Freelance Illustrator

Welcome to my blog


Here you will find all the other bits; from sketches and works in progress, final pieces and descriptions, to equipment/art supply reviews.

By jackbaker, May 15 2017 12:25PM

Recently I was given the opportunity to review some of Saal Digital's wall decor. Because I am an artist, this was a perfect chance for me to try out a print company. I hadn't heard of Saal Digital before, so I was unsure of what to expect. I decided to go with a 40 X 60cm canvas print of my recent painting, Zeus' Lovers.

Key Points

- Packaging & Presentation

- Print Quality

- Build Quality/Materials

- Conclusion

Packaging & Presentation

The delivery guy arrived with a big box, and I mean a BIG box, which was kind of to be expected seeing as I went for the biggest canvas that I could get. At first I thought that perhaps it was a little large for the size. However, upon opening I realise it's size was due to the amount of protective packaging they had used to keep my print safe.

The canvas was supported by an incredibly thick piece of card and then wrapped in plastic to keep it secure and prevent it from being damaged in transit.

Print Quality

Now, this is where we get to the important parts of the review.

I don't have too much to compare this to, apart from two canvases I recieve a couple of years ago of some of my older work. The print quality on them was good, very good. The only problem was the ink from the print scratch off of the canvas quite easily, so you had to be very careful with them. I don't know if this is a common thing, but I haven't noticed the same from this yet.

The print has come out beautifully, and has a great range of colours. My only problem with it is parts of it are quite dark, and it has lost some of the detail in the darker parts of the print. This may be because the print might not be intended for highly detailed artwork. Or it could be because it is quite a dark painting in places. I will have to do some testing on other printed surfaces. However, it still looks rather beautiful none the less.

Build Quality

Probably an odd subject when reviewing a print, however I think with a canvas it is quite relevent. Or at least it is relevent to look at the materials used.

So the canvas feels to be a pretty thick material, and I can't imagine it would be easy to tear or damage. Not that I want to try! The frame feels sturdy, and doesn't seem to bend or wobble in the slightest. Again, not that I really want to try to bend it too much! It came with four pieces of would, that are pictured above, to keep the frame stretched.


In conclusion, I think this is a good quality printed canvas, however I wouldn't say the quality is high enough for an artist to use it as part of a limited run of prints. It is great for family photos etc to hang in your home, and the art does look great on it. It just doesn't scream quality like you would expect of a high priced limited edition print. But that isn't it's purpose, so it does suit it's purpose well.

Like I said previously, I have two canvas prints before, and whilst the print quality wasn't any better or worse, the price was a lot more affordable for a similar sized print. And if I wanted to use this to resell the price make it difficult to do so and make a profit. Again, I think this is intended for family photos etc in your home.

Where to buy: Saal Digital

Price: £49


- good build quality

- Nice Range of Colours

- Well Packaged

- Fast Delivery


- Dark Colours, and lost details in the dark areas

- Price

By jackbaker, Apr 6 2017 06:45PM

You have probably read a million posts like this. "Hey, I'm on Patreon, come and give me money". And yes, I guess I am asking for money by launching my Patreon. Not because I want to make more money, or because that is all it is about even, but because it enables you to see the type of artwork that both you and I enjoy.

Now I love my clients, and I have loved working for them. I also plan to continue working for them; so don't get me wrong this isn't me completely ditching that idea. I do plan to move away from doing as much client work however, and Patreon makes that completely possible. I hope to focus more of my time into making passion projects and personal art. Art that I connect with and I believe you do also. Especially judging by the response I get from my work versus my client work. I think being able to put a part of myself in to the piece really helps to bring it into the light.

Becoming a Patron makes that totally possible. Not only do you get to help me in my pursuit of happiness, but also you get some awesome content and the opportunity to be a contributor towards something much bigger.

Anyway, enough of that!

"What is Patreon?"

I hear you asking. Well, let me tell you... Patreon is a crowdfunding platform not so dissimilar to the likes of Kickstarter or Indiegogo. The difference being on Patreon you hold an on-going campaign with much lower costing reward tiers. Currently I am creating fantasy paintings, which I break down into process images and video tutorials as well as desktop wallpapers and high resolution files.

On Patreon the creator can set 'stretch goals'. I currently have a low one set to get things moving, but my future goals will enable me to create even more awesome content for my Patrons. The first of which will be a series of cards and postcards of my art, which I will send out to the Patrons of that tier. Later goals I am hoping will lead to the possibility of limited edition prints being opened to my Patrons first. Almost as a pre order type thing.

So what exactly am I making right now?

So I have made four tiers so far. They are as follows:

Acolyte Tier

. Process images with written explanations

. Patron only email address

Apprentice Tier

. All previous rewards

. HD desktop wallpaper

Adept Tier

. All previous rewards

. Layered Photoshop documents (this is a great resource for a behind the scenes look at what I do!)

Mage Tier

. All previous rewards

. Full resolution final paintings

. Video tutorials of around 30 minutes with spoken instructions

For me, showing people how to draw or paint characters is really exciting. I'm not saying I am the best teacher, or even a good teacher. In fact I am pretty awkward, but I have made a process that works for me and I would love to share that with you.

I am both a Spatial and Kinesthetic learner. Meaning I learn best by watching someone else and then physically trying it myself. By creating art video tutorials it gives the opportunity for most learning types, including hands on learning because you can put the techniques learnt into practise!

One of the most exciting parts of all of this is I hope to learn and improve as an artist myself.

Take a look at a tutorial I released ahead of my Patreon launch:

Becoming a Patron. One of the best ways for you to be a part of something awesome!

With your support you have the opportunity to help me create artwork that I am sure you will love. That and you will be rewarded with some awesome content. I want to bring you the best that you can get while making what I love. What you love.

All new paintings and art tutorials once or twice a month. And you hear about it first. That's right, I will be posting all updates and art straight to Patreon before anywhere else.

Big content. Small price.

Rewards for you start at as little as $1 per painting, up to twice a month. And you should know you can set a maximum, meaning no unexpected costs!

Imagine what we can achieve together.

I want to hear your suggestions too. I want to know what art you want to see. I want to work with you, not for you. With the Patron only email address I encourage you to send me your ideas and suggestions. Because what is this for if it isn't to have you involved?

Find out more today!

By jackbaker, May 2 2016 10:40AM

Skies of sea life, oceans of pollution, a world of magic, an order of elite whales, and one to rule them all. This is only the beginning...

Over the past year, amongst freelance work, I have been slowly chipping away at what I hope to turn into a successful brand of it's own. Admittedly I am yet to have a name, and I do not have a ton of work created, but I feel like things are heading in the right direction. As you may have noticed I am not the most adept writer, so soon I plan to collaborate with a writer to help give this story some substance, some life.

This started as simply painting flying whales, and now I hope to expand into different realms of the ocean's life. This is a mix between fantasy and future worlds. Post apocalyptic yet serene. This is soon to make much more sense.

For now, please enjoy some of the work contributed to date...

'Sedna' Guardian of the Skies
'Sedna' Guardian of the Skies
'Spirit Whale'
'Spirit Whale'
'Reaping Death Orca'
'Reaping Death Orca'
'Whales VS Squids'
'Whales VS Squids'
'Pirate Narwhals'
'Pirate Narwhals'

By jackbaker, Aug 21 2015 03:09PM

Whilst for me a lightbox may seem fairly redundant, as I am a digital artist, I have been keen to try one for quite some time. So when the folks at Dbmier gave me the oppurtunity to try one of their new products I was delighted!

Lightboxes are often used by art proffesionals in the animation industry to replicate characters in different poses, or used by tattoo artists to piece together designs. However, as a fantasy illustrator I plan to use my lightbox to streamline my sketching process.

In this review I will cover several key points regarding the Dbmier lightbox in hope that it may assist others in deciding where to make their purchase when searching for a similar product.

Key points:

- Packaging/Presentation

- Build Quality

- Set Up/Instructions

- Usability

Packaging and Presentation

Upon ridding my new toy of the over sized Amazon packaging (I hope you are reading this Amazon!) I discovered the vastly smaller Dbmier box inside. Now, call me pedantic, but to me presentation is everything and can make all the difference. Perhaps that is just the artist in me? So when I got to the device's box, I was mildly disappointed as it was in a plain, minimal brown box that lifted at the top. It didn't even have a Dbmier logo on it. This isn't a huge issue however, as it served it's purpose and I believe at present it isn't available in shops. If it does hit shelves though, I think they would hugely benefit from having eye-catching packaging (hire me Dbmier!).

Included in the box was the lightbox device, power cord and instructions. The lightbox was wrapped in a protective sleeve with the corners consumed by polystyrene. The power cord had a smaller box of its own, and the instructions were placed on top.

Overall the packaging was great for protecting it, but it could have done with being made more appealing. Again, that is just my opinion though and shouldn't put anyone off.

Build Quality

On first impression this lightbox seems very thin, and because of that you would expect it to be very flimsy as it is made from a single sheet of acrylic. However, on closer inspection you realise it is in fact very rigid. It doesn't bend or flex, even when put under pressure. Measurement marks and a black border encompass the 'active area' where the touch sensitive on/off button is located. It has three settings with varying degrees of illumination controlled via the on/off button with a single, double or triple press. Press it one more time and the device will shut off.

All seems to be great, however the only issue I have found with it is when left plugged in to the mains it will randomly turn on of it's own accord. I do not know if this is a common fault, or if it is a defect in only my device. Either way it is not an issue as I can simply unplug it when it is not in use, and that brings me to my next point. When you're not using it, because of it's very slim design, it is easy to whip it off your desk and store it away in a draw or cupboard.

Set up and Instructions

This section is going to be quite brief, and that is a good sign because this lightbox is so easy to get set up and running. Simply pull it out the box, throw it on your desk, plug the mains in and turn it on. Nothing else needed.

I would love to give you an in-depth review of the instructions, but I simply can't because I didn't use them. I know, typical man! But it really is that easy to set up and use. However, there was a small instructions booklet included which I assume pretty much lists what I stated above to set it up, accompanied by some form of warnings etc.


Again, this section will also be quite short, as with such a simple device there isn't really much to say on usability.

It is a lightbox, you use it to trace designs, move parts of your art and generally clean up your line work. It is simple to turn on, and once on there is nothing holding you back. The on/off button doesn't protrude from the facia meaning there is nothing to catch on your equipment and you get a very smooth and streamlined experience. What more is there to say than that?

Conclusion and Pros/Cons

My conclusion is; that if you're looking for a lightbox to aid in your design work, this is a great option. It is easy to set up and use, it is slim and easy to store and it comes in three different sizes to suit your needs. This is definitely a great tool to add to your arsenal.

Where to buy:


Price When Rated:

A4 - £49.99

A3 - £69.99

A2 - £89.99


Easy to set up and use

Does exactly what it is intended for

Nice clean design

Three light settings

Slim and easy to store

Great price

Fast delivery


Packaging was very bland and simple (though very protective)

Lightbox turns on by itself when left plugged into mains

Thank you for reading! If you liked this review, and you have a product that you would be interested in getting a review for it would be great to hear from you! Oh and be sure to share this to help our fellow artists!

Thank you Dbmier!

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