testing... testing ... can you still hear me blogger...over ? It feels like far too long since I posted anything on my blogger blog. I've come to the conclusion it's daft to run both a regular blogger and a tumblr for my illustrated ramblings so, sad though it is as I've been on blogger since 2007, I'm going to mothball this blogger site and focus my blogging attentions over onto my tumblr and my new look website at www.mattdawsonillustration.com. My old website url www.matt-dawson.co.uk will also link to my new website, just to make it all the easier to find me. Now it's not the end. I'll still check in on the old blogger and, who knows, maybe I'll pull off the dustsheets and take it for a spin from time to time. For now though please frequent mattdawsonblog.tumblr.com if you'd like to keep up to date with my latest work. Speaking of latest work, the dodo is a clue... why not pop on over to tumblr and have a gander (wait, that's geese not dodos isn't it...)!
Now I'm not sure why we mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death... I would have thought marking the anniversary of his birth was more uplifting... but there you go. What with everything bard I couldn't help but doodle this, just to see what I ended up with. Interestingly, while doing a quick google image search I happened upon some research that suggested Shakespeare may very well have had a bone tumour in his skull which could explain some of the unusual proportions seen in the most famous engraving of the chap on the title page of his first folio. I might have over emphasized this in my sketch, just a little... I also had a bit of fun with the 17th century practice of letter f's (actually "long s's" I learned) instead of s's (only seen with letter s's within words apparently...). Don't know if "toast" was really an appropriate word to use about his "demise" but I needed some s's.
A few weeks back I had some time to kill in London so I thought I'd go on a comedy pilgrimage of sorts and check out the exterior shooting location they actually used for the show (a real bookshop in Bloomsbury called Collinge & Clark). It's an odd experience, kind of like stepping into the TV itself, to find yourself standing in front of a fictional location you're very familiar with. Once I'd stood in front of Bernard's shop I wanted to draw it even more.
For a while now I've been reading up on the work of the British painter & illustrator Eric Ravilious. One of his sets of prints form the illustrations for a book called High Street, and one print I'm particularly fond of is the quirky and beautiful submarine engineers. Now I'm wholly not sure why but I thought that this high street shop seemed a good match for the Black Books bookshop and I wanted to approach my illustration with a nod to how Ravilious had treated his submarine engineers. As it would turn out I couldn't help but stray farther and farther from his style as I went on but it was good to have Ravilious and his colour separations in mind as I went along.
I hadn't intended too but I also incorporated several hand lettered lines of dialogue from the show (all text is copyright the estimable Dylan Moran) that referenced the shop itself. It seemed appropriate.
Long story (and too many links) short here's what I ended up with. Now go watch Black Books!
I noticed an onion in my kitchen was getting a little long in the tooth but it appealed as a sketch subject, one thing led to another. Don't know why I decided to play with halftone too, but I enjoyed the whole thing.
I'd mean meaning to do a third irreverent installment to go along with my "Joseph's technicolour dream goat" and "Joseph's technicolour milk float" illustrations from a while back. A few variations sprung to mind (which I still might do when I have a quiet day) but "Joseph's technicolour speed boat" won out. I think it's the retro children's book vibe that's entertaining me as much as the silly word play. Might I have been more religiously inclined if R.E lessons at school had jokey illustrations as an accompaniment... probably not. Would have been more entertaining though.