Wednesday, September 29, 2010

seems i've got to have a change of scene

A couple more spreads from my travel themed Moleskine. It's a tale of two drawings. A game of two halves. Or something like that. The drawing above is of some bouquet garni I bought in Lyon. Now, I know some twigs and sticks wrapped in leaves isn't going to float every bodies boat, but it does mine.

I enjoyed this drawing, loved the subject, colours and the textures and I like to think it shows.

In contrast, the sea anemones, below, turned out to be quite the opposite. Although, the subject is very beautiful I couldn't get a handle on it. It really should have been lovely - gorgeous shapes, amazing textures, patterns and colours - but I just couldn't make it work. I end up getting so frustrated when I cannot achieve on paper what I see in my head. I didn't enjoy this one, at all.

And, I think that shows too.

Anyway, enough moaning. You can see the rest of my travel moleskine HERE.

Monday, September 27, 2010

you've come a long way baby

Hey! You've been invited to a party. A belated birthday party. My blog was four years old a few days back. But I didn't realise until today.

That's pretty fitting, actually. It's pretty typical. I don't think I've ever got a birthday card out on time. Friends and family know to expect their cards a few days late. I now buy belated birthday cards before birthdays, because I know that I'll end up sending them late.

Anyways, what an eventful four years it has been. This is a little drawing from a, soon to be published, Jane Austen book that I recently illustrated. Which makes this little drawing pretty fitting too. It illustrates quite how far I have come since beginning this blog.

I can't wait to post more of the bigger, better drawings from the book - I'll be able to do that as soon as it's published.

Thank you for the last four years guys.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

brought to your doorstep

A couple of versions of this drawing. I added a bit of colour to it because it seemed to be asking for it. Just something to lift it. I'm not sure which I prefer. What do you think?

I say I added some colour but really, I've never actually been to Scotland when it's been anything but grey. That's not a complaint. I love a grey sky. And, I'd probably be disappointed if it wasn't that way. Especially when you are taking a boat trip on Loch Ness. It should be nothing but grey, dramatic and spooky. Not that you aren't spooked enough, of course.

Also, please don't laugh at my Mona Lisa. I did copy her from a fridge magnet. I got it in Amboise, France, which, I believe, is the town where Da Vinci died. If he didn't I was being lied to.

In my drawing she seems to have a touch of the Princess Anne about her. Which really is ironic, on my first attempt at drawing her she ended up looking exactly like Prince Charles. It's true.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

hey joe

Normally I would have waited until I had a few more drawings, from my travel themed Moleskine, to post alongside this one. But, I really wanted to say a few things.

Sometime last week Blogger made my blog a 'blog of note', and since then I have had a huge number of new visitors. So, I wanted to say a big HELLO to everyone who has recently found my blog. I do hope you like what you see and that you'll return in the future.

Of course, I can't just mention the newcomers without mentioning all my old fogeys. I mean, regular visitors. Thank you for returning, commenting and generally being lovely. Big CUDDLES to all of you.

Lastly, in this stomach churning love-in, a big THANKS to everyone who has bought my zines and prints. You help keep the wolf from my door. And, that gives me the time to draw.

(I'm really annoyed with myself for adding the writing to this one. It was much better without. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.)

Click on drawing to view.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

what's it even mean?

WTF? I know. I ask myself the same thing. Often.

If you would like to learn more about this, the Swish Army hair brush, you'll have to make your way over to my book-on-a-blog blog, where all will be explained. Plus there are four more drawings of the Swish. Yes. Four. Click HERE to see them.

I'm going to go away and worry about what I'm doing with my life. Weep for me. Weep.

Friday, September 17, 2010

are you here?

So here's the completed drawing that I teased you with a little while back. You know the drill, click on the drawing to get a better view.

It's a drawing I made for the Lancashire Reads project. A few illustrators (I know, people think I'm an illustrator?! Ssssh, don't tell them) were presented with the book Up On Cloud Nine, by the author, and ex Children's Laureate (I'll have you know), Anne Fine. We were then invited to illustrate any scene that caught our attention.

Whilst reading there was a scene that immediately hit me in the chops, and I knew it was the one that I wanted to bring to life. However, the worrying thing, for me, was that it just happened to be the darkest, most ghoulish, scene in the whole book.

I won't go into the story, I'll just tell you that a fisherman found this old tin whilst digging for worms. I'll let your imagination lead you too where this tin came from, and to whom all these charms belonged to. Wooooohoooooohooooooohoooooohoohaaaaaahaa.

Tell me, is that a ghost noise? Or, is it a monkey noise?

Monday, September 13, 2010

she's in my head

So, as I said, some brand spanking new drawings from my travel Moleskine. Ah, I just love those sketch books so much. That beautiful smooth cream paper. Plus, of course, it's a heavyweight paper which means it can just about withstand all my obsessive cross hatching. I don't think there is anyway you can improve the Moleskine product - although I'd love them to add a bigger size paper size, and perhaps a nice bright white paper to their range. Not that I'm complaining. I just love these books.

I am now feeling determined to finish this travel themed Moley. Maybe by the end of the year. I know it might not sound like the most ambitious ambition (?) in the world, but these spreads do take hours - and sometimes I'm talking about double figures. Not that I'm complaining. I just love to draw, so I'm going to go hell for leather in this sketchbook. Time permitting, of course.

Anyway, to celebrate my return to the travel Moleskine I've put a sale on the zine that I've produced from this book. It contains nine drawings all with a travel theme. Buy it now by visiting my little shop HERE.
Cheers, my dears. And, in case you are interested the travel Molsekine set (so far) is HERE.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

i'm going to take you to my secret place

Over the weekend I've been throwing myself back into one of my Moleskines. The travel one, to be precise. It feels like I've been away from my Moleskines for too long a time. And, it would be so satisfying to complete another one of these books.

It's really good to be working in them again. I think this is my favourite place to be. In a sketchbook. And, whilst I diving back into them I noticed something that I hadn't noticed before. It seems, that my Moleskines hold a lot of secrets so, before I post the new drawings, I thought I'd let you into a couple of them.

When I started the travel Moleskine the drawing, above, was the first thing I did. It was the drawing from the inner cover. But as I started to work through the rest of the sketchbook this drawing started bugging me. And I can't live with that kind of thing. I don't know what annoyed me about it the most - I think it might be that it is very pink, and a little too feminine for my tastes. So after an appeal, to you guys, for stamps from around the world it was covered until it became the collage that you can see below. Which, to this day, is still one of my own personal favourite sketchbook spreads.

I do love to know that these lost drawings exist, though. Like when you peel off the wallpaper, in an old house, and find the ghosts of wallpapers past.

Another of the secrets, the travel Moley holds, is that hidden in the drawing, below, is a tiny little cat. Can you spot it?

And, finally, while I was flicking through the book, getting myself all worked up to start drawing in it again, I found this little apparition below. I'd not noticed it before. It seems my sketchbooks hold secrets from me too.

Anyway, from tomorrow some brand new drawings from the travel Moleskine. You can see the rest of the drawings from this book HERE. And, to celebrate my return to this sketchbook I'll also put a sale on the little zines that were produced from this Moleskine. Hope you come back.

Friday, September 10, 2010

i met a friend of spirit

James Alfred William George Galloway McAlistair ('Boston Jim')

Hailing from a small village in bonnie Scotland, James McAlistair, a determined and ambitious young political activist, set sail as a stowaway on a ship bound for the United States of America in 1773. On arriving at his destination he was discovered and thrown overboard, and found himself covered in tea.

After dragging himself ashore, and dusting himself down, McAlistair sneaked past the authorities and protesters and went into hiding. He lived on the streets of Boston for some weeks until he got back on his feet, found himself a place to stay and began work in the ship industry. He worked his way up from a tea boy to foreman. But McAlistair never forgot his roots, or the scenes and protests that met him on his arrival at the port. This, coupled with the way he saw other terriers being treated in the workplace, started him on his new calling.

'Boston Jim', as he was now known, travelled from town to town fighting for the rights of terriers throughout the sate of Massachusetts. He went on to become the founder of the Terriers Union that won the rights to a five day working week, two weeks holiday a year and a Bonio before bed time for terriers everywhere.

Original drawing for sale HERE.

Monday, September 06, 2010

we move around

A while back I shared some of my still life drawing secrets, and here's another. Sometimes I use the ironing board to set up my still life. Like in the one above. Why? Well, you can get completely different perspectives, and some unusual angles, of your subject matter. All at eye level. And, what's more, you can adjust the height. Which is great if you draw from a big sunken arm chair like me.