The Shape Game

Soo, I’ve been torturing my colleagues at work with a game I’ve imaginatively christened ‘The Shape Game’.

The idea is, you draw a series of abstract but interesting shapes on a sheet of A4. Don’t get distracted by trying to depict something, just enjoy making them. It’s a great chance to explore your brush, marker or digital equivalents.

You then leave it a day or two or a second or two if you are feeling some creative urgency, and then draw over them with a fine line to define the shapes into, well, whatever they look like to you.  It’s fun to explore and let your imagination go without an intimidating blank canvas.

Having basic shapes predefined…

  • Really helps your doodles have interesting and compelling silhouettes.
  • Forces you out of your creative comfort zone to make more interesting designs.
  • It also makes you draw things you wouldn’t typically draw – while sitting safely on the soft sofa of your comfort zone!

With traditional media, I’d use pencils at this stage, then do another pass with a pen. In some cases I’ve done a third pass with more marker.

The Children of the Shape Game

These three characters all came to life from the Shape Game. I took each one, redrew them then modelled them in Blender.

Get in Touch

Please get in touch, using the form below, if you would like to play the Shape Game. Give my colleagues at work a break!


    Step 1: Draw a series of blank, abstract shapes.


    Step 2: Draw over the shapes with a thin line.

    Current Events

    Recently I’ve decided to give the captivating world of 3D another go. This time my tool of choice has been Blender, the incredibly versatile open-source 3D application. Back in 2008 or so I gave Blender a try for the first time and I really liked it. While its UI is was unique, once you learned it, it had some really nice smooth workflows and its modelling performance wasn’t bad at all. However at that time, we had Maya, so I spent my time learning that instead because, well, that’s what everyone else was using. Coming back to Blender all these years later, it’s only gotten better and it’s feature set has exploded!

    Version 2.8 has a really workable 2D section in it called Grease Pencil. You can now add in 2D objects, place them in 3D space and animate them. Drawing easily on 3D planes and objects. It has pressure-sensitive brushes and a really cool sculpting toolset for lines – which are all vector. It feels really natural to use. Sculpting frame by frame is really satisfying.

    Anyway, to take it for a test ride, I thought I’d do a GIF. Hopefully the first of many. It’s kind of an autobiographical sketch of how I feel when I’ve watched the news for a little too long. Particularly the US news. Oh woe is the world!

    I should add that Dedouze’s YouTube tutorial was super helpful and of course he inspired the colour scheme. Thanks! To be fair, he and Robin Eisenberg inspired the colours.


    Please enjoy it and share it. Any accreditation would be appreciated.

    The GIF

    Concept Sketch


    5 Head Paintings

    100 Heads

    Ahmed Aldoori is an amazing painter and is also great at getting his painting methodology across. I was catching up on his videos recently when I saw that I was about 14 months late to an interesting 100 heads challenge that he did a video about. I found it interesting because I’d been itching to get back into painting in colour and I really liked the way he played with the references:

    • Not obsessing about accurate reproduction
    • Feeling free to play and stylise
    • Doing totally new colours if you feel like it

    This matches my current mood of injecting more play into my work and also basing my play on references. Doing such a large number might make for an interesting and identifiable series for people to follow. His references are still up on Pinterest so if you are interested you can see how much I’ve messed with them, or not, in the painting process.

    100 Heads | 1st Set

    I do slightly regret not cropping these to squares before uploading these to Instagram. It’s funny. I knew that. Work-me knows that. Play-me is different person.

    100 Heads | 2nd Set

    100 Heads | 3rd Set

    100 Heads | 4th Set

    Skater Study 02

    Skater Studies

    Doing studies of skateboarders is great because you get to study…

    • Dynamic poses
    • The figure in relation to the ground plane
    • Shadows
    • Fashion/Clothing/Wrinkles

    The lighting of skateboard photography is also usually bright and visible with defined shadows. Note to fellow Irish residents: Apparently other countries have this big hot yellow orb that hangs over them emitting a strong light.

    After two minute sketches, I revisited each, inking and colouring them to various levels of finish.