Sculpting Gym – Ignis update


Really happy with the main forms now. When I return from LA, I’ll work back in on the details more and start refining his subtle facial features. It’s tricky since I have to translate PJ Lynch’s brilliant 2D imagery into 3D. The key thing for me was to maintain the appeal of PJ’s original painting. For those of you who know the book, you’ll know which piece of artwork I refer to! Eye direction was important to, it’s not easy to see from this angle but I have eyes balls in the sculpt that I can rotate and point as necessary. I’ll update this post with a 3 quarter angle soon.

Creature Design Sculpture Symposium

Draw-In | Colleen Barry Figure Drawing Atelier

Wow, what an action packed 7 days this has been. The Draw-In Symposium had been an amazing experience already, so to be followed on with Colleen Barry’s 5 day figure drawing workshop… it’s been brilliant. I’ve learned alot, We revisited key anatomical structure points, gesture, posing, anatomical structure… it’s been an intense 5 days. As it happens, for me at least it has gone by lightning fast. Listening to Colleen articulate what she knows about human anatomy, how the bones function, twist and turn, carry weight and how various muscle groups are attached and then relating all of this to the life and essence of our subject matter, is like being a kid in school again and listening to … hmm, I don’t know, ghosts stories at Hallowe’en perhaps!

Colleen Barry Workshop, Belfast

Colleen Barry’s Workshop, at the University of Ulster, Belfast

Our workshop was split into 5 days, this consisted of:

Day One being our Block In stage, employing straight lines and large shapes, looking for gesture and line of action. measuring, finding key anatomcial landamrks

Day Two: The Torso, a further investigation into the rib cage and pelvis relationship

Day Three: The Head, neck and Shoulder Girdle and to develop the correct orientation of the head, neck and shoulders.

Day Four: The Legs, feet and Gluteus. We took a closer look at the structure of the femur and tibia relationships. A breakdown of the three major muscle groups of the thigh (abductors, quadriceps and the hamstrings)

Day Five: Focus was on the Arms and hands. We took a closer look at the Humerus, Ulna and Radius and how they twist around one another. We searched for the Transverse high and low points. We focused in on the upper and lower arm muscle groups (Triceps, biceps Extensors, Flexors, Pronators and Supinators)

Various progress photographs.

The final piece, on Friday 5th Sept. I learned alot through working on a contrapposto pose. One thing I learned through this approach was how to better utilize and understand how form shadows and casting shadows were produced on the model. Colleen did a good job of explaining this, it’s been a fantastic experience.


Friday – Final


Gesture Drawing Exercises

Critical thinking and reflection:

It’s only been a day since we finished our workshop. I realize now that to move forwards and improve on my own anatomical processes, I will need longer sessions to study. I’m currently utilizing the figure drawing classes in the University of Ulster, but they cater mainly for animation students and as helpful as they are, it’s not enough to help me move forwards. The longest pose we might have during that class is 45min, and that isn’t enough to explore tonal value and the subtleties in anatomical form whilst keeping it loose, free and allowing the drawing to breath and maintain the energy of the model. There’s alot to think about.

In summary we had an intense but fantastic experience working through the week. I’m hoping I can do this again soon! Colleen is able to articulate her wealth of knowledge and experience beautifully and is very generous with her time when assistance was needed. Made a bunch of new friends, in all it was alot of fun!

In closing, it’s been a brilliant week and I hope to do this again soon! Here’s a picture of our awesome crew:


Behind: Ciara, Sarah, Alice, Phil the Skeleton, Robert Craig, Julie Douglas, Nisa, Fionnuala and Caroline. Front: Pat, Peter Cooper, Colleen Barry, Jacinta

Life Drawing Symposium

Draw-In | Symposium Weekend 30th-31st August

What a weekend! The Draw-In Symposium finally arrived and it was filled with fun, drama, stories, demos and tonnes of artwork and drawing to experience. In fact, the Draw-In event itself had already started a week previous with Matt Weigle’s brilliant painting workshop. Both Colleen Barry and Matt Weigle were flown over from New York especially to take part in and attend the Weekend long Draw-In Symposium event. Some of Matt’s workshop can be viewed here at Julie’s website

Left to right: Colleen Barry, Matt Weigle, Aidan McGrath, Paul FoxtonPeter Cooper, PJ Lynch, Shevaun Doherty and Julie Douglas (Founder of the Draw-In Symposium)


The Symposium kicked off with a fantastic talk by Colleen Barry.  Colleen is a phenomenal artist and painter and her growing wealth of experience and knowledge she openly shares with others.

I gave a 1 hour creature sculpting demo, I touched on building a wire armature, the drawing and design processes involved, laying out the main forms and masses of the character and posing the design in dynamic but subtle ways to help bring out the character of the creature. I’ll have an update on this creature sculpt very soon. I had approx 1 hour to flesh this fella out.




The guys in the audience are born sculptors in their own right! After we passed out some Super Sculpey to the audience they got stuck right in, here’s just a handful of what was made during my time on the stage.  I’m so impressed!

DI-Sym-30thAug2014_AudienceSculpts DSC_0280

In between workshops, I’d be doodling 3D creature concepts in the shadows… this was a 3D blockout of the main creature design I was working on during the Saturday. I had lots of invaluable input from some of the artists involved working through workshops of the day. Thanks to their insane enthusiasm and help, I was able to make design decisions much faster than normal to help me along the way.



Also giving demos at the Draw-In Symposium were:

Shevaun Doherty:

Shevaun is intelligent and fun, she is an artist that explores the botanical world, whether it be plants, trees.. even beetles and micro animal life, her painting work is amazing and her volume of work is growing.  The amount of attention to detail that Shevaun employs in her work while painting her subject is phenomenal.  In the world of botanical art, every little detail has to be observed fully and recorded. Through having fun conversations with her, I realized just how open and inquisitive she is, she’s always discovering as she goes and this shows in her forever growing volume of artwork. We got into a great chat at one point, about getting high on pufferfish! To see more of Shevaun Doherty’s botanical artwork visit:


PJ Lynch:

Finally got the opportunity to meet PJ Lynch at long last. A really good guy, fantastic artist and a professional through and through. He gave an hour long portrait demo whilst at the same time taking questions from the audience as he worked. I’m a huge fan of the artwork he produced for the book Ignis by Gina Wilson, and I had the honor of showing him the creature sculpt I’ve been working on based on one of his dragon designs. Ignis in this case. A great painter and artist, really happy I had this opportunity to meet him at long last.

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Paul Foxton:

Paul gave an awesome and thoughtful demo on how to improve your artwork through the practice of exercising various drawing techniques regularly. He talked about developing creative and artistic habits, things like sitting by a desk and drawing straight lines, or even simplier, getting into the ‘habit’ of opening a sketchbook every morning… so that you’re ready to doodle. Value is a key topic of conversation! A very interesting workshop, Paul was articulate in his delivery and made it enegaging and fun. To find out more go to:


A big shout out and thank you to Julie Douglas. As founder of the Draw-In event, she has steered this from day one and made it happen. It’s been an unmissable opportunity to be involved as an artist and get to meet everyone else who attended. It’s been a humbling and highly creative experience and I hope it happens again in the future. It’s been a blast.  Thanks Julie!

Creature Design Sculpture

Sculpting Gym – Demon Sculpt

Some updates on my (yet another) demon sculpt.

… “Nooooo, don’t make me go back in there… I’m melting … I’m melting!”

He’s started to evolve well and is veering away from the original drawing slightly. Not so sure it’s souls he’s looking to feed on anymore… it might be struggling artists, I’ll keep you posed on that.


UPDATE:  20th August

I’ve made progress on this sculpt. I’ll be posting the results in a day or so, for now however he’s momentarily headless.


Creature Design

Symposium Preparation – maquette sculpting rundown

Had a great time last night, setting up and doing a practice sculpting session for Julie Douglas’s Draw-In Symposium. I decided on a creature maquette design for this one as opposed to maybe a bust. System check called for, tools check, material check, crew check… everything was good. Need to keep an eye on the pot though, it likes to cook my clay into soup, in this case, Chavant soup. Yum. Big shout out to Lisa for donating her cooking pot to a good cause! It’s keeping my clay warm like no other. Judith did a great job on camera and Julie, thanks for the photos!

I made a relatively quick concept in Photoshop, for the night’s exercise.


Maquette creature design, a demon that’s in desperate need of soul feeding.

sgw06.fs.pc.Comp_004   sgw06.fs.pc.Comp_005

After making the armature, I lay out the main forms with clay, starting with the bigger masses and working my way around the character. I’m forever adjusting the pose as I go…I’m still using my sketch as reference. In these shots I’m working on getting the hips better,watching the shift in weight and trying to get a counter balance between the shoulders and hips and get as much of a dynamic pose as i can, despite the fact I’m trying to keep it quite relaxed. Get in there!


I had a  short time to work on this fella, so he will be continued this week.

Creature Design Uncategorized

Symposium – Preparations

Getting ready for the Symposium tonight, it’s not that faraway now. Tonight we did a systems check, got the lights good to go, camera setup is good, projector works, computer plugs into University system okay…  everything went well. Tools, clay, pots, lazy susan… check….  It’s nice to see Ignis on the big screen!


A couple of eyeballs, that didn’t quite make the cut…    aaah, I can see better


Do not feed the animals, especially the Sculpey critters…  and especially not potassium, ever!  You all know what happens to Mogwai’s, it is debatable whether feeding them before or after midnight makes a difference however.