Source: Dean, A Painting With Thread.
I am very lucky to have such a talented partner. She often surprises me with things like this.
I will have to find ways to repay the compliment.
Thank you, my love!
I’ve always loved the idea of a pond but have never had a place where I could have one. But now that I’ve lived in my rented place for a while now I thought I’d dig a hole and fill it with water. Loved it immediately. And within a couple of weeks it had a frog! Since then I’ve added some plants and some odd pits of stone and old garden pots. After a month it looked like it had been there for years.
So much life appears so quickly and the pond goes through all kinds of cycles that suit different insects from clouds of microscopic creatures to beetles and snails. The birds love it!
Ribbiting, isn’t it!
Hello dear art lover!
I am a self employed, full time artist and have been for some years now. I struggle to make a living and most months I am one rent cheque away from eviction. I live very frugally and put as much as I can of what I earn back into new projects and materials.
I have never asked for money in any way online before, but I now see many people using this method successfully to enable them to continue working as a creative / content creator. As someone who works and lives alone I don’t really have much of a support network to speak of (don’t get out much, you see?) I’m really hoping that seeking patrons is the way to go.
As little as £1 or $1 a month for regular updates of work-in-progress pictures and sculptures could go towards keeping me with a roof over my head and food in my belly. Not to mention materials and supplies etc., which have become insanely expensive these days.
For larger monthly donations and one-off contributions I am offering original artworks, mostly illustrations, but also paintings and small sculptures. Simply send me a picture to work from and I will make an original piece of art. It can be a picture of anything at all.
I have also set up a ‘Goal’ on Patreon. The Goal is to make the garage in the garden into a studio so that I can work more easily all year round and create many more pieces of art and hopefully more sophisticated works of art too.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope it persuades you to become a patron, and if it does I will be eternally grateful.
happy as can be, all good friends and jolly good company.”
First there was the 4 minute warning. Then AIDS. Then WMD’s. Now it’s some other made up bollocks just like the ones before. There’s always something about to end the world. But the world goes on. And can change into something unrecognisable in a heartbeat because of something that happens to you, personally. But the world goes on.
I wish I loved the human race
I wish I loved its silly face
I wish I liked the way it walks
I wish I liked the way it talks
And when I’m introduced to one
I wish I thought, ‘What jolly fun!’
Walter Raleigh (No, not that one).
Anti-Feminism. Toxic Masculinity. Trump. Left is Right; Right is Left. The Red Pill. Real Artificiality. Alternative Facts. Nano-Fractal-Quantum-Computers. WAR DEATH TERRORISM. D’oh! What goes down comes up. Public Privacy. Smart Things. Anti-Social Media Platform. Freedom of… Shhh! The future is… unpredictable. Tranny-Humanism. LGBTQ+%?*! Ctrl-Alt-Right-Delete. Sadam Obama Bin Ladin. Dark Matter / Doesn’t Matter.
A sad man who’s sane,
whose arm has been laden
with Twin Towels (9 x 11)
is fighting a bush over an oily ear rack.
Ewan counts ill. Finds 14 for tea, 1 in britches.
Is IsIs is? Al Qae-Akber!
Taxation is theft. Jet fuel can’t melt steel. Alphabet Soup. The Powers That Shouldn’t Be. The Tiny Dot. SJW’s. Identity Card Politics. Madness gone PC. Full Spectrum Surveillance. MKUltra. MGM.
Home. Peace. Green. Lil D. Mrs B. Baking Bread. Fresh Eggs. Fruit trees. Winged Things. Creativity. Breathing. Love.
And it’s not even 9am!
It was my birthday late last month and my wonderful partner, Anna-Lena, got me a copy of Shaun Tan’s The Bird King – an artist’s notebook, and it is both beautiful and inspiring to read and look at. I will never grow tired of it. My sister also bought me an actual artist’s notebook and I now have a few more sketches and doodles to share with the world.
The picture below is a face, kind of, until you tilt your head to the left. Now it’s two cyclists about to go round a bend. I know that feeling!
Here’s one from way back when. Nude self portrait. Included for no special reason:
Below is the work in progress cover illustration for book 3.
Who are your favourite illustrators? Do you have a favourite illustrated story? Would love to hear from you as it is a great way of finding new art and artists and inspiration.
What story would you illustrate or like to see illustrated?
One day I hope to make one of my own!
Please check my website for more art and info on methods and pricing: Dean Harkness Artist
If you got this far, thank you, and Happy Holidays!
Inktober came and went, and very enjoyable it was too. Not sure what happened to November, and now we are well into our way with December. But I did keep up with the sketching and doodling, inspired further by the gift from my partner of the wonderful book, The Bird King by Shaun Tan. – A book I’ve had for several weeks now but still have not got to the end of as I am revelling in each and every page.
Here’s some of my recent scribbles:
My beautiful sister.
Hope you liked the doodles. I love making these distorted figure drawings!
Please check my site for more paintings, sculptures, and drawings: Dean Harkness Design
And do please let me know what your favourite illustations and or illustrators are. I’m always open to suggestions and looking for new inspiration.
August came to a good end with the completion of a book cover design and set of 10 illustrations for book two of Jim West’s Magicae series. As always I was still working on things right up until the last day, but there was no rush and no panic and things had run to course extremely well due to setting realistic completion dates at the outset. I so often get requests for cover design work just a few weeks before the work is needed and it’s never a good start to a project. Felt great to have enough time to work on this set of illustrations which included nine black and white drawings and one full colour cover painting. It’s great working with someone who can think like an illustrator and has clear ideas about what is needed; It makes the whole process a joy.
Other than one or two rough pencil sketches at the very beginning the rest of the project was entirely made digitally.
I started off thinking that I may make all nine of the black and white illustrations by using just one brush type in Photoshop and try to best replicate a pencil, and then use cross hatching and other techniques for filling in large areas of dark and for all detail shading. This was partly to ensure that there would be continuity between book one and book two. – I had made all nine illustrations for book one using pencil and paper.
With the first one or two illustrations I could already see that I was slipping from my decision to stick solely to trying to mimic pencil. While it can be done it kind of defeats the point of working digitally. However I did not want to completely abandon the initial restriction I had placed on myself, and what soon developed was a mixture of techniques whereby I used a relatively strict pencil-like brush for the characters in the foreground, and for background work I used much larger, painterly type brushes and used them very sparingly. Then I played with settings so that the two styles did not seem at odds with each other.
For the majority of the time, generally speaking, I work from source images often taken by and featuring myself and anyone else I can rope into it, or failing that a search online. Thanks to my wonderful partner, Anna-Lena, this is made so much easier when we are together as we both enjoy photography and the acting about and dressing up that is always required. Once I have the photos I need I can, if necessary, adjust them in Photoshop to suit the required age and gender of the character being portrayed.
The first two images below are the only ones made with nothing but a pencil-like Photoshop brush.
Mada, and Maya with a pile of strings.
Alex leaping across a wide river.
Alex using a crystal to fend off a pack of wolves in a night-time forest scene.
Diades and Demetrius gathering flames into the golden band of power.
Man wearing a Minotaur’s mask and charging out of a labyrinth.
Archimedes working through the night.
Nyliaj and Alyal in the a night-time forest being chased by wolves.
The Guardian, Rawna, comforting a wounded guardian in the arena.
This is the completed cover illustration and layout design for the paperback version of the book.
I am very pleased to say that I will be working with Jim on book three of the Magicae Series next and expect to start on a new set of illustrations and a cover design any day now.
I hope you enjoyed the images and the bit of background info about the process.
Thanks for stopping by!
You can see more of my cover designs, illustrations and other artwork at my website here.
I recently had a bit of a departure from illustration and design work. Many years ago my good friend, Jamie Sargeant, a sculptor of some renown, gave me a few pointers when it comes to carving letters in stone. I picked up only the most basic of techniques and never explored them fully, but gleeaned just enough to feel that some 20 years later it just might be worth giving it another go all-be-it in the simplest of styles.
It all started when I decided to have a closer look at a rock that was tucked away in a dark and overgrown corner of the garden at the base of a large hazel tree between two sheds. I lifted it out (without doing my back in!) to find that it is in fact what looks like a large random lump of concrete that had gone black on top with time and the dripping of sap etc.
The first thing I did, after it had sat in a new spot for a few days, was to begin carving out a bowl like shape in the top to collect water. I had no intentions to do much else at this stage.
My partner, Anna-Lena, was staying at the time and always inspires me to do more creatively-speaking.
Once I got into the rhythm of carving the bowl I knew I wanted to do more, so spent a couple of days trying to think of what could be added. Initially I was not thinking of adding anything that had too many letters as I knew they could be tricky and time consuming. I even thought I might only add a couple of letters, or a symbol of something. However, the line ‘God is in the rain’ entered my head early on and nothing came to replace it, and once I’d started to draw the letters out it didn’t seem as long as I first thought is was when it comes to the number of letters involved.
The quote fitted all too well, and needed very little adjustment in its placing and spacing, which was a very pleasant surprise. Not that it would withstand close scrutiny.
The placing of the quote and the use of capital letters for both God and Rain happened very organically and without thought. I’d created the bowl shape using a claw chisel but was feeling ready to give the lettering a go. The first couple of letters I carved didn’t go as well as they might have as I had forgotten to rest my left wrist on the rock with each strike of the chisel, so the carving was a bit shaky to say the least. Luckily Anna-Lena pointed out to me that I didn’t need to carve it in order of the letters going from left to right, but instead I could pick the easier letters to carve first. This was a very good move
I also got a new handle for the larger of the two mallets I have, and a new cleet to go in the end of the smaller of the two – a beautiful little lead lettering mallet. I’d be lost without these as far as this kind of work goes so it is very much worth keeping them in good condition and it made all the difference.
Keeping a sharp edge on my chisels was one of the trickiest parts and not a skill I ever learned properly. However, I managed, but some new sharpening stones wouldn’t go a miss.
Between carving the letters I did little bits on the bowl too and began to widen it out to the edge at this point.
Below is a picture of how I worked. The whole process took a couple of weeks. I only carved a letter or two a day and each one took 30 minutes to an hour to do. The bowl took quite some time – possibly about the same amount of time as all the letters combined.
But I did get some help during that time.
Once all the letters were carved I decided to remove the marks left by the claw chisel in the bowl part of the new birdath rock using a flat chisel. This went surprisingly well too. In the picture below you can see the area that is still left to be smoothed in the base of the bowl.
I really love how the cut letters stand out from the stained surface of the concrete.
And it looks great in a typical English Summer!
I repositioned the new birdbath to a spot a few feet away from a small apple tree in which I have hung several bird feeders that get plenty of use and need constant topping up. It took a few days but eventually I saw a wee birdy having a drink from it. Haven’t caught a picture yet but I’m sure I will soon.
View from the kitchen window, but it’s a good 20 paces away.
The birdbath has been in its new spot for a couple of weeks now and in one sense is finished, but I’m inclined to think that I may do more to it yet, just in tidying up some of the letters and continuing to smooth out the bowl section.
This project was a real joy and a good reminder that it is always worth having a go at something one may have never tried before, or not tried for many years. It’s all about enjoying the process more than worrying about the results.
I am also encouraged to have another go as this concrete lump was so uneven and un-consistant in its texture throughout that a smoother and more even material might be fun to try next. I may use some cement I have to make a surface to carve into. This might prove easier than trying to get a piece of stone from somewhere. It’s not cheap and not easy to transport when one doesn’t drive.
Hope you enjoyed this post and thanks for stopping by.
Have you had a go at something new recently, or had another go at something you’ve not done for a long time? I’d love to hear about it! Please let me know with a comment below.
I recently finished a cover illustration and design for the third book in a trilogy. This final book is called The Time Garden. I made it using my digital tablet which I am still learning how to use effectively, and this is how it turned out.
I particularly like the bear, but then again who doesn’t like bears?
I often find that I have several commissions on the go at any one time for book cover designs and illustrations, but things have been a bit quiet of late so I have been keeping busy with other things, which has been fun too. I don’t often get to make things for my own pleasure so it has been nice to have the opportunity to do so once again.
One of the first things I made was an oil painting of a friend’s dog. The dog is called Gandalf. It is only a small painting – about 7 x 8 inches – and I had not used oils in a very long time. As much as I can see all the faults in the picture I was still happy with the result and it got me painting again. I have always loved to paint animals as they are so free and beautiful. Here is the finished result.
One thing I really enjoy about art and the making of it is the idea that leads to it. Sometime the idea is more important to me than the finished item. And sometimes I have had an idea for years and years before realising exactly how I need to execute it. One idea I’ve had for a while but which I only thought to draw very recently was the one below.
A ring of truth. Now, wouldn’t one of those be handy?
I’ve also begun work on a logo for my book cover design and illustration business. The only names for the business that came to mind were either Dharkness Designs or Dean Harkness Designs. In designing the logo I seemed to settle on the second of those names. The letters DHD lent themselves nicely to a design representing a book cover, and this is what I have made so far.
The H represents the spine of a book, and the corners represent crop marks. I’m quite happy with it and it felt like it had a fairly organic genesis. I need to convert it into a digital image suitable for printing and resizing etc., but have been having issues with the pen tool in Photoshop. It’s a tricksy little bugger, but brilliant when it works. I’ll sort it out soon.
It’s always a good feeling to actually draw something one has thought about for a very long time. I sometimes find that the reason I haven’t drawn, or painted, or sculpted these ideas is because of the amount of work I think may be involved, and yet in nearly every case they do not take as long as I think they will, and they don’t exactly feel like work anyway. I think I can be like that about a lot of things – always worrying about what will be involved in doing the thing I want to do rather than looking forward to the thing itself. I really must learn to get over that, or I may never do anything ever again!
I’ve noticed recently a lot of the time when I share something online that many people think it is just something I have found on the Net and am sharing just for the fun of it rather than realising it is my own work. I have always been very resistant to watermarking things partly because it doesn’t look so great, but also because it’s a bit of a pain to have to do it. Something else I need to get over.
If you would like to see more of my Book Cover Designs and Illustrations plus lots more then please do visit my site: http://deanharkness.co.uk/ and feel free to leave a comment or contact me for more information.
What do you do for you own pleasure when not pursuing your dream or working for ‘the man’?
For the month of July (2014) I am running a special offer for my illustration and book cover design services at the discounted rate of 25% off my normal fee. Any commissions taken on in that time will not necessarily have to be completed within that period but simply agreed upon and a quote and time scale arranged.
I do hope you or someone you know will take advantage of this offer, so do please help in spreading the word if you can – your support would be very appreciated.
E-book cover layout designs will be £37.50 instead of £50
Paperback layout designs will be £41.25 instead of £55
Hardback layout designs will be £48.75 instead of £65
Illustrations vary but I can give a quote based on what is needed and then make the reduction before you decide whether or not to commission me for your project.
Please take a look at my website for examples of my work. I try to show a varied selection of styles and genres, and am always happy to try new things.
As well as book covers, there are also pages showing examples of my other illustrations, sculptures, and designs that I hope give a broader sense of the various ways in which I work.
You can contact or connect with me using the links below:
Please help spread the word. I look forward to hearing from you soon.