Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My New Easel

I've inherited a couple of easels, but this is my first bought specifically for my needs. Stephen bought it for me for Christmas. It's a Mabef M33 easel. It's very tiltable, and most importantly just light enough for me to move about the place (which is some feat with my spaghetti arms), but still sturdy.

Another of his presents is on the floor behind, the Fat Duck Cookbook which is resting on the bookstand my Dad made for me many moons ago. The cookbook has tonnes of Dave McKean's illustrations in it, which is why Stephen bought it for me. I presume he's not expecting any culinary miracles.

The painting on the easel was started before Christmas, I painted it resting on my desk to begin with. I'm much happier painting on the easel.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Self Portrait

Here's a little sketch of yours truly. I used a Koh-i-noor Nexus, which I bought in the US years and years ago.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chris the Christmas Tree and the A&E

We got our Christmas tree yesterday. It was Stephen and my first tree together and Stephen's first live Christmas tree, he's enjoying the pine freshness throughout the apartment. He nicknamed him Chris.

Anyway it was all so exciting I ended up in A&E last night with the most incredible pains in my stomach, just an extension of the illness I've had for the last three weeks. I had been feeling a whole lot better recently 'til then.

These paintings were done a little while ago. I painted them on the floor (not directly obviously, they're on 100% cotton paper) on a large sheet of plastic. Stephen's getting me an easel for Christmas, I do have a portable easel stored away, but there's something about working on the floor I always enjoy. But when we get the sweet Mabef easel I picked out I'll be a bit more organised and be able to paint bigger paintings too.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Screentone Cowboy

I haven't really had a chance to do any sketching before in Manga Studio, I just went straight to work with it to ink my latest book. This here cowboy is the first sketch I've done with the program. I've used screentone before, but only the physical stuff.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Viking Marauders

This is another illustration from the Robin the Hoodie book. It might be my favourite. It's not often I get to draw vikings, so I decide to go with the fetching, but historically inaccurate, horns on helmets.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Best-Loved Irish Legends

I haven't had a chance to post these before, these are a couple of the illustrations from Best-Loved Irish Legends. The deadline was really tight on it, it worked out at about 2 days per spread (which is two facing pages to you non-publication types). I put loads of work in to make sure the illustrations were still good quality.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tiger Lily

This is an as of yet unfinished painting. It's quite small and I'd like to paint a larger version eventually.

I'm illustrating another book at the moment so most paintings are on hold for the time being.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hey Red!

My back started hurting again today, I also skinned my big toe and hit my funny-bone. I knew it was going to be a good day when I got up this morning.

Stephen's adopted this painting and all I know is big, red hair is awesome.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Robin the Hoodie

I recieved my copy of Robin the Hoodie yesterday. I'm really happy with how it came out, it's the first book where I've inked it physically. Stephen and I are moving in opposite directions, as he uses more digital media I use more physical stuff, it's how we keep the force in balance.

There was some ink splatter I wanted to use behind Crack Beard, but the printers were worried about how it would print. I mocked up a version anyway for my own sake (but it's elsewhere), it helps the smoke stand out.

Update: I just discovered the Crack Beard story was dropped. Dang! That was one of my favorite illustrations.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stephen Working

It's nice to be back at my desk after the forced hiatus, and here's a sketch of my view from said desk. Stephen working away with my lectern in front of him, he's either drawing Die Hard: Year One or doing his sketch for Eclectic Micks, maybe I'll take a peak and check, I don't think he noticed me sketching.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Watercolour Sketches

My back's still out, but it is getting better. I haven't been able to do much and it's driving me stir crazy, so now and then I do a bit of sketching and what not, until it gets too uncomfortable. These paintings are the most recent of these art therapies.

I haven't touched watercolour in a good while and I was going to say something more here, but I have to recoup from being hunched over blogging on my laptop. Cheerio!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Baby got back problems!

I threw my back out yesterday doing tumbles, apparently I'm not 4 years old anymore. Today I did nothing but quest for pain relief.

On the plus side my A4 scanner is working again, although this painting was photographed along with the one from the previous post. The lighting was far from perfect for this, but whatever, you get the gist.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Scanning Issues

The lil' scanner I normally use is bust, and the A3 Brother scanner makes everything way too saturated. I spent the last hour trying to either make little scanner go now, or trying to adjust the colour settings on the Brother. So photograph it is, of course that's not great either, but it's nice to see the picture in situ. The second image is what the Brother scanner did, shame on it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Another Red Head

My new book came out yesterday: Best-Loved Irish Legends. I saw it on the shelves in Waterstone's when we went to town today. I might just post some art from it, but in the meantime here's another lady, painted in a loose choppy style.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Red Hair, White Nipples, Warm Heart

Here's another of my looser paintings, this way of working uses up so much more paint and fairly gunks up the brushes. Why the white nipples? . . . Got milk?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Studio Pics

Look at this little fellow I rescued from the side of the road using the Lisbon Treaty leaflet, turns out it is good for something. I believe this little guy turns into the Street Walker butterfly, it's like Pretty Woman or something, yeah there's some gentle humour, right there!

Below are some photos of the studio. There's my Kläppe chair on the Lusy-whatever rug, that's there in case of spillages. That picture on my desk is finished now, all painted up.

Monday, August 31, 2009

You watched it, you can't unwatch it.

Everybody's favourite crustacean, Dr. Zoidberg. I've never done any fan art, except for a drawing of The Maxx on my homework journal when I was in school. So I thought recently what the hell am I doing, there are so many things I love, remaining untouched by my graceful hand (heh heh).

Stephen was suggesting I work straight to paint without an under drawing. This idea intrigued me, I was thinking of loosening up my painting style, which is hard to do with a detailed drawing underneath. Watch out there's more of these loose paintings to come, including a large baboon, a very large baboon. And lots o' naked chicks.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beautiful and Creepy

Check out this beautiful and creepy video here of a ball joint doll. If you don't know anything about ball joint dolls you're missing out on a whole world of creepy fun and very androgynous boys.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I wasn't going to write anything here because I'm tired, so very tired. I've had two late nights and too much pizza.

I've completed a new painting and once we get the big scanner up and running I may scan it and even post it here. I also have photos of the studio, which I may post too. I have great plans. Anyway tired, mucho tiredo.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Acrylic mediums for Glazing

Here are the acrylic mediums I use for glazing. Granted you don't need so many, but I like to experiment to find my favourite. Most importantly all the brands have a gloss and a matte version. This can effect what your doing with the paint, matte's good for drawing on top of and using watered down paint on. Gloss is crisper looking and good for isolation coats, what's an isolation coat I hear you say? What do I look like a walking dictionary!?! Look it up fool!

At the end of the day I keep going back to the Liquitex mediums, the Daler-Rowney stuff's a bit thick and the tub's ridiculous for something of this consistency. The Golden stuff isn't bad, the acrylic ends up looking very delicate like watercolour. The Phoenix and the wolf below were painted with the Golden satin medium.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My New Book: Best-Loved Irish Legends

Here's a preview of my latest book, of course the writer thinks it's her book as does the editor and all the publishing house and maybe even the printer, but really it's my book. Look at it sitting there on my desk, yep, definitely my book!

Aw, I'm so happy with how this came out. Emma did a great job on production. Me kissing up? A little, but it's true all the same. She talks about it here on the O'Brien blog, what a sycophant I am, that is.

It's out on the 7th September.

Monday, August 3, 2009

IKEA and Starbucks? Screw small business!

Here's a little sketch from a few days ago, done while sitting in the local Starbucks. There was a market set up just outside with plenty of opportunities to sketch people.

I went to IKEA again on Wednesday and bought the legs for my desk and a few dribs and drabs that took me about an hour and a half to pick up because of the size of the shop. My Dad and I were waiting in the van minding the dog, while my Mum and brother were inside having a look round, when an alarm went off, this big loud voice announcing that there was a technical fault with the shop. I couldn't help but think of Gremlins 2: "Fire, man's oldest enemy...". As it turned out it was a faulty fire alarm, but maybe because we're Irish or just plain paranoid our first though was BOMB ALERT!!

Anyhoo, the studio's looking great now, we have our two desks pushed up against each other and can walk all the way around them and everything's white like a rapper's crib.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bear necessities and IKEA

We went to the Irish opening of IKEA yesterday and met the fanfare outside. I would have been happy to have waited 'til the next day, but we needed our desks ASAP. We got there an hour before the opening and had to endure the entertainment, the worst of it was probably the 98fm trucks blasting out Bewitched. When we got inside the staff were lined up on either side waving flags, I thought this must be what royalty feel like . . . awkward!

We scooted quickly through the store and got lots of help from the staff who were just lovely. But, unfortunately they only had one pair of legs for the desks, so I'm doing without for the moment, Stephen's need is currently more urgent. I did get my chair though, the Kläppe, yep, I got the Kläppe. I gave it some consideration, but decided against getting the Kolon (floor protector) for it.

We also got some Billy shelves and when I pealed opened its cardboard box two of the shelves popped out and fell on my foot. Oh man, that hurt! Anyways, I gotta go back tomorrow to get the legs for my desk and maybe pick up some egg cups.
We went to the Irish opening IKEA yesterday and met the fanfare outside

Friday, July 24, 2009

Maned Wolf

I did this in my new moleskine A4 watercolour sketchbook. There's A3 sketchbooks as well, but at that size they're better for working in at a desk.

We've got a great view from the kitchen window of our apartment, we're on the top floor and there was a short thunderstorm a few hours ago, which we could see approaching from a distance. I glanced up just in time to see a bolt of lightning.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We Have Moved

We moved about a week ago and we've been without the internet until now. Still trying to get a few things in order (mostly my head).

Here's an old rough for a sample illustration for ASBO Fairy Tales, I recently finished illustrating its sequel Robin the Hoodie.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lil' Medusa and The Aphid Farmers

Here's another picture of a Young Medusa I did a good while ago. I'd forgotten all about her 'til now. She was created in Painter. The internet is so bad here I wasn't sure it would upload. We'd get it fixed but we're planning on moving soon, we've been tempted away by high speed broadband.