View Full Version : Secret Agent Entry: Nick Harris

06 June 2009, 12:06 AM
Nick Harris is entered in the "Secret Agent" update: View Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Work In Progress: NickHarris-secagen-wip-17 (

06 June 2009, 03:21 PM

Hope I'm not visiting gound that too many others are walking around in already with this. I was thinking about the early years of 007 and what pranks he may have gotten up to. The plan is to have him and a female counterpart (?) tackling some straightforward quest in a domestic situation, like getting some forbidden cake for instance, but having it be much more complicated and stealthy than the lengths the average kid might go to.
It's only the first stop idea and sketch, and hopefully will develop into something better formed and more involving. At least it's a starting point.

Haven't had any time to browse but am sure that the level of ideas and entries is way up there already. I look forward to when I do have that time, and know I won't be disappointed.

06 June 2009, 03:36 PM
hi there. nice concept indeed. but i can't see the chocolate cake yet if you have put it on our image.

about the lighting, i prefer to not using light blue for the left skylight, since the indoor lamp is on, so it's must be night, and it's dark enough. if there is another light outside, maybe it's better to use warm garden/terrace lamp.

06 June 2009, 06:48 PM (

Went a tiny bit further, but yep, I do think I might turn it around to make the cake more obvious.
It's hiding in the kitchen at the moment, and may be hard to spot, even when worked up if I take it forward like this. Composition would be problmatic to make dynamic too.

06 June 2009, 06:51 PM (

'Do we have to go through this kind of rigmarole to cut the cake every birthday, James?'

06 June 2009, 07:13 PM
HI Nick!

It's great that you can join this challenge!
I am sure you will be able to come up with something great as usual.
Welcome aboard!:beer:

06 June 2009, 08:23 PM
WOW Nick! genius idea this is!!:buttrock: :applause: ...funny too i like it! have no fear of of this theme being over-used LOL

your sketches are AWESOME! may i give you a little idea? ;)
i don't know if many parents will leave a cake in the middle of the living room :shrug: :D so what do you think about this:
use the angle from your first sketch, but let us see it from inside the kitchen (the parent(s) or a stern-looking grandmother or something is sprawled sleeping on the chair (remote probable dangling from her fingers ...heh heh ) and in the forground the yummy iced cake on the countertop! lol .. and of course our two agents! LOL
i like the idea from the first sketch how they look to crouched down keeping an eye on the "guards" :D

however, you go ahead and do your thing!!! lol i'm sure it will be awesome!:wip: :scream:
can't wait to see more


06 June 2009, 08:48 PM
Great idea,:D Go for it and positive energy to you :)

06 June 2009, 02:41 PM (

Thanks for the encouragement chaps, and especially the ideas and feedback. All invaluable.

I'm playing around with differnt angles, scenarios and figure groups. Don't look at for composition, because there isn't any in this as such - it's just me trying to work things out in terms of floor plan etc, really. I'm beginning to think that setting this sort of raid at an evening soiree might be more appropriate, have better 007 connotations and give more scope for fun. There have to be a thousand more things I can do than the feeble hints at spying and gizmos I have so far. Heath Robinson imagery beckons.

06 June 2009, 04:01 PM
Really nice angles and perspective on all of your sketches so far. The personality of your sketches is awesome... playful yet sophisticated. Can't wait to see more!

06 June 2009, 04:26 PM
always getting better on each sketch. really great. i like the angle

06 June 2009, 09:11 PM

Thanks again for the encouragement, chaps. This previsualisation part is often the most fun bit, playing around with ideas and possibilities. before I get bogged down in how exactly I'm going to put the thing together and maybe even make it work.

Righto then. Change of venue. At a cocktail party this time. As I added characters I began to wonder whether or not I should make them all spies, doing the dirty on each other? Planting bugs, taking sneaky photos, pick-pocketing secrets etc. All neutralising each other in effect - And the only successful mission is the kiddies' quest for cake. Need a whole load more working out to have that even close to showing, let lone working though. Probably be better/funnier with more kiddies running diversionary tactics too.

06 June 2009, 10:17 PM
wow!! these sketches you're rolling out are just awesome!:arteest::thumbsup:...i know it will be great. can't wait to see more!!:scream:

keep 'em coming nick! lol

06 June 2009, 10:41 AM (

Gosh, thanks Karisa. Glad you're liking me playing about.
A lot more fumbling around in the half light to do yet before I stumble on the blend I'm looking for. Here's the next fumble.

06 June 2009, 12:24 PM
heh heh! this scene is hilarious!:D i like that he is caught in the act and the expressions on both faces is funny! i think you've got it how you chose to have the spy's body dangling!! :arteest:
awesome nick! i'm really really liking this:buttrock:guess now it's just to put your compo together...can't wait to see that !

over an' out!! :wavey:

06 June 2009, 06:09 PM (

Righto. I've widened it and changed the emphasis a bit to having girly at the front be in charge of diversionary tactics. All the dubious characters reaching for their weapons perhaps?

06 June 2009, 06:21 PM
wip 5 is my favourite- I like the composition, it's rather Norman Rockwellish, if the composition were to be tightened up a little it'd be fantastic. The wideview one is cool, but detracts the attention from the action. Just my 2 euro cent worth...


06 June 2009, 09:33 PM
Thanks for the input Theresa. I like that one, but will probably go with the wider view and try to include that sort of character interaction throughout the scene, to give the viewer more to look at. Not saying I can make it work of course, but I like the idea of trying. Yours is looking better and better by the way - although I will go to your thread like I ought, and tell you that.

06 June 2009, 01:35 AM (

Slapped a bit of basic colour here and there just to try it out. Very crude and not remotely coherent. It will help me make decisions aout all sorts of composiional stuff though.

06 June 2009, 01:35 AM
Ignore this. Duplication.

06 June 2009, 06:45 PM (

Realised how boring mine was becoming, so decided to change the eye level to add a bit of 'oomph' and allow more variety of size and shapes. Going this way now. . . . until I change my mind again . . .

06 June 2009, 09:33 PM

My favorite sketch is wip5. It is hilarious, and the fact that he gets caught in such a strange situation really works well.

Wip8 is great in terms of composition, with a clear foreground, middle plane and background and an appealing point of view. However, it is not clear to me what the girl is doing as a diversionary tactic. Maybe she is talking at a speaker, but in this case it is very difficult to transmit the idea that people are reacting to a voice announcement.
All of this might look clearer at a a more advanced stage.
The characters in the room look fantastic!

06 June 2009, 10:06 PM
Thanks for the input Jose. Really valuable. You're the second to like wip5 best so far. It may just be because the characters are bit more defined and the simple plot is pretty obvious? My hope is top get that level of character interaction into the bigger scene and have a number of such 'moments'.

When I say 'all will be revealed', that's literally what will be going on.
The kiddies' plan involves a number of strategically placed fan-blowers that are all plugged in to a switch that the girl is operating. When set off, a number of girls' skirts get blown in the air - shrieks follow, and all the ensemble look away from the table allowing 'cake grabber boy' to drop in and make his grab. She is signalling 'GO!' into her wrist band radio.

Thing is - I don't want it to all be obvious straight away. First I want it to work as an over all composition of shapes and tones, then I want the viewer to go 'hey, hang on - what's going on here?' If I get it right, all the clues of cables, plugs etc will make it clear and there will be a few giggles on the way. I hope . . . . .bet I get it wrong though.

06 June 2009, 10:23 PM
Like everyone here I'm liking the sketches. Seems like you want to have a lot of "moments" of secret agent plans being pulled by the two kids. Can't wait to see how to put all these elements together.

06 June 2009, 12:53 AM (

Changing the attitude of the girl's head to try and link her to the boy a bit, by her being the only one looking towards him. Not quite right yet, obviously. There's a surprise!

06 June 2009, 12:21 PM
hi. I love what you have going on here. Its a great idea, to show both closeup-emotional person and the heist itself. Storywise its working well!

I like your most recent sketch the most. I think theres a good depth, and changing the girls face to look backward works very well.

I think, though that the placement of the girls face and the boy hanging from the roof need to work better. Maybe place the boy nearer the buttom line of the picture, and maybe put the point of perspective more to the left. This way the girl and the boy gets a bit more seperated and include more of the actual environment they are in - just a thought :)

Keep it up!


06 June 2009, 01:20 PM
simply the best i have seen so far. can't wiat to see your progress.

06 June 2009, 02:13 PM
you have a very interesting style, not to mention some some out of the ordinary ideas, whatever you decide on, all the concepts look good to me.

06 June 2009, 02:18 PM
Really nice subject! Will follow this one for sure!

06 June 2009, 02:53 PM
Thanks Thomas - Yes, I think your idea of shifting the perspecive to give a more diagonal skylight might be a good move. I do have to make the connection between them more obvious and this might be a strong step toward doing that. It would certainly help unify the composition more and strong diagonals always end to add movement. Good thinking - thanks.

You are very kind William. Thank you. You wait until you've looked aound a bit more and seen some more of the jaw dropping ides in the pipeline though. There are some real doozies brewing.

Michael - Many thanks.

Miguel. Many thanks to you too.

Thank you all for dropping in and especially for leaving comments. Always appreciated.

06 June 2009, 12:15 AM (

So I've twisted the torso of the girl a tad more to try and strengthen the connection between her and the dangling lad. And changed the focal point of perspective to try and help the comp be less disjointed. That was a good call by Thomas. Not sure I have it just so yet, but I think it's an improvement.
It's a bit better I think. Loads more to do obviously.

06 June 2009, 03:33 PM (

Bit more and another sligtht tweak on the canvas shape. Probably won't be the last. The diversions aren't remotely convincing yet - and I'm not even sure whether to keep the crowd as agent types of just make them totally bemused civilialns, which might be funnier.

06 June 2009, 04:34 PM
Brilliant lighting Nick.Establishes the setting perfectly.Good solid work.


06 June 2009, 09:56 PM
Hi Nick,

The connection between the 2 characters is definitely getting better!
I think that the girl might be dominating our attention a little bit too much. She is at one third of the page from the right which is a very strong visual area, and she is also in the foreground. Also, at this time, she has the most detail. So, my eyes are not flowing around the image but they tend to stay at the girl.
I guess that your intention is that we look at the girl first, then our eyes should follow the perspective and find the boy, and after that we start looking around to find the little details.
Maybe shifting the girl a little the girl to the right could give her a little less importance and also broaden the space in the middle where we can see the party.
This might not work, but it might be worth to make a quick selection of the girl and pull her a bit to the right to see if it adds value to the image.

Great sketches so far!:thumbsup:

06 June 2009, 10:31 PM
Excellent Concepts Nick. You have a wonderful drawing Style! :)

06 June 2009, 11:07 PM
nice! hope to see more soon!

07 July 2009, 04:00 PM

Thank you Prabath, Lorne and Pappy. Your encouragement is much appreciated.

Thanks for the input Jose. I'd already been thinking about moving her a bit, but was resisintg because I've made it a bit fiddly for myself to do, by having too many layers on the go - so unlike me, cough. You're right though, and so I've given her a slight nudge to the right and extended the canvas again. Going to circumnavigate the globe with it soon.

Had to take it into Photoshop to do the necessary. I'm working in Sketchbook Pro and there seems to be a limit of 6400px that I keep bumping into and having to reduce image size to compensate for canvas dimension changes.

Colour is still all over the place, but then everything else is too, so that's no surprise.

07 July 2009, 05:20 PM
Nice going Nick! Crazily brilliant work as usual.

07 July 2009, 05:56 PM (

Hey there Mark. How the devil are you? Absolutely ages, no see!
Thanks for dropping by. Not sure I have your email anymore, so if you want to pm me with it, or I'll track you down and pm you, then we can hook up again. ALways losing things - sorry.

Meanwhile here's a little more light play with the thing,

07 July 2009, 06:13 PM
Hi Nick,nice update,nice lighting,im sure you will make a wonderfull painting !
all the best.


07 July 2009, 08:16 PM
Hi! i like your drawings. One can see that you are very talanted. You also have a good eye for the light and were to put it. I seriously have to learn more about that.

I look forward to see more of your work!

07 July 2009, 02:41 PM
hi Nickillus. Great updates!

I like the idea with the men looking for something on the top of the building. I think the perspective is working much better! I do belive, though, that the pose of the head of the girl is better in the version "Quest for Chocolate Cake-wip9", but maybe its just me...
I allso think, that the cake should be more grandious, or atleast be contrasted with light compared to the rest of the room. Allso, the red girl to the right has alot of attention due to the color of her dress. making the cake red in your curent color-scheme would draw much more attention to the cake, but I dont know if you have some thing in hand for the red-dressed girl though.

I love the poses of the people. It looks very lively. Cool stuff keep it up!

07 July 2009, 05:38 PM
hey nick, really great updates. i'm really like your last update. are all the man who hold weapon are the bad guy??

07 July 2009, 06:14 PM
Thanks Younes, thanks Kim.

Louis -Thanks - Well the guys and gals with their possible gizmos (still to come) and weaponry are all spies, so it's kind of up for debate whether they are good guys or bad guys. In terms of blocking our kiddies' route to the cake they are all bad guys I guess!

Thomas Many thanks for all the thoughtful comment. I too prefer the girl's face in that one, but it doesn't make such a good link with our dangling lad, which is something I need to establish positively. So I may tweak her features etc, but her head will probably stay at that sort of angle for the moment at least. The colour is all up for possible changing. I only used bright red to make the diversions obvious, but you are absolutely right about the need to make a much bolder focus on the cake and central action. All in the pipeline. Had no time at all to work on it today unfortunately. Grrrrrr!

07 July 2009, 06:17 PM
wow. that's nice. even if theyre all good, maybe its kinda spy kids training. lol. but it's great. make the kids great, facing adult secret agent.

07 July 2009, 08:56 PM
love the lighting and this is coming along really nicely.

07 July 2009, 09:08 PM
haha very cool! nice to see some innovative ideas making it through!
I love the posing of the various characters, even though it's mostly just in blocked out stage.
Is this 2d or 3d?
Good luck!

07 July 2009, 09:39 PM
Absolutely hillarious - all of the pictures in fact. ! I'll be watching closely! :)

07 July 2009, 01:42 AM
going better and better. nice lighting. i'm still curious with the woman at the right spotlight.

07 July 2009, 09:59 AM
:applause: I love this - totally original, but more than that, the composition and lighting look great..

No crits at the mo...keep up the good work :cool:

07 July 2009, 04:23 PM
Hello, sir! It's great to see you in this challenge. I already like how the piece is turning up.

I always liked the whimsy and joy I see in your work. Looking forward to the final product!

Good luck!

07 July 2009, 02:51 PM
Hi Nick! oh man :love: this is coming out GREAT:thumbsup: !! awesome:applause:

07 July 2009, 03:02 PM
woo I love atmosphere color!
Very good draw to.

My challenge post (

07 July 2009, 10:15 AM
Hi Nick, hope you get time to come back and finish this one. The angle and perspective are looking great, and I love the concept. It must be quite a challenge though to have one of your main characters that far in the background. I'll be interested to see how you handle the dangling lad.

08 August 2009, 07:28 PM (

Only just got back to this because of tons of 'stuff' getting in the way, including system crashy and total reinstall gubbins this week - grrrrrrr!

I'll try to actualy finish it in time after a fashion, but it ain't going to be the thing of beauty I hoped for. Never is of course, but that's beside the point.

Having a go at tightening up some of the characters involved.

08 August 2009, 07:53 PM
Hi,Nick nice to have you back,good luck!!!
hope you will finish at time
check my final image if you have free time
all the best :thumbsup:

08 August 2009, 01:19 AM (

Thanks Younes. Yours is looking mighty fine indeed. no way I'll get close to that sort of finish in the meagre time left. Not that I could if I had tons of time. Good job.

Well that's me for tonight. Eyes doing the droopy thing. Doesn't bode well for finishing, but I fully intend to try.

08 August 2009, 01:22 AM
Hey Nick! That's a reeeealy secret agent! Wonderful idea! Best!

08 August 2009, 02:24 AM
Hey Nick,

Just saw you formn, love your style, and amazing color palate you have going, plus the story is pretty cool too..., you have to finish it!



Secret Agent (
website (

08 August 2009, 11:25 PM (

Not a snowball's chance of putting in decent finish, but I will try and put in a finish of some sort, joining in the last minute scrabble no doubt. Fun-fun-fun.
I've been diving about between Sketchbook Pro and Painter, with bits of Photoshopping thrown in for good measure.

08 August 2009, 11:27 PM
Whoops! Meant to say thanks for the encouragement, Ricardo and Rupy. All the more appreciated at this late stage. Cheers.

08 August 2009, 11:29 PM
Looking good, Nick.. A bit unfinished, but... hey, wait a second, what are you doing reading this?! Get back to work!!!
I will say that it seemed like in the second to last post, the girl's face had a bit more of a smile to it and I really liked that. Not to say this expression doesn't also fit the scene... I just like smiles.
Good luck with the rest! :thumbsup:

08 August 2009, 12:08 AM
Haha! Thanks Michael. So you are the master of the under-statement as well as your art.

Yes, I was wondering where her smile had sneaked off too as well. I've lost it somewhere int he rendering. I'll get it back if I have the time - er, um, . . .

08 August 2009, 04:10 AM (

OK - So I'm obviously going to miss the boat again, to continue my well established tradition of doing so. So pooped that I've mislabeled this last wip the same as the last. Another to dump on the scrap heap - unless I can dredge up some justification for finishing it off. Still a ton of things to do on it, which that means a lot of work - and with my tardy pace, a lot of time.

I've enjoyed watching some of the phenomenal entries as they've progressed and are submitted. Whoever takes the honours is really going to deserve it. Fantastic job, everyone though.

08 August 2009, 04:13 AM (

Image didn't make it last time, so having another go, just so I can sign off the thread properly.

08 August 2009, 04:17 AM (

Still no joy, so have tried making it smaller.

08 August 2009, 04:58 AM
Nick, this looks great mate. I really hope you find the time to finish it with your busy schedule! Would be a shame not to see this in the finals.

08 August 2009, 02:33 PM
Yes, this is very nice work. I hope you'll finish this :)

08 August 2009, 04:38 PM
the submission already close. so sad that you are not finishing it. you got a great concept indeed.

08 August 2009, 03:51 AM
I'd love to see this finished sometime! It's a fun idea!

08 August 2009, 04:21 AM
I'm really bummed you didn't get to finish this. Life gets crazy busy and sometimes you just can't get to everything you want to get to. I'm really glad you entered and shared with us your progress. Lots to learn from you. THANKS!

08 August 2009, 04:31 AM
Hey... I just looked and it appears that they have extended the deadline. Submission now says that there are 12 hours left... don't know if it helps... but maybe.

08 August 2009, 04:05 PM
Aaaaaaargh!! Been away from my desk until now, and get back to find I could have had another 12 hours on this thing to try and finish - but have missed that too. Pooh, bum, stink!!! Not even going to frustrate the hell out of myself by trying to put this thing right in about an hour - tons more than an hour's worth of fixing left.

I really do appreciate all the encouragement though chaps. That's one of the great things about taking part in a thing like this. The cameradery is fantastic. I've just let the side down again by missing the generous deadline.
Off to sob in the corner now.

08 August 2009, 04:14 PM
i'm sorry to hear that. but you still must finish that picture.

08 August 2009, 06:32 PM
looking forward for your final image(one day...somewhere),i love this one a lot!and i was enjoy following your thread.

08 August 2009, 08:25 PM
my friend and i cheered for your thread ALL THE WAY!!!
pls don't disappoint us, and FINISH THIS GREAT PIECE!!!

we wish you all the best,

Vanja and Dushko

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