Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 Ends...

I don’t normally do ‘looking back’ posts, but 2015 was particularly interesting.

The year in freelance was good, lots of work for the always awesome Gun Metal Games on some really fun projects, with the opportunity to stretch my creativity and design some demons, as well as interpreting ideas that came in from Kickstarter backers. I got to only one convention, Dragondaze Charity Con - lots of fun, but I’m wondering about UK cons as a viable business idea for the work I do, at least without re-tooling the stock I’m selling. Something to turn over in my head a little more.
I got to do a little work for Pinnacle, the startup Arcanomicon (congrats on hitting your KS goal!), and I ended the year working on a longer-term basis with Cubicle 7, which is how I’m going to be entering 2016. It’s very enjoyable to be working on so many different projects, and virtually alongside some tremendous artists; it feels like an excellent place to be right now.

In Ludlow, this coming year will be my last full one as Ludlow Art Society chairman. In 2015 the LAS we navigated a (rather more abrupt than we'd expected) change of exhibition venue from the College’s Harley Centre over to St Laurence’s Church, which is a tremendous place and amazingly supporting of the LAS; hopefully we’re at the start of a lasting relationship here. We got more heavily involved in Fringe events (with brilliant local support - thank you especially to Mr Adam Tutt who put up with a lot of prep and storage of kit for the Paint Jam in and around Chang Thai), and we’re looking forward to getting stuck in again this coming year - plans are coming together right now. 2016 will be a milestone, the Society’s 70th year, and we’ve got a few ideas in mind to mark the occasion, and a strong programme for the next 12 months.

Thank you to all my friends for making this such a good year.

See you all in 2016 - when I'll unveil some new projects - and a very Happy New Year to you all!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Cubicle 7

I'm very happy to announce that on 2nd November I joined Cubicle 7 as their newest staff artist. Here's C7's press release:


The Cubicle 7 team is expanding! Sam Manley is joining us full time as a staff artist.
Sam is no stranger to Cubicle 7 titles, having worked on The One Ring Roleplaying Game, Doctor Who Card Game, The Laundry RPG, Cthulhu Britannica London Boxed Set and more. Beyond C7 he's worked for Fantasy Flight Games, Paizo, and many more.

Creative Director, Jon Hodgson:
“Sam is a highly skilled artist, whose work fits very neatly with the Cubicle 7 aesthetic. He's been a reliable and intelligent contributor to many of our games, including The One Ring Roleplaying Game and Doctor Who Card Game, so it's great to be able to bring him fully on board. I'm really looking forward to seeing what we produce together in the coming months!”

CEO, Dominic McDowall:
“At Cubicle 7 we're deeply committed to making some of the best looking games on store shelves. I know that as a gamer I'm hugely inspired by evocative game artwork, so it's important to me that our games look fantastic. It'll be awesome to have someone as talented as Sam bringing his work to the Cubicle 7 games we know and love.”

Sam Manley:
"I've had the pleasure of working with Cubicle 7 for some time, and it's always been great fun to contribute to their games. I'm very happy to be joining the team, and excited about the artwork I'll be creating."

See more of Sam's work:

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Drawllowe'en - 25-31

My final collection of Drawllowe'en sketches, and with them the challenge is complete!

Thank you, once again, for looking. Why not have a go yourself?

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Drawllowe'en - 18-24

The penultimate Drawllowe'en post, with seven more sinister sketches:

Thanks for looking, and come back next week when I'll have the very last Drawllowe'en sketches of 2015 :)

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Drawllowe'en - 11-17

It's the third weekly round-up of the sketches, with another batch of seven:

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Drawllowe'en - 4-10

The second Saturday round-up of my Drawllowe'en sketches, and I've managed to do all of them so far:

The Roswell alien's also called a 'grey'... I couldn't resist the joke :)

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Drawllowe'en - 1-3

I managed to get a little time to sketch for the first three days of Drawllowe'en, so here's my Saturday round-up:

Monday, 28 September 2015

Drawllowe'en 2015

I'm going to have a go at Drawllowe'en this year - the idea is to do a drawing for each day in October, with set topics (I've seen a couple of variations, but I'm using the first I saw). I've also set up a Facebook group 'Drawllowe'en: Ludlow Triangle' for any artists in the Shrewsbury-Hereford-Kidderminster triangle if they want to have a bash at it. Here's the sheet of topics:

I'll update this blog with collections of the sketches on Saturdays, with however many I managed to fit that week. Should be fun!

Friday, 25 September 2015

Updates, and a little balance

The banner pic has now been replaced, and there's a link to my portfolio on the right (my portfolio has a link to this sketch page at the bottom of the main page).

I've been working up some demons for Gun Metal Games' Codex Infernus, and as I was sketching out their postures I began going over in my head what I know about stances and balance. I figured it might be worth sketching some of this down, if only to solidify it - a little study is never a bad thing, and I could work 5 min here, 5 min there on breaks. Below is what I came up with, but if it's the sort of thing that interests you then you could do far worse than finding a copy of Loomis' Figure Drawing For All It's Worth.

I'm a fan of breaking problems down into their component parts, and as often as possible tackling one issue at a time :)

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Process gif for GW Art Test

I don't always keep stages of my paintings, but I have with a few recently and the GW Art Test is one of them. Sometimes it's fun to see how the piece came together, how some ideas changed and how pretty much the whole canvas is worked in each phase.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

New work, and sketch site update

This is something of a bits-and-pieces post:

This sketch blog is still very much under construction, with the top banner changing soon, and possibly some sort of page format brought back.

Dragondaze was great fun, the whole event managed to raise a couple of thousand for Barnardos, and after a slow start ended up being quite a good place for sales.

In the meantime I'm currently working to finish a series of commissions for Gun Metal Games's Codex Infernus, and I've got a new painting in the portfolio - a test piece for Games Workshop:

Ork vs Ultramarine

I'll have another update soon with a process gif, and then a later one with some sketches on the idea of balance.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Dragondaze Charity con

I'll be at the Dragondaze charity con (a convention in aid of Barnardos Young Carers) on Saturday (tickets HERE), and with me I'll have some brand new prints, some old favourites, some postcards, and some original drawings (along with a brand new pvc banner...)

I think I want to make conventions a much bigger part of what I do next year...

Anyway, I'll be by the cafe:

And these are some of the new prints I'll be selling:

If you're around, why not swing by and say hi? :)

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The Codex Infernus Cover

Let's re-open this sketch blog with a process gif of the cover I painted for Codex Infernus:

The Kickstarter for Codex Infernus is right HERE - go check it out!

The cover went through several versions before a full-page illustration was settled on:

An early pass of cover layout concepts

Exploring sketch 3 from the previous image

A discarded wraparound idea for the cover

Eventually, this sketch was settled on:
The green trim denotes the bleed

Which became this final illustration:

Thursday, 1 January 2015


This site will become a sketch blog again very soon, but for the moment will mirror my portfolio's front page.