As some of you may know ( if you have read my profile), between the years 1984 and 1994 I worked almost exclusively on Thomas The Tank Engine artwork, having revamped the character for Britt Allcroft who created the tv series. To date, I have posted very little of this artwork on RB simply because I don’t have ANY of it as original art, only printed in the form of books and jigsaws etc. However recently, I stumbled across a site Here
which showed this poster I did, asking if anyone knew who created it, so I got in touch with them and told them it was me. Since doing so, they have added some more examples of my TTTE work, some of which, I had forgotten about. They got the dates wrong, but who cares?
This poster would have been painted in the late 80’s, or early 90’s using traditional media, predominantly gouache, using a LOT of airbrush, ink, and colored pencil. It would have taken 2, 3 or even 4 weeks to create (including about a week just to conceptualise and draw up) and would probably be around AO size. I was usually paid around 500 GBP for such artworks. There were no royalties involved.
Digital art was in it’s infancy then and although I was tinkering around with it for my own amusement (some of my early digital works from this period have been posted on RB) there was no way I could have done the TTTE artwork using it, as graphics tablets didn’t exist and painting with a mouse was a nightmare. The software available was also very basic. If I was to paint this now, there is NO WAY I would do it any other way but digitally, for all the reasons I have spoken of numerous times here previously, so I won’t bore you by repeating them.
What is interesting about this particular piece is the composition style which I developed, mainly for posters and jigsaws, in order to allow me to show as many characters as possible in a reasonably ‘believable’ setting. As you can see, it involves a number of different ‘levels’ showing not only different railway tracks, but also roads, so I was able to show Bertie the Bus and Sir Topham Hatt’s car. Harold the Helicopter was nearly always included somewhere, usually hovering in the sky, not on the ground.
This format is still being used, even though I haven’t worked on the character now for over a decade. I recently saw it used on a children’s TTTE ride-on carousel in a shopping precinct where I go busking. The other tell-tale ‘trademark’ of mine are the daisies, buttercups and foxgloves along the sides of the roads. These appear in just about every TTTE piece I painted and once again, they are still used.
The other interesting point about this particular poster is that it shows a scene based on many fishing villages in Cornwall, where I lived at the time, although I made the whole scene up, unlike my WWF artwork which is all based on photographs. This scene has elements of villages called Looe and Padstow in it. Those of you who know Cornwall may recognise them.
As far as c/r infringement goes, I’m pretty sure I’m on safe ground here as it’s my artwork and I’m not offering it for sale. If anyone knows otherwise, please advise.