Updates, a convention, an interview with Rob!
24 days ago
– Mon, Feb 05, 2024 at 05:58:53 AM
Greetings fellow voyagers!
Updates, conventions, INTERVIEW, whoooo!
Infinity of Ships updates!
We've been writing furiously, feverishly, fanatically and, dare I say it, fantastically. Writing will start going into copyediting and layout soon! Red pens, track changes, grids, oh my!
What's that, Robot table? You want to show them a bit of yourself? But... you're not laid out! Won't you feel exposed, vulnerable? You're ok with that? You sure? Ok!
Rob has been illustrating rapidly, righteously, rip-roaringly radical recombinations. Rinse and repeat. All rise!
What's that, Mobula Ray medical bot? You want to show off Rob's rendition of you? Ok!
Enough shenanigans, here's a few more of Rob's illustrations!
STATIONS at Gameface Con!
Adam (that's me, hi) and Jamie will be tabling at the inaugural (and free!) Gameface Con in Baltimore, MD, March 9 and 10th.
We are REALLY excited to have our first ever table, and we've got some cool stuff planned, so come say hi!
- We'll be running some "shipmaking" sessions, using parts of the book to help people create their own ships (and oh yeah, there will be coloring!)
- I'll have a limited supply of Deep Space 909 ornaments to sell (printing myself 'cause 3d printing is fun!)
- We (fingers crossed) will have copies of our new zine, Some Sample(d) Strangers, featuring illustrations by Evlyn Moreau. This will also go up for sale on our website around the same time. More to come on that.
- Other stuff, probably, definitely!
Meet Rob Turpin, Illustrator Extraordinaire
Finally, here's an interview we did with Rob, to get some insights into his inspirations and process. Thanks, fella!
Rob is an illustrator, designer and writer from the north of England. Drawing mainly science fiction, fantasy, and imaginary places, he is also the creator of the Weird Field World book, published in 2020. The sequel, Weird Field War is in the works.
What was your first scifi love?
Star Wars, without a doubt. I saw A New Hope in the cinema when I was five years old, and that experience has never left me, and almost certainly never will.
I was a Star Wars nut as a kid, collecting the figures and toys, building my own Death Star out of cardboard boxes because I couldn’t afford the real version from the store.
The first ‘Art of’ book was the Return of the Jedi sketchbooks. Full of incredible stuff by McQuarrie and Joe Johnston, I still have that book and it’s still inspiring me.
What pulled you into scifi and spaceships?
As above. Star Wars. Certainly initially. But maybe Star Wars was just the gateway.
Science fiction has been a real love for a very long time. One of the first sci-fi books I ever remember reading was Orbitsville by Bob Shaw, about a Dyson Sphere. How that book ended up in my primary school library I’ll never know.
From there it was lots of Asimov and Ray Bradbury, some Arthur C Clarke. Many of which had covers by British sci-fi artist Chris Foss. Something about Chris’s brightly coloured, and often stripy, spaceships has always stuck with me.
More recently it’s been authors like Alistair Reynolds (Revelation Space books), Iain M. Banks (Culture novels) and Paul McAuley (A Quiet War) that have sustained my love of science fiction.
On screen, after Star Wars (let’s just pretend the prequels don’t exist OK?), it's Alien. Not Aliens. Alien, singular. I think it’s one of the most perfect films ever made. I’m a huge fan of Ridley Scott and how you can watch Alien and Bladerunner, forty years later, and they still haven’t dated at all - just incredible. That level of detail and authentic world-building just astonishes me. Ron Cobb’s work on Alien, for me, is more impressive and important than HR Giger’s.
The art of Chris Foss, as I mentioned has always been a big influence. Great big ships. Crazy colours. Nothing like the kind of thing anyone else was doing. A huge plus of social media for me is that I’ve been able to exchange a few messages with people like Chris Foss and Ron Cobb.
More recently, the work of Ian McQue has been hugely influential. I only started drawing again, after a twenty year pause after art school, about nine or ten years ago, and I found Ian’s work pretty quickly on social media. His ability to not only draw very cool stuff, but also to build these incredible, believable, worlds just blows me away. I got a chance a while ago to work on some illustrations for a book that Ian also contributed too, still pretty proud of that.
Did you have a favorite scifi book and/or movie and/or whatever this year?
I’ve not read much lately. The pandemic weirdly put a spanner in my reading, that and the lack of a commute as I gave up freelancing as a graphic designer.
My favourite film of the year is 100% The Creator. An absolute masterclass of science fiction world building from Gareth Edwards and his team.
Do you play TTRPGs? What have you enjoyed this year?
I don’t. But I do want to get into gaming again. I stopped when I left school, and never got back into it.
As most of my work is for indie ttrpgs these days, I really should be playing some.
What do you do when you are blocked or uninspired?
Get away from my desk and into nature. I love being out in the countryside with my camera, photographing birds and other wildlife. It’s incredibly relaxing, particularly when I’m out in the woods, and I find it’s a great way to recharge.
I took my dad on a two week trip to Iceland last year, that was an incredibly inspiring couple of weeks and I came back from that absolutely full of energy and ideas.
What’s your “get shit done” music?
Nothing with lyrics. If I’m concentrating, it’s often no music at all. But if I do listen, it’s usually something vaguely modern classical. Erland Cooper’s Eynhallow EP is a good call usually.
I often have films on in the background while I’m drawing. Nothing new. Familiar films I know well, usually those I can quote the entire script of. Jaws for instance! Another perfect film.
What else have you been working on lately that you want to tell people about?
I’m constantly drawing spaceships. Even when my client work is drawing spaceships, I’ll be drawing spaceships for myself. I find it quite relaxing and a nice way to unwind.
The other big project I have on, which isn’t sci-fi, is my weird Lovecraftian tale, Innsmouth. Something that sprung from a couple of sketches of lighthouses I’d drawn
I started tweeting a story. Writing it as I tweeted, with no forward planning. It now spans about 13,000 words of story, and about the same again of background, plus a few dozen illustrations. At some point it’s going to get published, one way or another!
The sequel to my book of 2021, Weird Field World, is also in the works. The first book deals with Earth receiving dozens of messages from unknown aliens that include the instruction on how to build advanced spaceships. The sequel will be titled Weird Field War, which says enough I think.
Weird Field World - https://thisnorthernboy.gumroad.com/l/wfwbook
What advice do you have for someone that wants to break into [writing / illustrating / composing]?
By that I mean, don’t talk about or think about doing it, just do it.
If you want to draw, draw. Even if to begin with it’s only for a few minutes a day. Make a habit of it. Keep some Post-It notes on your desk, or a cheap sketchbook in your bag.
Draw. Draw every day, so that the days when you don’t get around to it, it feels like an itch wanting to be scratched.
What are your favorite drawing tools (particular pens, pencils, softwares, whatever… if you have favorites)?
I've always been a 'traditional' artist, drawing with a pen on paper - until recently. Fineliners, particularly Copic SP Multiliners, and a pad of heavy cartridge paper have been a staple for the last five or six years at least. Then for colour, Copic Ciao markers. Some other pens make fleeting appearances, Pigma Microns, Carbon Platinum fountain pens, Stabilo Point 88 felt pens… but I almost always come back to the Copic SP Multiliners.
But, recently, particularly with client work, and my own personal work that I want to produce as prints, I've gone digital. I used to REALLY struggle to draw digitally. I have a couple of Intuos Tablets, the kind that you draw on, while still looking at your computer screen. I could never really get past that disconnect between drawing in one place, but looking in another. Buying an iPad Pro solved that, but left me with another issue of drawing with a plastic stylus on a slippery sheet of glass. So, for digital work, on an iPad, a textured screen protector is an absolute must. Makes it feel like you're drawing on paper. (I wonder if kids brought up in a ddigital world will still have that obstacle to overcome?).
In terms of software, for drawing, it's Procreate. An iPad only bit of drawing software that is incredibly powerful and intuitive. It works seamlessly with the iPad and Apple Pencil, and is capable of everything from incredibly slick polished work to sketchy, traditional looking art. I really can't recommend it enough.
I still use Photoshop to do colour adjustments, or add gradients, and to clean up traditional sketches and scans. I also use Illustrator for graphics to add to my spaceships or robots.
Keep up with Rob on…
…and check out his amazing prints at https://www.inprnt.com/gallery/thisnorthernboy/