Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dragon Rework

DragonWIP15Small, originally uploaded by NigelQuarless.

I've gotten alot of great feedback on this image, and based on a real concensus for the girl's pose and expression not being convincing or compelling, I've reworked her and I think she's working much better now.

Thanks to Tony, Derek, Barret, Nonie, Vic, Min, Aurelie, Bjorn, Kan and Scott!!!! I really appreciate the feedback on this (and my work in general) You guys rule for taking the time to help me out!

Some of the feedback I got on this has hit on some points I need to address in my work going forward, I'm going to address those in my next post, but right now I'm getting ready to head home for the holidays.

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dragon colour wips

Here are some rendering stages for the Dragon piece I previously posted the linework for. I'm hoping towrap this up in the next day or so...







originally uploaded by Dead Mello.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dragon Linework

DragonLine_NigelQuarless72dpi, originally uploaded by Dead Mello.

Here's the linework finished up from the previous sketch.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Drgn Sketch

So here's a sketch for an upcoming piece...I'll try and post progress as I go. The final will be a much more involved image with a city night background, lots of neon etc... this is to sort out the posing of the 2 figures in the comp. I'm going to render this with graphite and white pencil on some tones Rives BFK and see how that will integrate with some digital colour.

Also, I've started a flickr account so I can upload decent quality images here... I'm over having blogger crunch my images down to crappy looking thumbnails!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Colour Sketch

Here's a colour sketch I did for an illustration I've been wanting to get to for a while. These always turn out the best when they're rushed... no time to noodle, just broad colour. This one was about 15 minutes one night with a 10 minute tweak session the next evening.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Got the cast off my arm last Wednesday...
Here's what I've been working's a bit of an experiment. I started off with graphite, watercolour and acrylic on Rives BFK but didn't end up keeping any of it in the final. I liked what the analogue stuff added but that step needed a bit more attention to hold up for the final. Good to know for the next one though.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall Update

So it's taken me way longer to update than I'd hoped for...
Shortly after my last post I dislocated my left wrist riding the Whistler Bike Park... I was ripping down In Deep on my way into Captain Safety, clipped a root or something with my bike, went flying and WHAM!

After surgery and about a week of doing nothing I got back to work and being able to do personal art and since then I've managed alright, fortunately it's my left wrist so I can still hit the hotkeys with it while it's casted. Without the bike riding to distract me for the last 7 weeks I've actually gotten a fair bit of work done...mostly for a really cool short project at work, but I've done some personal work too.

I also just finished reading a really cool book about J.W. Waterhouse. I wasn't too familiar with his stuff before, but I found his myth inspired paintings very interesting in both subject and technique, so I thought I'd pick up the book. I ended up reading it pretty much cover to cover and really enjoyed learning about the historical and social context for his work and his symbolist, mythic, occult and pre-raphaelite influences. He based alot of his mythical work on writings by Ovid, Shelly, Keats and Tennyson. Definitely a very inspirational artist for me, and it's cool to learn more about the history and inspiration for his work... paricularly the symbolist and mythic influences as I think they are a good traditional foundation for where I'd like to see the direction of my personal work go.

I'm still juggling a bunch of personal projects that need more attention if they're gonna go anywhere, but while I was recovering I wanted to work on something fun and straightforward so I worked this new piece up. The original inspiration came from Sabbath's Supernaut,(I've been on a bit of a kick lately) and somehow turned into this...

Anyway, the cast comes off in two days and I'm super stoked. I've got a design for my right shoulder sleeve to finish before November and a few unfinished things and experiments to get to, so hopefully now that it's fall I will be cranking some stuff out and posting work more often.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Boy Soldier

It's been a busy summer... despite just having 2 weeks vacation, I haven't found much art time for actually finishing any major pieces.

I have been working with my wife on a picture book though. It's about a Boy Soldier in Africa and here's a current sketch of the main character.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I always start out with a thumbnail. Here's a comp of some of my favorites from the last 3 months or so.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Spring Update

It's been a really busy Spring... literally the day after my last post I got involved in what turned out to be a fairly lengthy freelance gig. I was quite a long process and after that project was finished there was a bit of burnout downtime and some rest. I've also been thinking alot about where my personal work is heading as I'm gearing up for a couple of personal projects I'm going to start this summer. As a bit of a break I did this quick piece over a few nights this week. It's no real departure for me as far as style goes, but I think some of the thinking I've been doing about my work is starting to show in a more cohesive, inspired look. I'm figuring out how to represent my themes and inspirations more, where my influences fit in to that and starting to develop more of my own personal visual language.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Colour Thumb...

I'm going to try and update more frequently, even if it's just little things like this...

...a small colour thumb I did up the other night. These are such good practice for composition and colour... I love 'em. Started with a blue green sky colour for the jungle night sky and worked towards the foreground laying in bold silhouettes in solid colours first, then pushing some back with atmosphere, then hitting some spots with a brigh, warmer moonlight. Really tried to keep the strokes purposeful on this...

I am reading Moby Dick right now, thanks to my current interest in classic, dark fiction and Tony's emphatic recommendations... Melville's thoughts on the inherent terror inducing qualities of white, especially when found in nature, were why the snake ended up white...more interesting than the green I was thinking of for sure.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spectrum 16 and Mixed Bag Mythography

Well, it looks like I will have some work in Spectrum 16!

I was super surprised to make it in to say the least. I sent submissions in this year as a due dilligence kinda thing, with no expectations whatsoever of having anything accepted and I think I'm still in a bit of disbelief!
When I find out what piece or pieces got in and get an official correspondence from them it will probably sink in a bit more.

I am really, really flattered to be in a volume with so many incredible artists and I know that seeing my work amongst the many truly great pieces will be humbling but it will inspire me to work harder too. It's great to feel like the hard work and focus is paying of somehow, and I'm more inspired than ever to keep pushing myself, be more focused and work even harder. I've been looking up to the artists published in Spectrum since Volume 3, and this is a huge milestone for me.

So not to post news without art...

When I wanted to come up with a title for this blog, I wanted it to somehow relate to my personal work that is eclectically inspired and varies in subject a fair bit, but is still unified by my own influences and Personal Mythologies. I came up with Mixed Bag Mythography.

I wanted to make an illustration to serve as a visual interpretation of this title that would represent some of the inspirations and subjects of my personal artwork. I chose to personify the theme with a female character to represent creativity. She’s kind of a vagabond – wandering through the world much like how my inspiration will wander with no set purpose. She’s collected all kinds of trappings and artifacts, some of which represent my cultural background and inspirations, and others that I just think are cool and add interest.

All the pseudo-intellectual artistic descriptions aside: this is a character I thought would make a cool illustration for my Blog, with lots of interesting things to paint and opportunities to play with expression, colour, texture and lighting.

I hope you like it…

- Nigel

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Big Ol' Grizzly Bear...

I haven't had much to post for the last month or so... did a couple submissions for Udon Darkstalkers book, we'll see how that goes...

Anyway, as fun as the fan art was, it's good to get back to my personal work. I made a bunch more PS brushes last week. Some rough textured ones, bristly ones and some different chisels. Here's a sketch I painted up a bit using some... the bristles worked out great on the fur.

...updated this march 23rd... fixed a part of the tree on the right that was bugging me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Colour Thumbs and a Sketchpage

I've just been sketching and messing around a bit for the last few weeks.

Here's some small colour thumbnails I did. I'm forcing myself to work on these small without zooming in, trying to keep it simple and just use the right colours and values to make them work without rendering. It's a really good exercise, and when you do lots at once you really start to notice the compositional and lighting cliches you fall back on. These are a great way to explore ideas for bigger pieces, if they work this small they will be great in larger've also got a pretty complete colour palette after an hour or so.

And here's a sketchpage...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Steampunk CGTalk Challenge

Been a while since I updated...I've been pretty busy wrapping up my entry for CGTalk's Steampunk Myths and Legends Challenge. I'm not really into Steampunk but I am really into Mythology, so I thought it would be a good excuse to do up an illustration.

I started by brainstorming some myths and thumnailing what I thought might be interesting compositions.... Icarus, Gawain, Valkyries, Cyclops, Giants, etc...

After settling on an Icarus theme,I did more thumbs...

I had a pretty hard time finding a composition and pose that showed everything I wanted to show but was still close up enough to show the expression on Icarus. The one figure was going to be center of focus for the comp, so I wanted him pretty close up. I did this thumbnail up into a slightly more involved sketch, and then did a quick colour pass on it.

After this point I was pretty burnt out on the piece. I was so unhappy with it that I came super close to deleting all the work off my hardrive just to be done with it. I was happy with the decisions I'd made, but the art I had generated was pretty poor. Too much quick sketching without a real commitment. After a 2 week break I started the piece over again, sticking to the decisions I'd made, but with more focus. I started with some design work on the character...

Then after the holidays I started the work on the final comp. I was never really happy with the poses I had come up with, so I sketched a few more dynamic one out that had a struggling, grasping emotion to them, rather than the helpless resolve of the previous look and it really made the piece start to come together.

A rough block in of the comp with the colour scheme I had established before, but moved the light source to the bottom...

and went from there...

Did some design work for the airships and Steam Labyrinth after I'd roughed them in.

Then I did some rough 3d modeling to help block them in for the painting...

Got the 3d integrated...

and then pretty much just worked at it until the deadline to come up with a final.
I got alot of great feedback along the way that really helped the piece out, so thanks to everyone who gave input. I learned alot through the process and I felt pretty good with what I ended up with, but I'm really glad to be done with it.