CTN Live – It All Began Five Years Ago

Five years ago I was in LA attending the CTN expo as part of an animation industry group from Scotland. Today, as part of CTN Live (sign up now if you haven’t already – it’s free!) we’re having a reunion to discuss the trip and where we are now.

It All Began 5 Years Ago: Scotland Animation Industry Reunion

The panel discussion is at 11am PST (7pm GMT) on Wednesday 18th November.

A recording may be available later – I’ll update this post with more information if so. View the schedule here to find out more!

Some of the group visiting the Disney Studio lot – pictures by Fraser MacLean

Wild Life Drawing – Wolves

Wild Life Drawing hosts live drawing sessions with animals in the UK. I sadly haven’t ever been able to go to any of their in-person classes, but I have now attended online!

Last week I joined in a Zoom drawing class featuring three wolf-dogs from Watermill Wolves. A lot of little mannerisms reminded me of my own dog, but I enjoyed studying and exaggerating the differences!

Morna and Alistair

Morna and Alistair are from a story I’ve been working at over the last few months. As they both get older in it I’ve been trying to find characters that work at different ages. These quick doodles I did after work are the first ones I feel capture their characters.

Badger Prints For Sale

My badger sketches have proved popular, so I’ve had some lovely A4 prints made! You can purchase them using the buttons below.

A4 Signed Badger Print – UK only

Print on uncoated 350gsm card. Signed in pencil. Price includes postage within the UK.

£20.00

A4 Signed Badger Print – Worldwide

Print on uncoated 350gsm card. Signed in pencil. Price includes postage worldwide.

£25.00

Character Sketching – Fantasy Creature

It’s taken me far too long to post these sketches from this session where Daniella Traub modelled as a ‘fantasy creature’!

Through the evening I explored different versions of the character – more elfin, a wild girl of the woods, a villain.

Costumed Drawing – Maiden

Last week I was finally able to catch the free costumed drawing session CTN is running before it vanished from YouTube! As it’s a recording I was able to skip back and forward a bit as I pleased, so though poses were between two and seven minutes I spent less time on some and more time on others.

Kinsey’s Sword Thumbnails

A few years ago I posted some images from a short story I’d written and illustrated. You can view them here if you didn’t see them the first time around!

The story follows Kinsey, a young Queen who battles her fears in order to reclaim her sword, her family, and her purpose.

Since then I’ve adapted the story into a script, in collaboration with Philip Todd of Fellowship Film, with the intention of producing an animated short. As part of that process I drew a thumbnail storyboard, some of which is below.

Drawing the thumbnails really helped me visualise the story in depth. I had been struggling to separate the script from the original story – it’s been a challenge to convey through notes in a script what’s described in a page of prose!

So what’s next? Right now, I’m drawing beat boards for the latest draft of the script. Following that we’ll start work on a trailer, so we’re on the lookout for artists, animators, and others who may like to get involved! Please let me know if you want to find out more – you can reach me at aj.aiken@yahoo.co.uk or through social media.

Equitots Lanarkshire Pony Booklet

My sister and I were horse mad when we were younger, with model horses, multiple books, and notebooks filled with pony sketches and stories. I still ride, and (when I’m not in lockdown) volunteer with my local Riding for the Disabled group. So creating this booklet for Equitots Lanarkshire was a real pleasure!

Lee gave me the text and structure she wanted, and I began by sketching this quick layout of the whole booklet.

Next came the rough sketches – some more accurate and some less so …

Clean up is drawing the final line that will be seen in the finished booklet.

Next comes colour! Here are the pages with and without text.

Character Sketching – Alameda Slim

Last week’s CTN On Model sketching session featured Jonnathon as Alameda Slim, the villain from Home on the Range. I’ve only seen the film once so I don’t know the character very well. At first I really struggled to figure out how his head connects to his neck! By the end of the event I had ‘got’ the character a little more, but he remained pretty off-model.

Sometimes I just couldn’t get the character, so I drew Jonnathon instead.

Alameda Slim reference – what he’s supposed to look like!

Life Drawing, 12th May

Vilidian modelled at this week’s life drawing session. Unfortunately I’d run out of paper (more is on the way) but I drew in Photoshop instead. I tried to resist using ‘Undo’ but didn’t always succeed …

It was nice having some close-up poses near to the camera.

Thatched Cottage Studies

At the moment I’m gathering reference for a personal project, and I’m learning a lot! The way medieval houses were constructed depended so much on where they were built – stone or wood? Heather or straw for the thatch? There are the well-constructed houses, some of which are still standing today, and then the ones made of little more than twigs, wattle, and mud. And then, how is the thatch kept on the roof?