31st December 2007 This time last year, i said i wouldn't be updating this version of my website again. I'd planned to do an almighty update over my Christmas holidays, but that update became so 'almighty' that i never got it done amongst festive celebrations and more pressing 'proper' work. So here I am with the same old website a whole year later. And it's been one hell of a year. Over the past twelve months i've enjoyed some of the loftiest highs and the deepest lows in my both my professional and personal life. In January, I speculatively entered some images into Spectrum, the annual for 'Fantastic Art', and came away with a 'Silver Award' in their new 'Concept Art' category. I even received a real, physical award thingy-ma-bob through my letterbox! It was a wonderful surprise!
In January and February I continued with some freelance work for SCEE and their Eyetoy department, and some of this work is now in the 'Games' gallery. Unfortunately I don't think i can show the mass of character concepts I produced for Sony's 'Eight Days' project, but maybe i'll be able to add them in 2008.
Over the course of 2007 I took a big step away from the Games industry, and have made some great strides into the world of books and publishing, with the wonderful support of my new illustration agents at Arena. I'm working on my first picture book for Templar Publishing, which is a lifelong dream for me. Arena have also found me lots of work illustrating covers and interiors for young fiction, for major publishers such as Random House, Simon and Schuster, Oxford University Press and Stripes. There are some bits and bobs of recent illustration work in the 'Gumpf' section, and there'll be lots more coming over the coming months as books get published. Arena now represent me for the majority of my work and it already looks like 2008 is filling up, but i can still be contacted directly for possible freelance concept jobs.
Most of my illustration work is for the children's market, but earlier this year I helped put together a collection of artists' work for an anthology called 'Erotic Fantasy Art Now!' for Ilex Press. They originally approached my good friend Aly Fell, and he kindly asked me to help him out with the project. The book is part of a series, following 'Fantasy Art Now!' and 'Comic Art Now!', and features the work of almost 100 international artists, working digitally and in traditional media, and is full to the brim with fantasy art with a sensual or erotic element. I received a preview copy a couple of weeks ago and it looks fantastic! The book is due this springtime in the UK published by Ilex Press, and in the United States published by Harper Collins. It's already listed on Amazon!
And I've also kept busy with some more workshops for ImagineFX, including a back cover for their pin-up issue. Maybe 2008 will bring me a front cover...
'The Siren' featured in ImagineFX issue 22 (October 2007)
My personal life has also seen some big changes, most notably my wedding to my long-term partner, Jane, in May. Our daughter, Daisy, was a flower girl (both my 'ladies' looked stunning!) and it was easily the happiest day of my life! We were surrounded by close friends and family, and were married in an ancient and tiny village church. We followed the service with a chilled evening in a beautiful Cotswold barn, with a Welsh Ceilidh band and copious amounts of good food, good wine and organic ale. Here's Daisy Duddle looking very cute indeed.
But after the highs of our wedding and my first picture book contract, 2007 ended on a tragic note. My Dad died at the end of October, three weeks after being knocked off his motorbike on his way to work. The other driver didn't see him coming and pulled across the carriageway directly in front of Dad, who hit the car at almost 50mph. Dad suffered two broken legs, a fractured vertebra and a serious head injury, but we thought he was going to be OK and really believed that he had miraculously survived a horrific crash. The day after the accident, Dad was in good spirits in his hospital bed, joking with us about his plastered legs. But a week later, Dad was moved to intensive care and suffered a cardiac arrest and irreversible brain damage. He died two weeks later surrounded by his family. This isn't the place to explain how I feel about my Dad's passing away, but i miss him terribly. He's always been a role model for me in his selflessness, his resourcefulness, his generosity and the love he had for his family.
Dad and Daisy take Basil and Humphrey for a walk, August 2007.
These few months have been the most difficult period of my life, but i've been overwhelmed by the support i've received from friends, colleagues and particularly clients, who have been patient with me and shifted deadlines to accomodate me and the time i've spent at my parents' house in Wales. So i'd just like to finish off with a big THANK YOU.
Hopefully 2008 will be an uneventful year at home, and i'll be able to funnel all of my energy into the exciting projects that are lining up for the coming months!
There will be a new site coming in early 2008, and to make quick updates easier, I'm going to start a blog for sketches, news and works-in-progress. I'll post a link here very soon......