Friday, March 30, 2012

little by little

You may remember that some time back I created this drawing, above, as the publicitiy image for Buxton Festival's production of James and the Giant Peach.
Well, they kinda liked it and asked if I would do a series of illustrations that would become the back drop for the actual prodcution. I've never done anything like that before and I thought it would be cool to see my illustrations become something bigger, so to speak.
I thought it might be interesting to blog this process, starting these are the first rough sketches. At this point I am just mapping out the drawings.
I was a Roald Dahl freak when I was young. In fact, Danny Champion of the World is still in my top ten favourite books (maybe even top 5). I have a vague memory of reading James, but I've never seen the film. I did consider watching it but decided against it in the end. I don't really want to be influenced by anything else.
I shall watch it after the event. Which will be a nice way to end a project. I'll post all ten (!) of the drawings as I complete them.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

like a long forgotten dream

I was sent these sweets from my friend Tine, in Sweden, about a year ago. Of course, I had all intentions of starting this new journal back then, but you know how it goes? Finally I'm getting around to it and working my way through the airmail envelopes of loveliness that I received from some kind folk in Scandinavia.

The sweets came in a little green tub and just looked so, er, sweet that I ended up putting them in my one of the display cabinets at my my exhibition last summer. Back when I received them I had intended to eat, draw and journal them at the same time. After all the trouble Tine went to in sending them to me I felt that I shouldn't let the fact that they are now past their sell by date put me off. All in the name of research, folks. All in the name of research.

This new travel journal can be viewed HERE.

Monday, March 26, 2012

got no time to worry

Here's a sketch I made yesterday. I've looked at this view for so long but used to think it was way too complicated to draw. Buildings and perspective are a couple of those subjects that scare me. But these days I see that as a challenge.

I started at the top left hand corner of the page, but misjudged things and didn't have the room to fit our row of houses in. And there are some obvious scale issues, as you can see from the photo below. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

saying how do you do

In these times of austerity it's sometimes hard to see any positives, but I, for one, have learnt to be less wasteful. Which can only be a good thing. Take these little Moleskine Volant diaries, and for that matter the Staedtler pens, they have been sat on my bookshelf, and in my pencil case, for a couple of years. They would still be there had I not imposed a new 'no more buying sketchbooks or pens until I've used up some of the stuff that I already have' rule (I'm sure there's a catchier title for that rule but, as yet, I've not found it).

As, I said in a previous post I was never quite sure what to do with them. In my opinion, they are impractical as diaries. Anyway, I've come up with the answer; TV drawing.

Judge Judy

When I'm not doing my usual highly laboured drawings I like to teach myself new things. When it comes to drawing I want to learn learn learn.

The funny thing is, when I was a kid I only ever drew people. Every time I doodled it would be people I'd doodle. Somewhere along the way I stopped doing that. Then when I took up drawing again, a few years back, I focused on objects and the everyday thing that we surround ourselves with.


So, I've been getting back into drawing people by doing these very quick sketches whilst watching TV. Sometimes I get totally carried away with it. Sketching every face that pops up on screen. I think I've filled about ten of the little Volant books so far.

I think I've learnt a lot by sketching in this way. It's almost the opposite to the way I normally draw. You never know how long that person has on screen so you have to work fast.

Oldschool Judge Judy

It's also good for those of us who might not yet be confident about sketching 'real life people'. Nobody is going to say "I don't look like THAT"!

Obviously, there are some programme's that are better than others. Some of my favourites include Mastermind (each contestant/model sits for two rounds, and you get two different camera angles), BBC News 24 (for the news reader and people they interview), Judge Judy (the camera focuses on both the plaintiff and defendant for a good length of time plus you feel less guilty about watching it if you have a reason like drawing), Question Time and I actually believe that I must be one of the only people in the country (I've never met another one yet) who watches the Parliament Channel.

Parliament Channel

There is the odd occasion when I do pluck up the courage to draw a 'real life human being' but it does help if they are asleep!

The train to Sheffield

I've uploaded a whole bunch of these people sketches (portraits, even!) to Flickr. You can see them HERE.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

i was thinking about what a friend had said

Now that I've (tried to) explain what this new travel journal is about it's time to get stuck in.

I would love any help or participation from Scandinavians for this particular chapter. All comments would be much appreciated.

For this first page I referred to the dictionary for the meaning of the term 'Scandinavian'. But what does it mean to you? Is this dictionary explanation a a fair description?

And, do you recognise any of these sweets or 'candies'? Can you tell me anything about them? Which are your favourites, for example. Contributions will make their way into this journal and become a part of it. That's what this project is all about.

Cheers, my dears.

Monday, March 19, 2012

nobody knows what it's like

Thank you, my subjects, young and old, old and new, for visiting my sketchblog.
One IS amused.

(oh yeah, and thanks to Kerry for taking this pic at our masked sketching curry party thingy day).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

i'm going to FIX up the yard

A couple of weeks back I could not stop drawing. Seriously, it was out of control. I always new that that would be followed by a bit of a funk, and the past week I've found it difficult to even pick up a pen. Today, though, I made this quick sketch.

I think sketching is what Saturday afternoons are made for. I'd like to make it a tradition; a quick Saturday afternoon sketch. But, now that I've said that, it'll probably never happen again. You know how saying something out loud is usually the kiss of death?

Despite the quote in the drawing, this isn't actually my yard (although, to be honest, mine is not much better). This pile of rubble is in my next door neighbours yard. He's just had a new bathroom fitted so there's a bath, sink and toilet, amongst other things, in the pile. I kept looking at it, thinking about drawing it but I didn't know where to possibly start. As always the answer is to stop thinking about it and to just jump in.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

have you got a pen?

Some of you may know that I am a Moo designer, which basically means that you can purchase Moo cards, and other products, with my drawings on. I had been meaning to update the work I had on the Moo site for such a long time but for one reason or another that never happened. Until now.

Moo have recently been making some changes to their business and to the way they use the designer's work. So, this seemed like a great time for me to make some changes of my own, which resulted in this lovely set entitled 'Have You Got A Pen?'.

You can now have these three drawings, plus a number of others, printed on mini cards, postcards and greetings cards. I rather like the greetings cards myself.
See the new sets here;

Have You Got A Pen? mini cards

Have You Got A Pen? postcards

Have You Got A Pen? greetings cards

Cheers, my dears.

Monday, March 12, 2012

under the moon of love

You may recognise this drawing. I posted it some time ago. But, it looked a little different then. Check it out HERE.

This really is an example of doodling in it's purist form. I was flabbergasted by the response it recieved back then, because, for the most, I was just working the inks through my pens and checking out the colours. It was my palette, I suppose. After posting it first time round it didn't stop being my palette. I kept working that ink through.

I don't know if it's improved any but I just thought I'd post this development.

Friday, March 09, 2012

behind blue eyes

Slightly freaky, I know. It still freaks me out every time I open this sketchbook, and, for that matter, every time I open my kitchen door to find the Queen staring at me. This, actually, was probably the better way to post it....

Well, imagine how freaky it was for the other poor folk who had to sit sketching with Her Maj. These drawings were from our last sketch crawl. The theme of the day was curry and masks. Yes, curries and masks, together at last! And, as you may have guessed, I went as The Queen.

Not great drawings of the mask but it was difficult to draw. There were some photos floating around too. I'll post them when I get my hands on them, to prove just how freaky sketch crawling with The Queen is. Now, THAT is something I never thought I'd say.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

where it always has been

You know those really crappy days when it feels that the whole world is conspiring against you (not that I'm paranoid or anything). You know the type of day; when your life feels like one big joke.

You've spent ages getting ready then you walk out the house and the heavens open on you. Of course, you do not have an umbrella. Just in case you are not soaked enough you step in a puddle (in ballet pumps).

You walk under a ladder. You slip on a discarded banana skin. A bird craps in your already wet hair, the hair that you'd spent thirty minutes straightening (some may say that's lucky, but when it's a big angry goose it's not. And your actually lying on the floor cos you still haven't got up after the banana incident). Stay with me, I'm painting a picture here.

Your knicker elastic snaps as you are walking down the street and they fall down just as a bus full of school kids draws up. Then to top it all, you end up crying on the phone to the tax office cos they've told you what a pathetic mess your life is and then they drain every penny you have out of you.

Okay, so not all of those things actually happened. I'll let you decide which did. 'Cept if you follow me on Twitter then you'll probably know!

Then, then something nice happens that reminds you that it ain't all bad. And, not to give up. Things could be worse. A lot worse.

On the said day, I got this lovely surprise; two bracelets, with my drawings on (!), through my letter box. What a gorgeous, unexpected, gift from Jim at Wristpix, and something I will keep forever. And, most probably draw. Check out how to make your own mini portfolio, that you can wear around your wrist, HERE.

Thanks, Jim. You made my day.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

then your life becomes a travelogue

So, lets get this show on the road. As I promised in an earlier post I'd share this new project I'm embarking on. It's basically a new sketchbook idea. A travelogue.

But, it's so much more than another sketchbook to me. When you consider that some of my Moleskine projects have taken as long as four years to complete then you might get an idea of how much I invest into them.

I always theme my sketchbooks too. I know it's obsessive but I see them as a whole, not a series of drawings. So, this is a project that I intend to get lost in. To obsess over. All for the love of it. I can't think of a better reason to do anything.

The idea is that I create a new travel journal. A carne t de voyage. But with a twist. I'm going to journal about places that I have never even visited. Yes. If you'd like to read more then click on these drawings. This is the story so far. Hope you join me on this trip.

Friday, March 02, 2012

what are zines?

This is one of the questions I am most asked (asked most?); what are zines? Or, to be precise, what the hell are zines?I tried to answer it in this drawing, above, that I made for my latest zine 'How to draw Like a Loon'. I'm not sure how well I answered it, it was a pretty clumsy attempt. But then, I ain't that great with words. Which is why I draw.

While, I'm not sure how to explain exactly what zines are I absolutely know why I love making them so much. This little video by the folk at Salford Zine Library tells the joy of being a zine maker a lot more eloquently than I ever could. Watch it HERE.

You can view and buy my zines HERE. Also, there are now limited stocks of Molezine 1. I've always wanted to say that!!