View Full Version : 'Raging' against the machine - Nick's Sketchbook - October 21st 2008

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09-03-2007, 12:04 PM
Hi guys,
Just getting to grips with the paintbox that is ArtRage. I've been at it a while with Painter and Photoshop, so the experience of this software is refreshingly uncluttered compared to those two monsters. I do like the feel of the new technical pencil and the improvements made in layer control. Excellent stuff.

Here's my first painting done more or less competely in ArRage 2.5. A speedpaint for a weekly challenge over at the Imaginefx website. The theme was 'Colossus'. I put it in here, because it isn't really what I would call a finished piece.
In case you're interested - no, I don't use reference.
Not all my stuff is this creepy - honest.


09-03-2007, 12:26 PM
I *like* creepy. Creepy is good...
Awesome stuff, Nickillus.

09-03-2007, 12:44 PM
Thanks Andy. Appreciated.
I'll try and keep the 'creepy' under check a bit though. Don't want to frighten anybody off. Not yet anyhow.

09-03-2007, 01:06 PM
GULP!!! Awesome.

09-03-2007, 02:15 PM
I can't say I like the subject, but the artwork is FABULOUS! I really like the light and the canoe.

09-03-2007, 03:32 PM
nice work, great mood :)


09-03-2007, 03:35 PM
Fantastic! wow... great drawing and painting skills. Really great story too.
Just amazing! That looks like a finished piece. I can't imagine it getting any better than that... but I have been surprised before...

09-03-2007, 06:01 PM
Wow. I'm glad I clicked here. Nice work Nick. This is a good looking concept piece. Please post more like this. I'm not afraid of creepy. Creepy is good. :twisted:

D Akey
09-03-2007, 07:25 PM
I like Creepy, also like Eerie and Vampirella too, haha. . . if anybody can remember that far back.

Fantastic image. I really love the clarity of the drawing. The subject is comic book all the way for me, so the level of creepsidy is generally pretty light in this one. More like adventure where things are going to be supernaturally bizarre. Not too unlike Indiana Jones meets Night of the Living Dead.


Anyway, I look forward to more drawings. Glad you paddled your canoe onto this site.

:D :D :D

09-03-2007, 10:06 PM
Gosh, you guys are kind. Thanks for all the feedback.

Talking of comic books, I have to say that although I'm not a reader, or follower of any of the many magazines on offer, I do greatly admire the skill and in particular the fluency with which the artists behind them produce their imagery. Phenomenal skill and flair in a lot of cases. Not so keen on the levels of violence or psychological distortion that permeates a large swathe of the newer ones though.

OK - The words 'old' and 'woossy' do apply to me. (Is woossy too much of a UK term to have meaning beyond our shores?)

09-03-2007, 11:59 PM
I got really lucky and was given the chance to write a workshop for last month's ImagineFX magazine, based on me being a children's book illustrator. I had to come up with an image and describe how I made it. I made up a background story about two deities squabbling.

I did all the initial sketching in ArtRage. A god and a goddess looking a bit peeved with each other. I exported the files into Painter as PSDs for the donkey work, because that's a software I'm more familiar with, but the sketching experience made me want to use AR more. I've attached a few sketches and stages. It includes a false start, where although the sketches are OK (ish) the image just wasn't working, so I had to redraw.

09-04-2007, 02:02 AM
wow a professionial :)

i get that magazine too !!!

i didn't have time to look at it ( sept ) issue ( the one you are in )

i just got oct's and did read your interview

now that you told us about your workshop, i spend 5 mins digging out sept issue.

i look forward to it :)

really nice work

looking forward to seeing more


D Akey
09-04-2007, 06:29 AM
That is just too funny and the poses are really expressive.

Nice, nice, nice.

I'm really not into comics either. But I have a passing acquaintance with the styles. And some styles really stand out when fanning comic books and graphic novels in a store.

I agree with you that the mind blowing part is the volume of work the good artists can pump out. There was a rash of them for a while where the artistry was missing IMHO.

The really crude looks are analogous to music popularity based on anyone, no matter their competency, being able to do it.

Anyway, your drawings are perfect as far as I'm concerned. Great acting. I almost would hate to see it taken farther to finish, just because the drawings are so great in their sketchy state. Very skilled.

And woosie (sp?) and its variants has been a pretty common term in the US at least for 40 years. Probably sounds different when spoken with accents and spun differently.

If it's not already so, it's probably poised for inclusion the Miriam-Webster dictionary.

:D :D :D

09-04-2007, 11:54 AM
i like your work alot...sketches are nice

09-06-2007, 12:43 PM
Thanks for the feedback chaps - always appreciated. A pro -yes, but still trying to learn just like everybody else. If you aren't moving forward when everyone else around you is, then you're effectively moving backwards - ho-hum.

Here's a quick sketch for a character from a much larger piece for a challenge over at CGSociety, that I hope to get finished in time to enter. Loads to do on it though. Aaaaaargh.
Robbie's First Catch

09-06-2007, 11:01 PM
All these are fantastic pieces.......... :D

09-07-2007, 08:04 AM
Amazing stuffs. Very professional works here.

09-07-2007, 03:47 PM
all beautifull..and i agree with D Akey i love them so much as sketches that i cant believe 'finnishing 'would make them any better. Roberts fist catch is very charming :D will love to see how it progresses


09-07-2007, 05:18 PM
That is a very cool illustration. Reminds me of The Danger Guys series of children's book covers. Well drawn... splendid work.

09-07-2007, 10:39 PM
Stunning gallery :)

09-08-2007, 11:54 AM
Thanks for all the really nice and encouraging comments chaps (and that's meant to include female chaps as well).
The Robbie sketch is part of a bigger piece in progress, as I said. I'm afraid because of its scale I'm having to do it in Painter (my main software at the moment for most of my work - hoping to change that and have more Ambient variety as well). Here it is as is - to stress again though - it is a PAINTER piece with sketches imported from ArtRage.

There is some nudity in it - if this is inappropriate, pleas do tell me and I'll move it to that 'after nine thread that I'm sure I spotted, with fullest apologies for any offence.

09-08-2007, 01:51 PM
Love the errant daughter... just amazing drawing.
And the whole piece looks to be just amazing.
I can't believe you said the "P" word in here. :D
Hopefully you will make a total conversion. :D

09-08-2007, 09:50 PM
So very sorry Gzairborne. Sometimes my language does lapse into other softwares. To get it off my chest in one go, I'm going to say the words Sketchbook Pro 2 now.

Before the intro of the mechanical pencil option in ArtRage, I reckoned that that other mentioned software (I won't use the name again - I promise) had the best sketching feel for me. I used to use a fine lead pencil to draw with all the time in the real world. Now I'm really torn. The improvements by Ambient have been so good that I'm really leaning this way now, because of the nicer paints and one other crucial thing. Arbitrary canvas rotate. It's a must for the real drawing feel. That other software doesn't have it !!!!??????

Here's another challenge piece I'm doodling around with - trying to see if I can take it to completion in ArtRage alone this time. Steam Punk. Not very far progressed and not sure where I'm going yet. Is that vague enough?

09-08-2007, 10:55 PM
i love the dysfuntionality family and the steam dinosaur.wobderful concepts :D

09-08-2007, 11:17 PM
Oh nice. I do like the steampunk and the dysfunctionals above. Awesome.

09-08-2007, 11:54 PM
wow... steam punk is amazing drawing.

09-09-2007, 03:39 AM
wow nice stuff Nick

it's great to see the roughed up drawing, i get more out of seeing the steps that lead up to the finish work, then just seeing the beautiful work in complete form.

i hear you Nick when you talk about keeping up, i went to school for photography ( back in 94 ) i did b/w and colour printing from my own film.

i got my first digital camera in 99, the world of pixels and mega pixels didn't gel right off, but my knowledge of the finish image helped out, even if the tools ( digital camera ) have changed.

Now i want to learn 3d software ( more than just making a sphere ) for the last 3 years of trying to brake into the 3d world, and it has been a up hill battle,but i feel it will be worth it in the end.

i too just starting to realize that you can never stop learning.

i hope you help others someday visualize the image through desigh and composition ( even though people run and hide from those terms)

keep up the great work


i put some of my work on deviantart.com


09-09-2007, 07:02 PM
strange behaviour is a lovely progression to see...nice to get to see the relational lines underpinning it all too :D and the steam punk is great fun.


09-20-2007, 05:40 AM
Here's a sketch for another Imaginefx challenge, finishing tomorrow. Trying to see if I can do all of this in ArtRage.

09-20-2007, 06:07 AM
Hi, I love the stuff you have shown here! I think your work reminds me a bit of Arthur Rackham... wonderful stuff!

09-20-2007, 09:24 AM
Very creative and unique style! Bravo. As for the first, the right word is Colossus (it's latin) instead of Collosus (which may instead mean "with glue").

09-20-2007, 09:38 AM
Thanks Caesar,
Yup - the Collosus-colossus thing got me too. Collosus was the name of the theme given !??! Even though I had it as Colossus in my dictionary. I knew what they meant though - tee-hee.

09-20-2007, 01:33 PM
Bit more.
Arthur Rackham!!?? Wow, flattering and humbling comparison. Always liked him. Then there's his ought to be great gandson Alan Lee of course.
Love Edmund Dulac even more though. His watercolour fairytale pieces are to die for.

Had to dip briefly into Photoshop, just because I'm not fast enough in ArtRage yet due my unfamiliarity with it, and the challenge deadline is fast approaching. Only for the nondesrcipt leaf work in the background and a simple gradient though. No doubt tools like that will eventually be added to the tool set. One thing I do miss is a 'paintbucket ' tool, to quickly flood fill a layer. Any chance oh powerful Ragers? (please)

09-20-2007, 09:44 PM
This is gorgeous! :D
and you make me laugh saying photoshop is easier (but that's only because I'm a beginner and it looks so complicated).

Anyway it is nice to see pro's like you using AR, and I agree it has features that are in several ways much nicer...like the rotate tool and the plain sheet of canvas/paper to work on (instead of those horrid little blue windows... :lol:)

Oh, and now that you mention it you are more like Edmund Dulac!

09-20-2007, 10:15 PM
Fantastic. A wonderful fun piece. Can't wait to see the final.

D Akey
09-21-2007, 03:40 AM
You're constantly blowing my mind with your wonderful imagination and ability to create fleshed out fantasy following the visual rules.

No difficulty entering your pictures on the fly as it were.


:D :D :D

09-21-2007, 12:40 PM
hehe :D what fun new sport you've invented..love the whimsy of this and love the soft autumny colours too.


09-21-2007, 02:07 PM
Nickillus- Man you are one inspiring artist. I can't get enough of your stuff. Each one draws me in and makes me admire your imagination. Thanks for joining up on this forum and sharing your art.

09-22-2007, 12:13 AM
Gosh you guys are kind. Thanks for all the nice comments.
Hey Rowena, I hated Photoshop to start with, because it made absolutely no sense compared to other programmes I'd seen. Still far from my favourite, as I don't think it's 'artist friendly'. I use Painter mostly, for that very reason. It's more relateable.
ArtRage is more relateable still, because it's more like a real art box.

Had to finish this yesterday to be in time for the challenge deadline. Unfortunately, because I'm still getting to grips with the capabilities of this software, I was forced to go back to what I know to polish it off. That means Painter, for the ability to make a brush that painted bunches of leaves quickly. I'm sure it's possible in ArtRage, but I just don't know it well enough yet. I Stenciled a few here and there, but it was taking me too long. I will get the hang of it though. Bear with me.

09-22-2007, 01:49 AM
Gorgeous :)

09-22-2007, 03:03 AM
You're an art .... Colossus!! Original and wonderful!!

09-25-2007, 04:02 AM
Another stolen Stem Punk half hour . . .

09-25-2007, 06:27 AM
However you did it, Autumn Wind is simply awesome.

09-25-2007, 06:35 AM
Oh! its gorgeous, gorgeous AND just gorgeous! :D :D

That autumn-wind-surfing-elf's end result is even better than I might have imagined it would be. You have outdone yourself sir, and now must take your place amongst the most admired artists on this forum :D :D

(and I too am very glad you are here)

09-25-2007, 10:02 AM
These are just stunning and professional works. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing. :D

D Akey
09-25-2007, 10:18 AM
Wonderful. Really gets my imagination going following your visual lead. I can see how you do well in Children's books.

Like a hike through the woods lead by J.R.R. Merlin or somebody. :lol:

09-25-2007, 12:51 PM
Thanks ever so for the encouraging comments guys. They really are appreciated, Here's a bit more progress towards a more cohesive composition. Not finalised, and I'm not entirely sure what it's about, but I'm thinking - foiled bank raid in an alternative society.

09-25-2007, 12:53 PM
Splendid work! Love it.

09-25-2007, 09:13 PM
Hello there Nick, I have to say mate, I found your gallery a place of wonder to browse. Right from the first sketch to the last, I enjoyed seeing your thought processes and watching your skillful completion of the piece.

09-25-2007, 11:09 PM
Hee Hee :D :D

..and there I was thinking your 'foiled bank raid in an alternative society' looked like it might also have carried the caption:
" And thus the master of the house would take his horse to ride out over the dunes"

LOL, your illustrations make me want to write the stories for them!

09-25-2007, 11:24 PM
Thanks again chaps.

Hey Rowena,
How about -
'Tiddles could be a bit frisky sometmes.'
'Tiddles sometimes got a bit over enthusiastic at walkies time,'

D Akey
09-26-2007, 04:25 AM
Waiting to see what you do to control this one.

Looks like a good underpainting or ground. Very complicated image.

(Biting my nails)

You can do it!!!!!!!!!

:D :D :D

09-26-2007, 06:37 AM
Control . . !!????
Not much chance of that D Akey. Just winging it and trying to learn as I go.
Tiny bit further.

09-26-2007, 07:09 AM
This is my current favorite thread. What a delight for my imagination.

@ D Akey- JRR. Merlin! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

09-26-2007, 09:28 AM
:D Ah yes, and now Tiddles is letting off some steam (and still looks very alarmed at the thought of going outside, lol)... while his grooms have collapsed and died of exhaustion (just from saddling him-up)!

09-28-2007, 11:07 AM
Hey thanks Fashmir and you Rowena. Great to have you drop by.

Another quickie for the weekly challenge over at Imaginefx.com. Took about three and a half hours, because that's all the time I had left before the deadline. The theme given was 'The Laboratory'.

All Artrage this time. Started to discover the power of custom stencils, but am sure there's a lot more potential. Had fun with the palette knife too, obviously.

09-28-2007, 04:25 PM
It's stunning. :shock:

09-28-2007, 04:49 PM
Brilliant paintings both.

09-28-2007, 11:39 PM
That's an angry retort. Ha! Angry retort! Get it?
No, me neither.

Great painting though. Love the lighting, the angle, and the general mayhem.

09-29-2007, 12:27 AM
Thanks ever so guys, except for that pun Andy, cooorrrrrr! That qualifies as worse than one of mine and that's saying something. Which means it made me laugh/groan and I loved it.

Meanwhile, the Steam Punk one has been on the back burner for a while, but I've started experimenting with the stencils and layer blending modes, in layer happy fashion. Here's where it's at for the moment, with time fast running out in the challenge - gulp.

09-29-2007, 08:35 AM
Ooo that's awesome. I'm a big fan of steam-punk.
Nice and moody lighting too.

09-29-2007, 08:47 AM
Its really wonderful to see the different stages in all your paintings! :D

I also love the narrative detail you add...like the little helicopter-man standing on the beam above, and that quad-machine below. You certainly do have a good understanding of both man-made and natural form.

Do you have an online gallery somewhere?

09-29-2007, 09:56 AM
Thanks Andy, thanks Rowena.
In answer to your question - The biggest online presence I have is at Imaginefx.com
I don't have a website - keep not getting round to finishing building one.

Bit more progress using stencils made for the job.

09-29-2007, 09:38 PM
Great work with the stencils :D

Phew! It is most inspiring to see what a lovely tune you manage to get out of the same tools that I go plunkity-plunk with :oops:

I enjoyed looking through your portfolio work and just loved your camp ratty/dragon with the pink bow tied to his tail :lol: :lol:

You must have loads of painting experience. How long have you been at it I wonder?

09-29-2007, 10:51 PM
stunning and variant wonderfl pieces of work :D

10-01-2007, 12:05 PM
I do appreciate all the encouragement chaps. You have no idea how much it helps.

This is as far as I got before the deadline. I've had to give up and post it, despite it not being finished. Ah well. So much to do, so little time and all that.

10-01-2007, 12:24 PM
Just Wonderful Nick! I checked out your portfolio, it is Amazing! I really like seeing the working process from a professional artist. :D

D Akey
10-01-2007, 03:36 PM
Well it looks pretty darn good, even unfinished as you yourself claim.

You seem to gave a real flair for lighting. The multiple sources make it real interesting.

The world and its machines and all that are so wonderfully imaginative. My interest is certainly piqued, and I would want to read the story based on your images.

Please keep posting. :D :D :D

10-01-2007, 11:35 PM
First time in here Nick... really a very good display of talent, I am suprised
by the amount of detail in these works,I dont know the average scale of a picture like this last one, but I Imagine that the scale must be pretty big,you must have the patience of a saint to take on stuff this big, very good graphics mate, well depicted,good lighting,etc,etc could go on at lenght about how good these are, well done....I will certainly be looking in on a regular basis , your on my inspirational list...What an imagination you have.....Jack.

10-02-2007, 11:43 AM
Thanks yet again guys and gals.

That mechanical dinosaur image was about 2200 px high Jack, and had quite a few layers I had to merge down at various stages. One limitation I am finding in ArtRage is maximum brush size. It does restrict the effective size an image can be practically. Wonder if that will be an update sometime, based on how great the improvements have been so far. Not complaining, just wondering.

Here is a quick colour sketch, done tonight for a book cover.

D Akey
10-02-2007, 11:54 AM

Excellent. Colors are great. Are you featuring the environment or the figures more? Looks like the world is the key player in this one -- meaning what is a western cowboy doing fighting a local in CHINA or JAPAN???

Your figures are so expert and telling and dramatic, that I personally would like you to make them a little bigger, if this is a cover.

I love your work. Really first rate. :D :D :D

10-02-2007, 02:54 PM
I really like the Tang-sketch. The color and that round water field it's beautiful. :) Do you mind tel me how many layers you need for this sketch?

10-02-2007, 07:36 PM
Thanks you two.

It's a history book, so has to be kind of about the country as a whole D. I do aim to add more bits and bobs, but just haven't gotten round to it. The horseman hopefully won't look so much like a cowboy by then either, teehee.

16 layers so far Pai. Too many I know, but I have the individual characters separated at the moment, and even have their line and colour on separate layers too. It means I can fine tune their size and position if I have to. Has to be pretty flexible at this stage. Another of the layers is a clean back-up of a gradient overlay that I've been painting on, in case it goes wrong.
Started on a grey background base, in case that helps

10-02-2007, 08:32 PM
I for one am so pleased you answered pai's question, as this is fascinating for beginners like me :D

I still don't quite understand about using layers but have started to do so because this at least gives me the option to tweak things when I have gone wrong or am trying to work something out.
I have only so far managed to get about 6 layers going and you should see how confused I get finding my way through these multiple panes of glass... (thank goodness for the pop up eye reminder :roll:)

Anyway for what its worth,(as a one time horsewoman :lol: ), I instantly knew that your horseman was Oriental... something about the landlordish attitude of body and the flamboyant stride of the horse...
hehe, sorry D'arky.
But just like D'arky I also admire your imaginative style and skill.

10-02-2007, 08:57 PM
Thanks Rowena.
I know nothing of horses, except that they are darned uncomfortable to sit on for a long time. Two or three pony trekking experiences are my basis for that. I know it's a passion that can take hold big time. Just never had the chance, and am a bit long in the tooth now.

Layers -
I get confused too. My best advice. Name them straight away.

There are any number of ways to exploit the advantage of layers. I use them to keep certain elements separate from each other, or lay colour washes mostly. Below is one approach.

Generally I have -

1) a background base with broad colours and shapes. Kill the glaring white unless that's what I want.

2) Each main element may have
a) an opaque, solid colour base
b) separate line work over the top
c) A shadow layer (set opacity blending mode to something like 'multiply' or the 'shadow' option ArtRage supplies)

3) Another shadow layer over the others, encompassing the whole scene to unify the lighting.

4) Often I have a final layer over the top of this on which I can pick out highlights and accents.

5) Up to you!!??? Depends on the individual picture.

Hope that helps rather than hinders. Layers are areal boon and one of the main advantages of digital over traditional media. That's what I reckon anyway.

D Akey
10-02-2007, 09:01 PM
Anyway for what its worth,(as a one time horsewoman :lol: ), I instantly knew that your horseman was Oriental... something about the landlordish attitude of body and the flamboyant stride of the horse...
hehe, sorry D'arky.
But just like D'arky I also admire your imaginative style and skill.

D'arky? hahahaha. Now now, Missy Roweener. Your true colors be showin'.


10-02-2007, 11:36 PM
Hi guys,
Just getting to grips with the paintbox that is ArtRage. I've been at it a while with Painter and Photoshop, so the experience of this software is refreshingly uncluttered compared to those two monsters. I do like the feel of the new technical pencil and the improvements made in layer control. Excellent stuff.

Here's my first painting done more or less competely in ArRage 2.5. A speedpaint for a weekly challenge over at the Imaginefx website. The theme was 'Colossus'. I put it in here, because it isn't really what I would call a finished piece.
In case you're interested - no, I don't use reference.
Not all my stuff is this creepy - honest.


10-02-2007, 11:48 PM
I would congratulate warmly with You for such imaginative and stylish paintings very much tune with one of my passion: great artists' comics!

10-03-2007, 12:10 AM
I have to say - I've been very impressed by your work. With this and the improvements to version 2.5, it's made me start using the program again!

Wonderful work! :D

10-03-2007, 02:27 AM
D'arky? hahahaha. Now now, Missy Roweener. Your true colors be showin'.


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

you are so, so funny, and this is not the first time Ive been in stitches about some of the things you say... er, and this here missy roweeener cant spell names properly :)

10-03-2007, 04:56 AM
Thank you for the explanation, Nickillus. :) You meant Tang-sketch-1.jpg required 16 layers? I especially like that one. :D

10-03-2007, 05:06 AM
Thanks for your kind words, yet again chaps. Especially Darkly and Rowerknee.

Hi Pai,
When I say there are 16 layers, it's just because I'm indecisive and add things on a new layer when I think I might have to change it without affecting the bits already there. Everyone finds their own balance of how they prefer to work.
I'm a bit further on now and have merged some layers together, leaving 10 to play with. It's a very fluid process. Sorry I can't really show it now, in case it's actually used by the publisher - copyright and all that.
Thanks for your interest.


D Akey
10-03-2007, 07:50 AM
Thanks Nick, for what you have been showing us. It's very useful, and certainly interesting as all get out.

I'm a huge fan of working processes, especially when the artist is so accomplished that it looks artistic along the way. Presenting ideas to clients requires a certain level of quality so they feel confident to green light it.

And you deliver with that, for sure.

I love your drawings. It's like watching a master chess game, where the observer is anticipating possible moves.

On the issue of many layers: I see the use of it and I personally work that way too, though not in ArtRage so much. But with ArtRage, do you find that having many layers impacts the speed of your computer and file size. Do you ever find it lagging?

I sometimes have been tempted to work on ridiculously large resolutions, and it slows the paint strokes more than I can work with. I had always thought it was the resolution. But it may be the number of layers. What have you found? (I don't paint a lot anymore. Sorry for this question, but you seem to paint a good deal.)

:D :D :D

10-03-2007, 12:32 PM
Thanks for all the encouragements. Keeping me going, while I chase silly deadlines and distract myself with challenges.
Here's a progress state of one I started yesterday for a challenge called 'Twilight'. I hope to add more warm lights just picking out some features before I'm done. We'll see.

Hi D Akey,
Sooner or later file size has got to impact on pc performance. Painter is hopeless with some of its bigger brush variants. I won't touch the watercolours or more complex brushes. They are unusable to me with the ridiculous amount of lag they introduce, even on smallish images.

I've not had that problem in ArtRage at all so far. I've had 20+ layers in the dinopunk picture and I did notice it slow down a bit, but I would expect that.
Do you find that the layer transform tools are a bit slow? Maybe I've been spoiled by Photoshop and Painter, but the ArtRage tools don't seem that responsive and the live updates on what you do could be a bit quicker (please - in a future update). This is nit-picky stuff though. Still love it. Tend to have to go to Photoshop for any precise layer transforming. I don't want to - I'd much prefer to have it all in the one place.

10-03-2007, 12:37 PM
Cool guy you have here!! For sure, I will follow this one. Thanks again for the input. :D

D Akey
10-03-2007, 05:41 PM
He has that not quite dead enough look.

Very grim. Very genre.

Creepy and mysterious.

:D :D :D

10-04-2007, 01:24 AM
Still working on killing him off - as a piece I mean D Akey.
Thanks for the comments you two.
Bit more killing under my belt.

D Akey
10-04-2007, 01:47 AM
I love it -- That twilight color means he'll be waking up momentarily. . .

Stake for one. . . toot sweet! Um. . . NOW!

That is one great use of a color to tell a story.

And the drawing -- That mouth twisted into a sleeping snarl, the lips getting caught on the dry teeth that don't quite fit as intended to only hold human teeth.

And those temporarily dead, staring, lifeless eyes.

This is scary thought through. Talk about helping us visualize. Remarkable details that make him appear real. It would take a pretty amazing story to match this illustration.

I'm very impressed. :D :D :D

10-04-2007, 06:00 AM
Ah yes, well said D Akey!

And this one is quite darky...er, sinister in a dark sort of way.
And abounds in all the right ingredients for a truly intriguing story!

Masterfully executed Nick, I love it :D :D

Erm, PS: this image does seem to resonate quite a bit with the way I feel first thing in the morning these days... daya think I could be coming down with the flue??

10-04-2007, 06:22 AM
Thanks Chaps.

Good grief Rowena - if you look anything like this oddball at any time of the day, get to the doctor's right away.
Worryingly, it probably looks like me at all times of the day. They do say we constantly draw ourselves, don't they? The story behind it is most likely - needs more sleep and an urgent trip to the dentist, D Akey. Oh, and a new mattress.


10-04-2007, 08:59 AM
Very cool character. The detail you've put into the skin and texture is fantastic. Especially the lips - the creases and flow over the teeth is great.

10-04-2007, 12:25 PM
Thanks muchly Andy. Very much appreciated.

I may have overcooked it now, so I'm going to leave it alone unitl later tomorrow. The deadline is midnight Thursday, so I'll have a last tinker with a few hours to go, so I can't get too prissy.

D Akey
10-04-2007, 12:50 PM
It's a matter of how dead vs. how alive you want him to read. What's the critical moment? Our only hope is catching him sleeping, so he's got to be sleeping still, though perilously close to waking.

I would take out most or all of that warm light around the mouth and leave it dead cold perhaps because the subtlety of the shapes read perfectly before. So that works visually as well as thematically.

And let the light just hit the highest points? Knuckles most because that activates the trapping weapon. Then the tip of the nose because that's the primal sensing tool, before the intelligence comes into play. Then would be the eye, which puts it all together, and finally the mouth. If you activate the eye and/or the mouth, the game's over.

He definitely looks awake now because the eye looks moist and bright. Too alive IMHO.

The knuckles are good with warm light because they are high and close to us. . . ready to spring around our necks that we're sticking out so far. His nose -- he might smell us. . . If the eye sees us we're dead because we're so outmatched.

The fangs would be the most dormant because that's the coup d'etat in this bloke's deadly arsenal. If he grabs us, it will be to pull us to his mouth after he breaks us psychologically. So that would be the sequence of awakening: Hand, nose, eye, mouth. Have to find the perfect moment in that re-vivifying process to make us wet our pants.

I would reckon the most dramatic peak moment would be while we are still wondering when and if he will wake up -- the time of confusion, letting our imaginations savage us with fear of the worst. Fight or flight within ourselves duking it out as the clock ticks the brink of night straight at us.

I recommend keeping the tension alive where we might still win or bolt and run to at least escape with our lives. . . until the next time. . .

I love the textures you've employed. Very neat.

Hope this helps.

I love this painting.

:D :D :D

10-04-2007, 07:11 PM
Wow! Thanks for taking the time to do that so thoroughly D Akey.

You just put brilliantly into words everything I was feeling about it. It lost something in the last push, and it was something I wanted to keep. I'd already been thinking about it but you've convinced me. I'll take a backward step and see if I can tweak it around the mouth, especially that top lip and the 'oh too lustrous' eye. It does nned to be darker and more dramatic, but this looks kind of too slick to me as well.

Not sure how to broach this with someone I've not known that long, about something so sensitive and personal. I feel I must tackle it though.

Some small but worrying changes have occured in you. I fear your avatar been bitten by weretar, to entertaining and impressive effect.

Nice one.


D Akey
10-04-2007, 08:06 PM
You know my secret. . . People have been painting the full moon so much I'm outta control. . .

I use an electric razor like some have a cell phone held to their cheek. . . all day long. People ask why my 'phone' is buzzing, I have to lie and tell them it's a bad satellite connection. I ask them whose their carrier and while they run off on some long rant about their company, I duck out.

It's really awkward. . . And to think as a teenager I couldn't wait to grow a beard. The lesser known B movie was about me: "I Wasn't a Teenage Werewolf'.

Be careful what you wish for, eh?


10-04-2007, 10:58 PM
Now I understand the need for people to try and drive while on the mobile phone (razor). All the time I thought they were putting out lives in danger, they are in fact saving us from were-thingies. Never realised there was so much of it about. I'll rest easier now.

I've come to a halt with this. Time has run out for mean and I need to do other work. Here's where I went back to, after your sage observations. Thanks again for that.

'Wakey Wakey'

10-04-2007, 11:08 PM
Y'know, I just realized he was in a coffin. I'm a bit slow...
It just struck me when I saw the spiderwebs, which made me realize he was laying down, in the coffin.
It's a damned fine painting. The textures, lighting, and surfaces are wonderful.

D Akey
10-04-2007, 11:33 PM
Wanted: Dead and Alive.

This really is fantastic. It's grim and earthy. And I think you got the moment just right!

Yeah, and your model's stirring. I think it's time to move on. . . <gulp>

Um. . . sorry, but I'm clean out of stakes. . .Used the last for my bug collection. And I got a howling to go to. Don't bother getting up. Hasta. . .

Oh, and I hope they like it.

:D :D :D :D :D

10-05-2007, 06:50 AM
That is an absolutely superb end result imo!!!
I didnt see how it could have been improved upon at one stage, but this is it. I find the image amazingly realistic in spite of not trying to look photographic, if ya know what I mean?

A truly frightening image..., did you say what it was destined for?

10-05-2007, 08:58 AM
I like the last one it's show more the mood. :)

10-05-2007, 09:17 PM
Nicklus, you must be retired because it looks like youv'e been doing this all your life! I couldn't compliment you enough about this work. The theme of this, reminds me of when I was in my college dorm, trying to skribbling out meaningful drawings, in a marijuna induced frenzy! Much better though!

D Akey
10-05-2007, 09:51 PM
The theme of this, reminds me of when I was in my college dorm, trying to skribbling out meaningful drawings, in a marijuna induced frenzy! Much better though!

Roommates from the Gothic era could look like this.

All torches and pitch forks. . .

PARTEEE PARTEEE PARTEEE!!!!!!!! schnooooorrrrrreeeeeeee. . .

And then they will pose like this for a good long time.

Now, if you want to get it on UTube, you have to draw rude pics on his face and put his hand in a bowl of warm water and get him to wet his pants.

College life has changed! Being able to draw as a dorm prank does sort of put Nick in with the old school.

10-05-2007, 10:23 PM
Great stuff. Fantastic. Well done.

10-20-2007, 04:38 AM
Thanks for all the really generous comments guys. Very much appreciated. Not quite 'retired' though . . . More in the thick of it.

Just finished a rushed workshop that should be aired in ImagineFX magazine soon, I hope. I just did a painting based on one of their challenge themes, using only ArtRage, and tried to cram as much information as I could into the 1100 word limit. Big gaps then.

Sorry - I can't show any stage of the artwork yet because of copyright, but here's something I started yesterday for the Halloween challenge over at the PixelBrush forums. Worth a look if you've not peeked at them before.


This is going to be called 'OW !!', I think. May well not finish in time for the Monday deadline, because of too much other work, but I've been enjoying playing again.

10-20-2007, 08:08 AM
:lol: :lol: That's my first reaction when I saw this painting. COOL~~ It's that Manga type drawing in this one. The most attractive part is the humor in this one.

D Akey
10-20-2007, 09:00 AM
Are you a fan of old comic books like Creepy and Eerie? Those bodies look like that vintage. . . which I personally love and miss.

So is this the spirit of Manga vanquishing the older comics from the West in the battle for the young audience?

Whether it is or not, it could be.

Wonderful. :D :D :D

10-20-2007, 09:58 AM
Good to see this thread again. Just brilliant work. Wonderful to look at
every time. Great work Nickillus!

10-20-2007, 11:57 PM
I used to grab second hand copies of Creepy from a small local bookstore, lured to them by the astounding Frank Frazetta covers, D Akey. Not sure they were that easy to get new in the UK. when I was growing up. Still blown away by Frazetta's flair. So many wanabe's influenced by him since eh?

Thanks for the encouragement again guys. Here's a small update.

10-23-2007, 11:13 PM
Here's where I gave up and submitted the image for that Halloween challenge yesterday evening.
Had to go to Painter and Photoshop in the end, to add some gradient overlays and such for lighting effects. That was mostly because for their ability to handle larger files faster (It was over 250 mb). Without the pressing deadline I would have done it all in ArtRage.

10-23-2007, 11:22 PM
Another absolute wonder, ineffable Nickillus. 8) :D
How long did it take from sketch to this stage for this last jewel? :?:

10-24-2007, 12:05 AM
Hi Caesar,
And many thanks.

I did the first sketch for this last Thursday (Oct 18th) evening and have been cramming work on it into stolen moments from chasing real deadlines. I couldn't tell you how many hours, if that's what you're asking - sorry. It's been a very quick one for me, compared to my usual pace.

10-24-2007, 02:42 AM

10-24-2007, 09:28 AM
Splendid work :)

10-24-2007, 09:18 PM
Fantastic. That is one gorgeous piece! ooh she is good. Reminds me of the girl with the swords in that movie Sin City. Very cool painting.

10-25-2007, 05:54 AM
Fabulous work as usual Nickillus! :D and of course you remain in our general highest estimation...

10-25-2007, 06:24 AM
I do thank you for your generous comments again chaps (that 'chaps' does include the lovely Rowena as well of course).

Thought I'd have a go at a black and white effort for another challenge. This is the Imaginefx weekly, themed 'Tattoos' this time. I went off at a tangent - so unlike me . . . . .

The Catattooist - progress

D Akey
10-25-2007, 07:50 AM
You realize you're making me want to do art for fun again. This all is really inspiring.

I'm so impressed by your drawing skills. Really remarkable ability to not only visualize, but the designs are fantastic in every sense of the word.

Marvelous imagination, and so well linked to your canvas.

This creature looks like the one that the Owl and the Pussycat wanted to steer clear of when they sailed away for many a day. . .

:D :D :D

10-25-2007, 08:57 AM
The cattooist is very seriously cool. Great design.

10-25-2007, 12:03 PM
Really admirable drawing skills. No more words! :o

10-26-2007, 01:43 AM
Thanks chaps. This one has gone a bit better than some. Drawing n ArtRage is such a joy, and that is what this one is based around. Apart from a trip to Photoshop to grab some type, this one will be all ArtRage again. Getting close o done now I think.

10-26-2007, 01:45 AM
Thanks chaps. This one has gone a bit better than some. Drawing in ArtRage is such a joy, and that is what this one is based around. Apart from a trip to Photoshop to grab some type, this one will be all ArtRage again. Getting close to done now I think.

10-26-2007, 02:05 AM
Wonderful work Nickillus...

Can you explain please why you had a trip on Photoshop? It's only to understand better the workflow.


10-26-2007, 02:06 AM
It's a certainly exceptional result, a sort of Modernised Middle Age Sorcery Book or Bestiary illustration! It also resonates with some of the visual art forms I'm more familiar and I prefer. :)
I was just wondering what the two wired bracelet "gizmos" are for and how do they work.

10-26-2007, 03:52 AM
Thanks Uuderzo and you Caesar.

I dipped into Photoshop because it has a text tool in which I can play around with any of the fonts I have loaded on my machine. This includes being able to distort them to get that kind of curved effect that Ive used. It's totally editable in Photoshop, whereas I would have had to make a stencil to use in ArtRage. My hand scripting isn't that skillful and I didn't have the time anyhow.

The gizmos on his wrists are supposed to be some sort of tattooing contraptions, to use alongside his claws. I figured that a different coloured dye with each talon might make him the fastest tattooist in the west. Just a daft idea that I thought might raise a smile.

Does that answer your questions guys? Hope so, but do just ask if there's anything I didn't explain well enough.

10-26-2007, 04:02 AM
Great answer for me Nickillus.

I worried about the use of Photoshop other than typing and distorting text (PS is great at this). What I was concerned about is if the picture part was made entirely with AR or not, and now I have my answer.

You know, maybe it's not important to stick to a specific software, the most important thing often is getting the final result, so that's ok switching between different applications... but it's quite refreshing to know that this great painting was made entirely in AR :)

One more question... to obtain the creature's coat, did you use pencil or thin oilbrush?

10-26-2007, 05:02 AM
I hate Photoshop for painting, Uuderzo. It's like an alien landscape to me, coming from a traditional media background.
I've spent most of my digital painting time in Painter, but then that has its own drawbacks. Text is great in the Adobe monster though, I agree.

The two tools I used most on this are the precise pencil and felt tip pen.
I did the basic drawing with the pencil to get the shapes, including some fur type shading.

Then I blocked in some larger areas of shade with the pen on a layer over the top set to multiply at a lowish opacity. It is possible to work back into that layer with the eraser and with the pencil using white to add more furry type marks.

It's mostly a combination of those two tools used that way.
I have dropped in a coloured background using the roller through an imported skin texture made into a stencil. Also I duplicated that layer and set it to multiply over the top to stop the white bits glaring too much.

All about juggling opacities and such after that.

I hope that makes sense, and clears up any questions.

Thanks for the interest.
All the best,

10-26-2007, 05:44 AM
Great explanation Nickillus,

You were very kind. Thank you. :)

10-26-2007, 06:39 AM
You're more than welcome Uuderzo.
Here's where I stopped. I'll stick it in the finished gallery too, if that's OK.

10-26-2007, 07:21 AM
Now with these final details it looks really cute (if we can speak about cuteness of the fastest tatooist of the universe :) )

Great work again, I love your paintings!

10-29-2007, 06:24 PM
It's wonderful
I am like a child, I would like to read a Fery Taile that begins with
An automn wind and continue in the same style with a story and this kind of ilustration

Think about it

10-30-2007, 06:13 AM
Nick, now I am quite sure that you are actually a reincarnation of Edmund Dulac...er, that is to say what I imagine he would be doing if he had lived in this Century.

Truly fabulous work and I must chime in on the adulation for your superb drawing skills and fine imagination!!!
:D :D :D

10-30-2007, 08:42 AM
Thanks ever so Guys. I know I've said it before, but it is appreciated when you take the time to comment.

Golly Rowena - How will I ever be able to live up to that? I love Dulac's work.

Have you seen the work of an illustrator called P J Lynch? He's an Irish guy living in Dublin. I'm not quite so keen on his more recent stuff, but his earlier work. like the children's book Melisande is absolutley lovely. There might be your natural successor to the great Edmund. Worth looking up. Also check this French guy out.

See what you think.


D Akey
10-30-2007, 10:27 AM
Have you seen the work of an illustrator called P J Lynch? He's an Irish guy living in Dublin. I'm not quite so keen on his more recent stuff, but his earlier work. like the children's book Melisande is absolutley lovely. There might be your natural successor to the great Edmund. Worth looking up. Also check this French guy out.

Wonderful. Reminds me of Brian Froud.

Anyway, I definitely rank your drawings right in there if not even a bit superior. Yours has more range of subjects and the posing is way more expressive.

I haven't really given their work all that much of a look, so I could be selling them short. But your drawings are that strong.

10-30-2007, 08:59 PM
its wonderful .......i liked all your works :D

10-31-2007, 09:46 AM
I had a look at those two illustrators you mentioned Nick. :D
Excellent stuff, no doubt about it. But just from the little that was available to see on those pages... well, just to say I enjoy the way you bring the 20th Century into that 'classical style' of illustration. And other than the seductive fairies by Monge, what I saw might even have been done in Dulac's day (which perhaps was the intention) but I enjoy the edge that you bring into your work with a touch of the modern...including the modern humor.

Just my thoughts, and BTW you most certainly are in their league!

10-31-2007, 10:45 PM
Gee, you guys are really nice. Ever thought of becoming artists' agents?. I'm just happy if you're finding elements in my work that you like. I do thank you for the encouragement.

I know what you mean about some of the works I pointed you towards being in a sort of time-warp. They are both such fine artists I think it's a given that it was their intention to reproduce that feeling. No bad thing, when you pick such influential examples as the likes of Dulac and Rackham to base it on though. They never fail to inspire me, no matter how many times I look at their stuff. Considering the different world they inhabited while producing it, I find that quite remarkable.

Nov 3rd - Meanwhile - here's something I started a while ago, that I've dug out of the vault to tackle agin in ArtRage and take it on to a finish this time. PixelBrush have an 'Opposites' themed challenge and I figured it justified me spending some time on this as it could kind of fit the topic.

Nov 4th - I've changed the format around a bit and rotated to figure group to a slightly more dynamic angle. I've alao laid some broad gradients over it and worked back into them a bit. Still very rough at this stage, and open to compositional alterations and additions.

Rather Unrequited (opposites don't always attract)

11-06-2007, 01:01 AM
Bit more progress on this. Thought it might be more useful to post screengrabs as well as WIP's occasionally. So here's one taken this morning.

11-06-2007, 02:23 AM
Yes I like the screen grab pic more. The composition is fantastic in my opinion, drives the viewer into the action. Grand job! I love all your work on here and this one is just awesome. Beautiful sketches you've done too.

11-06-2007, 08:12 AM
Firstly , thanks for posting the screen grab... it is SO fascinating for me to see the workspace of a fine artist , and is also quite inspiring to see how the self same tools and workspace we all use comes to life by your own hand :D

I am the kind of person who would probably find what you ate for breakfast, whether you were left or right handed and what you liked to read in bed at night all fascinating just because I hold you in such very high esteem :lol: (Artists are in my opinion most highly esteemed)

Secondly... this latest drawing complete with your unique brand of humor and the wonderfully animated composition is wonderful :D , and I look forward to seeing how it evolves.
And yes, I also wish I was agent to an artist such as yourself :D since marketing your kind of talent would be a breeze...
Do you perhaps write the stories as well I wonder?

11-06-2007, 08:29 AM
This is wonderful. I love the scene you've set up, and the dynamic way you're painting it.

11-07-2007, 12:02 AM
I really like your last painting. It's so beautiful drawing. Your works are just so much to see. Thanks for sharing. I really got benefits on it even some I don't know how you do it. :)

11-07-2007, 12:56 AM
Brilliant work. Thanks for sharing screen shots. I thought the drawing skills were fantastic, but the job on the coloring and lighting is just phenomenal too.
Can't wait to see the finished piece. :D

11-21-2007, 12:49 AM
Thank you all so much for such comments guys. Still working on that piece, but thought I'd post some screengrabs from a workshop I just had published in Imaginefx magazine. Copyright forbids me from posting the workshop or full size images here obviously, but here are a few tasters. The finished image (except it isn't really because I just didn't have the time -3 days for the image and text) is across in my corresponding gallery thread.

If you'd like to see the full workshop, which just covers some of the basics (most of which you guys are more than familiar with - I've seen your work!!) you'll have to buy a copy of the magazine I'm afraid - issue25 out now. Sorry - my hands are tied.

11-21-2007, 12:50 AM
one more.

11-21-2007, 08:48 AM
Awesome! Seeing your workspace as you go is really great, thanks for that!

D Akey
11-21-2007, 08:59 AM

You made my day!

Thanks for posting this. :D :D :D :D :D

11-21-2007, 10:13 AM
I really like to see all your WIP and the desktop screen shots. Thanks for sharing. Your work is so amazing especially your drawings. :)

11-21-2007, 03:37 PM
great shots of an artist hard at play :)

thanks for sharing


11-22-2007, 11:20 AM
wonderbrill :D
thankyou for doing that :D

11-30-2007, 04:55 AM
Thanks for the continuing support chaps. Sorry if I've been a bit quiet. Just finished a major pain in the bottom deadline, had a break, had a bit of a pc tinker and got the flu.

Meanwhile, here's a wip for something else a writer friend and I are just starting. Very early stages of a children's book idea - If it looks like going anywhere I'll fill you in more, but I don't want to jinx it.

D Akey
11-30-2007, 05:38 AM

Good to see you back.

I like your use of the rulers. Good idea.

Definitely don't want to jinx it.

The composition is really fun with the lighting. And I like the bowed quality. Gives it a particular look that would be very repeatable in subsequent illustrations. It'll give the project a decided look.

I would perhaps make the 'it' in 'it begins' a smidge more legible. Logic told me that it was 'it' rather than a stream of smoke turning into an 'x'. But it stopped me and pulled me out of the picture momentarily.

I really like how you do figures and animals. Excellent work.

:D :D :D

11-30-2007, 04:46 PM
It's so nice to see your drawings again. As usual, great work. :)

12-06-2007, 07:52 AM
Spot on as usual D Akey. Serves me right for stuffing the text afterthought in without due care and attention. It's definitely something that needs sorting. Thanks for that.
Thanks to you too Pai for your kind words.

Here's a cheery sketch. Blame the theme of the challenge, which is about ending it all. Please don't look at it too long and get all depressed.

12-07-2007, 12:30 AM
A very macabre painting.
:shock: You are a real rpofessional! You made me think to Jean-Luis David painting on Marat killed in bath! 8)

12-07-2007, 09:56 PM
I like this one a lot. I can feel the emotion in his facial expression. Great painting as usual. :)

D Akey
12-07-2007, 10:17 PM
Never a blaze' moment in your stuff. . .

Always have something gripping happening, around the throat, by the nape of the neck, by the guts, by the <ahem> light of the silvery moon. . .

This is a morbid bit of business, this. . .

:shock: :shock: :shock:

01-16-2008, 11:56 AM
Having thoroughly cheered you up with that last one, which I didn't finish in time and haven't looked at since, I thought I'd better tackle something in a lighter vein (ha ha). Sorry to have been so absent for a while, by the way. Just got silly busy.
This is the first steps towards a series of character portraits for a book project a talented writer friend and I are working on. Very much still in its early stages, so that's all I can say for the moment.

Started in Sketchbook Pro, then moved across to Artrage for the meat of the work.

D Akey
01-16-2008, 12:17 PM
Good to see you Sir Nicholas.

Nice character from a game. Give me my blaster.

:D :D :D

01-16-2008, 01:54 PM
Killing him off before he's even fully formed. That's a bit harsh D Akey. Don't want to meet you in a computer game.

Bit more.

01-16-2008, 06:05 PM
Fantastic! Amazing work Nickillustrator! :D

01-17-2008, 04:33 AM
That is amazing, excellent job.

D Akey
01-17-2008, 08:48 AM
I would definitely not blast him before the game. Heh.

I just kinda get this guy is sorta off in a maniacal cyberpunk ghoulish world where the scalpels he uses are sitting in a sludge of moss and toxic waste.

He's like the kind of guy who would pick lint off of someone else's coat, and then re-wire their nervous system, incorporating scrap wiring from a 2073 Pontiac.

I say blast him. He's unnatural.

But cool looking!!!!

:shock: :evil: :twisted:

01-17-2008, 08:59 AM
Yay, Nick's back :D :D
I missed seeing your works Nick, and glad to see you're back :D :D

01-17-2008, 09:44 AM
That's a seriously cool illustration. I love the character and the way you've applied lighting to him.

01-17-2008, 03:00 PM
beautiful stuff had missed your last few updated..love the unrequited love :D


Adam Black
01-17-2008, 05:32 PM
I missed this thread, being gone most of last year.

Holy crap! :shock:

01-22-2008, 11:18 AM
Wow, its amazing how you can use a tool(Software), and how others use a tool Nick.

Very impressive work. 8)

D Akey
01-22-2008, 01:40 PM
Yeah, it's almost criminal that few people look in this section. This is really amazing work. Also Tinzo had a similar feeling of being brushed away into the void.

I think what they were trying to do was make sure that they didn't scroll away so quickly as what happens in the general forum.

I really really like Nicks work and I hope it gets seen a lot.

:D :D :D

01-22-2008, 03:24 PM
It's good see new painting from you, Nick. The new character looks like those ambitous scientist or doctor to me. That lighting and shading technqiue really created strong character on his face. Love your works. :D

02-08-2008, 02:09 AM
Thanks ever so, guys. You're so kind to someone who really ought to be more active here, but is struggling to fit everything in. So - just like everybody else then!

Here's a quick couple of sketches for more characters from the same tale in development.

02-10-2008, 01:15 AM
Faaaantabulous Nick :D :D :D

Seeing your work is always such a pleasure! I particularly love the caricature of the pissed off little boy. Great characterization!

D Akey
02-10-2008, 01:47 AM
I could look at your drawings for hours.

Really great line work you've got there, chum.

The Skeptical Artist
02-10-2008, 02:41 AM
Great work Nick, and your ImagineFX portfolio is amazing.

02-10-2008, 03:15 AM
Wonderful new drawings. So finely done. Fantastic. :D

02-10-2008, 08:18 AM
Marvellous as usual. You perfectly finish Your unifinished sketches. I wish I had the same ability and measure! :D

03-27-2008, 01:42 PM
Thanks for all the great feedback, as usual guys. Sorry I've been a bit quiet. It's an insanely busy time of year with Bologna book fair nearly upon us. it all gets a tad frantic.

Hey they've just begun another massive challenge over at CGSociety. Alien Uplift - About the interaction between alien and human kind. I've started doodling about in ArtRage.
I was wondering about doing something set in an intergalactic beauty parlour.

Sort of ' But it's all the Rage in Alpha Centauri Seven Madam'

I do expect to see some of you chaps having a dabble in the challenge too. What have you got to lose?

03-27-2008, 01:44 PM
I miss your drawings. It's so nice to see you posting new one. Will you post this again after you coloring it? Really want to see. :)

03-27-2008, 01:47 PM
Good heavens Pai - That was a quick reply. Yes I do plan to try and be more of a pest again, if that's what you mean.

03-27-2008, 08:22 PM
Holy shitake. I think Leonardo lives. Great sketch again. Look forward to see that completed on CGS.

03-28-2008, 09:06 AM
Yeah, I agree - this is fantastic drawing Nick!
Do you just work from the imagination? Where do you ideas find inspiration?

D Akey
03-28-2008, 11:06 AM
You're a fine coiffeur, Mr. Grinch.

Mirage Velondor
03-28-2008, 11:34 AM
OMG!!!!! they are all amazing one by one :shock:

03-28-2008, 01:14 PM
Gosh, you guys are always so kind - thanks.

Yup, I work out of my head Rowena, just kind of gnawing away at it like a dog with a bone until it begins to look like something. Sometimes it works how I want, but more often I lose control of the darned thing and it takes on a life of its own. It's just how I've always done it, since I was a nipper. Too thick to think of using reference then, and now too lazy - duh!

03-30-2008, 06:21 AM
Awsome as usual and hurray, you have a website!! :D It is mammoth, look forward to seeing more of your work.

03-30-2008, 06:33 AM
Haha - well spotted Boxy. And it's only taken me about seven years to get off my duff and do it too. Swift, huh?
Thanks for the kind words btw.

Spent a short time shifting things about a bit. Here's where it's at now.

03-30-2008, 06:45 AM
Going to be another masterpiece Nick!

03-31-2008, 03:24 AM
Lol, and then keeping the website updated is another joy beyond measure :D
Please do keep posting, this one is already looking great.

04-01-2008, 05:11 AM
Ha ha Boxy.
Yep - really looking forward to that website up-keep bit. I have the excuse of awaiting a software update to dodge that bullet for a week or so though.

Here's a figure study towards the same 'All the Rage' piece.

04-01-2008, 09:39 AM
That is brill (if that word is still allowable!). Can't wait to see the finished thing

D Akey
04-01-2008, 11:12 AM
Wow. Could you imagine the catty talk at this hairdresser's? Sheeeeeeshhh!


Wonderful attitude. So recognizable, yet so alien. Nice job!

04-01-2008, 12:00 PM
OMG! Your last one is so brilliant. :D Is there a story behind it? Are you illustrating for a story book? So much to see in these sketches. Is this the original size?

04-01-2008, 08:24 PM
Superb use of pastels and pencil on creative and professional drawing, maestro Nick! :D :D :D

04-02-2008, 03:26 AM
Wow, your paintings are stunning :shock:
I wish i could be a child again. Then i would look at
your paintings only in the books you illustrate :lol:

04-07-2008, 09:59 AM
Stunning stuff :D :D

04-15-2008, 02:57 PM
Wow I've been looking thru the posts...WOW! Wonderful imagination u have & drawings/paintings...great light in them too. Glad I'm here! More please! :D

04-15-2008, 04:52 PM
Nice to see fresh posts Nick. Great stuff as always.

05-07-2008, 11:33 PM
Thanks for all the encouragement again chaps. That piece has reverted and been dragged into Sketchbook Pro and Painter because of its size. ArtRage is wonderful at smaller sizes on my system but struggles a bit beyond a certain size. Here's a progress stage, but it isn't being done in ArtRage at the moment.

Meanwhile here's something I started yesterday night for a challenge at Pixelbrush.com themed Myth. The idea behind it is two mythical entities that don't believe in each others' existence have a chance encounter. Supposed to be a fairy and the Grim Reaper

05-08-2008, 03:16 AM
Apart from everything else that you manage to do.... :roll:
I love the colors you use!

05-12-2008, 06:19 AM
You're just amazing artist. :D I really like your new additions especially the last one. Are these two also 100% artrage?

05-12-2008, 07:13 AM
You are an amazing fantasy artist. The new additions are beyond amazing.
Just excellent. What a joy to see your great artistic skills and imagination.
Wonderfully drawn and beautifully painted. Really masterful work. :D

05-15-2008, 05:13 AM
Gee, thanks Rowena, Pai and GZairborne. You are kind.

Pai - The first one is all ArtRage, yes -
but the second is a mish-mash of ArtRage, Sketchbook Pro and mostly Painter. It got a bit large and ArtRage struggles with the multitude of layer I accumulate.
Gave up on that second piece in the end, not liking the way it was going and more importantly, running out of time in the challenge anyway.

Meanwhile the first piece lumbers on. Still in ArtRage.

05-15-2008, 07:01 AM
Gobsmacking enchantment all the way along - O re-incarnation-of-SirArthurRackam :D :D :D

05-15-2008, 07:12 AM
Wow - You couldn't have picked a nicer (if rather too flattering ) comparison Rowena. I grew up loving his stuff.

Edmund Dulac etc - Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

05-15-2008, 09:34 AM
I couldn't agree more :) My intro to Rackham as a boy was through a book called 'The Fantastic Kingdom' (http://www.baileyhillbookshop.co.uk/si/2053.html). I still have it now but confess I actually stole it from my brother :D
Your work has the same wow factor in the same way.

05-18-2008, 10:34 PM
Really like the Grim Reaper and Fairy pick, besides it being done well, it looks like the reapers looking over and going "Ehhhhhh" and he says it in Canadian as well! :twisted:

05-18-2008, 10:38 PM
Dear Nick, there's nothing You make that is less than super! :D :D :D 8)

05-22-2008, 02:18 AM
Thanks for the encouragement yet again, chaps. You are kind.
Here's where I had to call it a day and enter it in the Pixelbrush.com 'Myth' themed challenge.
Totally ArtRage except for the Photoshopped text.

I'll stick this in the gallery section too as supposedly it's done now. I reserve the right to go back and tinker later on though.

05-25-2008, 11:46 PM
And some Hobbity wips from a pic I started for an Imaginefx.com challenge. So unliike me - cough - but I didn't finish in time. Still on it, and taking screengrabs with a view to cobbling together a 'This is how disorganised I am when I work' tutorial for my website.

05-26-2008, 01:58 AM
Completely and absolutely fantastic work! :D

05-26-2008, 08:12 AM
Absolutely wonderful work nick.......:):):)

05-26-2008, 11:56 AM
I can just dream to be able to paint like u!!

05-26-2008, 12:55 PM
Dear Nickillus, wonderful fantastical pictures, your hard work really shows! i love the detail of the fairey in the water, beautiful!!!

05-26-2008, 01:05 PM
Awesome concept, and that big head is creepy, I love it, please add more :)

05-26-2008, 07:35 PM
Another marvel accompanied with some clarification on what is underneath such higly professional artpieces! ThanksNick for sharing! :)

05-27-2008, 05:36 AM
That's a beautiful painting.

05-27-2008, 06:30 PM
Nick- Always such a delight to see your art. You have such a vast imagination and skill to match. Thanks for continuing to be involved in this community. Great stuff.

07-31-2008, 04:17 AM
I really appreciate how kind you guys are - thanks. It's always nice to have folk say they like something you do.

Been snowed under with copyrighted work for publishers that I can't show for a while and have been frustrated how little time I'm getting to play in ArtRage. Just got two batches off my desk and have started doodling some characters for that personal book project again now though. Some nasty female guards from a workhouse - Grrrrrrrrrr!

07-31-2008, 04:45 AM
:eek: eye popping art:eek: Inspirational.

08-06-2008, 10:44 AM
Your drawing skills are so great, as is your use of color :D

08-06-2008, 04:19 PM
As always great to see your work. Brilliant sketches and compositions. Amazing skills. :)

08-07-2008, 04:16 AM
Applause again Nick. Let us know when we can place an order for your book.

08-07-2008, 06:47 PM
Your sketches are a valuable wordless lesson and tutorial I always see with great admiration!

08-07-2008, 07:07 PM
Brilliant work!

Being "snowed under" with copyright work probably is a drag--hey, itīs work! But it must be nice to get paid for your beautiful artwork.

At any rate, itīs always a pleasure to see what youīre up to.

08-15-2008, 11:57 AM
Thanks yet again guys. You may have a bit of a wait for a rinted book Fashmir.

We haven't actually got a final written draft yet and are awaiting guidance from the publisher we're dealing with before continuing. It looks like being a long wait too.

Meanwhile I thought it was about time I entered a challenge again, so here's a first sketch for the monthly one at Imaginefx.com themed Acrobat. Probably won't finish but it gets me sketching and thinking, so it's good for me. Why don't you guys consider taking part?

08-15-2008, 12:36 PM
Just been looking through all your work on here and your website for the first time, Nick...

Wow!...I love it...every single painting has something in it that impresses me, and that's quite rare for me, being generally, a picky person when it comes to art!

Your work really is a masterclass in technique and original ideas!

08-17-2008, 02:28 AM
Gosh Joel. That's rather head swelling stuff. Thank you kindly.

Bit of progress on the AcroBAT.

08-17-2008, 05:30 AM
Your Acrobat is really wonderful Nick, and you've just reminded me of how being able to draw so well holds through even today (while digital media enables anyone who cant draw to save their lives to become an artist).

It holds through because you have such a distinctive drawing style! There is no way someone could rip your work off, as nobody would be able to draw quite like you do... so thats an interesting angle in the way that traditional (art) skills still hold out even in the face of a rapidly changing technology...

08-19-2008, 05:34 AM
Thanks Rowena.
It's one of the biggest attractions of ArtRage to me that it relies more on traditional drawing and painting skills, rather than seducing you with clever filters and 'instant result' buttons. It means that work done in it stays more individual, as shown by the variety of wonderful works on offer in the gallery section.

I'm tacking some of the smaller images from a current professional project in it at the moment. I can't show much, but here's a screengrab from a presentation piece in progress for a forhcoming history book.

08-19-2008, 09:09 PM
the colors that you have used are excellent
I am envious!!!


08-21-2008, 10:37 AM
It is great to see your art process in this terrific thread. I have to admit, I get the most charge out of seeing your beautiful pencil work. (It makes me really miss figure drawing.) Thank you so much for sharing.

Rebecca Moore

D Akey
08-21-2008, 11:29 AM
Looks like Mercutio from Zeferelli's movie of Romeo and Juliet.

He would have made a dandy bard. Great character Nick. Love the broken lute thing (whatever instrument that was). Pose, harlequin feel and especially the face.

08-21-2008, 12:13 PM
Thanks yet again chaps.

Here's a sneak peek at something else, but I can't talk about it yet - or show any thing else about it for a while. Just an early working out stage.

08-21-2008, 03:39 PM
Your work is always great, but I simply love the lute player and the life study class. Masterly!

08-21-2008, 08:41 PM
FAN -TAS -TIC !!! Am truly gobsmacked.... cant wait for the next episode heh heh!!! ..... and when are you gonna start putting a few tutorials on.... i wait with baited breath Jooles X:D

08-23-2008, 12:20 PM
Hi Nick, so nice to see your new drawings. I love the last one so much. Fantasy characters in an live art studio. Wonderful and lovely imagination. I really look forward to see this finish one. It's kind of telling me everywhere and every spirit is living with art surrounding them. Your art is one of the ones in this forum will move and increase my passion to art. :)

hi jooles, here is a free tutorial provide by Nick.

08-23-2008, 11:52 PM
Hey thanks chaps.

Wish I could say the idea was mine, but I'm just fulfilling a brief. Nice thinking from the guy I'm working with. Kudos due. Can't give any more details until after it's published in a few months time. Sorry.

And thanks Pai for pointing Jooles to that tutorial. If anything I lob in the forums urges you on, that's as much as I could hope for. Go for it.

Pai - Have to say how much I've been enjoying watching the magnificent job your great country has made of hosting the Olympics. Much to be very proud of.

08-26-2008, 11:01 AM
Hi Nick, thanks for your kind words about the open ceremony. Actually I didn't watch it because I had to work but watched it on the news. Found out that the persons who designed are one of the famous director who directed the movie "Hero" in 2002, Zhang Yimou and also some famous oil painters which are quite famous internationally. :)

08-29-2008, 12:43 AM
Fantastic, as always. The new piece is going to be amazing! What a great concept and project to work on. :)

08-29-2008, 05:56 AM
THat is right on the mark !

I'm looking forward to seeing the finished version.

09-05-2008, 11:48 AM
i like creepy stuff too, its always fun to see how much imagination people can have!

09-06-2008, 04:29 AM
i like the reverse roles in the art studio.....brilliant:D

D Akey
09-06-2008, 07:33 AM
Excellent. I love the humor. BBBBLLLLAAAAAA!!!!!!!!! ZOIKS!!!! YIKES!!!!!!!
Can I borrow your much kneaded eraser?

09-06-2008, 07:36 AM
Stunning imagination and artistic skills as usual!
A normal marvel for Your mastery, Nick, and an absolutely smart idea in the last picture!
The last one is magic; it's really very hard even to imagine a good composition of so many figures and You did it in such an elegant way!

09-06-2008, 01:08 PM
Thanks for all the positive feedback, chaps. I'll post the fnished version in the gallery when I'm allowed. That is - after it's been used in the publication it was done for.

Meanwhile, here's a daft one I'm thinking about pursuing for a monthly challenge themed 'The Seven Deadly Sins' over at Imaginefx.com. First I thought, hey these guys are supposed to be deadly - maybe they're assassins. Then decided they really ought to be ninjas.

Too much caffeine? Probably.

09-06-2008, 01:56 PM
Dear Nick, want to see the 7 when it's finished,,, well done, great use of the Spandex tool;)

09-07-2008, 02:52 AM
Well spotted Lee. Yes the 'Spandex' tool is a great asset, if a little itchy at times.

D Akey
09-07-2008, 06:04 AM
What a fun bunch. Great characters. You have expressed each one's persona through body language and shape. I love it.

09-07-2008, 08:01 AM
As all your works, amazing (make me feel envy :mad:). Anyway I just wonder how the lust guy will look like :p

09-09-2008, 08:45 PM
Beautifully drawn. Thanks for introducing me to Art Rage via your sketches in ImagineFX.

09-11-2008, 06:58 AM
Thanks for the encouragement again chaps. Always appreciated.
Hey Tector - You only just joined the ArtRage gang? Welcome. Enjoy, like the rest of us do.

Bit more on the 7 sins and lust only marked in. Change of tack though . .