Earth Tykes.com 2018
I remember it was one sunny morning in 1973, when I awoke from a dream with the idea to create a storyboard for an animated film. As far as I recall, I became interested in animation after I had experimented with drawing images in various stages of movement in the corner of a notebook, then delighted in watching their motion as I carefully flicked through the pages. I was also very influenced by the Beatles Yellow Submarine film in the early 70s. There was a fantasy inside of me just waiting to get out. There was an animation series shown on English T.V. presented by animator Bob Godfrey, this interested me because I saw the possibility of creating a moving film. I was also inspired the work of Terry Gilliam from the Monty Python team. I associated Gilliam’s graphic style with Salvador Dali’s surrealist paintings for his approach to landscapes. But other things took over in my life like wanting to be a rock star, and so my animation projects never really took off. The inspiration to continue with illustration always remained however, probably because of all those great 60s and 70s vinyl album covers. Illustrator George Underwood who had worked on T.Rex and David Bowie album covers was a particular inspiration, I loved the Tyrannosaurus Rex stuff he did. The Carlos Santana Album artwork was enough to make you want to buy the album on its own, before you even listened to any tracks. For me, 1960's and 70's graphic design was simply the best and has never really been surpassed despite the development of computer graphics.
To give an idea of how the Earth Tykes began I developed the concept and characters over a period of almost twelve years, I was mostly just playing with various ideas in my spare time. The characters started as simple sketches in a notebook and based on my observations of South American animals, monkeys and sloths for example. Then I just slightly humanized them; animals are people to my way of thinking anyway. The sketches were eventually digitally photographed and then brought into Adobe Illustrator. From there they could be traced and composited with other visual elements; landscapes or buildings for example. I used Bryce 3D for many of my landscapes or backgrounds. I only have the Bryce 5.5 version but it is fabulous for me to work with.
Really you just have to find your own working methods, it is about whatever suits you when you work alone. Generally for my illustrations, after any initial sketches I have done, I tend to use any software I can lay my hands on to develop what I have in mind. I find it useful to experiment with different programmes, particularly if you’re having a creative block. I often use Photoshop as the central stage, to put visual compositions together, I also use it for any photographic elements obviously, such as textures and maybe some architectures; then after that I may use a whole range of programmes. Apart from Photoshop I used Bryce 5.5, Illustrator, Corel Painter, Freehand, Gimp, Blender, Chaotica, Mandelbulber, Alchemy, Artrage and probably one or two other apps as well. I use software textures and filters to make the different elements of the work fit together texturally. The books were then put together on artboards in Adobe Illustrator, which is surprisingly good for putting graphics books together and particularly in handling text. It is probable, that most of the graphics could have been done with just two or three apps, but to be honest I don’t know how to work that way. Like everything else I do, music, film, artwork or websites, I am largely self taught.
Last update 6 February 2020