Saturday, 12 February 2011


A few old pencil sketches I revisited recently to test some quick colour rendering techniques. They were originally produced for St Mary's University College, Twickenham. The College was working on a presentation for it's 'widening participation scheme' . This was aimed at groups of secondary school pupils who may not have thought of going into higher education.

The pupils were given four fictional characters of their own age, with varying interests and asked to match them with suitable HE courses. So for instance, above is Sonia, who wants to do a degree in geology or something similar and has a passion for volcanoes (!?). Her interests include conservation and wildlife, and rock climbing. She would like to be able to have a year abroad as part of the course, maybe in the USA.

It was a lot of fun coming up with unlikely scenarios in which visual references to all these interests and hobbies might fit, and as I remember the presentation was a big success. Maybe they should have done a follow up session a few years later to determine whether graduate Sonia and co go in for a career in fast food, retail assistance, call centres or professional charity fundraising.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Attack of the Aten

I'm not sure this is appropriate timing with all that's been going on in Egypt over the last few days, but here goes. With the resignation of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak after eighteen days of pro-democracy demonstrations, there's been much talk in the news today of a 'new dawn' for Egypt. All this reminded me of the above painting I'd worked on a little while ago. It was intended as a follow up to or further adventure of my Jake Fast young pulp hero character.

The idea sprang from a visit to the UN building in New York a few years ago where hangs a replica of the USSR's first satellite Sputnik 1 (below).

I was struck by the similarity to representations in Egyptian art of the many armed Sun God - Aten (below)

It was easy to see how somebody of the Erich von Daniken school of Ancient History might jump to the conclusion that the Aten was some kind of sputnik-like piece of alien (or advanced Egyptian/Atlantean/Lumerian?) technology.

I started playing with the idea that the Aten, which during the reign of Akhenaten became the sole deity in Egypt, was just such a malign alien force, using it's superior technology to pose as a God.

Eventually (in my pulp history) the Egyptians rise up against the Aten, but unable destroy it trap it in a subterranean chamber. Millennia pass. Sometime in the 1930s an archaeological dig unleashes the still functioning God-droid, which radios for reinforcements of its own kind from the stars. The Aten army then go on a 'War of the Worlds' style rampage of revenge across Egypt. Only one plucky schoolboy can stop them....

Pulp Inspiration

Initial sketch

First colour sketch, which as usual I prefer to the finished piece.

Anyway, good luck to the people of Egypt, and hopefully the sun disk that rises from their new dawn will be a little more kind on them than the one I envisioned above.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Flatmates Storyboard

It's been a looooooong time since I posted anything, due to house moving, work and general laziness. So to ease me back into the blogosphere here's a post thats 90% reliant on the talent of others - a storyboard for a mockumentary sketch by mirthsmiths Chris Hayward and Nat Saunders. 'Flatmates' takes a look at what happens when a Fishing rod salesman finds himself sharing quarters with a member of the SAS.