My North London 'Studio' Feb 2010 - Iain McCaig was devastated to see there are no brushes, no paint spatters, no jars of water, no masking tape, no mess! The digital age is not quite as romantic as the Renaissance.
I was born in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland in 1967. My mum and Dad are retired primary school teachers and my Dad is an artist working mostly on watercolour landscapes. I have 6 brothers and sisters and I was brought up in a household where we all drew all the time.
I moved to London in 1987 where I live with my partner Charlotte and our son Eolan who is a budding film maker.
After a few false starts doing everything from cute animal Christmas cards to illustrations for school books my career proper started when I was commisioned to do video game cover artwork for Virgin games in 1989- 90. I then got asked to do cover art and comic strips for the British weekly anthology 2000AD, initially on the title's flagship strip about the fascist future cop 'Judge Dredd' before moving on to the Celtic Axe-wielding hero 'Sláine' . In 1997 the director Steve Barron commissioned me to do character designs for the Hallmark mini-tv series 'Merlin'. I continued to work on several Hallmark TV productions as a concept artist including Alice in Wonderland, Arabian Nights (directed by Barron) and Jason and the Argonauts.
In 1998 I sent a portfolio to the Star Wars art department headed by design director Doug Chiang. Doug asked me to join the concept design team for Episode ii; Attack of the Clones in 1999. I spent the following year working with concept designer Iain McCaig and costume designer Trisha Biggar on characters and costumes.
Iain was and is a great mentor and I learned a lot from him about story telling and narrative as the basis for design, lessons that I pass on to anyone who will listen to this day.
After Star Wars I worked for Production Designer Stuart Craig on several of the Harry Potter productions at Leavesden studios outside London. Stuart is a brilliant and generous designer who, like Iain, encourages his team to always ask why a set or a character or a prop is the way it is, to look for the story in everything we design.
I stayed in London to work on Batman Begins and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, before moving to Berlin to work on V for Vendetta and then in 2005 moving to San Francisco to rejoin Doug Chiang for the motion-capture movies Beowulf and A Christmas Carol.
Below are articles that are either published media or are no longer active links.
I returned to London in 2008 but continued to work remotely for Californian production companies including Dreamworks (Megamind, Guardians of Childhood), 2K Games (Bioshock 2) and a short stint designing Tharks for Pixar's John Carter movie.
In February 2009 I was hired by Tim Burton to help with post-production visuals , in camera art and marketing illustrations for Burton's semi-animated Alice in Wonderland film. Working with Tim was a reminder of just how good my career can be when you are working with someone who is passionate about what they do, cares about the details, know that story counts for everything and understand that designs don't have to be highly rendered to be understood.
I am currently hopping from one freelance gig to another while waiting for the next big project to get off the ground. And using the downtime to get my blogGoblin back to the planet...he's been in space too long.
Interviews and Articles
Sidebar nation Interview
Imagine FX interview
When you click the link the articles will open up in a separate window.
Star Wars episode 2 interview 1999
Interview for 'Imagine' arts magazine 2002
Digital Fantasy Painting Workshop 2005
Interview for Digital Creative Arts 2005 (there are two pages missing from this…I am still trying to find them)
Article about digital illustration for Perspective-tek magazine 2007
Article for Imagine FX Magazine
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
John Carter of Mars (Pre-production concept art)(2012)
Dreamworks; MasterMind (now Oobermind)(2010)
Dreamworks; The Guardians of Childhood (2012)
Mars Needs Moms (2010)
A Christmas Carol (2009)
Nutcracker: the untold story (2009)
V for Vendetta (2005)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Batman Begins (2005)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Jason and the Argonauts (2000)
Arabian Nights (2000)
Alice in Wonderland (1999)
Bioshock 2 (2010)
Spectrum entry 2007 edition
Wired Magazine Editorial Illustration (2006)
Warcraft trading cards (2006-7)
Wizard of the Coast trading cards (1997-98)
Sláine: Treasures of Britain (1996)
Batman Master Series (1996)
Sláine: Demon Killer
Batman The Ultimate Riddle (1995)
Judge Dredd: Book of the Dead (1993)
Judge Dredd: Muzak Killer (1991 collected 96)