Tomb Raider

One pleasure of working digitally is the endless ability to tweak or completely change your images, without affecting the original or worrying about matching dried out paint.  This caricature/portrait was part of a poster for a long-gone show.  However,  I liked the character and his polite anxiety too much to abandon him, so spent the afternoon developing the image further.  For some reason I was thinking “archaeologist taking a bad snapshot of himself in a mysterious cave”.  Not sure why . . .

The background is abstracted from holiday snapshots taken in Karnak, the foreground image digitally painted using a Wacom tablet.

Expressing Emotion – Anger

Next in the ‘universal’ emotions set, anger.  It was oddly difficult to find non-fake/cartoony reference images of anger, particularly of women.   Key features are wide eyes under a furrowed brow, and a squared-off open mouth, pulled back and down.

I intend to sculpt some of these exaggerated expressions in clay, once my mildly injured hand (there was a frozen dog food incident I can’t go into here) is fully recovered.

Expressing emotion – Contempt

As part of my ‘mask’ background research, I’ve been reading about facial expressions and how we express and recognise emotion.  This included The Face by Brian Bates, the book of a BBC documentary from a few years back, The Artist’s Complete Guide to Facial Expression by Gary Faigin, and several articles quoting Paul Ekeman, the psychologist who also discovered micro expressions and is an expert on lying.  One much discussed idea is that there is a a set of innate expressions of emotion that are universally recognisable across all human cultures.

I could discuss some of the theories around the evolution of emotional  communication starting with Darwin’s clever insights, but for now, to summarise wildly . . .  while 10,000 different expressions of emotions have been allegedly been identified,  there are just a few that are unambiguously recongnisable by different people in different cultures as meaning the same thing.  These seven (Fagin argues six) universally recognised emotional expressions are said to be anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise.

Annnyway, I thought as an exercise I’d try illustrating each of these  universal emotions at various ages, the essential human masks.   Continue reading

A little selfpromotion

A5 ad


I spent time this morning creating a quick and dirty one page advert to go in the Drawfest Annual, an A5 booklet to be distributed at Armageddon in Auckland in a few weeks.  Drawfest is a New Zealand group in the online community Deviantart – I’m aka lemondjinn if you’re ever there.

The top illustrations, background wall paper and squid sketch were part of an illustration project about Herbert (a small child very fond of Cephalopods) done last year.  Except for the chopper picture, originally scratch board, everything else is digitally painted.

If nothing else, publishing the name of my not-very-updated website will encourage me to do some work there.