musical choices

I always have music on when working, always have. I find it hard to work without it. Plus I find it keeps you company in a way. I've been a guitar player most my life so music has always meant a lot to me.

Like with my tastes in art, my musical tastes seem to mimic this. I like brooding, atmospheric, melancholic music the most, strangely. I do like happy music too, but find it less interesting.

So here is a small sample of what I like. Most people who know me know that I am a huge death metal and black metal fan. The sort of discordant melodies always ring true to me! As well as this I love classical and traditional folk music. From Wagner to Liszt, I love classical because of the variation you get. I love folk music because of the stories that are sung.

Here are examples:
Nasheim - En nyckel till drömmars grind
Bach's Harpsichord in Dm
Winterfylleth - A valley thick with Oaks
Bert Jansch - Moonshine

Music while you work... Whistle while you work?

This weeks themed suggestion threw me, not because I don't listen to it but because I'm always listening to something. I have a bit of a phobia of silence, so the radio is always on, or I have my iPod on random shuffle ( it assures me it has over a week before it starts to repeat anything) that means I honestly couldn't tell you what I was listening to for any given artwork. 

I have types of music for different things I suppose, for example, when I am concentrating its a French Jazz channel. Beautiful music and chatter, however since I don't speak French it doesn't distract me with news reports. I get a lot of watercoloured work done that way. 
General sketching and brainstorming would be the iPod on shuffle, music I know & love but no DJ. Sometimes when doing very repetitive tasks such as priming boards or scanning animation frames I have to resort to Audio books, Sir Terry Pratchett by choice, mainly so the job gets done & I don't wander off. 

Currently listening to Chris Rea and painting comic pages. (Studio is freezing so I had to compromise with my Ma in the living room. She disapproves of random shuffle)

As an image for this post I have a fan art of dancing baby Groot. 


...Bouncing off the walls.

 So. I pondered putting up a list of my fave artists and tunes but that would be too hard to call and make for far too long a post! So instead im going to post the soundtrack for the week (well, some of it at least) which probably gives a taste of my tastes!

I used to listen to radio a lot in mornings but found it too distracting, id be drawing and then a interview or something would pull me out of it. These days i mainly consign myself to Spotify and a large collection of tunes on my hard drives. I don't ever put on anything specifically keyed to any image i work on, so I'm not sure how much the background tune can be informing the ideas etc as i work, but it probably does a little...

Chelsea Wolfe-Feral Love
Great artist i discovered via this track that was used on Game of Thrones Trailer in 2013.
U2-Every Breaking Wave
Love them, hate them? I like a lot of the music though like most i wish Bono would talk less, sing more. This tune is gorgeous though. 
Plastic Rose-Move Islands
Some friends from Sligo and this is there new track. Its savage.
Discovered this recently and its been on replay a lot. 
Broods-Mother and Father
Another recent find. 
Pearl Jam-Black
Basically my favourite song (probably?). Still my favourite band and this tune is just masterful.
Talking Heads-Once in a Lifetime
Always gets me in a good mood.
Disposable Heroes of Hypocrisy-Television the drug of a Nation
Old track but a relevant message, even more so in this day of Iphones, Internet and social media. 
Gil Scott Heron-The revolution will not be televised
Just damn cool! And says something real too..
David Bowie-Heroes
Got into Bowie late, but damn hes great...
Old track, College years and memories!
Stone Temple Pilots-Pretty Penny
Loved their earlier stuff but Weiland is meant to be a bit of a difficult chap. Still, good tune!