Saturday, December 29, 2012

best of 2012 obviously

This time last year I wrote a fairly comprehensive post on my thoughts about  Making Things for Other People

This year my feelings are much the same, though I'm busy for different reasons, Christmas is still awesome and I still love making things for people. This year I made some unique kindle cases following this tutorial  and including some of my own painting and bookbinding nowse. I also decorated a number of notebooks on the theme of birds beginning with the same letter as the gift receivers name, here are 4 of my faves;

who knows, maybe some day I'll do a whole alphabet's worth, it's not like that's been done before. 

2012 has been a good year for me

I completed my NQT year (blood, sweat, tears etc.) and got a better part time teaching job than I had dared to hope for at the end of it. I went to Amsterdam, Disneyland Paris and the south of France, not to mention Margate, learnt to carve soapstone and to create giant sculptures out of just newspaper and glue.

I saw some Olympics, some awesome plays, exhibitions, musicians, football and even some good tv. I painted a mural and a huge amount of live portraits. I co-founded an illustration collective and started my own pet portrait business

I drew all of my friends beginning with F and G and a bunch of celebrities who are still under-wraps. I drew and wrote about fashion and other things, designed logos, cushion covers, cards and comics. I drew dancing deities, teapots, weddings, tigers, orchestras, huskies in party hats and two sexy cowboys riding a giant walrus. 

I do have an official new year's resolution, about which more later, but looking through my albums and folders to make this post, I have noticed though a worrying list of people I love that I don't seem to have seen much, if at all this year, which is sad. What's really needed for a new year's resolution is I think a list of people I need to see before this time next year. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

while I do spend sleepless nights regretting how little I managed to cash in on the put a bird on it trend,
(it is now, apparently too late. I still like birds tho. I liked them before it was cool)
I feel secure in my appropriate and even philanthropic handling of put a moustache on itness.

mostly I put moustaches on people. for Gallery of Mo on the internet and at 2 awesome gala parties. Live portraits are one of my all time favourite things to do, I really should investigate how you get a license to do this on the streets for tourists. Although I might have some anger management issues if anyone asks me to do a caricature. 

here are some photos, all taken by Gallery of Mo photographers, of some of my favourite moustache portraits done at the second of these parties. There was a lot of tweed and cowboy in evidence.

here's me drawing

and here's the drawing

here's the beautiful Jenmon and partner

this was my favourite drawing I did on the night

subtle skills of moustache representation were required

and not so subtle 

to my right here you can see the amazing Cliodhna Ztoical of Irish Comic Superstar fame, she was FAST

      but not as fast on the draw as I'm sure these three amigos were, after that quantity of charity beer

After many hours meeting and drawing moustachioed gentlemen, and adding moustaches for the (mostly) unmoustached ladies, I began to see moustaches everywhere and was confused by the hairless lips I saw in the street on my way home.

I feel so proud to have been a part of such a great project, (I already wrote about it some here) bringing together art, charity and comedy in such a great way and contributing to the raising of now over £11k! 

You still have a little time to get yourself a movember portrait from an array of awesome artists over on the Gallery of Mo website too.

So now all I need to do is actually cash in on the trend in a, you know, less selfless way

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Did I post official pictures of my chrismtas cards yet?

no. no I didn't.

here they are. 

I decided to combine 2 of my favourite things. drawing birds and making collages out of found text.

you can buy them here in packs of 8 or email/tweet/bookface me with your requirements.

if you do I will send you an EXCLUSIVE code for a discount off of my etsy shop isn't it?

featured in background small part of our excellent christmas tree. of course.
this is a Robin. like my name. but just one of them.

this is a tufted titmouse. from AMERICA

this is a turtle dove. like on the second day of christmas, only just one of them.

this one is A LITTLE BIT RUDE, even with the strategically placed snowflake. sorry. it is sparrows. they look as happy as sparrows usually seem to when I draw them. which is not at all.

cowboy walrus painting

Ok, I normally forget to take WIP (work in progress) pictures, but when Ben Bale commissioned me to do this epic surreal portrait, I knew it was likely to be a bit of a one off chance to do something this big and weird and fun, and I wanted to record it for posterity, or something. So I made a point to take photos, which I am now getting around to sharing with you. The order I did things in is not actually very logical, and the pictures are not massively clear, but well, here you go.

first, sketch out design of walrus, mountains and people, not sure what I was watching on TV here - seems to be someone eating a juicy apple.

collage of ripped up print texture papers made while at Uni from leftover printing ink, adds texture and depth to painting (although I painted over most of it) and also a pretentious historical element, as both the people in the picture where at the same University at the time.

ink in figures, told you it wasn't in a logical order.

under-painting on walrus, acrylic. paint is mixed on soup lid.


 under-painting on ground and sky

add colour to figures using combination of watercolour, ink and acryllic

add ink detail to foreground and walrus

add moody clouds

add lightening and adjust colours with ink washes. 

there you go. Isn't it these glimpses into the artistic process that just bring artworks to life? 

shameless promotion: have a weird idea for a surreal, portrait of you or a loved one you'd like to make a reality? I can do more of these.

Monday, November 19, 2012

stuff and yet and at the same time things

so here are some in progress pictures of the mural I did in the summer, still don't have a good image of the whole thing finished with the toucan and the palm tree and stuff. It was very fun, 

I plan to somewhat muralise my childhood room in my parents house, when I finish painting it white, in, you know a tasteful way which will not impinge on the agenda of making it a usable guest room or diminish the saleability of their house. And yet and at the same time possibly include zombie hands. 

Apart from inappropriate, my most overused word is Serendipity.

you may have seen it in my work like here

and here

My mind is constantly boggled by self evident facts about creativity, like how on any other day of your life, you wouldn't have painted EXACTLY that picture, or written that exact poem or song or whatever. How even if you have had an idea bubbling away in the back of your head for years, the day you finally put it to paper a hundred things in your life, or on your desk, or in the news, will effect it's outcome. Even though I am as ever in the land of the busy bees, I am trying to find room to make more serendipitous work. 

Like yesterday I found this phrase and cut it out and then I made this

It's a precursor to my 2012 Christmas cards which I am now half way through making which will be here soon. I want to find more ways to combine the drawing/painting with the collage.

I've also been working on a fair few pet portraits like this one

And have decided to separate this business from my illustration, you know, brand, as it's a bit messy and confusing to have too many things in one place. To this end, I made a website for my pet portraits, it is here 

Friday, November 2, 2012


the blogger dashboard has all changed and stuff. so the buttons are in different places and the box i'm typing in is all big and blank.

it's vaguely unsettling.

But enough of that. This is a positive positive positive blog post.

Because despite having been ill all week, and repeatedly getting lost in the Barbican, I am feeling very blessed.

Partly this is because I have been doing a lot of stuff, having a lot of 'cultural experiences' shall we say. I am blessed and lucky because in my life I have a lot of awesome friends and family and editors who regularly invite me to attend things that are awesome. All I have to do is say yes. Like that man who says yes, what's his name? the YES man?

So yes, I have done lots of cool stuff in recent weeks, lots of cool stuff I would never have had time for when I was being a full time teacher type. Horay.

The first thing I did was go on a HELICOPTER RIDE!

Also I went to see the Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble play in the Southbank Centre. They were very good, especially the dancey fun bits. (that's my preference in life, I like the dancey fun bits of life) here are my sketches of them:

the singer who performed for a couple of songs with them was super creepy and doll like. which worked, you know, with the music.

Mere days after this I was sketching live portraits at the Movember UK launch party as part of the Gallery of Mo team. I wrote the whole thing up here for Storyhands.

the whole thing is to do with growing moustaches for Men's health, raising of the money and the awareness and stuff. I'm not growing a moustache sadly, but will be drawing people with them on for said charity at the rate of £1 a minute on the Gallery of Mo website, 
here's the self portrait I did for the promotion of said portraiture. 

It was a fun party.

Later in the week I went to a fashion show in Soho, it was probably the most exciting and ridiculous fashion show I have ever been to, and I have been to several. It was for Sorapol, and included epic creepy masks, excess, novelty motorcycles, and Ruth and Vince off of the Voice!!!

here is a drawing I did of 3 of the creepy celebrity characters, and here is the rest of my drawings and writings on the topic I did for Amelia's Magazine

The day after that I got to go see Chilly Gonzales with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican (where we did get very lost), I wasn't even going to do any drawing on account of I drew him this one time before, but then I did. He was much more fun this time, plus I learnt stuff about music.

The best bit was this bit, which is probably why it's turned up on the youtube

So that's some of the fun, cultural stuff I've been up to recently. 


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

vintage teatime

I did the above logo design for the wonderful Teatime Vintage last week, if you are in the Sheffield area and fancy an amazing vintage style tea party (not the American kind with the politics, more the scone kind) you should definitely look them up

Monday, October 29, 2012

So, I was going to write a blog post all about the Ohh Deer cushion competition shop, show you a few of my favourites, and talk about how confusing a world we live in, where the job of helping the consumer find the talent is so varied and shot in the darkish. And how very much amazing arty talent there is out there, but that that shouldn't put you off, because you have to remember that there are still billions of people in the world, you just have to somehow find the ones that like your work and happen to have a disposable income, and about how it's still a cop out when web based competitions turn into popularity contests, and if no-one loses no-one really wins. And trying to work out whether I think that matters. 

But I've been ill, and busy, at least a little lazy, and the shop closes at the end of today.

So just in case you like my work and have disposable income, and aren't turned off by the above arts graduate angst, you still have today to buy my cushion, which looks like this

and also to look at all the other awesome designs that people submitted that then all got put up for sale. There are some really really cool ones, so try and think of who might want a cushion for Christmas k?

Monday, October 1, 2012

so it's looking like summer is pretty much over right? Although that didn't stop me from drinking Pimm's in the Southwark Cathedral courtyard on Saturday, all be it in tights and jacket. (not just tights and jacket)

My first few weeks as part time teacher, part time all the other stuff have been hectic busy land, but today I have a little breathing space. 

Me and June were up all hours writing a proposal for the StoryHands Collective, (you know, I blogged about it here) which may have caused me to be a slightly less than awesome teacher after 4 hours sleep, and is not something I want to do every week. But you know, it felt really good to be exhausted from doing work on something that I really care about. Not that I don't care about the kids. *backpeddles*

But you know what I mean. busy = good. And June is very good at the graphic design stuff.

In facebook project news I have completed the Gs. Gee, what a G-Star I am. 



I also got all up in the London Fashion Week that is S/S 2013, well, in that I did some writing and drawing.

The writing you can read here if you feel so inclined, it is mostly me being intoxicated by colour and amused by pretentious fashion silliness. 

like these comedy fashionistas I sketched in the Somerset House Courtyard

here are some S/S 13 actual fashion illos I did for Amelia's Magazine (who else?) 
Holly Fulton (what's better than blue roses?)

And finally for your viewing pleasure, here are some huskies in party hats I drew. I entered them in the
 Ohh Deer cushion competition, but I'm pretty sure I did not win.