Digital art has fascinated me ever since I left school. I worked as a graphics artist within the medium of video, television and interactive multimedia during the 1990s and I continued this work on a freelance basis from 2002. A few years afterwards, an opportunity arose to work on a series of heritage interpretation projects which sparked my interest in using digital technology and 3D models to visually reconstruct historic buildings and monuments. In March 2022 I joined the Learning and Interpretation Team within the Curatorial Department at English Heritage where I now work as a full time Architectural Illustrator and Digital (3D) Reconstruction Artist.
My methods and treatments
My work is a close partnership with historical consultants and cultural experts who guide my reconstructions. It’s a process that I enjoy very much and I have the chance to work with and learn from some fascinating people. The cornerstone of my digital reconstructions are the use of digital 3D models which are incredibly useful for planning and creating some of my complex scenes.
My 3D models are created with Blender 3D, the open source 3D modelling and rendering program now popular with more than one million digital artists across the world. I have used Blender 3D and supported the Blender Development Fund since 2006 and my experience includes a range of specialist add-on programs and plug-ins designed to extend Blender's capabilities. I have been an Adobe software user since the early 1990s. I use Adobe's Substance 3D family of tools in conjunction with Photoshop and Illustrator for adding detail-rich, photo-realistic materials and textures to my models. Other applications which I use infrequently in support of my work include: Adobe InDesign, Premiere, After Effects, Lightroom, QGIS, Unreal Engine, Terragen, Worldmachine, Gaea, ZBrush, and Affinity..
When I’m not busy creating artwork, I devote a lot of my time to research and reading, and I often head out to visit historic sites for inspiration and reference for my projects. I am a member of the Scottish Castles Association where I have made many new friends with a shared interest in these great buildings. I love being outdoors, and I enjoy road cycling, off-road cycle-touring, walking, and wild-camping.
Major commissions and projects
- Lindisfarne Priory - English Heritage (Publication expected Spring 2023).
- Bury St Edmunds Abbey - English Heritage 2022.
- St James's Palace, London - Royal Collection Trust (Publication expected Autumn 2022)
- Windsor Castle - A Thousand Years of a Royal Palace - Royal Collection Trust
- Replica Iron Age Broch - Caithness Broch Project
- 'The Mackintosh Building' - Site, Light and Space - Glasgow School of Art
- St Mary's Church, Youghal - Scroope Design & Cork Co. Council
- Badenoch The Storylands - Badenoch Heritage & Cairngorms National Park Authority
- The Banqueting House, Whitehall - Historic Royal Palaces
- Allen Smelt Mill - Differentia Design & North Pennines AONB Partnership
- 'Wolf At The Door' - The Siege of Stirling Castle, 1304 - Personal project.
- Orford Castle - English Heritage Guidebooks, 2018.
"I had the good fortune to work with Bob on the reconstructions of Orford Castle. He combines excellent skills as an artist with valuable knowledge of historic buildings and impeccable communication skills. It’s a delight to watch his illustrations evolve draft by draft and Bob’s style gives his work a feeling of authenticity. He is adept at both exteriors and interiors, with an excellent appreciation of composition and the use of light. Not only does Bob produce outstanding reconstructions but the process from start to finish is smooth and clearly articulated."
Richard Nevell. Properties Historian, English Heritage