Playtime in Neverland (2009)
My end of year Bachelor of Graphic design project. The book is a study into the minds of children and ‘play’, seen through the book Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie.
Stuff your eyes with wonder … live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.
Painting process example
October 18, 1851: Moby-Dick is published.
Herman Melville's classic novel, one of the “Great American Novels”, opened with one of the most famous lines of all time: “Call me Ishmael”. It was first published during a period sometimes called the American Renaissance, during which The Scarlet Letter, Walden, Leaves of Grass, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and other classic literary works were also published. Alternatively called The Whale, Melville’s novel may have been inspired by - first, the sinking of the Massachusetts whaling ship Essex by a sperm whale in 1820, and second, accounts of whale attacks by an enormous white sperm whale whalers called “Mocha Dick” (yes, Mocha Dick). Melville undoubtedly incorporated some of his own experiences aboard whaling ships in the early 1840s.
Melville, who called it a “wicked book”, considered the work his magnum opus, and he was shocked when critical response was less than enthusiastic. Nathaniel Hawthorne, the person to whom Melville dedicated his novel to, wrote that the book gave him “an idea of much greater power than his preceding ones”, but others criticized it as an awkward blend of the technicalities and romance of the whaling industry, as disjointed and confusing, as illogical and strange. The fact that a British publishing company released the book after expurgating it and removing the epilogue altogether may have added to confusion. Whatever the case, Moby-Dick remained a relatively obscure book until the post-World War I era, seventy years after its original publication and thirty years after Melville’s death. Melville’s skill and his novel’s merits were recognized partially through the efforts of Carl Van Doren, who dedicated a section of his study The American Novel to him. The Observer placed it among the top 25 of its "100 Greatest Novels of All Time" list.
Also, today’s Google Doodle.
Other links: full book online.
Had to post this. One of my favorite books!
October 21, 1805: The Battle of Trafalgar is fought.
At the Battle of Trafalgar, fought off Cape Trafalgar (south of Spain), the British Royal Navy engaged and decisively defeated a larger Spanish-French force in one of the most significant engagements of the War of the Third Coalition. Before the 1800s, the British Royal Navy (while large) was consistently matched or outmatched by enemy forces, but its victory at Trafalgar cemented Great Britain’s status as the greatest naval power in the world.
The main commanders at Trafalgar were Pierre-Charles Villeneuve, Federico Gravina, and one-armed national hero Horatio Nelson; the latter two died from injuries sustained during battle. As the battle commenced, Nelson famously signaled “England expects that every man will do his duty”. He was shot and killed on the deck of the HMS Victory during the battle, but managed to defeat the larger force through superior tactics, and in the end the British took twenty-one enemy ships and 8,000 men prisoner. The real victory, however, was that the British were now ensured safety against French invasion. Trafalgar probably had little effect (compared to its long-term significance) on the war itself, as Napoleon’s victory at Austerlitz just months later crushed the Third Coalition, but Britain’s dominance at sea lasted until long after the Emperor’s death.
Sea ship reference - I always struggle drawing ships. This will help. Beautiful masterpieces as well!
Q:Hi Alex, I was wondering if you could talk about what kinds of things you're thinking as you fill up your sketchbook pages? They're so wonderfully dense. Sometimes I feel like I'm searching for inspiration, where it looks like you have no shortage of it. Any advice? :)
Quite a few people have asked similar questions, so figured I should answer this publicly, sorry for the spam.
Mostly it’s down to my sketchbook becoming part of my daily routine. I find it very hard to get going with my work day without doing a page of sketches or two. If I can, I will head out to a coffee shop and have a cup of tea (just to be a rebel) and draw a few passers by. The most important thing here (for me anyway) is just to glance at a person once, and draw the gesture as quickly as possible, that way you are drawing mainly from memory rather than direct observation. After doing that a couple of times, I just start drawing random figures and faces from my head, usually somewhat absentmindedly while I think on what ever story or character or anything else I am planning on working on that day. Then actual productive sketches start to creep onto my page more organically that sitting down and thinking “I am going to draw thing, and thing is going to be awesome” which I always find sets me up for failure.
If I can’t get out to sketch, as a fall back I use http://artists.pixelovely.com/practice-tools/figure-drawing/ set to 1-2 minuets (depending if I am going to do some light studies) but I rarely take more than 30 seconds a gesture. I like to doodle a few faces/heads between images loading, so I let the timer go maybe 30 seconds more than I need.
The most important thing for me as far as filling sketch books go was to stop being so concerned as to whether or not the drawing I’m doing is good or not. I spent a long time, years even, of being in this cycle of starting a sketch book, then trying to make one good drawing on every page (which was never going to happen) and everything would turn out really stiff, forced, over rendered and poorly/over thought out. You could see my anxiety and frustration in everything that I would draw.
A few years ago I decided that I would fill every page, drawing over drawing and perhaps for every 100 sketches I did (which really doesn’t take very long at all) I would get 1 decent one I could actually use. I am not the best illustrator or draftsman out there by a long shot, but after filling a few sketch books every 12 months for the last three years, my work has improved dramatically (at least, that’s what people tell me, I am a terrible judge of my own stuff haha).
Short version: Don’t wait for inspiration, just draw anything, a lot of anything and before you know it you will find yourself drawing something. Maybe even something good!
I just wanted to add that I am a big fan of your work. I love the figure turn around you posted a little while ago, fantastic stuff.
I hope that rant helps in some small way!
All the best,
Alex Wilson’s advice about keeping a sketchbook Full. Good stuff!