Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

rulers at the ready

Just a note to say that 'How to Draw Like a Loon' my new zine, and mini tutorial, is now available on Etsy. Buy your copy HERE. Plus, there's a special price for three copies HERE.

And, another little note to say that you'll need a ruler to read all the craziness on the first page. Thanks to everyone who has bought it so far.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

a two way street

This was a nice little surprise in my mail box today. I sold this drawing earlier in the year. It was destined for a little girl's bedroom wall on the other side of the world to me. How great does it look all mounted and framed? I would never have considered such vibrant colours or patterned mounts ('matts' in the US?). I probably would have gone with white. These photos make me totally reconsider how I'll frame my drawings in the future. I think it looks fabulous.

Do you have any of photos of my drawings in your homes? I'd love to gather some together for a future post.

Thanks, Oli, for these lovely pics.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

the lonliness of an illustrated zine maker

Thanks to everyone who has purchased a copy of 'How to Draw Like a Loon' thus far. They are still available HERE, before Christmas, to those in the UK. I'll open that up to the 'rest of the world' after the holiday.

You know, I've come across many a learning curve since opening my little Etsy shop, a couple of years back, and especially since I started making and selling zines. One of those curves, that I am currently in the process of tackling, is how to keep the personal touch whilst running an efficient small business.

You see, the postage and packing of the last couple of zines was ridiculously time consuming. I didn't make things easy for myself. In fact I seemed to make them impossibly difficult. Some of you who follow my blog, and who have purchased my zines, may recall the 'Nut' envelope decorating debacle. Plus, you may remember the hand written teeny weeny pixie letters and gift tags that came with 'About A Book' zine and caused my last nervous breakdown. I totally underestimated the time all of these little touches would take.

To say those experiences were stressful is a big fat understatement and I will not be going back there. Imagine hand decorating envelopes for over 250 zines. The scene below is just a glimpse into how that felt.

That HAD to change. Since then my friend has taken over the running of my shop and the mailing of zines. While this has meant that the orders are being sent out a day or two after they come in, the personal touch has been lost along the way. So, how do you do both? Is it possible to do both? I think so. And, have a few ideas on how to redress the balance. One is little limited edition compliment slips that change every so often, drawn especially to express my gratitude to you, like the one at the top of his post.

I hope these experiences of mine may be useful to you should you be considering zine making and opening up your own little Etsy shop.

And, finally another little plug for my new zine 'How to Draw Like a Loon'. The perfect stocking filler for anyone who loves to draw. Buy it HERE now.

Monday, December 12, 2011

bathtub gin and irving berlin

Saturday saw December's outing for our Sketchcrawl North group. This time we did something a little different by attending a Dr. Sketchy event. Dr. Sketchy is an alternative life drawing class with gorgeous burlesque girlies, in all sorts of cheeky poses, as our models. It was Sheffield's debut Dr. Sketchy event and I think I can speak for most of our group when I say we hope it's not the last! It was nothing but fabulous.

When we go on out on our sketchcrawling get-togethers I like to try to work in a different way. To play a little, if you will. And, Saturday was the perfect opportunity to do that. This is the only sketchbook drawing I made. I also took a roll of wallpaper (well, poster paper but you get the picture) and some thicker marker pens. I'm wondering quite how I'll upload that? Maybe a little video is called for.

I don't want to bang on about this too much but necessity dictates; if you are in the UK you can now get your hands on my new zine 'How t Draw like a Loon' HERE. I'll list it for the 'rest of the world' after Christmas.

Cheers, my dears!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

so lift off love

Finally, finally my new zine is up for sale. But, hold your horses. This time I made sure I was ready to go. I've waited until I had the zine, the envelopes and the other bits and pieces in my hands before listing it. In the past, you may recall, I jumped in head first, not prepared and I vowed to myself that I'd never do that again. It was soooo stressful.

However, in waiting until I had all the components ready for the off I have missed the 'rest of the world' Christmas deadline. So, I am only going to be putting this little zine up for sale to the UK this side of Crimbo. Sorry, about that rest of the world. Don't forget to keep some of your Christmas money to get your copy after the holiday.

I'm absolutely chuffed to bits with 'How to Draw Like A Loon'. It's the best yet. I hope you will be just as chuffed.

Some actual photos to come.

So, get your copy HERE.
UK order this NOW to get your Loon before Christmas!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

and again and again and again

'have you tidied that room yet?'

Remember THIS POST? That was a lot of fun.
I must do something similar soon.

When I made this pair of drawings I was thinking back to being a kid, and being told to tidy the room. I would literally just shove everything behind the sofa and feel that that was a job well done.

Also, you know that infamous little cat toy in the bottom right hand corner of the top drawing? Yeah? Well, can you spot it in the drawing below?

'...yeah, it's done.'

Saturday, December 03, 2011

you are perfectly reflected

I've been working on some commissions recently, a couple of which were for visitors to my exhibition in the summer. I was very interested, during the exhibition, to know which drawings people liked the best; not for any particular reason, just for curiosity, I suppose. The drawings of collections of little things always seemed to come out on top.

This is one of two 'small thing' drawings I have completed since then. I love these drawings. It's kind of like doing a jigsaw. There's so much satisfaction in finding another piece that slots perfectly into place.

There is one issue I have with being commissioned to complete one of these drawings though; the moment when I have to ask "would you like me to include the pube?"

Friday, December 02, 2011

why i went missing

I'm just coming to the end of the commissions that all go out for Christmas. I've been drawing into the wee hours of the night. Or is that morning? I've lost all sense of time. I'll be back to share some of this work with you from tomorrow. I will I will I will.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

into the light of the dark black night

Here's the last of he classified ads that will feature in my next zine. You know, last year I made a post where I vowed to never ever launch a new zine before Christmas. I am such an idiot. I really am.

Plus, on the subject, I was going to list 'How To Draw Like A Loon' today but after consulting my part time manager/shop keeper/advisor, Tim, I was advised not to. It is currently at the printers and he suggested that I do not list it until I have it in my hands and it's ready to go. That way, I shouldn't be making future posts where I apologise for it being late. Like I usually do.

Also, I would like to take this opportunity to to all those who have been waiting to see their classified ads for bloody ages. know?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

and any eye for detail

So loons, just a little note to say that I will be finally putting my new zine in my Etsy shop in the next couple of days. 'How To Draw like A Loon' is along the same lines as 'How To Draw Like A Nut' but with more pages. And, we know what more pages means; more drawings! I'll post the last of the classified ads tomorrow, too.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

out of the blue

Unbelievably, despite having all sorts of stuff on the go, I have started a new Moleskine sketchbook. Well, it's not exactly new. It was the blue ballpoint themed Moleskine that I embarked on a couple of years ago. I wasn't quite feeling the blue ballpoint theme, though. For me the two things were not working together. Unlike my old sepia themed Moley; the sepia ink and cream paper were the perfect marriage - a bit like pineapple and cheese on a stick (for those of you who have never had the pleasure, cheese and pineapple on a stick is a British delicacy). The blue ballpoint was a bit like a pickled onion and cheese on a stick (another British delicacy). Now, I know to some pickled onion and cheese works, but I just don't like it.

So I ripped out the pages I'd made blue drawings on and stuck some other pages together and then I came up with this idea. It's a book about places that I know, or visit, and I'm sure you can see what I'm doing with the pages. I've always wanted to do a pop up Moleskine, and indeed have started one with an Air Mail theme, but the whole pop up thing is much more complicated than I could have imagined. So, while I get my head around it, this one's a compromise. It brings the total of Moleskines I have on the go to double figures, which is why I am giving it the working title of 'Another Bloody Moleskine'.

News on my new zine to follow shortly! Finally.

Monday, November 07, 2011

somewhere i can warm my bones

Have you ever noticed that it's not until you've uploaded a drawing, and viewed it on the screen, that you realise that it's not quite right? It needs something more. Something else. I posted the drawing above a little while ago, and as soon as I saw it on screen the banana screamed out 'colour me!'. My first concern should probably have been that a banana was screaming at me from computer screen but I could only agree with it.

And above, some nonsense about how I like to spend my Saturdays; which is basically as lazy as is humanly possible. I think the words in the last sentence should probably have been in a different order, but hey ho.

Sunday was a different story. Sunday saw the November sketch crawl for the Sketchcrawl North group. It started at Sheffield train station and then moved onto the Winter Gardens. I didn't get many drawings out of the day. Some bits and pieces on various journal spreads - which I'll post when the pages are finished - but towards the end of the afternoon I pulled this one (above) out of the bag.

You know, I'm never that bothered about not having much (drawing wise) to show from the day. I get so much more out of it than that. A few months ago I would never have thought I'd be enjoying sketching outdoors. With people! The idea horrified me, quite frankly. But, it's been a revelation. Sharing a day with people who love drawing as much as I do, chit chatting about pens, paper, techniques and all the other stuff your friends and family have no interest in and noseying in every one's elses sketchbooks at the end of the day is more than enough for me.

You can see some actual drawings from the day on our Facebook page HERE.

Happy Monday, folks.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

autumn blew it's leaves at me

I seem to have powered through this latest Moleskine. I only have a few pages left and, yet, I only started it about four months ago. Some of my past Moleskines have taken that many years. I guess it's a sign of how much I have enjoyed this quicker, less laboured kind of drawing.

This book should be finished after the next sketchcrawl in Sheffield on Sunday. Anyone interested in joining the Sheffield and Wakefield sketchcrawl group get in touch and I'll pass on the details. Or take a look at our Facebook page.

I'm feeling a bit panicky that I don't yet have a new Moleskine waiting in the wings. I feel that some shopping is in order, because as winter draws in I'm hoping to hibernate and draw draw draw.

Friday, October 28, 2011

til my fountain pen runs dry

Inspector Endeavour Morse

This drawing is partly a gift for my, ridiculously young, friend's 21st birthday and partly a thank you for all of his help and hard work in setting up my exhibition earlier this year.

For some reason the scan of this portrait hasn't done it any favours. I found the same with the cat and dog portraits. The cross hatching looks quite flat. I don't know. Plus, I was way out of my comfort zone with this subject matter. But, for my first attempt at an 'orse I'm rather pleased, and so was his owner.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

where the feeling stays

I've had the idea for this drawing in my head for so long now, for at least a year, but it's been a real struggle to get it down on paper.
As soon as the idea came to me, probably in the shower, I felt it could look really great.
I put an outline of a couple of pairs of legs on the page and then left it.
At some point later I coloured in those legs but I still wasn't feeling it. So, I left it some more.
When I'd decided that my next zine was going to be about drawing with a four colour ballpoint I knew that that's the direction I should go with this.
This would be one of the 'big' drawings of the new zine.
Finally, over the last few days I sat down and finished it.
Which was when I really got into it.
Then I found myself thinking "why didn't you get into this sooner? I'm enjoying this drawing sooo much".
Welcome to my world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

there'll be crocuses to bring to school tomorrow

Finally, an update. Actually, it is more of a teaser as it seems I have lost the ability to take a decent photograph. And, it's still very dark in my house and this part of the world.

About three years ago I embarked on a Moleskine Exchange project, with a bunch of amazing artists, by waving goodbye to my little Japanese Moleskine 'Green'. Since then he has been backpacking around the world until a couple of weeks ago when he returned home.

If you've don't know about this project head on over to the blog and check out the stunning artwork that has been produced so far. If you do know about this project then still head on over for a teaser of the new drawing added to my little Moley. It's so nice to have him home.

Click HERE to visit the Moleskine Exchange blog.

Monday, October 17, 2011

but far enough to see

I was absolutely utterly confident that today I would post the update, as mentioned in the last three posts. It would be a good way to start the week I'd thought. Over the weekend I caught a bit of sunshine that allowed me to take some photos - I have a very dark house. Then, when I came to upload them I found that the camera had been on the wrong setting and the pictures are no good. Now, I have to wait for the next chink of sunlight. I told you, me promising anything is the kiss of death.

So, I've decided to try a different tack; never bother coming back to this blog. Nothing interesting happens here. Nothing.

Do you think that may work? In the meantime, here's some drawings of pens.

Monday, October 10, 2011

squashed tomatoes and stew

You know I should never ever mention anything I have lined up. It's it the kiss of death. This is not the exciting project update I mentioned in the last TWO posts. My excuse this time is that something else popped up. A birthday to be precise. My little old blog's birthday. Apparently this blog is actually five years old. Well, it was about two weeks ago. I forgot. Again. Which, my family and friends will tell you, is also very typical.

So I'd like to say a Happy belated Birthday to my blog and I. And, I'd like to say thanks. Thank you for all the visits and comments over the past five years and 568 (!) posts. I appreciate each and everyone of them.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

tales from the riverbank

I promised an exciting update on a project in my last post. This is not it. Although, personally, I am excited to be working in my travel themed Moleskine again. It's been too long. And, I only have a few pages to complete before it's finished and becomes my second completely filled jam packed Moleskine.

This is my favourite of my Moleskines to date. I love that it's bursting full of colour. And memories. See it all, so far, HERE.

And that exciting update in my next post. I'm not making it up so that you come back. Really, I ain't.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

the sunshine pours like wine through your window

As you may know I like to theme my Moleskines. Recently, whilst working in this sketchy one, I've found myself drawing on my breaks at work or while I'm waiting for my food to cook or the ingredients of the meal I'm making or even my meal before it gets eaten. You see, I LOVE food. I love food as much as drawing. I love cooking food and I love eating food. I have made the odd drawing celebrating my love of food before, like THIS ONE and THIS ONE, but I wonder why I haven't yet started a food themed Moley. Yet. I think it's next on the list of projects.

Talking about projects, I shall be posting an update on a much overdue project shortly. It is VERY exciting. Really, it is. So come back and see it. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Meanwhile, I've been uploading the pages from my sketchy Moleskine to Flickr. You can see them all HERE. There are quite a few that I have not featured on my blog.

One more thing, any ideas how do I stop the spam comments on my blog? They piss me off no end. Cheers, my dears.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

waiting for this moment to arise

Okay, so page two of the classified ads (above), that will appear in my upcoming zine, is finished Done and dusted. If you have bought some space a big thanks. I hope you like your ad. The last page (below) is almost complete. After fitting in all the ads I have a little space left. Three ad boxes to be precise. If you click on the drawing you can see the space. If you would like to purchase that space then you can; HERE. I will be finishing this drawing in the next day or two so please be quick.

By the way, Wil, don't worry that's not your ad!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

what you see sets you apart

I've been meaning to visit A Month of Sundays gallery by Pete McKee since it opened a year, or so, ago.Last Saturday I finally did.

Pete's work was brought to my attention by a series of coincidences which is always the best way to discover something new, I find. I loved it immediately. Whilst our styles are miles apart I think we have a lot in common. Both children of the 1970s housing estates, I relate to his humour and obsession with music.

His work seems to stand alone, it's very distinctive and individual. His little gallery is really very smart. If you are in Sheffield it is well worth a visit.

Before leaving the city I also got time to make this drawing from my car. I would probably have passed this restaurant by without giving it a second look but my car was parked on the hill opposite it. I'd never have noticed it's loveliness. I bet it hasn't changed since the 80s. 70s even. I do like that kind of thing.

As I've said recently, I'm still finding my feet with this on location kind of drawing. Finding my feet in lots of ways. As I get more comfortable with these black pens I am beginning to think about adding colour. I like the results in this one. What do you think?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

inbetween tonight and my tomorrow

So, as it says in the drawing, these are the pens that I am currently using in my new sketchy Moleskine.

The second from the left used to be my most favourite pen ever. It's so fine and inky (no, I'm not sure what I meant by that either). Unfortunately my beloved Pilot G-Tec is being relegated to the subs bench these days. A couple of reasons for that a) it is not waterproof and b) it is most definitely not lightproof.

You might remember that I did a huge amount of work with the sepia, or brown, Pilot G-tec. In fact, I dedicated an entire Moleskine to that pen (see it HERE). And, a whole load of my favourite sepia drawings besides. So here's my question; could anyone tell me of an alternative. A brown fine liner that IS light resistant. I'd appreciate it muchly. Cheers.

Monday, September 19, 2011

that is where i'll be

So, here's the first of the advertising pages completely finished. Well, apart from the mysterious secret message, that is. I've loved drawing these pages. Taking your ideas and making them into little adverts has been a whole load of fun.

I'm just putting the finishing touches to the other classifieds, they'll be blogged shortly. Thanks to all who bought their advertising slots. The funds will help towards getting this zine printed. And, as ever, thanks for your patience.

Y'all know the drill by now; click on the image to see it in detail, and to read the (end of the)story that made front page of the Bugle.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

see where that road goes

Last Saturday I attended my very first sketch crawl, with the Sheffield sketchrawling group, at the stunning Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Up until quite recently I've been a reluctant public sketcher, but, these days I seem to be losing some of these hang ups. I have begun to, as Dr. Phil would say, 'get over myself'.

I enjoyed the day immensely. It was great to hang out with people who love drawing as much as I do. You know, other nerds (ha!). A highlight of the day was to be out sketching with the brilliant Lynne Chapman, who's work I have followed, online, for a couple of years. Her drawings are as fabulous in the flesh as they are on screen.

A shout out to some of the talented other folk I met too; Sian Hughes, Bryn Hughes (there really was a strong Welsh contingent for a Sheffiled based group), Matthew Midgley and Julie Clay. It's so interesting to see what other people chose to draw, and the different ways that they tackled the subjects. Take a look at their blogs for some other views of the Park.

For me I feel like I'm scratching away at this kind of drawing. It's so new. I feel I'm still looking for my voice (cheesy, I know - I watch a lot of daytime tv). Plus, there other things I'm yet to work out; what kind of pens should I be working with?; what kind of paper should I use and what size should it be?; do I want to add colour or not? It's thrown up loads of new questions. Questions that only I can answer, and I am so looking forward to finding the answers. I cannot wait for our next outing.

Next post; finished Classified Ads. I promise!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

oh tonight oh tonight

I'm just rounding up the last couple of drawings for the next zine. I'm looking forward to getting a new one printed. It's been a long time.

The 'classified ads' drawings (see last post) are just about finished and I'll try to post them by the end of the week. So, if you've bought some advertising space come back to see your hand illustrated ads. In the meantime I leave you with this craziness. Who knows what I'm ranting on about in this drawing. It's very late at night, the time of night when you shouldn't really be allowed a pen and paper and a blog.

Monday, September 05, 2011

as the dawn breaks over roof slates

I don't really like to clog up my blog with the same stuff, I like to give you visitors some variety. However, I'm working on a number of labour intensive drawings at the moment, these included. They are almost there. My next post will be the completed versions. So, if you've purchased advertising space, but do not see your ad yet, hang fire. They'll be along shortly.
People seem to like these step by step processes, though. In the past I've made a few such posts. To see my other step by steppers take a look HERE. I always think that this set is best viewed on slideshow.
I've said before, coincidentally in my last ballpoint zine, that one of the many things I love about the creative process is the way it surprises you. Sometimes, I feel, I have no idea where an idea comes from, but if you just trust yourself, and your pen, then it seems to unfold in front of your very eyes. I'm loving how these pieces have this bird theme. I have no idea why or how, but I'm loving it.
One last thing, have YOU seen the bird girl? I need to know.