The Fully Illustrated Blog

Updates and a Little Lego Side Project

July 19, 2013

Hey guys,

Since the recent birth of my son, my blog and site updates have been minimal, in fact they’ve been none existent.  So, today I’ve added a mammoth 16 projects to the site, including UI, icon, web, branding and 3D design! To add to this, I thought I’d add in a fun blog post about my latest little side project…which is project related would you believe!

Say hello to my Lego Roman Century!

Lego-Rome-01

Lego-Rome-05

Lego-Rome-04

Lego-Rome-03

Lego-Rome-02

 

This 80 soldier strong unit has a badass horse mounted Centurion, a small outpost and a wonderful countryside setting! Couple that with some cinematic photography and you have the setting for a new stop motion film…only kidding, I’m not doing that.

This little scene is a test set up for a game tie in I’m working on, so watch this space for some future game scenes mocked up in the Lego world!

Oh and I’d just like to add that this isn’t linked to Lego officially in anyway whatsoever, its just for fun. But Lego, if you’re watching, please make it so :)

Mike.

 

THE GAME Update 4 – Research Road Trip

November 16, 2012

Hello!

If you follow me on twitter you’ll know all about this story as I posted a step by step photo guide yesterday, but for those who don’t, this post is about my research road trip that I finished yesterday evening.

In the intent of getting truly inspired for this game, I decided to take 2 days out and take on an expansive research/location road trip to visit some of the most ancient sites in Britain. This trip has been little short of epic…and I don’t use that term lightly. I covered a whopping 700 miles to visit 6 amazing locations connected to the story of my game. This journey took me through valleys, over treacherous mountain trails and to the edge of the known world! All will become clear as you read on.

Day 1:

Its 9:00am and I’m packed and ready to roll. I’ve got more kit with me than a film crew! Ok so that’s over exaggerating, but I had a lot ;) I hit the road with a full belly and goal to reach what the Roman’s called ‘the edge of the known world’ or to modern day man, the incredible one of a kind, Hadrian’s Wall. This was the only wall of its kind in the entire Roman Empire, and spanned the entire 80 mile width of Britain. It was touted as a showing of Rome’s power, but was inevitably seen as a showing of fear as it was the only part of Europe that Rome just could not conquer. After roughly 100 years of continual fighting with the northern tribes, the Roman’s accepted defeated (something they’d never done before) and drew a line in the sand…a 12ft high, 8ft thick and 1500 soldier manned line! These guys were certainly scared of what lay beyond!

After 4hrs I arrived at my first location along the wall, the amazing Roman Army Museum, which had recently commissioned a superb short film (with very high production values I must say) to re-create life on the wall in 120AD. This film and museum gave me a spectacular insight into the world back then and really got me in the mood.

After a short walk it was then onto site two, the Vindolanda Fort ruins and attached museum. This place was awe inspiring to say the least!

Vindolanda Fort

Vindolanda was the most expansive Roman outpost to the north and was home to what equated to not only a full garrison but also an entire village. It was gigantic! I actually recorded some video here, but the howling wind and driving rain made it all but inaudible. Doh! What this site brought home to me was how much the Roman’s meant business. They set up shop here and weren’t budging…or so they thought. I can’t imagine how desolate it must have felt living up here during winter as these people would have been weeks’ worth of a trek away from the nearest town. No wonder the fort walls were immense. They even had specialised turrets to hold catapults! So that goes to show how much they lived in fear.

After this the light was starting to fade, so I figured I’d best take a quite jaunt down a section of the wall before the light died out entirely. I drove for another 30 mins to a great spot, donned my walking boots, packed up the camera kit and set off…20 mins later I was back in my car, dripping wet, freezing cold and calling it a day. The wind and rain was intense and I was soaked to the core. I did get one reasonable photo though.

Hadrian's Wall

Oh and before you think me a big softy, I’m a northerner, I’m used to our weather and I do a lot of walking/mountain biking, but the weather today was just too much ;)

So, after a very long day I started the long haul back to my hotel. Steak pudding, followed by sticky toffee pudding rounded the day off nicely, warmed the cockles of my wintry heart and sent me off into a solid nights sleep.

Day 2:

EPIC is defined by today’s planned excursion! Its 8:30am, I have belly full of locally farmed eggs and Cumberland sausage and am ready to take on the Hardknott Pass in search of Rome’s most remote outpost, the Hardknott Fort! This pass (unbeknown to me at the time) is widely known as one hell of a mountain trail to take on, on your own. Especially in the pouring rain on a cold, howling winter’s morning! But being set in my ways and warned by the hotel manager that this pass isn’t for the faint hearted, I started up my Land Rover and set forth!

As I draw near to the main pass I am greeted by a sign pre-warning me in layman’s terms, ‘don’t try this if you scare easily’. Well, I carry on regardless. If you look below in the first image, there is a V shape in the far right on the distant mountain…that’s where I’m heading.

Approaching Hardknott Pass

After 20 mins I’m thinking to myself, this aint too hard, in fact, it’s pretty easy…then I see the monumental climb ahead of me and how I am about to climb a 1,289 ft mountain path. Oh mamma, this is looking scary…but exciting! The path gets narrower and narrower reaching points where its 6ft wide at its absolute widest and in places there are sheer drops literally feet away from the edge of my wheels. ‘What the hell am I doing’ I think to myself. I’d got to a point where turning back was no easy option, so onward I went. The road was THAT steep at points (turning in on itself with crazy hairpins that took full lock in 1st gear to only just manage) that I couldn’t even see the road ahead as it was that high up and beyond the view through my windscreen! Scared? Hell yes, but the adrenaline kept me going.

Luckily I’ve done off road training in my 4×4, so I knew what to do to keep on going safely. I can see why so many cars end up crashed on this pass.

Finally, I reach the peak! Good god, the view back was AMAZING! I’d stuck my handbrake on big time and shoved it in 1st before getting out as I was terrified of the car rolling backward under the pressure of the incline. Just look at that view. See the tiiiiiiiiiny line snaking off in the distance, yeah, that’s the path I just took.

The Hardknott pass peak

As I started my descent, I decided that another shot looking forward was now called for. This looks like nothing I know, but what you can’t see here is the fact that the path drops drastically down, via ultra-tight hairpins right the way to the bottom. So much so I was almost stood up in my car trying to see over my bonnet to see where the hell the road was! It was THAT steep.

Hardknott pass descent

So after this incredible drive, disaster struck. I couldn’t bloody find Hardknott fort! The mist, low cloud and horrendous rain made finding the walk-able/climbable path invisible. Damn it! On the upside, I got a real life experience of what it must have been like to be up there, and man, it was horrible. I sure wouldn’t want to live there through a harsh British winter! I pity the poor souls manning this outpost.

At the bottom I took a moment to rest, reflect on that great hour long journey and then head to Castlerigg Stone Circle!

1hr later I arrived at one of my most favourite places in the entire world. This stone circle is awe inspiring in every respect.

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Its location just blows your mind as its set overlooking the meeting point of a number of spectacular mountains. The pilgrimage that the ancient Britons must have made to reach such a place would have been overwhelming. This world has little to no true magic or spirituality left in it (as science makes a point of explaining everything away), and this place can still strike a chord deep inside you! Goodness knows how incredible Castlerigg must have been to the Pagan worshipers back then.

I spent a good 40 mins just walking around here as it was so incredibly peaceful. Quite the contrast to Hardknott!

Onward once more back to Harridan’s Wall. While it was still raining and rather dank, I was determined to walk a section and get some shots.

Finally I managed a 45 minute trek up and down a section of the wall before a bad-ass weather front was threatening to make my walk back rather nasty. I got a few shots, stood in the foundations of one of the watchtowers and just spent time taking in the feel of the land. What an amazing experience. Life on this wall, keeping watch over the barbarian hordes of the north must have been a bloody awful job.

Hadrian's Wall

So, upon reaching my Land Rover again, cold slightly wet and ready to see my family again, I set back on the long haul home. If I could describe the whole experience, I’d say grim, brutal, harsh and depressing…but all in an incredibly inspiring way. I have a solid vision for the game now and cannot wait to get the artwork in full production!

Stay tuned for the next update!

INSPIRED!!!

 

Happy New Year & a little freebie :)

January 13, 2012

Hey Everyone,

Happy New Year!!!  I’m a little late off the mark with that comment, but hey, it’s the thought the counts right!

I’m massively excited about 2012 as there is SO much going on here at Fully Illustrated. Loads of new releases, announcements, you name it. It’s going to be a majorly busy 12 months.

Part of my new year resolution is to get back to the two things I love, fitness and photography, and in view of this, I’d like to share a photo that I took today on a cross country lunchtime trek!  It’s such a still day today so I thought it would be great to get down to a local forest/reservoir and get some great reflection shots around the water’s edge.

If this little shot takes your fancy, I’ve also included a fully functional iPad & iPhone wallpaper of it too. Enjoy :)

 

Here’s to 2012!

Mike.

 

Spring is here, the most beautiful time of the year!

April 28, 2011

Hey Everyone,

Its been a while since my last post.  I’ve been insanly busy over the recent months, but just wanted to say hi and post up two lovely photos I just took in some nearby woodland.  I’ve mentioned a few times how nature is one of my biggest sources of insipiration, and when springtime comes along, and everything comes into bloom, it brings me sooooo many visual ideas.  One of the best parts of spring is the arrival of bluebells, carpeting the woodland floor with a rich purple haze.  Its stunning, and this year, I thought I’d try to capture some of that in a couple of photos.  Take a peek below…

So yes, there you go, a couple of nice nature shots.  Quite a dramatic step away from my usual all action video game work ;)

If you’re wondering how I take direct inspiration from things like this, its all about light, colours, tones and palettes.  Just look at how well those purples work with the greens.  I’ll eye drop all the colours in these photos and save the pallete for a future project.

Mike.

 

Swarovski featured one of my Eagle Photo’s!

March 2, 2011

I recieved an email recently from Swarovski, asking to purchase one of my Steppe Eagle photos!  I was totally bowled over by this as my photography work has only ever been (except for a 6 month stint as a commercial photographer) a personal venture.  I absolutely love shooting birds of prey, so to see the fruits of my labour being used like this was rather rewarding.

With that said though, as I’d shot this photo for Turbary Woods Bird of Prey Sanctuary, I decided that the proceeds from this sale should go entirely to the santuary, as those guys need all the help they can get, especially in the winter months.

Anyway, that’s it really, I just wanted to share my excitement.

Mike.

 

FI-Faves...

Farming Simulator 15

I was super excited about working on this as it was my first official next gen project!

fully-illustrated-harrier2-fave

Harrier

Ok, ok, boring I know, another Harrier Jump Jet...but they are sooo cool! This one is propped up like a toy in Manchester's wonderful Imperial War Museum, so I just had to shoot it.

Twittering

Follow me on Twitter

No public Twitter messages.