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Nickillus
10-04-2007, 11:47 PM
I'll post art painted in this wonderful software, that I actually finish in here, if that's OK with everybody.

First up - A piece I decided to call finished after a bit of last minute tinkering today. It's for a weekly challenge over at Imaginefx.com - the theme for this one being 'Twilight'. It's a bit grim, but I had a ball playing with knocking up custom stencils to use.

'Wakey Wakey'

irishrose
10-04-2007, 11:57 PM
It must definitely be getting close to Halloween... if I had hiccups, the moment I opened this they would be gone! LOL Great rendering, nothing like Barnabas Collins though, he was mild compared to this bloke!

_Lady_Art_
10-04-2007, 11:59 PM
so fantastic... :)

jacktar51
10-05-2007, 01:48 AM
Hello Nick....I have just been into your web page....FANTASTIC work...WELL WORTH A LOOK>>>!!!.You are my kind of Artist,...JUst been looking at your sailors rest picture....that is so amazing, the nearest I got to anything that detailed,..was my Admiral Benbow,which was a bit detailed in the end,( With much help from mr D Akey, and FASHMIR), really wish I could show you that one as it started and progressed, it was an ongoing thing at the time, and we had much fun with it, your art is great, that particular one must haver taken an age to do...well done mate that one should be labelled a NICK classic....Thanks for putting that link on to your work....... Jack.

Taron
10-05-2007, 06:54 AM
:shock:

Ahm.... ...wow!

I guess I better go dig for more of your posts there, sir! That's friggin fantastic stuff! :idea:

jimandersonz
10-05-2007, 09:37 AM
excellent DARK work..getting the form and textures at such a low-key value is so hard (for me) you seem to do it effortlessly.

Rowena
10-05-2007, 09:39 AM
Can you confirm for us fans Nick :D
if this is an entirely AR or partially AR work of art?

Just like to know thats all. :)

Nickillus
10-05-2007, 10:21 AM
Gosh, thanks everybody for that warm reception to a creepy piece.

Jim, I don't find this sort of tonal range any easier than you. I just kind of built it up slowly using a number of layers with different textures and blending modes. I went too far at one point and had to pull it back. Ask D Akey. He spotted it straight away and helped me clear my thoughts. Gave a great explanation of why he thought it didn't work too. Now that's what I call 'constructive criticism'. Excellent.

Rowena - All the painting and drawing was done in ArtRage.
The only thing I did in any other programme was prepare some image files I had, as single layer psd to import to make textural stencils. Do I pass?

Cheers all,
Nick

sallybode
10-05-2007, 03:25 PM
Great painting, ah, with a roll-over to hear the rattling breath and the rusty hinge on the coffin -- fantastic image, well-rendered.

screenpainter
10-05-2007, 11:49 PM
Great fantasy stuff!
You have amazing talent!
This is so fiinely drawn and painted.
A stellar job on lighting and colors.
It is a wonderful piece of art.

Nika
10-06-2007, 12:49 AM
Fantastic image :)

Netti
10-06-2007, 02:18 AM
Indeed fantastic! Wow! :D

Lee
10-09-2007, 05:17 PM
not till i have my coffee !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rowena
10-09-2007, 10:22 PM
Do I pass?


You most certainly do, Nick! :lol:

...Mmmm, making textural stensils. Thats a nifty idea. Thanks for sharing. Would one take these from B&W photos of things I wonder?

LittleMike
10-10-2007, 12:52 AM
Hi Nick, I think that's a fantastic piece of art, and very seasonal too what with Halloween being just around the corner.

I'm really impressed with the tones and shadows in this image, nice job.

-LittleMike

Nickillus
10-26-2007, 06:45 AM
Here is something I submitted to the 'Cuties that Bite', Halloween competition at PixelBrush a couple of days ago. There are some progress stages in my corresponding wip thread if you're interested.
I did all the donkey work in ArtRage, but as time ran out on me, I had to dive into Painter and Photoshop to add some gradient overlays and painted layers for the lighting. That was simply for speed because ArtRage isn't really designed with that in mind for larger files which this was (250mb +). That is no criticism of this excellent programme in any way or form. I love it to bits.

Just submitted this second one for the weekly challenge at Imaginefx. The theme is Tattoos.
All ArtRAge apart from the text which I did in Photoshop.

All copyrighted to Nick Harris 2007

jacktar51
10-26-2007, 07:10 AM
I was just looking at all the new postings,when I came across yours Nick, Your work is so outstanding I have to come and reply to it,these last two pictures are excellent, and you manage to keep them sharp without pixelating, marvelous,keep them coming, because I really do like to see the amount of detail you manage to get in there, fine art matey,.....Jack.

Netti
10-26-2007, 07:41 AM
I am seriously speechless. These are fantastic!

irishrose
10-26-2007, 07:47 AM
Wow! I'm blown away... this is serious stuff!

D Akey
10-26-2007, 07:48 AM
Jolly good, St. Nick. . .

Your works in progress are not something to miss.

Great finish.

I love the piercings.

Nickillus
10-26-2007, 10:44 AM
Hey thanks for such nice feedback, guys.

screenpainter
10-26-2007, 08:44 PM
The cat tatooist is just amazing work. Fantastic art work. :D

Nickillus
11-21-2007, 12:37 AM
I was lucky enough to be asked to put a workshop together for the Imaginefx magazine this month, covering the basics. Unfortunately I only had three days to do the image and write the workshop itself, because of other work pressures, so the image is nothing like as finished as I'd like or as the software is capable of. Nevertheless it was a thrill to be asked and I had a good time playing with it.

For the full workshop you'll have to pick up a copy of the magazine, (issue 25 out now) as I'm not permitted by copyright to post anything much. There are a few screengrabs across in the my corresponding WIP thread - or there will be in a few minutes when I've posted them.

maror
11-21-2007, 01:02 AM
Holly s***! Awesome work man... you know how to draw bodys, seriously!

Greez

screenpainter
11-21-2007, 01:20 AM
Stunning beautiful work... amazing drawing and painting skills. Fantastic job.

Nika
11-21-2007, 04:29 AM
Fantastic :)

D Akey
11-21-2007, 08:05 AM
I can only speak of what I personally prefer, and I hate to tell you this in this way, but I really like your partially finished work. Detail in the environment isn't nearly as essential to me as the staging and getting the characters right.

In fact I like many of your drawings more than the finishes (which are wonderful), because they tell me enough, plus they show me your hand at the incept of the idea. And I get to participate in the painting in my mind.

So since your signature style is about really describing everything that your job wants you to do, you need to do it.

But for me, having bits of the construction show through is like I get the finish plus the 'making of' all in one image. And I'm delighted.

Partially done work is sometimes more revealing of your artistry, and it lets me find the underlying bits of the art, which I actually look for eagerly. . . So it becomes more about the art and less about the subject.

Pleasing me will gain you exactly zero dollars. And pleasing the client will pay for your house. But please know in your heart of hearts that someone out here really admires your work at the early stages. Apologize to the others, but not to me.

:D :D :D

Rowena
11-22-2007, 06:07 AM
WOW, WOW, WOW, and WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You just never cease to amaze me Nick!
I am blown away by your latest work which takes illustration out of the realm of the kiddies and delivers it back into the hands of (grateful) adults.

Is there a way one can access your workshop on-line I wonder...for those infidels who live in the in the colonies, haha?)

I cannot even think of an appropriate thing to say, except that I am truly honored to be in communication with a most worthy 20th century edmunddulac artist extrodinare. Your imagination is quite superb!

Boxy
11-22-2007, 11:31 AM
That is stunning. I love the lighting and textures. Just been reading your walkthrough in IFX, I think 3 days was enough :)
Cheers
Boxy

Is_It
11-27-2007, 06:48 AM
Amazing stuff, really... i've lost my words!! ....

Nickillus
09-07-2008, 04:59 AM
Just dug this old unfinished one out and spent half an hour on it. If I didn't do it now, I'd never get round to it. Way off how I'd really like it, but it'll have to do.

D Akey
09-07-2008, 05:35 AM
Your stuff rules them all, and this one holds lots of magic in it. Do not destroys this painting, precious.

Mairzie Dotes
09-07-2008, 05:54 AM
Nickillus,
As your thread entry's have progressed I can't help but be majorly
impressed, especially the last one, how eerie, chilling, precious, sad.
I want to take that child, scoop him up, bring him into the sunlight
wipe away his tears and protect him evermore. All of your paintings
are exceptional. :)

ENCHANTER
09-07-2008, 06:05 AM
Nick this is brilliant even in the unfinished form.........i would have said this was finished for an illustration in a monotone illutrative way:D

Caesar
09-07-2008, 07:41 AM
Fantastic in any sense!

ScottF
09-07-2008, 08:48 AM
First rate, and I love the colors! Glad you found this one.

dismagartist
09-07-2008, 03:42 PM
Frodo is not the only one who lives.

hanzz
09-07-2008, 03:49 PM
This is beyound briliant. Colorscheme is a stroke of genious. I barely would have dared to even try this.

Nika
09-07-2008, 11:34 PM
Fantastic work:)

Belvrog
09-12-2008, 10:07 AM
Hi Nick, wow there are just gorgeous paintings in this thread.
Really like your interpretation of gollums cave. Your Bilbo also matches my initial imagination of Bilbo I had while reading the book far better than he way he looked in the scene from the hobbit they incorporated in the Lord of the rings movie. Great version of gollum too. Hard to believe you are not satisfied with the result. For me, I absolutely love it.

Nickillus
09-12-2008, 12:36 PM
Thanks for all the really nice comments, chaps.
Who doesn't like a Hobbit, eh? I think anybody who tackles drawing or painting one is generally starting at an advantage. Delighted if I struck a chord with some of you.

Rain11
09-12-2008, 04:12 PM
Amazing work!:)

Nickillus
08-01-2010, 01:05 PM
Thanks Rain11.
Way out of touch on this thread - many apologies for that.

Couple more on the go at the moment.

Nickillus
08-01-2010, 02:43 PM
bit more progress on the fairy one - a grab

coops
08-02-2010, 03:34 AM
These are wonderful Nickillus each one perfectly drawn and painted telling a story of its own:)

Rowena
08-03-2010, 03:59 AM
Dear Nick, these latest WIP are superb! I adore your unique style, imagination and wit - always such a delight to see :D

Mairzie Dotes
08-03-2010, 04:55 PM
Nickillus,
Fantastic updates, the artistry is absolutely stunning, can't stop
looking at them and keep finding new creative touches and
detailing to be amazed by. Just wonderful! :)

Juz
08-06-2010, 12:09 AM
In the words of Zaphod Beeblebrox "Amazingly Amazing" :eek::eek::cool::cool::):)

Out of curiosity around how many hours would go into a piece like 'Once apon a woody time'?

Nickillus
08-06-2010, 05:15 AM
You are all so very kind. Thank you so much for the supportive comments.

Juz - That's am image I've started several times for a personal project I have going on the back burner. This particular version just happened to be suitable for turning to another purpose, so I took it to the stage you see with that in mind. I was probably fiddling with that and another image for about ten days to two weeks between them - but had some other stuff on the go at the same time, so its hard to pin down exactly how long I spent on it. The text was added using DrawPlus in case I didn't mention it. Quicker and easier with more controls than AR has at the moment. Great to know that the various software can intermingle though isn't it?

Here's a bit more progress on the life drawing one, with a grab from it alongside.

Juz
08-06-2010, 03:12 PM
Thanks for that Nick, it really gave me great insight into just how much work there is in one of your pieces. :):) Was it far more laborious b4 you went digital ?

The new update totally blew me away as I thought the last version was a finished piece :D lol.... then you post this one and teach me "no grasshopper, watch the master"

Selby
08-17-2010, 07:33 AM
lovely visiting in here as always:)

kenmo
09-08-2010, 03:58 AM
Wow Nick...amazing style and art... Truly blown away by your talent....

ENCHANTER
09-08-2010, 08:45 AM
Brilliant as always Nick , always love to see your 'quirky' paintings, i mean that in a nice way :)

Nickillus
09-10-2010, 12:42 AM
Many thanks for the encouraging comments guys. 'Quirky' is as good a tag as I've ever had Enchanter - haha no problem there.

Here's a couple more things in the cooker at the moment.

Nickillus
09-10-2010, 05:19 AM
bit more on one of them

hanzz
09-10-2010, 06:14 AM
Wow ! so nice ! Congratzz mate !

Caesar
09-10-2010, 06:23 AM
I just regret the fact that they're only bits a pieces of what would be a most valuable tutorial (I treasured the one You once made), also in consideration of the extreme admiration I have for Your creations, style and the way You combine colors and enlighten Your scenes. Very neat and effective, full of humour and intelligence.
Congratulations.

Nickillus
09-10-2010, 12:24 PM
Thanks Hanzz, thanks Caesar.

OK - in response to the request I did a short and fumbling vid capture talking about how I use multiply layers to set lighting - I'll package it up and try to post it on here tomorrow. Seven minutes of muttery vagueness. Exciting prospect huh!

justjean
09-10-2010, 02:27 PM
What a feast for the eyes, they are all awesome,wonderful drawings along with great use of colour to set the mood and lighting effects

screenpainter
09-10-2010, 04:00 PM
brilliant as always. love the new pieces!

Nickillus
09-10-2010, 11:24 PM
Thanks again guys.
Not much progress on the image itself, but I've knocked out a tiny video capture in answer to Caesar's prompt. When I say small I do mean small - and probably not a lot of use - but I'm still practicing with this sort of stuff. Hopefully it will get better with future offerings. Nothing on a par with Jon Hodgson's excellent vids, but it's not a competition (or if it is I concede now). Do go look at them if you haven't already - wonderful stuff. Mine is just an attempt to explain different approaches to image making.

You'll find it here on the rather sparse so far 'tutorials' page of my site, because I'm not savvy enough to get it on YouTube or anything clever like that. Click the image to either open or save the thing. It is about 5mb so you may find it works better by downloading it first - I found the sound was gone when I tried playing it online. Mind you with my waffle that is probably a bonus.

Small video available HERE http://nickillus.co.uk/page12.html

Caesar
09-10-2010, 11:46 PM
Thank You very much, dear Nick!

hanzz
09-10-2010, 11:49 PM
Great stuff,Nick !!
The sound works OK online for me. It plays nicely too, so no problem to view online for me.:cool::cool:

Nickillus
09-13-2010, 09:57 AM
You are very welcome Caesar. Glad if it helps despite my waffley style. I will try and do some more soon of the same sort of short length.

And many thanks for the feedback on playability, Hanzz. Really helpful to know whether it works OK or not.

Here's a bit more on that mermaid one. Not that much progress because i's the weekend.

Belvrog
09-13-2010, 10:16 AM
Hey Nick, fantastic new paintings. Once-Upon-a-Woody-Time and Hold That Pose both have a wonderful lighting and color palette. Great new entry. Can't wait to see it finished. :)

Mairzie Dotes
09-14-2010, 09:37 AM
Nickillus,
She implores but why? The intriguing saga of the mermaid continues.
Unbelievably beautiful artwork. :)

Caesar
09-15-2010, 12:16 AM
Mair, I guess the mermaid's pleaing to have her precious shell back, supported by her crabby guard! Maybe Nick is going to make it a golden one ....:rolleyes:

Nickillus
09-15-2010, 12:41 AM
Thanks guys.
Yes, that's about it Caesar. The working title is 'Give it Back', and the idea is that the teenage pirate lad has stolen something from the sea, vital to the mermaid and she is desperate to get it back. That shell (at least that what it should look like when I'm done - fingers crossed) behind his back is the thing in question and I'm toying with the idea of having it bejeweled and/or have some mystical light coming from inside . . . . .?

I'll keep you posted, and apologise for any pain through curiosity that I may have caused - or do I . . . . a little suspense is good isn't it?

Meanwhile it's on hold briefly while I doodle something else on the hob.

Caesar
09-15-2010, 12:49 AM
Thanks dear Nick! I can assure that the pleasure to admire Your works is far bigger than the little pain of some suspance! ;):)
Each painting and step You provide is a whole tutorial in my opinion.
I wish I could discipline my fantasy and scene ideas into a superior and patient planning and skills as You do and do have (even not considering Your uncomparable natural talent and apparently unlimited capabilities to play with any kind of multiple light sources and colors).

Nickillus
09-15-2010, 12:54 AM
Gosh but you are quick on the draw Caesar - Went back to alter something in the last post straight away and blow me down if you'd not replied already. I'm never challenging you to a duel . . . .

Caesar
09-15-2010, 12:57 AM
:D ... and English is not my native language ....:)

Nickillus
09-15-2010, 01:15 AM
I'd not even contemplated challenging you in Italian - which is one of the many languages I don't speak. I barely manage English.

Nickillus
09-15-2010, 08:02 AM
bit more on this one.

Caesar
09-16-2010, 11:00 PM
This is another great piece and fantastic speechless tutorial in a way, dear Nick! :eek: My sons were excite to know that I met You in here when they saw a fantasy work collection book I bought. They would have asked an autograph!
I guess You've got several layers here too and I really wonder which tools and which setting You are using ...:rolleyes: Your natural flow of steps make anything look so easy ... but when I'm in front of a new sheet and try to concentrate on planning and thinking to a process and to select all the various details ... then I feel a bit lost and worried and I end up messing up with any resource or setting I select at the moment ....
I really believe than any bit and piece of Your forthcoming tutorials will be a treasure of information for me to set up some sort of effective and efficient process.

Nickillus
09-17-2010, 12:14 AM
Thanks for the ongoing support, Caesar - much appreciated.

Wordlessly is the best way to deal with a chatterbox like me.
I've attached a grab with the colour samples enlarged and as much of the overladen layers palette as I could show in one go (I'm such a layer hoarder). I've named the ones I can remember what they are (which is always a good idea to do as you go - slap my legs for being 'relaxed' about it).

The general pattern of any piece usually starts with
laying down a base tone/colour (bucket fill - save the colour so it can be used to edit/paint back in if necessary) -

drawing on a layer over the top (whatever the main topic/character may be) -

blocking in some tones on a layer between, using chalk or oils usually -
add a tonal layer of another shadow colour over the top, setting it to multiply and then working the light areas back in using either the eraser or a lighter (often complementary colour/s - all depends on the colour scheme idea of the piece) -

Adding more elements/characters/whatever on separate layers (above or below dependent on relative positioning to original element) using the same set up ---------- pays to group and name these if you are going to collect layers like I do.

Repeat as you will and build up the complexity (like I'm doing with the crabs, which I have on top at the moment - so not right yet, but I'll keep at them). I have three layers of over-all tone at various points in the layer stack, plus separate 'shadow' , multiply layers over individual elements for detailing and darker areas for instance (watercolour+palette knife+eraser to create)

I've done a lot of this one with the chalk, which I really like, but have blurred the tonal-over layers to knock the effect of working on them with that tool back a bit on background elements. I play it by eye as I go. Let the image tell you what it needs.

You have a great eye, Caesar - I've seen you images. Just believe in yourself more and go for it.
Simply - my technique revolves around the combination of solid and 'glazing' (mulitply - watercolour - burn - take your pick) layers - applied to a drawing as good as I can get it (doesn't have to be tight - that's not what I mean). Having a number of them builds up subtleties - no great secret. Use whatever tools you prefer. Hope that helps.

Caesar
09-17-2010, 12:29 AM
Dear Nick, i'm immensely grateful to You for Your explanation further clarifying what You already teached on Your tutorials and I started to undersand studying Your entries. I also found another tutorial where the image contained robots and an apparent human composed in a sort of circle where light beams directs from one station to the other.
Thank You again very much, dear master!

SCP
09-17-2010, 08:55 AM
Brilliant and inspiring thread!Always look forward to seeing your work.:):):):):)

Rowena
09-17-2010, 09:12 AM
Absolutely superb and all so very inspiring!

Belvrog
09-22-2010, 09:51 AM
Really like the wip of the ailing woodcutter Nick. Wonderful painting.

Nickillus
09-24-2010, 12:40 PM
Really kind comments as always, guys, and I do appreciate them - thank you all.
Still have to finish that pirate/mermaid one, but have started a companion piece to it after a false start involving an idea about a trawler. This one will be more land based as I think it will fit the bill of what I'm after better. Same sort of process - drawing, washes and body colour on separate layers, over a toned base. Fairly muted so far and not sure of which way want to take the lighting and colour palette yet.

Caesar
09-25-2010, 12:36 AM
Dear Nick, I saved this thread amomg my preferred sites of tutorials because it really is a great tutorial beside a delight!
I was just wondering whether You start with a tonal layer first or a sketch drawing followed by a tonal idea. I know that both are really fundamental in a painting more than anything else, especially in the ones of Your genre, to assure a successful and credible outcome.
I noticed that You use also two different light sources (and colors) in a number of cases and this adds a little to complexity when guessing the tones, I presume, and it's not a lesson usually treated on manuals I'm afraid. That's another reason why I admire Your works. Obviously anyone able to could use a 3D software to run a simulation, but it's not the most practical way to proceed this far ...
Thanks again very much!

Nickillus
09-25-2010, 04:43 AM
Oh you are nice Caesar.
This one started with a sketch and I dropped a tone in after. Here's a bit more.

Borilius
09-25-2010, 04:51 AM
Amazing, even on this stage it looks finished to me. Huge fan here :)

SCP
09-25-2010, 11:20 AM
Loving this one,the character,pose and pespective look fantastic.Your use of washes is working well.Looking forward to the end result!:):):):):)

Nickillus
09-27-2010, 01:06 AM
Thanks again, chaps.
Here's a bit more, but not much I grant you.
Wanted to deepen the tones on her, so I've duplicated the shade layer and altered the hue, using ctrl+J to open those controls. Then I'm working back into both shade layers to add more nuances and subtlety (loads still to do to make it work obviously). Then I've added a layer (labeled GLINT) to pick out coloured highlights over that. Details for hair and such will go on this layer too.

EDIT (12 midnight) - and the addition of a corny rainbow element - on a layer set to 'colour' blend mode.

Edit2 (5.10am) - Added some flowers (not finished of course) and yet more layers - mwahahahahaaaaaa - It's late here in the UK. I get like this sometimes-sorry. Must stop dithering and get on with it.

Caesar
09-27-2010, 09:24 PM
Fantastic, dear Nick! :cool: ... and what a patience and strive for perfection!:eek: I guess the title to be, more or less, Still waiting for her Bridegroom ...:D
Since I never learned command short-cuts, Which are on the menu the corrispondig items to Ctrl+J, pls?:confused:

Alexandra
09-27-2010, 10:13 PM
You are a fantastic artist Nick!

Mairzie Dotes
09-27-2010, 10:21 PM
Nickillus,
At times when I view your paintings, the proper response fails
me because I am so often overtaken by your exceptional
talent and artistic creations that I think ... how to relate how
I feel with adequate words that don't sound too gushy but ...
since I am sitting here typing this and in a gushing mood here
goes ... your pieces are exceptional masterpieces! It doesn't
matter what the subject matter is for I am always rendered
in an immediate state of rapture just staring at one of your
captivating marvels on the screen before me, completed or not.

What a true artist and talent you are ... my heart aches for
the bedridden hob, I somehow felt his agony and you have
made even a wild haired prune of a hag appear somehow forlorn
and to be pitied. You have the uncanny ability to infuse human
emotions onto a canvas, wether happy or sad, silly or not. You
magically create stories, songs and poetry with your brush. You
can imagine the sensation then paint it into your subjects with
such bewitching flair that it almost seems to not be quite enough
to respond with only a "well painted" though ... from my heart ...
well painted! :)

Nickillus
09-27-2010, 10:27 PM
As ever, I do thank you for your kind comments, chaps. I think persistent is probably the most accurate description for me. I nibble away until I have no time left and have to move on to the next.

ctrl+J (command+J on a mac?) opens up a set of controls for adjusting the colour. brightness, contrast etc of a layer Caesar. I have to admit it's the very first time I've used it myself. It allowed me to copy a shadow layer and change ts colour- but there are a host of other things it will do. I'd give it a try and see if any of it is useful to you.

Same with ctrl+B - for the blur a layer option. I find it handy when I've used the chalk to put colour down quickly on a layer, and need to smooth the texture down a bit. Or if I want a misty look for instance. For more localised blurring I'd use the palette knife of course. We all work in different ways and it's a matter of finding the tools that go best with that.


EDIT - WOW Mairzie - I think out posts must have crossed. I was typing while you were sending, so I didn't spot your extremely generous comments until after my usual word fumble had gone in without an answer included to your post. How very kind of you to express the unexpected response my digital canvas scraping can evoke in you at times. If I have any ability at all, it's just come through grinding away at it for nearly thirty years, on a full time basis - discounting the long stares out of the window, eating, drinking and even sleeping on occasion.

It gladdens me to hear that sometimes I reach a kindred spirit. Thank you so much for telling me.

Caesar
09-28-2010, 02:46 AM
Thank You once more, dear mate! I found it on the Help Manual too. Edit -> Blur Layer and /or Adjust Layer; they correspond to ctrl+j and ctrl+b.

Belvrog
09-30-2010, 10:01 AM
Very good progress on the witch. Great lighting and perspective.

Caesar
09-30-2010, 10:13 AM
dear Nick, I saw two of them and a third one of Yours in the gallery and they're all masterpieces! Congratulations once more! They're all excellent under any aspect ...

Juz
10-03-2010, 07:04 AM
So delightful, the way she's unconsciously toying with the ring on her finger makes me think of the disney song from cinderella 'some day my prince will come'. Perhaps her beau is over that rainbow? :):)

Mike Severoff
10-08-2010, 09:01 PM
Thanks, the master, it are very interesting

Caesar
10-08-2010, 09:15 PM
With Your permission I opened in my personal computers and pen drive memories (no for public vision) a Nick Harris file with some of Your AR works. I keep it in a gallery together with a number of master painters and illustrators that, across the ages and the genres, I admire the most and continue to inspire and push me.

May I ask You which is the size (or sizes) of the canvas (or sheet) You commonly use for Your works?

screenpainter
10-12-2010, 03:44 PM
Fantastic new work... as always. Happy Birthday by the way. :)

kenmo
10-14-2010, 01:13 AM
Wonderful thread.....

Nickillus
12-08-2010, 11:18 PM
Thanks for the ongoing support chaps - and many apologies for the extremely tardy reply. I have been and am still rather busy - which is nice after a very lean patch.

Here are some things on the go at the moment. All due to be finished pdq (that's 'pretty darned quick' for anyone not familiar with the acronym) but I can't really say more than that for the moment - sorry.

Freid
12-08-2010, 11:41 PM
Oh ! I'm just discovering your pics, it's excellent ! Even if i'm not a big D&D fan, they make me dream :) thank you.

+ I love this trojan pic :)

Nickillus
12-09-2010, 12:16 AM
Thanks Freid.
Never played D&D in my life, haha, and am more of a children's book illustrator really. Don't have the time for games like that.

Like you I do really appreciate some of the artwork that turns up to accompany it though. Did you see this month's issue of IFX magazine - coincidentally there's a special on D&D.

screenpainter
12-09-2010, 01:04 AM
wow the Trojan horse is just amazing! awesome new work Nick.

Mairzie Dotes
12-10-2010, 12:36 AM
Nickillus,
Your recent offerings are really stunning pieces. The first "gripping"
expression seems as if this imaginary soul might be caught in ... as
they say ... a vicious cycle, constricted against his will by negative
forces. The second, a foreign object has just landed and by the
look of this ominous interloper, I doubt that there will be a welcoming
committee and the third, a true Trojan horse biblical account brought
to life with your impressive artistry. All are excellent works of art ...
what a talent you are! :)

Caesar
12-11-2010, 02:12 AM
It's always a sheer delight to discover Your new creations, dear Nick! :)
The Trojan horse didn't use a backdoor this time, but the Scaen Gate itself and infected all our computers with an amazingly good illustration! :D
Thanks for sharing and whenever You're missing for a while we do know it's good news for both You, who are hopefully working and earning, and for us, who are going to enjoy some further marvel sooner or later ...

Nickillus
12-11-2010, 05:07 AM
Many thanks chaps. You guys are always so kind.

The horse piece had to be finished and go off, and I can't show it until after it's published, sorry. Not as detailed in the end as I would have liked because time didn't allow, but it's OK I guess. You'll have to decide for yourself when it's fair game again.

Meanwhile the creature one has got to here so far.

Caesar
12-11-2010, 06:36 AM
This last WIP is wonderful and it reminded me of something.
I saw on a tutorial of Yours, on ImagineFX I think, that You've got a software also useful for perspectives and also to put in pespective and perhaps distort too (as in this latter illustration) regular textures such as brick walls etc.
Could You please remind it to me and give me an idea of what You use beyond it, AR and Photoshop for specific purposes?
I got also Photoshop PS, I don't use as yet, and Artweaver, but it doesn't seem as immediate as AR to use or that useful as a complement ...
Thank You!

Nickillus
12-11-2010, 07:29 AM
Hi Caesar - and thanks again.

You have a good memory. I used a software called DrawPlus (Serif) which is a sort of Adobe Illustrator alternative - much cheaper and I find it easier to use. I did as you suspected and made a grid of rectangles and distorted it using the 'mesh tool' in Drawplus, using a jpeg copy of the picture to place it properly.

Then I exported only the brick drawing object as a jpeg and imported it to a layer in the original image, setting it to multiply so that only the dark lines show. Could have done it as a png file if I wanted too, which includes the transparency of course.

You can see it in the grab taken from DrawPlus (didn't bother with showing the palettes etc). Made the pattern way too big as you can see but it didn't matter meant I could move it a bit to get it how I wanted.

I do use Photoshop occasionally but not that often - except to final process files for maximum compatibility. I'm tending to turn more to the much cheaper Serif equivalent PhotoPlus for that too though.

Only thing - Serif software is pc only as far as I know. Suits me but rules Mac users out.

Caesar
12-11-2010, 07:44 AM
Thank You very much once again, dear Nick!
I wish I could do anything to repay You and Your time for such a kindness.
Should You find any texture (I showed some I turned into stickers) or character or any other discovery I post be of any use for You, pls let me know and I would be glad to supply You with.
In the meanwhile .... best wishes and blessings for the forthcoming holidays!

Mairzie Dotes
12-16-2010, 01:39 AM
Nickillus,
Oh my! The latest creature revisions are spectacular! I think I can now
understand his fastidious intent of making certain that his metaphorical
underpants are washed with aromatically scented soap because sewer
(or nightmare) meanderings or not, a well fragranced entity is to be
admired for attempting to upgrade his disagreeable circumstances to the
positive. The artistry and imaginative concept is to be admired. A stunning
and most evocative piece! :)

Nickillus
12-16-2010, 02:19 PM
Thanks Caesar - no problem - and thanks for the generous offer. I'll bear it in mind of course and very much appreciate the thought. Good tidings to you and your kin this seasonal time of year too.

Wow Mairzie - What an eloquent and ingeniously thought out word play. You are some kind of writer surely! Thanks for taking the time and effort to put that together. Really makes me appreciate how I ought to take more care picking the words I sling down in almost haphazard fashion. Guess that's why I'm not a writer - yet.

Here's something else speeding through the Wacom-ArtRage work-flow for a little job. Won't be able to show anything after this of it until it becomes formed in paper and ink - by which time it will hopefully have evolved into something more subtlely coloured and better formed. As you can see, I still go mad with the number of layers, although the majority of the dragon painting is restricted to one.

Mairzie Dotes
12-19-2010, 02:13 PM
Wow Mairzie - What an eloquent and ingeniously thought out word play.
You are some kind of writer surely! Thanks for taking the time and effort
to put that together. Really makes me appreciate how I ought to take
more care picking the words I sling down in almost haphazard fashion.
Guess that's why I'm not a writer - yet.

Nickillus,
If I were a betting budding wannabe artist I would venture to say that
your writing abilities may well be as notable as your talent as an artist. :)


Here's something else speeding through the Wacom-ArtRage work-flow for
a little job. Won't be able to show anything after this of it until it becomes
formed in paper and ink - by which time it will hopefully have evolved into
something more subtlely coloured and better formed. As you can see, I
still go mad with the number of layers, although the majority of the
dragon painting is restricted to one.


If only this fire breathing dragon were flying near that cold distressed
moon that I witnessed last night, the heat from his formidable steamy
breath would have provided welcomed warmth for her majesty's lunar
chills. Excellent dragonly beginnings and I will be sure to keep my
distance lest his expressive disposition singe my girlish eyelashes off. :eek: :D :)

Caesar
12-22-2010, 12:07 AM
Another winner, dear Nick, this powelful dragon! Thank You also for convincing Alberto to post. He looks very endowed and almost a disciple of Yours as style ...;):)
As for DrawPlus, which I may possibly buy as a Christmas self-gift, as far as You know, is the meshing/ perspective feature You showed above present in the Free Starter version too so as to test more exhaustively this software user-friendlyness?
Thank You!

screenpainter
12-22-2010, 01:10 AM
The sewer creature and the dragon are superb!

Nickillus
12-22-2010, 03:59 AM
Thank you my friends. Your support is always so appreciated - I hope you understand that.

Hope you all have a great Christmas break. Here's a silly card I just knocked together on ArtRage and DrawPlus.
Caesar - Hope you have fun with the Serif software, by the way.

EDIT - and here's is the silly sketch done in ArtRage for the card - 'Do You Feel Christmassy Yet, Punk ?!' Took about three hours - which is lightning fast for me- woohoo.

Caesar
12-22-2010, 04:33 AM
LOL:D:p You're a superguy, dear Nick, not only as an artist and a most kind person, but also for Your excellent sense of humour!

Lima
12-22-2010, 07:03 AM
Hey Nick, dear friend. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.:)

Fashmir
12-22-2010, 07:51 AM
Nick- Inspiring as always mate. I love the creatures and Santa Clause. :D

hanzz
12-22-2010, 07:20 PM
Same wishes to you, Nick.
And thanks for the nice paintings we had to marvel at lately !

Mairzie Dotes
12-22-2010, 10:39 PM
Nickillus,
Unique is the description for this rather whimsical way of presenting
Santa. The artistry is striking and the details and metallic sheen of
the ornate rifle is amazingly well done. Just love the billowing smoke
discharge and "don't mess with me" look on old Saint Nick's face.
Extremely well painted and merry christmas to you also. :)

Arjen Vriezekolk
12-22-2010, 11:45 PM
I do wish you happy hollidays Nick. Hope to see (and learn!) more of your work in 2011.

Arjen

Mairzie Dotes
12-23-2010, 08:11 AM
Nickillus,
I just had to revisit this whimsical Santa that walks softly but
carries a big rifle and was wondering ... does that shiny ornate
marvel happen to shoot snowballs? :D :D :D ;) :)

Alexandra
12-29-2010, 01:48 AM
Your work is such a pleasure to view Nick. I don't get the time to view as many places as I would like to on the forums, and have missed so much of your delightful paintings. I had to fav many of them on DVA-and add my name to your list of admirers.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and the best of everything in this coming New Year to you and yours!

Caesar
12-30-2010, 08:29 AM
Dear Nick, I just bought DrawPlus too and I still have to get acquainted, but it looks like there are several complementary features with AR3 so they should form a great couple. There was a discount and PanoromaPlus as a gift (actually I think nobody really pays the full price).
Thank You for Your suggestion then!;):)
Now there's a learning curve to descend :p, but it shouldn't be much more complex than ArtRage, although less natural apparently.
I guess You may only exchange between them only single layer images in universal standards ....
Since I don't usually like to study terms and conditions of the hundreds of Licence Agreements we face everyday on comuters issues, do You know whether I'm legally allowed to use DrawPlus on more than one of my computers?

haakoo
12-30-2010, 08:42 AM
From the license:


Hans

Chuckart
01-02-2011, 10:32 PM
Here's a bit more progress on the life drawing one, with a grab from it alongside.


Hello Nick. A query from a newbie, so be gentle in your reply please :) On the life drawing in post #49, the light at the front looks to be at a weird angle (to these eyes at least) . Would it not be better falling parallel to the back light???

Caesar
01-03-2011, 01:45 AM
Thank You, dear Hans/ Hakoo!
I just wondered, since I installed it on a portable computer (a laptop), does it reversely mean I may also install and use a copy of it on a desktop one then? I also paid an extra fro two year extra copy as a sort of insurance from cracking computers etc.
As for the use it is anyway a personal one (for myself), since I don't run any business or have any company or employee thereof dealing with pictures manipulations or selling paintings this far.
I should probably ask Serif which would be price, terms and conditions, if any, to possibly use it on my office desktop, always for personal use in case just for reviewing and insert limited amendments in case.

AdamYoung
01-05-2011, 09:05 AM
Absolutely amazing.. i love your work :) very very inspiring! :D

Nickillus
01-14-2011, 01:40 PM
Thanks for the kind words folks - and great to see you looking into DrawPlus Caesar - I particularly like that your query was thoroughly answered before I even had time to notice it. Excellent interaction, chaps.

Chuckart - never be afraid of asking questions, criticising, poking fun or whatever feels right at the time, especially with me. My stuff is about as far from perfect as you can get - full of mistakes, bad choices and never what I first envisaged.
I see your point about using parallel light sources, but using light sources from differing directions was a deliberate, if contrived ploy. I wanted it to feel more like you were looking from an internal room to one where the light source came directly from outside. It leads the eye into the picture more, whilst also suggesting that there may be other objects affecting how the light is bouncing around. That's my story and I'm sticking to it - ahem, cough.

Meanwhile here's a tiny bit of progress on that dragony one.
http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-screengrab-2011.jpg

Chuckart
01-14-2011, 03:11 PM
Chuckart - never be afraid of asking questions, criticising, poking fun or whatever feels right at the time, especially with me. My stuff is about as far from perfect as you can get - full of mistakes, bad choices and never what I first envisaged.
I see your point about using parallel light sources, but using light sources from differing directions was a deliberate, if contrived ploy. I wanted it to feel more like you were looking from an internal room to one where the light source came directly from outside. It leads the eye into the picture more, whilst also suggesting that there may be other objects affecting how the light is bouncing around. That's my story and I'm sticking to it - ahem, cough.



Thanks Nick. Got it.


Next query

I watched Cris De Lara's Conan Vid on It's Art and found it very interesting that she used a fair few reference images to produce her work and would like to know if you do similar to produce your excellent illustrations.

Nickillus
01-14-2011, 04:14 PM
Thanks Nick. Got it.


Next query

I watched Cris De Lara's Conan Vid on It's Art and found it very interesting that she used a fair few reference images to produce her work and would like to know if you do similar to produce your excellent illustrations.

I love Cris and the way she tackles her art- and she is very generous with the way she shares her knowledge. She's a very talented lass, which helps in the outstanding results she obtains course.

Our approaches are quite different. I work almost exclusively out of my head, mostly because that's how I grew up trying to do it. I'm so thick that it never occurred to me when I was a nipper, that folk might use models. Duuuh! That should encourage you.

Did the college bit and learned how to do it that way too, but I'm not really organised enough to get all the right figure reference together and such. Nor am I much good at life drawing. You get good at what you practice and I don't work at that. Costume, and accessories often need research, yes, but I like to construct the figure from scratch as much as possible.

Yes I have lot of anatomy books I've looked at. Yes I've done life classes at college that must feed my knowledge base. Yes I suppose I surreptitiously stalk folk without meaning to, so I can people watch. My theory is that if I can get enough control over building an image from scratch without slavish reliance on reference, then I will ultimately have more freedom in what I can create. It's a flawed logic but I'll go with it for the moment.
Thanks for thinking some of what I come up with may show promise.

Caesar
01-14-2011, 09:14 PM
I work almost exclusively out of my head, mostly because that's how I grew up trying to do it. I'm so thick that it never occurred to me when I was a nipper, that folk might use models. Duuuh! That should encourage you.

Did the college bit and learned how to do it that way too, but I'm not really organised enough to get all the right figure reference together and such. Nor am I much good at life drawing. You get good at what you practice and I don't work at that. Costume, and accessories often need research, yes, but I like to construct the figure from scratch as much as possible.

Yes I have lot of anatomy books I've looked at. Yes I've done life classes at college that must feed my knowledge base. Yes I suppose I surreptitiously stalk folk without meaning to, so I can people watch. My theory is that if I can get enough control over building an image from scratch without slavish reliance on reference, then I will ultimately have more freedom in what I can create. It's a flawed logic but I'll go with it for the moment.
Thanks for thinking some of what I come up with may show promise.

Dear Nick, even if I'm light years far from Your capabilities and talent, notwithstanding some times I make a copy excercise to train, I'm absolutely on line with You about freedom from references (apart from some landscape painting), generally not used, sometimes only to spot characteristic features to make them more credible, but often in different enough postions and poses ...
I feel also this approach to be a real measure of personal progress and talent and a way to be honest with myself thereabout.

Chuckart
01-15-2011, 04:58 AM
I'm so thick that it never occurred to me when I was a nipper, that folk might use models



It's interesting Nick, it never occured to me until i saw Reference/ models were used by Reynold "The Man Who Drew Bug Eyed Monsters" Brown and another program i watched also showed some of the reference images used by Norman Rockwell.

Nickillus
01-19-2011, 12:39 PM
I now have the books by Norman Rockwell and James Gurney - two illustrators that I find very inspirational - and both books are a fantastic guide to how to use reference properly among a plethora of other priceless information.

Meanwhile here's a quick sketch that ignores all that as usual. A bit of character development from my imagination again.

http://nickillus.com/Norbut--Quick-ArtRage-sketch_Nick-Harris.jpg

Caesar
01-20-2011, 09:57 PM
Dear Nick, this last sketch is another great drawing lesson from You for me. Thank You! I don't know if I told You, but my two kids were quite excited to know that we had exchanges on this Forum after I bought them a fantasy paintings book where You appear among other masters.
I have a book too with many Norman Rockwells illustrations and paintings and pictures where You see how he used references. I fully share Your appreciation for such a great artist going well beyond a sheer top class professional talent and skill.

Chuckart
01-22-2011, 08:03 AM
Thanks for the heads up on James Gurney Nick, interesting blog and books available. Also, thanks for the slide show on your site, the AR Pro guys use stencils in a way that probably would not occur to me and i'm finding the techniques very interesting.

Keep the images coming, the advice and tips, Pro Chat going (if work etc allows ) they are fantastic, helpful and inspirational.

Nickillus
01-27-2011, 02:41 AM
Thanks again Caesar. I do like those fantasy art books - so reasonably priced and I can actually name drop a few people in them that I know - gloat. Not sure how I sneaked in as I'm not really a proper fantasy artist - my specialist subject being children's book illustration. Not complaining in any way though. Chuffed to be asked.

Chuckart - have you tracked down Jon Hodgson's free videos? They are brilliant. He does things with AR I'd never thought of. It's wonderful how we all find our own way. Same applies for pretty much any artistic endeavour, whatever medium you use I guess.

Meanwhile here are a couple of earlyish progress stages from some things on the go at the moment. I won't be able to show later stages for a while - sorry.

http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris---Greek-battle-sketch-WIP--2011.jpghttp://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-injured-Greek-wip1.jpg

http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-injured-Greek-wip.jpg

http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris---More---wip.jpg

Chuckart
01-27-2011, 03:49 AM
Chuckart - have you tracked down Jon Hodgson's free videos? They are brilliant. He does things with AR I'd never thought of.


Yer found him via your AR Pro Chat.

I'd not checked his channel out for a couple of weeks and i've just found out he also does brilliant things with google sketchup.

http://www.youtube.com/user/MrJonHodgson

Nickillus
02-11-2011, 04:02 PM
Oh yes - Jon is an extremely talented and imaginative chap.
Hope you enjoy looking at his vids as much as I do.

Meanwhile here's another little thing progressing on the drawing board (well on the Wacom - you know what I mean), destined for an editorial, but not bound by strict copyright in this case. Leaning towards the very silly again - just can't resist.

http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-In-for-a-long-stretch-WIP-2011.jpg

Alexandra
02-11-2011, 04:17 PM
Always great work. Love it Nick. Poor guy! lol:eek::D

Caesar
02-11-2011, 08:58 PM
Dear Nick, your works are always a sheer pleasure to the sight and the mind and makes us enter in Your marvellous world which is fantastic and credible at the same time.
A bunch of new amazing illustrations I like very much!

BTW, I ordered Gurney's book on light and colour I hope to receive soon to learn some of the vast magical powers You share with him thereabout.
Thank You for the suggestion.
I also sent You a PM about a specific technical issue (hopefully it won't bother You reading my question) not to tire anyone else thereabout in here.

Mairzie Dotes
02-11-2011, 10:37 PM
Nickillus,
Possibly it was something you ate ... or could you have been struck
on the head by a wayward rainbow? Do your dreams move themselves
through your brush? Whatever it is that inspires an artist such as you
cannot be denied. Even though still in progress, your creative offerings
here bedazzle the likes of members such as I. Excellent updates all ...
pardon ... works of art. :)

Rowena
02-14-2011, 12:48 AM
Hello Nick! :D

Looking at these latest additions of yours is so inspiring, you always make me want to learn more!
I wish I could download a whole file of 'Nick's Skills' into my brain, lol.

hanzz
02-14-2011, 04:37 AM
Stunning artwork. Thanks for showing...

Nickillus
02-16-2011, 06:45 AM
Thanks yet again, chaps. Always so kind to me.

Here is a bit more progress on the dungeon one (although nothing like enough to keep up with the deadline it's for, darn it) and another on the go from my warped mind. I've adjusted the prisoners' relative postion very slightly to make it work better, - but it's a bit of a 'spot the difference' effort.

http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-WIP2-2011---%27In-for-a-Long-Stretch%27.jpg
This second one is - brace yourselves - not ArtRage !!!!!!! I also use Sketchbook Pro from time to time. It's almost, although not, as nice as AR to use, but offers a different feel, as set by the tool set and capabilities. It lacks paper textures, only boasts a couple of layer blend modes (which is a new thing for SKB) but has a good custom brush option. I find it tends to look and feel more 'dry media' than AR. Just thought you might find the distinction interesting. I won't befoul the AR pool with foreign software again - honest.

http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-WIP3-2011---Ripe-for-Gobblin%27.jpg

Caesar
02-16-2011, 09:32 PM
A quite interesting comparison between Artrage and Sketchbook by a most masterful tester. Thank You and once more all my appreciation for the two brilliant artpieces.

I would also thank You for Your suggestion on Gurney's book Color and Light I just received (it's great) and maybe I'll buy also the one about painting in a realistic way what doesn't exist if You believe it could be furtherly helpful and different enough as content.

Dear Nick, I also wonder if You had the time and opportunity to review my technical question on Drawplus in Your Artrage P.M. No hurry though and thanks a lot.

Nickillus
02-16-2011, 11:38 PM
Many thanks Caesar, my friend.

I've yet to get the Colour and Light book by Gurney, but it's top of the list. The painting one is absolutely excellent and I know the colour theory one will be just as outstanding. The guy is a gold mine of information on just about all aspects of image creation - and really down to earth too.

Apologies for not getting round to replying to that pm. Purely an oversight. It was on the list of to-dos but I'll answer here instead and hope you don't mind. Of course I'll post some break-downs of how I incorporate DrawPlus vector elements into AR paintings some time soon - Happy to, no problem.
I've been so ridiculously busy recently, trying to keep up with three concurrent deadlines - and failing - damn my slowness. Ah well - at least I have work for the moment, after a six month drought last year. Hello world recession.

Caesar
02-17-2011, 12:00 AM
Many thanks Nick and I'm a little embarassed to have taken some of Your time or, perhaps, even insisted.
I thank You in advance also for Your extreme courtesy and, pls, just if and when You really can or is an easy offspring some of Your work, no matter how long it may take. I don't want to abuse of Your patiente and knowledge ...
Take care, dear friend!

Nickillus
02-17-2011, 01:23 AM
Hey there Caesar - absolutely no apology necessary, in any way or form. It was never going to be a problem. What kind of a friend would I be, not sharing my minimal knowledge (and it is minimal, honestly - you'll be surprised how little I use of the full potential of DrawPlus - exponents of the software will shudder if they stumble across it) of how I combine it with AR workflow.

What I'll do is take some screengrabs next time it comes into play in the natural course of my work, and post them here with some explanations. Bound to happen within the next few weeks.

Caesar
02-17-2011, 03:48 AM
Thank You so much!
I'll dedicate to You my next fantasy drawing if I ever come to make a decent one. ;):p

pai
02-17-2011, 08:59 PM
hi Nickillus, your drawing and creative characters as well as so great use of the Artrage always inspiring me. Thanks so much for the demonstration too. :)

Nickillus
02-18-2011, 06:16 PM
Gosh you are so kind, and modest Caesar. many thanks.

And how lovely to have you drop by Pai. Great to see you here, and thanks for the kind words.

More on the dungeon - just about due for delivery so I'll have to bite the bullet and leave it much freer than I usually do. Went with a base of oil painting for the foreground, which is outside my comfort zone - but something I need to keep working at.

Used stencils made from various reference photos of stonework to add texture to lower layers.
http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-Long-Stretch-wip3.jpg



I've accumulated a palette of numerous pastel variations for the light and dark areas in the foreground.

http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-Long-Stretch-wip4.jpg



And this is where it is as of now - Looser and more painterly than my usual style, I reckon - but will I be able to resist 'putting it right'? - and now I'm off to bed for a few hours so I can have fresh eyes on it . . .

http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-Long-Stretch-wip5.jpg

Caesar
02-18-2011, 09:04 PM
Dear Nick, with Your permission I'm adding this dungeon scene sequence into my Nick Harris file that I keep among artists and illustrators who are examples of style and visual tutorial to me.
I see that You worked on a finely tuned contrast between green/yellow and pink/ purple in here and that You eventually decided to have the standing prisoner too sleeping, although in a clearly less comfortable way.
The third and mostly disappear prisoner, who just left part of his arms bones and organic liquids leaking, that fed the mould on the pillar, prematurely passed away while in the Lamarckian adaption process that was apparently leading him too to have elongated arms to better cope with the environment.:D
Big claps!!

Rowena
02-18-2011, 09:27 PM
WOW... fabulous stuff!!! :D

byroncallas
02-25-2011, 04:10 PM
Nick, I'm just getting caught up on this fabulous thread. It is certainly one of the finest contributions in the forum - an entire study course in creating great art as seen through the development of your work. Just great great stuff - magical - magic in every pixel. Inspired. :):):):):):)

Little_John
03-10-2011, 10:31 AM
Nickillus, I'll start by offering my sincerest apologies for not posting at least a word of encouragement previously.

I've been watching with rapt attention each of the pictures you've posted thus far. Thank-you so much for sharing your work and some of your work flow with us. I'm inspired by what you've done in Art Rage. Thanks for taking the time to share with us.

I'm looking forward to seeing more.

John

Nickillus
03-11-2011, 12:32 AM
Many thanks for the ongoing support, chaps. Apologies for my tardy reply - I'm up to my neck chasing deadlines - well more like damage limitation from overshot deadlines if truth be told.
Three almost simultaneous book projects with similar timeframes and amounts of work (16-20 imgaes each). Oh the joys of self employment - it's all or nothing - no work of any substance for six months last year, then three jobs turn up at once - like buses according to that rule of thumb.

Working on the third now, with two down. Ideally I'd do all the work in AR, but it just hasn't worked out like that. I'd set a precedent of working in Sketchbook Pro for the first publisher and they wanted that exact look again - so was tied into that software - which is no great pain to me as I love SKB almost as much as AR.

The second job, put to bed only two days ago is all AR , aimed at children's educational publishing and so the bread and butter fare of many such illustrators like myself. Notoriously badly paid, but nearly always work to be had there, if you can do fairly boring, conventional stuff like mine. If only I could get faster at it though. Some grabs below. Absolutely no prizes for guessing the tale.

http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-grab-2011-01.jpg

http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-grab-2011-02.jpg

http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-grab-2011-03.jpg

http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-grab-2011-04.jpg

The third and, most time pressured now, was roughed out competely in AR, but though I hate not only to say it, but to have to do it, is going to be worked on in Painter - spit, curse - simply for its advantages of speed. That's the one stumbling block that still occasionally rears its ugly head in AR as a pro tool. It's vastly improved over earlier incarnations but still suffers for speed particularly on anything like layer management, which when you are in a tearing rush on a job, can be an essential part of the flow, moving stuff round on the fly.
The really encouraging thing is that I can recall how Painter had awful layer capabilites a mere few years ago and how it's been mostly overcome. I used to have to resort to Photoshop for that stuff. It's only a matter of time before AR is so damned fast I'll be able to let Painter permanently gather a thicker layer of dust than it has been already on my system.

Oh well - grit my teeth and fire up Painter for a short and unhappy while - yuk. . . .

Jules
03-11-2011, 02:14 AM
Nick, marvellous work!! Great illustrations there using artrage, I like painter, although I find it far too confusing, less is more if you know what I mean. Your monitor screen size is BIG!

I always wanted to be a freelance illustrator, but I was scared that I would lose interest what with deadlines briefs and scary art directors :D must be hard to make a living too when there is no work and all the buses turn up at once.

How much do you get paid per hour? just wondering.

Keep up the good work! :cool:

Nickillus
03-11-2011, 03:11 AM
Many thanks Jules - How the devil are you? Haven't really spoken much since the sad slip of the Ning into the hands of marketeering.
Painter is a great software and did used to be my exclusive favourite - but has always been a bit overblown and fiddly to set up. Immensely powerful but could do with some of AR's friendly worflow thinking. Sketchbook Pro2 started the rot on my loyalty to it, being uncluttered and responsive like AR is. AR and SKB combined have weaned me right away from liking it much at all now.

Being a pro - yep, definitely a double edged sword. Not that I can do much of anything else except draw and paint a bit, so not a lot of choices really. Rates of pay, haha. If I was a super quick young one (or even a super quick old one would be nice), then quoting hourly rates might not be a discouraging way to talk about payment. All three jobs are a flat fee, agreed up front, but there's not a lot of flexibility. The job's worth is dictated by budgetary constraints like everything else. Educational books for schools etc are pretty low down the pecking order because schools won't/can't pay for expensive editions en masse, no matter how lovely they might be. Just common sense.
As an example - the finished illustrations (17 in total) as shown in progress in the grabs work out to about £60 each, and took several days per illo working 12-15 hours a day (told you I was slow). Safe to say I walk a thin line between treading water and going under. Luckily another of the three jobs paid about three times that because it was not for educational. I'm a terrible example of how to be an illustrator if you are thinking of making a good living. If you don't love it or have a burn that you can't turn off, I would suggest another line of work.

Oh yes - meant to say - my screen - it's a 22in BenQ (rotatable so I could work portrait if I wished, but always forget to use that - too much hassle in my disorganised space too). Only cost about £150 a few years ago.

Arjen Vriezekolk
03-11-2011, 04:26 AM
Hi Nick,

Did you EVER consider looking out for an agent abroad? (besides your friend Virgil I mean..)
I cannot believe the amount you're being paid!
Even I get paid more for illustrations that (compared to your work) don't come even close to the work you are making!

I often wondered,looking at your work, what would have happened if you were to illustrate the Discworld books.....How your star would have been bright by now!
Please check out some of the agents in Europe. The prices you get paid are ridicilous!

Your work should make money than the examples you show here!!

Oh....by the way....
How on earth do you create the fire a dragon breaths or spits??

Please Nick.....
Keep helping us humble admireres with your advice and kind words....But get paid more!

Yours

Arjen Vriezekolk

Chuckart
03-11-2011, 04:43 AM
Great post Arjen


I know income is required to put food on table and pay bills Nick, but jebus man, you are allowing these educational guys to take micky out of you mate. Do the sums Nick, they have got you working for peanuts.

You produce TOP QUALITY stuff and that being so, deserve a fair price for it and imho you are definitely not receiving that.


£6 per hour * 30 hours = £180. and that is imho the very minimum you should be receiving for TOP QUALITY work like yours.

If they want your TOP QUALITY work in thier books etc, they WILL pay.

Arjen Vriezekolk
03-11-2011, 04:53 AM
Not to start a new topic, or to brag about payment over here in the Netherlands......

But the example here from the kangaroo was done in an hour and a bit...but got me €120.-......
I know....sometimes you have to redoo illustrations 2 or 3 times again before the client is satisfied........But €6.- an hour?
Eh...... that sounds like Mcdonalds wages to me?

And I don't in any way mean to be disrespectfull to anyone.....
Just trying to make a point.....and not even in good english..

Arjen

Chuckart
03-11-2011, 05:06 AM
£6.00 a hour is just above minimum wage Arjen in UK and Nick seems to be working for less and it's that i'm trying to point out to him here


I'm in shock and can't believe he is selling these TOP QUALITY images for £60

Arjen Vriezekolk
03-11-2011, 05:20 AM
Hi Chuckart,

I'm in shock too...........

i was working on an illustration myself but just checked here to see Nick's dragon and he did the firebreathing when I noticed Nick's post.....

It made me take an extra teabreak!! Thought I misread his numbers (or accounting...don't know the right word right now..)
Almost a feeling of being angry?! And ashamed for getting paid better......

I know...in the old days you had to suffer for your art.....but hey....it's the 21 first century.....

But I think we all agree that the respect for Nick is now even greater than an hour ago!

Arjen

Caesar
03-11-2011, 05:28 AM
Dear Nick, not to go on repeating myself, but You're a really amazing master and, even knowing nothing about commercial issues about illustration market, I think You would deserve to have a far easier life. :mad::(
Reading the rates above for Your marvels I definitey lost intention to look for some extras out of that as a secondary job! :eek::p
Maybe You could prepare and publish, when You have less work, a teaching book like those of Gurney (I bought two of them following Your suggestion and I'm enjoying reading the second right now).
I presume he gets some sort of royalty paid for each book of him they sell. Your quality is comparable I'd say. Moreover You have the advantage of English as Your native language, so Your market should be wide enough to get some reasonable and constant extra cashflow.
I wonder whether You may propose Your customers three quality levels to chose in Your forthcoming contracts and set up three different procedures and styles requiring different speed.
Whenever someone has a limited budget he cannot request the most elaborated and valuable illustrations!

Chuckart
03-11-2011, 06:01 AM
Nick

Daniel Arnold Mist tuts can be found and purchased herehttp://store.itsartmag.com/iastore/catalogue.php?exp=67|&cat=67&shop=1 and if i may, can i suggest you knock some together for Artrage, SketchbookPro, Painter when you have no work and put them up for purchase on It's Art, your website and every other place you visit

Nickillus
03-11-2011, 06:14 AM
Hi Arjen, hi Chuckmate,

Thanks for your concerns over the rates of pay for work in educational illustration in the UK. It's not been much different for the 30 odd years I've been in the biz. My biggest problem has always been a lack of speed as said before. WIsh I cold turn out an illo in a few hours as denonstrated beautifully by you Arjen - (nice one too) - but my head just doesn't work like that no matter how hard I hit it with anything to hand - a book, a shoe, the cat.

__________________________________________________ _________________

Arjen - My good friend and agent Virgil died of throat cancer two years ago - I am with Beehive now. They are the only folk who would look at me when I asked around after his loss. They specialise in educational work so that's whats on offer until I create my own work/projects in my spare time and push that. It is at the bottom end of the payment scale as stated before, but represents what's on offer for my sort of style and pace at present.
Virgil moved in diferent circles but even saying that, let me cite a payment example. Ten years or so ago, work on the puzzle book 'Dragon Quest' paid me £600 per double page spread for really complicated watercolours that took me a minimum of a month or more each and nearly drove me insane. Then I couldn't get paid until I signed a contract that handed ownership of the artwork as well to Usborne Publishing. I've never seen the originals since despite Virgil going to war with them for years over that clause (and he was vey good at war). This wasn't for educational. Yes I've had much better paid work over the years, but my pace is still an issue. At the other end of the scale work I've done for Templar (who are lovely) paid much better rates for the work intiially, then because of the success of the 'ology' series produced disproportionate amounts in subsequent royalties - to the tune of thousands of pounds one year. That's where a royalties deal can be great if on offer - but is totally dependent on sales success. Success of the project is the key factor.

Funnily enough - I may be about to work for Bulgarian publisher next, but the rates of pay aren't necessarily much better than those I'm experiencing here. £100 or so for full page colour plate I think.

Dragon breath? - well I'd be using layers to make some sort of fire/lighting effect - and then perhaps using the glitter brush for sparks that I could work back into and integrate with teh look of the image. The wet and blur blender options would almost certainly be used in the process. Bit non-specific but hope that leans towards what you need. I'd have to see the image you need to for to be more specific. The technique would have to fit in with the chosen style.

__________________________________________________ ______________________

Chuckart - It's the rates for the job - and my lack of speed is the issue. Turn each piece round in a day, 9 to 5 - £300 for five days work. I know I'm being paid peanuts - unfortunately it's where my work style fits. I'm not happy with the rate of course, but the plan is to work through this low point (influenced by the financial climate) to a place where I'm getting better paid work again. It's never been about the money with me, which is probably the problem. I can't just go - well £60 = 10 hours. It's about the image and what I can do before the deadline (which is what they call ego) - which usually means a much lower hourly rate. My own stupid fault. Never said I was smart.

Thank you kindly for the very generous words - but I have no illusions about my work being 'top quality'. I've been around the industry too long and know different. My work is OK, but there are literally thousands of guys and gals out there who blow my image making abilities out of the water, and do it quicker (the swine).

All that said, the way to go is for me to create my own projects and take control. That's the way I'd recommend to any folk these days if at all possible. I have things on the back-burner and even another site under construction to promote some of those ideas to hopefully attract funding. It will be a while yet before it sneaks into the light though.

EDIT - thanks for that link about the tuts site, which turned up while I was scrawling this elongated waffle
__________________________________________________ _________________________

Caesar - Don't you dare let my pathetic feebleness deter you from going for work with your artisitc skills. I'm my own worst enemy in terms of professionalism. I'd never forgive myself if you missed opportnities that might enrich your experience by letting my words sway you against approaching potential clients/outlets. You never know where it may take you. And they may offer a much better rate of pay - Go for it.

Chuckart
03-11-2011, 06:25 AM
Nick

Please Stop, because you are underselling yourself. I've seen Rockwells, Lyendeckers, Gurneys work and your stuff is like thiers mate . TOP QUALITY

Give James Gurney, Andy Hepworth or Jon Hodgson a ring or send mail and ask them how much they would charge these educational guys for an illustration like yours.


It's not going to be £60 i'm sure.


Can't remember website name, so can't post what was stated or a link, but Sarg merecat stated in the illustration nuts and bolts tutorial on her blog/website. The average illustration takes around 40 hours, so if thats correct, you are NOT slow.


Edit to add.

The Sarg merecats nuts a bolts tutorial took 35 hours from thumbnals to finish.

Nickillus
03-11-2011, 06:43 AM
Aaaargh - Don't set Jon (the machine) Hodson on me. He is so professional he frightens me, despite him being a really good chap and almost a mate. He does do 9 to 5. Don't know if you saw that recent tutorial in DigitalAtist magazine by him, using Artrage metallics. Because they are spanners, they ended up only giving him one day to do it - but he performed and did a stand up job on it. He is a machine I tell you - if a friendly and highly talented one.

Funny that you've quoted three of my absolute favourites as examples to copy ChuckArt - and I've studied Rockwell's and Gurney's technique (very similar). Have enormous admiration for both their art and their professional discipline - and yet my head is set to work totally out of my imagination without the photo and model ref that they use. There may be the real issue. I'm aiming at replicating the believability of their art without the commom sense of using their technique - which may be why it takes me longer - Duuuuuh! There is no hope for me.

Do absolultley appreciate the belief that you seem to express about my images, even if I might not agree with it. I do thank you.
You now have full permission to be infuriated with me - let me just cover the cat's ears. She is a sensitive soul.

Meanwhile - I've dragged the focus way off track for this thread. Supposed to be about the images and their creation. Here's a sketch sheet of a character in development for one of those Back-Burner projectss.

http://nickillus.com/Leonora--sketch---Nick-Harris-2011.jpg

Arjen Vriezekolk
03-11-2011, 07:26 AM
And I'm in love with Leonora....

Don't tell anyone...... :-)

Arjen

Nickillus
03-11-2011, 07:27 AM
Haha - You really need to get out more Arjen!

Chuckart
03-11-2011, 07:49 AM
As you say Nick, thread has veered off track so i'm going to stop my rant after posting this link:D

http://www.crisdelara.com/commissions.html#digpinupArt_commiss





And like Arjen i must need to get out more because i'm in love with Leonora Clutterbuck too :)

Nickillus
03-11-2011, 08:03 AM
You call that a rant - I think I need to coach you. You should watch the air turn blue when something technical goes wrong with my system - I've bought the cat ear defenders.

Ooh - you've posted a link to my good mate Cris. She's a highly talented, driven and beautiful lady - in every sense of the word. Did you ever watch any of her livechat vids on It'sArt (to be found in the forum section)? She is another highly professional illustrator - and her partner Alex is just as dedicated to making their bsuiness fly. Great team. Anyone interested in Pin-Ups should definitiely check out her excellent site.

Are you guys telling me that I've inadvertantly drawn a niche market hottie? Darn - back to the drawing board. That's not the idea - mutter, mutter, mutter. . ..

Chuckart
03-11-2011, 08:30 AM
Seen the Cris De Lara vids Nick and posted a link to them on Artrage in Tips and Tricks section.

Arjen Vriezekolk
03-11-2011, 09:00 AM
Just got back from 3 days Barcelona Nick, So maybe too much sunhine......lovely city and ditto weather :-)
just can't stand any broken tiles for the rest of the year...Don't know how that got to be so popular in the past.....if it's broken....FIX IT!

anyway...

Here's the illustration I'm struggling with, I'm working on a bedtime story book about "The Rusty knight"....All the great fairytales...but with a twist. The rusty knight completely fails were all the fairytale knights succeed...

This time the target is the famous Rapunzel...but she's big, ugly and has greasy dreadlocks in stead of beautfull hair....and a very tiny but inflamable dragon to protect her...

I would like the dragon to set fire to almost everything in it's neighbourhood...a lot of small fires (the sword will be made of wood...and I have yet to fix the hair...)
So I would apreciate it if you could give me a hint on how to proceed ith the dragon's fire....

There are 2 more illustrations, if anyone is interested, but surely this isn't the right place to post them..

Arjen

Jules
03-12-2011, 01:48 AM
Many thanks Jules - How the devil are you? Haven't really spoken much since the sad slip of the Ning into the hands of marketeering.
Painter is a great software and did used to be my exclusive favourite - but has always been a bit overblown and fiddly to set up. Immensely powerful but could do with some of AR's friendly worflow thinking. Sketchbook Pro2 started the rot on my loyalty to it, being uncluttered and responsive like AR is. AR and SKB combined have weaned me right away from liking it much at all now.

Being a pro - yep, definitely a double edged sword. Not that I can do much of anything else except draw and paint a bit, so not a lot of choices really. Rates of pay, haha. If I was a super quick young one (or even a super quick old one would be nice), then quoting hourly rates might not be a discouraging way to talk about payment. All three jobs are a flat fee, agreed up front, but there's not a lot of flexibility. The job's worth is dictated by budgetary constraints like everything else. Educational books for schools etc are pretty low down the pecking order because schools won't/can't pay for expensive editions en masse, no matter how lovely they might be. Just common sense.
As an example - the finished illustrations (17 in total) as shown in progress in the grabs work out to about £60 each, and took several days per illo working 12-15 hours a day (told you I was slow). Safe to say I walk a thin line between treading water and going under. Luckily another of the three jobs paid about three times that because it was not for educational. I'm a terrible example of how to be an illustrator if you are thinking of making a good living. If you don't love it or have a burn that you can't turn off, I would suggest another line of work.

Oh yes - meant to say - my screen - it's a 22in BenQ (rotatable so I could work portrait if I wished, but always forget to use that - too much hassle in my disorganised space too). Only cost about £150 a few years ago.

Hows the cat doing Nick, has it still got its ear defenders in? LMAO!! You should come to my house when my pc crashes....the dog puts on its tin hat lol. Im great thanks still plodding on in cyberart land. Yeh Ning!! Money grabbing tossers. Ive been watching this thread, regarding payments. Ive just done a commission for my cousin, spent about 5 hours on a piece on artrage art, worked as fast as I could make my hands go with it, only charged £6.50!! Might have to start selling my body at this rate lol!! :o:rolleyes:

Keep up the good work hun!!

Nickillus
03-19-2011, 01:37 PM
Hi Guys,
sorry for the delayed response - Up to my ears in chasing a deadline.

Arjen - I've just not had time to address your burning issue - but I bet you will sort it out all on your talented own anyhow. I'm more or less tied to my desk on my current project deadline until the end of the month, but can take a look at it then if you still want me to - for the little my input will be worth.

IMPORTANT - Talking worth and money again briefly - and I do mean breifly - So as not to put folk off considering illustration based on those awful figures I quoted for two jobs I'm doing - the other job I've finished just paid me over £3000 for 15 b/w plates (which nearly always pays lower than colour) - and there is a royalty deal attached, so if it sells well I may get some more fees. So there is decently paid work out there - it's just not as common as the other stuff.

Jules - I tried the selling my body route, but ended up not only having to give refunds, but compensation for psychological trauma. So really not cost effective then - hurtful too. But that's just me. Even though you are far more attractive than I (not hard), I'd steer away from that plan, and up your fees for art instead. £6.50. Hang on while I reattach my lower jaw. Even I think that is waaaay too low, and you've seen what my yard stick is like (no innuendo on that last phrase please, chaps).

Meanwhile here is a bit of progress on some of the Greek oriented project. Thought I was going to have to resort to Painter for it's speedier performance (spit curse) but couldn't stand it after about a day and a half - missing AR's lovelier work space and shortcuts like holding ctrl for a straight line. Yes you can switch between straight and free lines using V and B in Painter, but it's clunkier and really jarred, when I'm so used to just using the ctrl button on my Wacom for it. See how spoiled Ambient make you . . . . Love being spoiled like that.

http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-Greek-WIP1.jpg

http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-Greek-WIP2.jpg

http://nickillus.com/Nick-Harris-Greek-WIP3.jpg

Arjen Vriezekolk
03-20-2011, 05:58 AM
It almost feels like the warm orange tones add more of an authentic feeling to the last drawings....the warm feel of Greece in the sunset..?!

watched your dragon drawing for an hour of 3.... Think I can implement it on my own now....You can Laugh at me whem it's finished.. :-)
Just stay focused on your own work for now!
Have some client work to finish this week, and have to get my teachers license this week or I'll end up with an awfull lot of ambition, and an hamper box in a field somewhere.....

But....thanks for the compliment!!

Arjen

Arjen Vriezekolk
03-24-2011, 12:07 AM
posted an update on the "work in progress" forum...

Arjen

Caesar
03-24-2011, 12:12 AM
You're going on with a wonderful Iliades series of illustrations, dear Nick.
I hope this will pay royalties too in the years to come.
I'm delighted by Your images and my schoolyears memories ...
Thank You!

Chuckart
03-24-2011, 08:52 PM
Hi Nick


Thought you and maybe other illustrators may find this of interest



http://www.blender3d.org/e-shop/product_info_n.php?products_id=134



Blender and Artrage seems a brlliant combo to me for some of your work and may help you beat those nasty deadlines with tme to spare.


The software looks scary and complicated, however, once you get to know the basics http://gryllus.net/Blender/3D.html even a dummy like me can build a high rise tower like this http://www.blenderguru.com/the-complete-architecture-series/ :D

James Gurney used clay and other materials to help him with his illustrations. In 2011, people like him are probably using the modelling software.

Edit to add: David Revoy's website

http://www.davidrevoy.com/portfolio.html

lobanw
04-04-2011, 10:02 PM
back to OP, it is really funny this dark combination of lights. I was thinking of doing something like that myself. Very dark paintings have some unappreciated grace.

Mairzie Dotes
04-15-2011, 12:06 AM
Nickillus,
Can't stop looking at and admiring your work. Exceptional beauty
in design, palette choices and detailing. Quite professional artistry
in every respect and if you might consider rubbing some off and
sending it my way ... I would greatly appreciate it! ;) :)

zerogeek
04-27-2011, 08:37 PM
Just got my current issue of ImagineFX. This month shows Nick's workspace - wow... couldn't see his desk :)

Nickillus
04-27-2011, 09:38 PM
Hey thanks guys.
Been totally under the thumb with work recently, and so apologies for the lack of response. Also been having to use Painter for one job - spit, curse (it was requested). So easy to forget how nice AR is until you find yourself back in another sofware.

Zerogeek - Yep, I'm a messy one - Except that's the old set up now. My old HP1220C A3 printer went and died on me, after many years faithful service. Hunted around and got an ex-display HP 700a from Ebay. It's another A3 but with a built in A4 scanner that comes with sofware to stitch scans together for potential A3 capability. The good thing about that is it means I've managed to take out . . . .

1- an Epson A3 scanner that I bought second hand and never got to work with my system (I think it's fine but XP-Pro didn't like the scsi interface)

2- an Epson A3 printer (that I never got to work properly - think the print head needs replacing)

3- an HP5400c A4 scanner (that was great, but buried - as you might guess from those photos - haha)

4 - and the1220C printer.

SO four units out and one unit in = more space - hoorah.

OK it's still messy but it is better - honest. I'll take a photo some time soon and show you.

Caesar
04-27-2011, 11:58 PM
You need an urgent and powerful blessing, dear Nick! :eek: What about Lourdes? :D Seriously I'm really sorry for this demo of the Murphy Law eluding all odds ... :(

Nickillus
05-08-2011, 02:25 AM
Meanwhile I've actually gotten to play in AR again a bit. Text done in Drawplus for the ease and speed of warping it, but the rest of the daft sketch in AR. Super-Sexy - Sexy-Super. Yep, ideas based on awful wordplay again.

Hey Caesar - apart from a grotty cold, my luck is fine at the moment. Lots to be thankful for as always. Hope it's the same for you and every body else here as well of course.

EDIT - There's a really nice friendly challenge just starting over at CGHub, in conjunction with the dynamic Bobby Chiu - Fairytales with a twist. It goes on for several months so there's plenty of time to get involved - using AR to have loads of fun and making some more new friends and maybe 'converts'.

Arjen Vriezekolk
05-08-2011, 10:48 PM
Have to finish my Rapunzel in a hurry then....!

Very nice work as ever Nick......

Regards,

Arjen Vriezekolk

www.vriezekolk.nl

Caesar
05-09-2011, 07:59 PM
Everytime You post here someone of Your new illustration or sketch, dear Nick, it's a real event I appreciate and celebrate. Glad to know everything's fine with You!
Thank You for sharing Your art!

Nickillus
05-10-2011, 10:28 PM
Go for it Arjen - Look forward to seeing you over there.
Thanks as always Caesar - ever the good friend.

Couple more doodles as I flounder about to settle on something.

Juz
05-11-2011, 10:33 AM
LOL Wonderful Nick love that sexy super ;) , really enjoyed these corrupted fairy tales too :):)

Nickillus
05-11-2011, 11:29 AM
Thanks Juz. All fun stuff to do. Why don't you take a stroll over the GHub and see whether you feel like playing along? It's a nice place like here - but with a slightly different flavour. All good. Plenty of room for both.

Caesar
05-11-2011, 07:43 PM
I guess the kids will report this weirdly populated story of their trip to their father who will illustrate it and get the award!
That's what I wish to You and believe you would certainly deserve because Your literary fantasy perfectly matches Your illustration genius.
The sketches are already little marvels for themselves.
Dear Nick, if I may ask, how do You get that marvellous foggy background for the drawings which seems to be such an inspiring and imaginative bed for think of and composing the scene?

Nickillus
05-11-2011, 10:20 PM
I should have you do my promo Caesar. You are always so supportive. Thanks for that.

Regarding the mottled paper packground. You can have loads of fun making those. The way those work for me is to import various 'grungey' photos (both my own and free examples sourced from the Internet) as stencils - scale them to fill the space and use either the 'fill bucket' or whichever brush you fancy to apply a light tonal hue through it. I keep one textural stencil per layer and build up interest, playing with opacity, blending modes and then adding one or two layers over the top working more depth with watercolour, chalk and blender tools - sometimes through a stencil, sometimes not. It really depends on your personal taste. Just have fun.

And here's the best bit - Save the layered file, with all the stencils in place (hidden ready for retrieval at any time). By varying the opacity and blend modes of the different layers, adding more layers of specific detail etc, you have a base source to create a number of variations that can look quite different and offer a reusable resource. Make a couple of such files and keep them safe - it can save you a lot of time later on, and be fun to do - OK I'm a dweeb, sorry.

Caesar
05-11-2011, 10:25 PM
Thank You very much, dear Nick, also for the time You spent explaining. I'm very grateful because a good background may be stimulating for creativity, harmony and also to better read across and see flaws or get some happy detail by chance I think ... ;):)

Nickillus
05-12-2011, 09:44 AM
next . . .

gioulin
05-14-2011, 01:22 AM
this backround is amazing! takes you back in time! it looks so old and ancient!maybe even forsaken too!
I love it haha! :D

you re making great environment atmosphere...

Nickillus
05-14-2011, 05:56 AM
Thanks Gioulin.
Here's the next bit.

Caesar
05-17-2011, 01:41 AM
We're definitely caged into Your story, dear Nick, so attractively Your illustrations take us through it ...

Arjen Vriezekolk
05-20-2011, 09:19 PM
Got my first magazine "digital artist" trough the mail yesterday....the may issue..
Very nice insight from you Nick on the "Medusa" drawing....A bit different in style I thought, but I guess that was the whole purpose of the tutorial?

Love the dawing....would love to have it as a wallpaper on gloomy rainy days!

regards,

Arjen vriezekolk

Nickillus
05-21-2011, 02:21 AM
Thanks Caesar - trapped into work for the moment so no progress in the tale, except in the thinking, which has taken a slight turn. The title is more likely to be 'Puns Upon a Time' now. Legacy of a storyteller with a speech impediment - rather like Chinese whispers.

Thanks Arjen. Yes I subscribe to Digital Artist as well - and it's an improving mag that is beginning to carve out its own identity now. INcreasingly useful and interesting.
They got in touch and asked if I'd be willing to do a workshop, but then commissioned one on a software I hardly ever use any more with a tool I use even less - go figure. Just to reinforce why I don't use Painter as much as I used to (even though I have version 12 upgrade on pre-order, just in case), it managed to corrupt a file on save and put me half a day behind on an already tight schedule - grrrrrr.

Wonder why I turned to AR and SKB a while back?

Here also is a WIP of a daft image I'm working on for something else. Lots of water and wetness to add to this. A fairy is taken unawares by the new irrigation system in the greenhouse. Working caption - 'Still think my hat looks silly?'

EDIT - and another WIP for that one

EDIT2 - the last one is as far as I got in the time I had. May go back to it later. Needs a ton more work

Caesar
05-24-2011, 07:19 PM
Dear Nick, You don't lisp at all when You draw and paint, You eloquently and magniloquently state and narrate!
The cover looks very professional and elegant in its simple configuration and the WIP steps are also a marvellous visual tutorial on how to proceed with care for high quality standards.
Maybe You still have the problem of an higher throughput commercial rates disregarding artistic value would require, but I'm sure many people and myself first can perceive Your distinguished, differentiated style value.
I noticed You didn't make recourse to Serif's Drawplus to help with a perspective grid here, which made me remind I never really found the way to appropriately use that program to rotate and put in perspective a flat detail such as a door or else on an oblique wall or so, but it looks like neither You use very much those virtual helps to improve Your speed, so the result can be got anyway with old good manual rules.

Arjen Vriezekolk
05-25-2011, 05:29 AM
Dear Nick,

This your funniest ever!
Love the atmosfere in the greenhouse.....

I secretly have to copy that to my harddisk and keep it as a wallpaper for rainy cold drizzle days!!

Hopefully the first in a serie?

regards,

Arjen

Nickillus
05-29-2011, 05:07 AM
Thanks Caesar hope you had a great birthday by the way.
Thanks Arjen. Glad you like it despite the need for a ton more work on it to make it work properly.

Meanwhile I've hardly had any time to get on with the fairytale project while work is taking precedence. Here is a bit of development work on the underlying idea though.

Cuthbert is a storyteller with a speech impediment, who has been travelling around plying his trade and unwittingly changing peoples' perception of various tales.
__________________________________________________ _________

Give thanks for all those magic tales we heard when we were young,
Read out by doting relatives or sometimes even sung.
The printed words and pictures captivate upon the page,
Forever giving life to stories from a bygone age.

But…………..

Once Upon a Time before technology held sway,
Simple entertainments were the order of the day.
Fables, tales and verses were passed on by spoken word,
Through translation and retelling variations have occurred.

That brings us onto Cuthbert, son of Cyril, son of Crysp,
Third generation storyteller, first one with a lisp.
He sprayed a path through Europe, skewing stories as he went,
Distorting names and plot lines, which was never his intent.

Crowds liked to watch the teller, for he really entertained,
With broad gesticulations and expressions strange and pained.
He found out on his deathbed of the damage he had wrought,
And resolved to put things right as any good man really ought.

He sent out for a local scribe to get his tales down right.
And focus on relating them as clearly as he might.
How sad the scribe was nearly blind and very hard of hearing.
It doesn’t take a mastermind to see where this is steering.

A convoluted, mixed up tale reflects that fated meeting,
With glimpses of some characters you know, however fleeting.
Forgive poor lisping Cuthbert, for he really, really tried,
His word processor failed him as he spluttered out and died.

Caesar
05-29-2011, 07:57 AM
My birthday was happy
My ale can was nappy
now it takes one year
thanks God I would say
to suffer the fear
that time's going away ...:D

Thank You again, dear Nick.

You are outstandingly endowed with both poems and illustrations.

The character You created is terrific and the color drawing is enligtened in the most amazing and impressive way. Thanks for sharing and have my jaw drop and my mouth take air anytime You post a new artpiece ...:D

Chuckart
05-29-2011, 10:14 AM
Great expressions and poses on Cuthbert Nick and thanks for the heads up on your friends blogs. As you you stated, well worth a look.

Mairzie Dotes
05-30-2011, 03:46 AM
Nickillus,
If your artistic and literary abilities are an indication of "rage against
the machine spot" then please ... may I have yet another "spot" of this
expressively aromatic tea! I continue to marvel at your updates, so
talented you are! :)

Arjen Vriezekolk
05-30-2011, 08:11 AM
It seems we are having the same basic idea about twisting fairytales Nick..Mine is told through the rusty Knight......But Cuthbert is even more funny....
There is always a master!!
Never knew that you were an artist with words....And "GOTCHA"..?? was that on purpose?The first letters?
Anyway.....Anxious to see it evolve into another marvelous set of drawings!

I posted my finished (have to stop at some point) RaPUNzel in the gallery section....
Wil send it in for the CG challenge.....my first ever..

Reading your posts is like following a feuilleton... Can't wait for the next episode!

regards,

Arjen

Nickillus
06-01-2011, 09:55 AM
Thanks guys. It's such a fun challenge, I'd recommend anyone to dip their toe in it. The way mine is going is off on a tangent from the roginal brief, but then that's one of the things that challenges are great for. Ideas!

Been busy again, so haven't had much time to push it - but here is a tiny bit more. I'd love to say there is a great masterplan behind it, but to be honest, I'm sort of winging it and seeing where it goes. The plan then is to go back over it and see what I can make of it - if anything.

Arjen - Your Rapunzel is looking really fun and has really come on. Nice work my friend.

Chuckart
06-01-2011, 06:40 PM
It's such a fun challenge, I'd recommend anyone to dip their toe in it.


Totally agree with this. Get Raging, Ragers. If i can get my figures to a standard where they don't scare me :eek: before the Challenge deadline i'll be submitting a Rage thats for sure.

Would love to see a work from Hanzz, mannafig, Someonesane. Mr Jon Hodgson, Alexandra and the many other excellent Ragers around in the Cghub challenge forum.

Arjen Vriezekolk
06-02-2011, 05:09 AM
Thank you Nick.

this means a lot to me....and now I do feel confident enough to participate in the challenge.....

I've been pondering about the Sleeping Beauty already.....sweaty, clothes torn.....A sword above his head and blood stained.....surly is'nt the prince you like to see when you wake up after a 100 years.....

Of on sunday with the schoolkids to Austria for a fun week......

Yours
Arjen

Nickillus
06-02-2011, 11:56 AM
Brilliant to hear Arjen. It will be great to see you in the challenge.

And I agree Chuck. It would be fantastic to see some of those you named and others throwing their hats in too. Come on folks. What's there to lose?

Here's another study for the Cuthbert, lisping storyteller character.

Selby
06-04-2011, 04:24 AM
beautiful as always Nick:) its been too long since ive had much time to browse the forums but your pages are a lovely welcome back.

Arjen Vriezekolk
06-19-2011, 10:03 PM
Wish I could be more joyfull today....Won't be able to meet you in the challenge for a while Nick......Lightning struck in our neighbourhood and my pc died......20 gig of data is lost! 4 months of illustrations and assignments..Bought a new pc in a hurry just to find that modern pc's don't support my 1995 wacom artpad anymore....and so most of the old programs I work with... What good is artrage if you have to poke around with a mouse......

In my next live I will live in Backup country.....

Arjen

Caesar
06-20-2011, 10:48 PM
Another WOW in front of Nick's stunners and I'm really sorrow for Arjen's terrific accident.
As an aged guy I fortunately always trusted very little electronics files, so, notwithstanding I don't commercialize my outcomes, I always preferred to have some copies here and there and also some print of the best ones (the same with pictures), but this is much easier to do for an hobby that when You're pressed by painting and drawing as a job and You don't have time or a secretary to back-up and store it all appropriately. A real pity, but I'm sure it's going to be fixed soon (at a cost for the new tablet I'm afraid, unless some updated driver may be found or written).

Arjen Vriezekolk
06-20-2011, 11:00 PM
My brother in law managed to rescue my 2 harddisks......Got my illustration files back...wich was on and off almost 5 years worth of illustrations.....

Now the quest starts for the right connection for my artpad....stole the tiny thrust pad from my son...but it's very fiddly and strange to work with....but I'm back on track....pfeeww.. :-)

Thx Ceasar for your kind words!

Arjen

Nickillus
06-21-2011, 09:34 PM
Thanks Caesar.

Arjen - I feel your pain my friend. Lost a bunch of stuff like that when a hard drive corrupted a year or two back. Even recovery software only managed to get back small amounts and no layered files.
Things sound thankfully more promising for you, and I am happy at least about that if not that you've had to suffer the horror and stress that goes with the realisation of how much stuff you can lose like that.

That said, Norman Rockwell the famous 'died in the wool', real world illustrator of Saturday Evening Post fame never used a computer - but lost years of work when a fire engulfed his custom built studio, during his long career. There's no fail safe way to keep your body of work it seems. That's supposed to make you feel better, but reading it back I fear it may depress you more. Not the intention. Go save that artwork Arjen. And best of luck with your tablet.

Might it be worth checking on Ebay for reduced price Wacoms that are more up to date. You should be able to get an A5 Intuos 3 without having to sell all your children. I have an A5 and an A4 both bought from Ebay and they've been absolutley fantastic. Obviously I don't know your budget but there's one on the UK site for a 'buy it now' price of £150 - it's second hand and admits a casing scratch but . . . .. Just as an example. New is better but both of mine are second hand.

Or how about an alternative maker that is getting great reviews - Hanvon Artmaster III. No second handers yet, but they are slightly cheaper than the top Wacoms new and have comparable performance apparently.
Hanvon Artmaster on Ebay UK (http://shop.ebay.co.uk/i.html?_nkw=hanvon+artmaster&_sacat=0&_dmpt=UK_Collectables_InputDevices_RL&_odkw=intuos+3+A5&_osacat=0&_trksid=p3286.c0.m270.l1313)

Nothing much in terms of progress on the imagery for the tale while I thrash round with the story ideas, so just a playful tweak of the cover text to look at. AR and DrawPlus X4

Arjen Vriezekolk
06-22-2011, 10:25 PM
Thx Nick for your kind words and mentioning the tablet.
Just ordered the hanvon art master 1308 for 400 euro's

Decided to go for a brand new one.....not being able to purchase trough ebay.....haven't got an creditcard....

So hopefully i will be up and running again in a couple of days!!
Very eager to continue with the challenge and the sleeping beauty illustration....

Although the cover is a bit dark.....Still love Cuthbert!!!

Yours

Arjen

Caesar
06-24-2011, 04:17 AM
Awesome! :eek: This cover is a real stunner and I really wonder how did you made it so perfectly looking like an old, worn-out leather book with brass letters on relief etc.. :cool::):):):):):)

Nickillus
07-01-2011, 11:55 AM
Hey Arjen - would be really interested to hear how you get on with the Hanvon and what your assessment is of it, if you wouldn't mind, please. And yes the cover is a bit on the dark and sombre side at the moment. You're right, it does need brightening.

Thanks Caesar. The texture is built up in overlaid layers painting through a variety of textural stencils (made from photos of surfaces I took here and there - and some free downloaded ones as well I think - always check the licence for use on stuff like that though)

Here's a couple of quick snapshots of some of what's going on in my machine at the moment. The fairytale one is work so I can't show too much - the other is a base layout idea for the Puns Upon a Time tale. Plan is to follow several tales at once with little accompanying drawings in the gaps, leading to more elabrate illustrations further on as the text and plot tensions allow. Yep - far too complicated an idea for a nitwit like me to get to work, but you have to try - right?

Chuckart
07-01-2011, 03:37 PM
What can you say that has not already been said. You have got great skill and a fantastic imagination Nickillus.

Caesar
07-01-2011, 07:59 PM
Thank You again, dear Nick, for both Your explanation and marvels!
This last toad or frog character is, again, really spectacular and excellently painted.
Your palette and delicate lighting is sheer pleasure for the eye and the mind. Your illustrations transmit a natural, human-sized style of life and time passing pace and has none of the neurotic look of most of todays paintings and movies, a real rarity which talks of artisanal patience and unique, personal mastery and which would deserve to be particularly appreciated in this age of madness.

Arjen Vriezekolk
07-02-2011, 08:13 PM
Hi Nick,

Eagerly awaiting the delivery of the Hanvon Tablet!!
Been a week since I ordered and paid, but still no postman at the door with a big box......
Wil let you know as soon as it's connected to the pc...

Does anyone have a suggestion as to how I can get a substitute for the Streamline program from Adobe?
Can't transfer my scans to vectors anymore.....

Yours

Arjen

Arjen Vriezekolk
07-05-2011, 08:03 AM
Hi Nick,

Just got the tablet in!

And after an hour or so I found out that the tablet only works if you install the latest drivers from the Hanvon website.....
The first impression (compared to my old wacom tablet..) is that it works very smoothly....Like an greased ironing board!
The sensitivity of the pentip is very sensitive indeed...probably it just needs fine tuning,but I only fiddling around with it for an hour or so.

The artmaster 3 is the wide tablet: this means that you need a lot more space on your desk, and a lot of cable getting in the way (so far) It's like having a flatscreen tv flat in front of you.

The box comes with 2 different pens! One with a triangular grip, the other is round and a bit on the big site...like little children's crayons, but I do like the rubber grip!

The only thing I have to discover yet is why in heavens name the connection is on the left site of the tablet? there is a connection on the left upper side and one down left, a tiny connection also.
If I flip the tablet (and the text "Hanvon" indicates the possibility, you can only get the thing going like working in the mirror...If I go right..the pen moves to the left....wich is a very stupid thing.
But again.....I must be doing something wrong.

Compared to my old wacom I now have to work with much more sensitivity, wich is not a bad thing, I experienced that you can handle the pen very subtle...
Will have to work on a real illustration to be able to give you a definite thumbs up....but sofar I'm very pleased with the accuratesse and performance....

One thing....the tablet doesn't come with a plastic sheet on top wich the wacom tablets did....and you have to like the shiny black plastic edge......

Thx again for the tip......in the next week I will try to update you on my verdict!

yours,

Arjen

Juz
07-14-2011, 10:01 AM
Hi Arjen... OMG I used to love Streamline, unfortunately the only program I know of that will convert bitmap to vector this days is the very expensive Adobe Illustrator using its auto trace feature.

Personally I find it quicker to just pen trace off my drawings. It gives me exact accuracy and the minimal vector nodes which results in the cleanest file and smallest filesize.

Nickillus
07-16-2011, 04:16 AM
Caesar - Gulp! No pressure then . . . Many thanks for the extremely kind words. I'll attempt to live up to them as much as I can, despite my own massive shortcomings.

Arjen - Many thanks for sharing your Hanvon experience so far. Hope you sort out the left/reight handedness thing on it. The blurb did make it sound like you could arrange it to be either way round. Sensitivity sounds great and havinga choice of pens right off the bat is a boon. Enjoy - and do feed back any other feelings you have about it please. Maybe start a new thread in the technical section?

Talking conversion of drawings to vector - is the DrawPlus autotrace option any good to you? (I have X4 and it's in the toolbar - also X5 is due out August 1st in case word hadn't got to you yet). I know it's in there but have never tried it. It offers a number of controls, so maybe if you got the settings right for your style . . . . . ? - See attached image

Meanwhile here are a few more bits and pieces on the go at the moment. No progress on the Puns project while I chase deadline though. I see the same fate of no where near finishing in time befalling this competition entry as usually befalls all my others - ah well.

Caesar
07-18-2011, 07:25 PM
Other delightful images, dear Nick. Thank you for sharing!

Arjen Vriezekolk
07-19-2011, 09:31 PM
Dear Nick,

Thx again for the drawplus link.
As soon as I finished moving house, and have set up my workspace again,I will give it a try.
Meanwhile coping with personal circumstances......

Lovely drawings as usual: Didn't we see the "wind in the willows"sometimes earlier?

yours,

Arjen

Boxy
07-23-2011, 09:47 AM
Brilliant wips as ever Nick. :)

Weeks
07-24-2011, 03:05 AM
Great work man. :)

Best,

Weeks

Nickillus
10-12-2011, 12:25 AM
Thanks for the positive vibes you always manage to offer up chaps. Twist and Thumbelina are both done and dusted now, and I'm awaiting full info about when they'll be out.

Meanwhile it's gone a bit quiet so I've diverted my attention back to the Tall, Thin Queen project, with a view to eventually starting the self publishing thing in earnest. And maybe making an app version of it as well.

ArtRage, PagePlus and DrawPlus - thinking along the lines of a portrait format now, but we'll see. Here's Wip on an initial layout but I have a ton of stuff in mind to add that I've not even started drawing.

And now today another job has cropped up that will delay progress again - but it's of necessity a Sketchbook Pro based one and not necessarily something I should talk about here.

Steve B
10-13-2011, 08:10 PM
Hi,
I've been following your work for a few months. It's just wonderful. Great lighting, very dynamic poses, a really interesting use of color etc. And your tutorials on SKP and Artrage have really been instrumental to my getting a grip on how to use them. I had a question or two-

To get the kind of detail you're producing in some of these works, what kind of dpi and res are you working at? Lots and lots of layers?

Also, it looks like a lot of what you do emulates pencil work. Is that true? I see, to my eye, a lot of tasty sketchy stuff going on. I've been viewing enough of your stuff that it's hard to remember if it was for SKP or Artrage though.

Also, it would be very interesting to hear your thoughts on the two programs. What each does very well, comparative to the other, etc. Do you switch between the programs in the midst of a single project? Or sort of stick to one?

Finally, I know you've had that thing up on your website about an Artrage art/tutorial book coming out for a long time, but I really hope it happens. That would be very very cool. The truth is that I wish there was something similar for SKP. Most tuts are really about mechanical mockups and whatnot. I don't see as much use for it with finished artwork, though I really love working with it.

Thanks for sharing. It's very cool to see you back on the boards after a few months away.

Caesar
10-13-2011, 08:25 PM
You never cease to stun me with Your most elegant illustrations, dear Nick. Thanks for sharing!

Voldo
10-14-2011, 09:28 AM
Very nice paintings ;)

Nickillus
10-14-2011, 11:29 AM
Hi,
I've been following your work for a few months. It's just wonderful. Great lighting, very dynamic poses, a really interesting use of color etc. And your tutorials on SKP and Artrage have really been instrumental to my getting a grip on how to use them. I had a question or two-

To get the kind of detail you're producing in some of these works, what kind of dpi and res are you working at? Lots and lots of layers?

Also, it looks like a lot of what you do emulates pencil work. Is that true? I see, to my eye, a lot of tasty sketchy stuff going on. I've been viewing enough of your stuff that it's hard to remember if it was for SKP or Artrage though.

Also, it would be very interesting to hear your thoughts on the two programs. What each does very well, comparative to the other, etc. Do you switch between the programs in the midst of a single project? Or sort of stick to one?

Finally, I know you've had that thing up on your website about an Artrage art/tutorial book coming out for a long time, but I really hope it happens. That would be very very cool. The truth is that I wish there was something similar for SKP. Most tuts are really about mechanical mockups and whatnot. I don't see as much use for it with finished artwork, though I really love working with it.

Thanks for sharing. It's very cool to see you back on the boards after a few months away.

Many thanks for the kind words Steve. Now if I can just live up to half of them I'll be a happy man.

With regards to my work processes and getting detail in -
Dpi depends on the size of the piece and how that might affect performance on your system. Bobby Chiu advocates always working at 300dpi whenever possible and I'd agree that's a very good rule of thumb especially if you are thinking ahead for print purposes. It also works out about 3X magnification on most screens' standard resolution and allow plenty enough scope for detail that will look fine on actual paper.
And yes - I'm a layer hog. I find working on separate layers for things can help organise clean elements and provide the opportunity to build depth and subtlety when working with additive blend modes (like multiply or watercolour for example).

I always liked working with a real pencil so both ArtRage and Sketchbook Pro's pencil tools delight me with their good emulation of the same. I tend to prefer the 'precise' option switched on in AR, unless I watch to exploit the roughness of a paper texture. The stuff I post here will be AR pencil work, as I see that as an important point of the forums here - to share our AR experiences and images.
There is an Autodesk forum where I would post SKB drawings but it's not as buzzing as this one and I've been forgetting to check into it of late. The images below are ones done in SKB and reflect the use I make of the ability to create custom texture brushes (as it doens't employ canvas/base textures) - custom brush heads are of course possible with stickers in AR, but I tend to use stencils and paper textures more.

I generally use AR for anything that requires a more painterly approach and SKB for a more graphic style. It's not that SKB can't produce painterly looks but just that it's how I feel the two software's 'personalities' sit for my style and mind set. They are both lovely to work in, but I don't tend to cross pollinate imagery - not for any particualr reason I can expolain though - big help huh!

I do know that Simon Dominic Brewer has declared he regularly uses ArtRage and Painter in combination - and his work is simply outstanding (and he's one of the self taught brigade making it doubly impressive).

The book has been on hold for a while for various reasons, but mostly because I've got bogged down with other stuff. My thought at the moment is to plod on in the background with it - but have an eye for the inevitable release of ARtRage 4 at some time in the future so I can include some stuff with particular relevance to that.

At the moment it's all 2.5 to 3.5 content and will be immediately out of date when 4 smacks us round the face with how great it's bound to be. It will also allow me more time to track down more unsung superstars of AR with the hope of them allowing me to display some of their images.

I do hope to knock out some more tutorial sort of things soon, but am a notorious slowcoach. Comparative ones for AR and SKB is a good idea and well worth consideration. I've done something recently that might sneak into a future issue of ArtRageUS, but that's entirely up to Bobby Ray and his excellent helpers.
Thanks for your interest - hope I answered some of your questions at least a bit.

Voldo ad Caesar - Many thanks.

Steve B
10-14-2011, 05:43 PM
Is the work you're producing usually for print? That's my presumption. I recently spoke with someone about b & w inking for print, and he was advocating 600dpi. That seemed like an awefully high res to me, and I wasn't really sure what the real-world benefits would be versus 300 dpi. Do you have an opinion on this based on your experience?

Re: the Autodesk forum- yeah, that place is dead, which is a shame. There's really not much of a community for the tool, frankly. It gets a lot of slack from people I talk to about it-- that it's underpowered, doesn't do much, etc. But if what you want is pencil and ink work it seems wonderful. Very simple, very easy to use, very much designed for a pen and tablet (I'm on a tablet pc)-- it doesn't do everything, but what it does it does well. What impresses me most though is that you do your coloring in it too. I've done some pencil work in it, and the done color work in Artrage.

I like the idea of comparative tutorials for AR and SKP. That would really really interesting. Yes, now let me schedule your time! Hahaha!

I hope the book comes to fruition. Shame that the vidcam interviews stopped as well. It was fun to see Someonesane and John Hodgon in the flesh. Clearly there was a point when there was a helluva lot of stuff in the works.

Nickillus
10-14-2011, 11:19 PM
Hi Steve,

I've been working as an illustrator in children's publishing for nearly thirty years, so I've got into the habit of thinking and preparing for print - even when I don't have an actual book or magazine lined up for an image. I figure it gives me the option should I decided to use it that way later on. Where's the drawback eh?

Yes it's such a shame that the SKB forum is a bit of a desert. It's a fantastic software for drawing in particular, and more than cpable of rendering out decent paintings these days, particularly with the addition of a few layer blending modes and the custom brushes. Fluidity and touch response have always been its selling points, and they are just as good as they ever were but with more tool options these days.

I reckon the main reason for folk thinking of it as primarily a design tool is due to the other big hitting software in the Autodesk aresenal, which are 3D and design stalwarts. So long as the software doesn't just disappear it's no skin off my nose. I tell folk how good it is, just like I do with ArtRage - it's their loss if they don't bother to check it out properly.

I'll have a think about the comparative tutorial and see what crops up. I'll alert you if and when it looks like going anywhere.
yes it's a bit of a shame about the fading away of the live broadcast thing for the moment. A number of organisational things conpsired against it - a combination of Jon and myself getting ridiculously busy but more damaging was Patrice (the creator and driving force beihind the ItsArtMag site) running into a brick wall in finding new funding for the site, which he runs and pays for almost single handed. He's holding down a couple of jobs already and the extra pressure the live broadcasts were taking on his time was unsustainable. Doens't mean we won't work a way round it at a later date, but for now it's on hold until we do. We will find a way . . . .You guys will suffer our drivel again one day.

Caesar
10-24-2011, 10:56 PM
Your illustrations and step by step tutorials are simultaneously sheer delight and a most useful and beneficial lesson of humility for me!

Freid
11-01-2011, 10:58 PM
Hiya !

This thread is a treasure !

Arjen Vriezekolk
11-02-2011, 05:03 AM
Hi Nick,

I do hope to see your piece for the challenge "the day we left earth" on It's art magazine.!
And all the others by the way to.
Would be a wonderfull opportunity to compare each others way of working towards a final result...

Please keep us informed about your wonderfull work!

Regards,

Arjen

Arjen Vriezekolk
11-02-2011, 05:07 AM
please ignore my invitation......About a year late...
It's the small print that always gets me......

Arjen

Nickillus
11-18-2011, 11:46 PM
Hi Guys,

Sorry for the silence. Had my head down catching up after a bout of flu (or some such bug). Thanks for all the encouragement. It is always appreciated, thanks.

Haha Arjen - I thought I'd gone through a time portal - I'm so glad it isn't just me that does stuff like that though. I'm always getting dates muddled and deadlines . . .well we'd best not talk about them - whistles and shuffles about a bit.

Haven't got much I can show at the moment due to publishing constraints and such -but have started playing around with some silly Christmassy ideas for something. Very rough and vague at the moment but there is a plan behind the vagueness - honest.

PaperTree
11-20-2011, 12:40 AM
Vague or not, yet another brilliant W.I.P. to whet the appetite.

Glad that you are feeling better again and well enough to post again. Keep them coming, I learn so much from just a snippet, but seen as a whole in this thread the snippet becomes a great tutorial.

Love it.

Teresa

Caesar
11-20-2011, 04:45 AM
Most promising sketches, dear Nick the Great!

Nickillus
11-23-2011, 07:16 AM
Thanks guys,

I just can't steer away from scrawling awful poems as Christmas approaches. It seems to bring out the worst in bad rhyming and sentimental cliches in me. Hopefully I can just about avoid becoming maudlin and bring in a bit of humour - but don't hold your breath.

PaperTree
11-23-2011, 08:22 AM
This really made me chuckle.

Arjen Vriezekolk
11-23-2011, 11:48 PM
Simply wonderfull.......

Makes me want to throw away my card in progress and start all over.... :-)
Regards,

Arjen

Caesar
11-24-2011, 12:16 AM
It's such a fun! Great humour and masterful sketching!

Boxy
11-24-2011, 12:39 AM
Brilliant! :)

screenpainter
11-24-2011, 12:40 AM
beautiful illustration as always.

Nickillus
11-24-2011, 12:44 AM
Thanks PaperTree,
Just what I wanted to hear.

Arjen - thanks but nooooooooooo! Don't you dare stop your Christmas carding and blame me. That's the last thing I or any of us want.

Caesar - Many thanks. You are always so kind.

Hey Sav - Appreciated.

Hi Screenpainter - Also appreciated.

Here's a tiny bit more progress on another bit.

Caesar
11-24-2011, 01:31 AM
Wind shear problems then! Did they explain Santa how to lock the turbo-sleigh canopy? :D Superb again!