Tom Parrish Concept Art and Illustration

Tom Parrish Concept Art and Illustration: December 2013

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Wrapping up 2013

First off a belated Merry Christmas! We had some last minute storms hit the UK just before Christmas Eve that threw off our travel plans, so I didn't get chance to post or update as much as I'd have liked before we left for the annual family gathering! Anyhow, I hope that everyone had a great time and is feeling rested and relaxed ready to hit 2014 hard.

I've been thinking for a while about how best to write something like this, as 2013 has been one of the most  fulfilling and artistically dramatic of my life. I've been on the artist's path now since about 2006, back when I was living in Bristol and wanted to draw Spider-man (A LOT), and to date I don't think I've had a single year in which I have changed, grown and developed as an artist half as much as I have in 2013. I finally took the plunge and invested properly in my education, and committed myself to learning...and the inspiration for that I owe to both my fiancĂ© Charlene, and to my mentor, Chris Oatley. I listened to Chris's Artcast for about 18 months before I decided to take the plunge and join the Academy, and it has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. Not only is he an inspiring example and all round great friend, but he is single handily one of the best teachers I've ever had the fortune to study under. Following the path that Chris has built along both Painting Drama 1 and The Magic Box, I've learned (and have more importantly grown) more in the past year that all of the previous 6 combined. So if you're looking for a kick start for 2014, I'd highly recommend the joining the Academy!


For a bit of fun to wrap up the year, I thought I'd go back through my sketchbooks and take an old drawing and rework it. I found a barbarian character design from 2008/9ish and redrew it the other night, before doing a watercolour pass for a bit of practice (with my new set I got for Christmas!). The hardest part to be honest was finding a suitable drawing to work from; every sketch I did for pretty much 3 years involved Spiderman or a Marvel character - I did so few original designs that there wasn't much to work with!


New watercolour set for Xmas - Yay!


So... Goals for 2014?
To Continue to learn; to keep pushing and focus on specific learning goals. To keep up the studies and experimentation, keep up the sketches and to lose the fear of traditional tools. In short, to keep climbing the mountain with no summit - that of artistic mastery!

If you're looking for inspiration for goals, or rather healthy artistic goals, I'd highly recommend the podcast that started it all for me:  Chris's NY resolution post from a couple of years ago: Artistic Growth is not a Goal.

Right, that's it from me for 2013 - see you all on the flipside.

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Monday, 30 December 2013

2013: Top Art Reads

As the year draws to a close, I thought I'd put together a short list of the top art books I read this year.

Perfect Bait - Bobby Chiu
This is a GREAT book covering how Bobby Chiu went about building not only his artistic ability but his creative lifestyle and business.

The War Of Art - Steven Pressfield
 Every person in a creative job should read this book - an interesting exploration of where creativity comes from and the notion of self sabotage and creative blocks.

Colour and Light - James Gurney
The definitive book on the technical aspects of representing light and colour in painting. Still wrapping my head around all of the fantastic content, this will definitely become a regular re-read!

Talent is Overrated - Geoff Colvin
Although not directly related to art, this was a very interesting read for understanding the notions, or rather myths, of 'talent'. I never thought I'd be taking art lessons from Tiger Woods or Jerry Rice, but a lot of the conclusions draw remarkable parallels.

Character Mentor - Tom Bancroft
Tom Bancroft is one of the few artists/authors who've successfully tackled the field of character design head on in a book. This second volume contains reviews of students work and explanations of how examples could be pushed further. A really interesting insight into the production process, and chock full of great lessons.

Art of Tranformers: Fall of Cybertron - IDW
This one is probably an obvious one for me, but I absolutely loved High Moon Studio's game. They did a great job of capturing the essence (for me anyway) of the franchise, and the artwork presented in the book, along with interviews and discussions of design choices, is absolutely stellar.

Art of Remember Me - Dark Horse
I remember being excited about this game over 2 years ago when it was featured as a WIP in Imagine FX, and DONTNOD did an amazing job visualising an alternate take on a dystopian cyberpunk universe. The game was ok to play, but SO PRETTY to look at.. so the art book was a no brainer. Chock full of some seriously gorgeous artwork!

Skillful Huntsmen - Scott Robertson
An incredible exercise for 3 graduate artists (now legends in their own rights), this book documents the concept art process on a fictional production. Educational and beautiful, another goodie!

Creative Illustration - Andrew Loomis
This is an absolute no brainer for any illustrator/artist... but it can be a tough/dense read.

J.C Leyendecker - Laurence S. Cutler
It was a toss up between this and the Gil Elvgren book, as both are chock full of inspiring paintings. Leyendecker won though... mainly because it's Leyendecker!

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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Gundam Marker Sketch

Here's a quickie from yesterday, that I did whilst I was waiting for some video to render. Sketched straight from reference and done mainly as a tech exercise to get used to working with copics - Gundam Zero.


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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Christmas Watercolour Sketch

I almost forgot to post this up here - my Christmas themed A5 sketch card from last week's Christmas Drink and Draw party!



Definitely one of the best of the year, and a great way to end 2013's run. Very much looking forward now to the first session of 2014 in January.


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Monday, 16 December 2013

Marin Rakowski Character Design

I finally managed to find time to finish this painting over the weekend (things are getting busy in the run up to Christmas!), my second H.A.Z.E Days character design: Marin Rakowski, mercenary.


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Monday, 9 December 2013

Work In Progress GIF

I had a great Google Hangout session with a couple of my classmates from Oatley Academy last night, and got a bit more work done on the greyscale under-painting for the next Haze Days character design. I thought for a bit of fun I'd stitch together a couple of screen grabs I made throughout, and turn them into a gif (as I've never made one before!). Here's the WIP image below, along with the gif. Looking forward to doing more work on this soon, as I was chatting with the wonderful Sam Hogg and the aweomse Jose-Luis Segura last night as to new ways to colour a greyscale image. Time to experiment!

Current WIP



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Monday, 2 December 2013

Averard Character Design

I recently started playing the alpha test of an online tabletop RPG system called Storium with a couple of friends, and for fun I thought I'd have a run at designing the characters we're all playing. We've gone for a classic cyberpunk world, which is great as it means I get to channel a lot of William Gibson! :-)

Here's Averard Belmont - retired cop, turned private eye. This was a great exercise as I went back to working in a greyscale underpainting before colouring -- I tried out a couple of new techniques (which I'm still refining), but am quite happy with the muted palette as a result. I also used a lot of the Magicbox techniques that Chris teaches on the course (well worth the $18 a month!) which saved me a lot of time in the long run.


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Sunday, 1 December 2013

Rei Ayanami Watercolour Sketch

Here's my second watercolour sketch - Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion. After the Unit 01 sketch, I thought I'd continue the theme for a bit of fun :-) I tried to come up with 'my interpretation' of the classic anime character design, rather than sticking absolutely to the character model. Aside from anything else, I felt a lot more confident second time around with the laying in washes, and I figured out how to make the gradient work in the background. It's strange coming across from digital to traditional, but I'm getting my head around it slowly; if in doubt, watercolour is like painting in 30% multiply layers!


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