Tom Parrish Concept Art and Illustration

Tom Parrish Concept Art and Illustration: September 2013

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Drink and Draw VI & Goblin Sketch

Just a quick update - D&D went off really well again last night at The Conto Lounge. We had about 8 or so of us jamming away, once again Mike gave me a sketch challenge - this time a Goblin Inventor! I also did a bit of a colouring demo on my laptop, and had a great catch up with everyone (Especially my old buddy Lee. Great to see him drawing again!)

Other than that, we've got more excitement in the pipeline for D&D over the next couple of months, and I'm making good headway with the writing... so who knows - I might actually start drawing my book by the end of the year! (..provided I also start nailing some of my portfolio goals as well, and keep up with my OA work, and start some print designs... OK, maybe the book will start next year...)

My quickie of a Goblin Inventor!

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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

How To Set Up a Drink & Draw Group

I thought I'd put together a little guide as to how I went about setting up the Bournemouth D&D group, in case it might be useful to anyone thinking of starting a sketch group. A little background before I dive in -  I used to attend a similar sort of event in Bristol years ago, and when I moved back down to the South Coast, I found I missed the sense of community that came from a regular meet up with like minded creators (the Bristol group was specifically based around comics). I checked to see if anyone was doing anything similar, before taking the plunge and just inviting some friends to hang out and sketch, and it gathered momentum from there. 

Why set one up?
No artist is an island. Or, something like that. Cabin fever tends to be rife amongst artists, who spend large amounts of time holed up in their studios, working away in solitude. By enticing local artists down with the promise of good company and beer, it's a great way to blow off steam, network and talk all things art.. as well as get some sketching done! 

First things first: Venue!
This is definitely the top priority to sort, and will almost certainly be the make or break of the group. You need to aim for somewhere that is easily accessible to all, that ideally has both parking nearby and is near bus routes. You will also need to look for somewhere that is going to have plenty of space for you all, and is going to have plenty of light. Skylights, for example, are great in the summer months, but with winter fast approaching the requirement for good artificial light is now a must for evening meetings. On top of this, good clean tables and comfy chairs are also worth looking out for. This sounds like a tall order, but these are all things to consider when looking for the right venue. Try looking for bars/pubs/cafes that already host or support other crafty nights (such as Stitch & Bitch, the knitting group), as they're likely to be receptive to the idea. You may also find that there are artistically themed or independent venues that might go that little bit further to help you arrange the night - rearranging tables, lamps etc to suit the group. If in doubt, start the conversation - it's amazing how accommodating people can be to a good idea!

Picking a night
This will quickly become a juggling act between what night's the venue is free, and when people can do. Generally speaking, venues tend to be quieter during the week than at weekends, and people are a bit more available/haven't already made plans. Bear in mind that you won't be able to please everyone, but you should be able to find a night that works for most. Frequency - Once a week? Twice a month? Monthly? Work out a schedule that you can stick to and then go for it. You can always up the frequency later, but make sure when starting out and building the network that you don't miss weeks - like building return traffic to a blog, it's critical that the evening becomes cemented as routine.

Start small
The best best is to get together with a couple of your artist friends who live nearby and just start it. The hardest part about getting a Drink and Draw group going is the first couple of nights. Don't worry that there are only 3 or 4 of you; just head down to the bar/pub/venue, grab a drink and start drawing. Worry about building the group up once you've got the routine established (...and if you're doing it right, it should build itself!).

What do you do?
Keep it simple to start with. Encourage people to just sketch - be it from the imagination or from objects on the table. If other members are comfortable with it, try sitting for life studies opposite each other. Share exercises and techniques, look at each others drawing methods and offer support and constructive feedback. Remember that we're all on the same path, together. Once established, you could then start looking to hold larger events, potentially collaborating with local models, dancers etc though again, only if this is something everyone is feeling. Ask the member for their feedback and find out what people want to be doing more of.

If you build it, they will come... sort of.
Promotion! Facebook groups, fliers, art shops. Sites like can be great for putting together short runs of promo cards relatively cheaply, to drive people towards the online presence of the group to get involved. Look for other creative based networks and share there, though be considerate and don't just go in both guns spamming! (for example, Bournemouth has a 'Bournemouth Creatives' network on FB). Make it inclusive and be welcoming, invite all different types of artists. You'll find it amazing how much cross over there is among different disciplines, and how much we all have that we can teach each other.

I hope this has helped, and would love to hear from you about your D&D group. As ever if you've any questions or queries, please either ping me an email or leave a message in the comments below. What are you waiting for? Go start your group today!

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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Gundam 00 Sketch

It's seems to be becoming a habit that I start each new sketchbook with a mecha sketch. I haven't drawn an Gundam in at least 10 years, which is odd because it was drawing these awesome mechs and Akira Toriyama's Dragonball Z characters that got me into drawing in the first place. Anyhow, this was a lot of fun, and reminded me how much I love the character designs in Gundam for their strong, planar designs (give me this over the Bay-former style of giant robot any day!).

In other news, I'm gearing up for a mammoth 8hr seminar this evening online at The Stan Winston School with Danny LuVisi. He's doing a full photoshop technique run down, which I think is going to be nothing less than inspiring. I've been a big fan of both Dan and his artwork for many years now, and I'm really looking forward to hearing what he has to share... even if it will mean I'm up til 1am studying tonight!

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Sunday, 8 September 2013

Supplies Run

Yesterday saw a run to the local art stores for  much needed supplies. I grabbed a selection of heavy weight, smooth finish cartridge paper in different sizes, pencils, sharpeners and a lap board...more than enough to keep me entertained for an evening!

I mention this relatively mundane task as I want to highlight a point that it's taken me a very long time to absorb:

"It doesn't matter what you draw with to make good art. But, DO make sure to keep experimenting; try different pens, pencils, papers, markers persistently. Experimentation in materials as well as exercises will drive the evolution of your work. Find what works for you and go with it."

I spent the longest time trying to find out what pencils, papers, leads etc that my favourite comic artists used, and I always took it as a bit of a brush off at cons when they'd say 'it really doesn't matter'. I used for years a 2H 2mm lead holder, because I knew that's what a lot of pros used. It was only after I stepped back and started to play around with materials and setups before I realised that I really didn't like using that thing! I now tend towards col-erase pencils and either an HB or F graphite pencil, both sharpened with a long point sharpener. Finding your preferences and your materials is all part of your artistic journey, so keep trying new things.

So, armed with fresh supplies and a plethora of crap TV on last night, I did a bit of a materials experiment, this time trying to build confidence with markers (as I love the look, but am pretty timid using them!). I did a Hot Rod study the night before, so I thought I'd build on that. Really enjoying getting back into drawing Transformers!

Hot Rod study from Friday night

 Above : Pencils and then marker treatment. It's been a while since
I drew on a lap board - quite liked it!

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Friday, 6 September 2013

Assignment Studies

As part of my first month's assignment for Magicbox I've done a bunch of studies of tigers, for use in a painting I'm going to start over the weekend. This has been a really great exercise and a good habit to get into, as I now feel a lot more confident about approaching the subject matter. They're throw away drawings, but they're useful for breaking down and understanding the anatomy of what I'll go on to paint. I've always struggled with drawing animals... this is definitely one way to tackle that!

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Wednesday, 4 September 2013

IOW, Magicbox and books...

Well, I'm back after a really nice chilled week over in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, with my gaming crew; beer, barbecues and Halo ensued... en mass! Just before I went away, I signed up for the second course at The Oatley Academy - The Magicbox. I've gone through the first couple of lessons already, and am really looking forward to getting my teeth stuck into the assignments as I've pretty much finished up the Painting Drama lessons. It is definitely more of a technique course, with a heavier emphasis on process and exercises, rather than the mentally draining compositional and structural analysis work in Painting Drama, but is still going to be very useful! In the meantime as well, I've picked up another couple of books, one of which I've devoured today, and can't recommend highly enough (How To Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon).

I particularly like the quote shown above - it's with reference to Twitter, 
Facebook... heck, just the internet in general!

I still need to type up my review of the Hex JaJa stylus, as well as post up some sketch book scans for the past couple of weeks. I've also spent the last 2 days re-organising and cleansing the studio (it's amazing how much crap I've accumulated over the past year!) so may have some new setup photos to post soon too. More to come through September!

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