Monday, 24 June 2013

The inevitable switch.

In the 3 years since I began this blog, I have accumulated a whopping 21 followers. A few of which I know are no longer active. Needless to say, it hasn't been the most substantial investment of time and as such, I only find myself posting once-a-month or less. I started a Tumblr this year to run concurrently with this blog and it already has a (still pretty poor) 19 followers- so I'm going to switch over full time.

See you on the other side! At

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Deadlines by Quarzone

I've started to become interested in graphic design lately- which is a good thing because there's much more security in the kind of design work you can find. So, as a gateway into the world of design I decided to create a poster.

Granted this is a lot more illustration than it is design, but the ratios will shift! That said, I certainly will NOT be leaving illustration behind at any point. Design can just be another tool under the old belt.

Also included is the made-up Quarzone logo- it's a start!

Thursday, 25 April 2013


Marina from Kristian Duffy on Vimeo.

Just a little suttin' suttin' done in After Effects to keep that part of my brain oiled up. It's all 2D planes in 3D space. The birds are my favourite bit, their wings and body are 2 separate pieces slotted together like a paper model, pretty cool!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Spoilt Princess (and a bit of a process post)

Well, this one was a bit of a slog. Hot off the heels of last week's 70s bedroom, I wanted to play with light some more. However, this style is beginning to show signs of over-use and it's becoming a little automatic (which is great for when I have client work. Creatively on the other hand, it's time to mix it up a little).

Anyway I thought I'd show some of the process here. I plan on doing a complete 'my process' post in the near future for my site. This is not that (because my screenshots aren't in-depth enough). It is however, a more constructive view of my illustration than what you're used to seeing on here.

1) I sketch it out. I'm terrible at keeping a sketch book so no practice makes me far less than perfect. This stage tends to be repeated up to 10 times until the final drawing is produced.

2) I do a quick colour test.

3) I then add the final lick of paint over the whole thing (this is the bit that will be covered better in my full process post). Basically, I start with block colours, then add shade and highlights, finally I use some gradients to deepen particular areas (seen in the next step). Throughout this process I had some placeholder lighting to help with composition (taken straight from the earlier colour test).

4) I add the proper lighting. I've always been obsessed with lighting, here's a direct quote: "Bad lighting can ruin a good drawing, and in my case, vice versa." - Kristian Duffy, 1608

(This screenshot was taken in reverse so it's not an exact pinpoint in the process. It is however, an estimate of the illustration pre-adjustment layers.)

5) I overlay the whole thing with various Photoshop adjustment layers. These things can completely change the mood of an image and I rely (sometimes a bit too heavily) on them to tweak the mood of my illustrations. Up until about 3 years ago, I would never do this for fear of 'cheating'. Then of course, I realised it's called making use of your tools- do photographers cheat when they change the exposure on their cameras?

I'll also go further into these in my full process post, they're magical life savers!

6) Finally I uploaded this particular piece to twitter (@UndercoverCroc) asking for critique. A couple of fine folk gave me some handy tips so I went back and made tweaks to: The lighting, adjustment layers and colours. *Edit* a few days on I decided the cropping was a bit off so I extended the image a touch (see the first bigger pic at the top of this post)

That's it, I hope you all enjoyed my slightly more analytical post. I'm trying mum, I'm trying! More to come in the future so watch this space.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Communication Editorial

This was originally going to be a 2 parter (and still may be!) showing communication in the 70s versus now. But I liked it enough to let it stand alone for now.

and in an unusual twist, here's the initial sketch! You can finally see just how rough I start out (very, very rough). It's usually worse than this, actually...

I take this and refine, redo, refine, redo, refine until the sketch is very close to the foundation for the final piece. One of these days I'll get round to doing a full process post.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Undercover Croc

Finally went and launched my new site!

With it, I created a whole new brand for myself as a children's illustrator. This will now take me through to what will hopefully be some big commissions on the horizon. Next up is promotion!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Lost Teddy

I've never really illustrated a rainy day before so this was new to me. Hope you all like it!

(Click to enlarge)

...and some close ups from the high res version:

Monday, 18 February 2013

Sports Illustration

Continuing the expanse of my children's folio. Enjoy some sports!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Adventurous Puppies

Here's a couple of illustrations I did to show continuity of character, hope you likey! Click to enlarge

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Hansel and Gretel 3.0

This is the third (and probably final) iteration of this illo now. I re-did it to fit in with my new portfolio.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Monster Car

A nice dynamic scene for a made-up picture book. Still re-building my tutorial for children’s work. Hope y'all like:

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Classroom Scene

This one took a long time! Mostly because of my lack of composition skills. BUT! Thanks to all the revisions I learnt a lot about compo in the process, including the golden rule and rule of thirds.

I missed a pretty crucial part of art education. I went from school to college (which in the UK is a stop gap before university, ages 16-18) where I studied games design for 2 years. It was during this time that most illustrative folk do a foundation course in fine art. Life drawing, perspective, composition, colour theory all that. So I missed the foundation and went to University to study illustration. I learned plenty on my uni course but none of those basic concepts, and so I haven't got a clue what 2 point, 1 point, 3 point perspective is and I'm only just figuring out composition.

Anyway I'm rambling, here's the illo:

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


Forgot to post this before Christmas:

Happy new year everyone, hope you had a good time