Sunday, 14 December 2014

It's Newtonmas 2014 !!! Deck the halls with prisms and apples fa la la la laaah...

Well it's that most wonderful time of the year when all those so inclined celebrate the mind (though perhaps not the personality) of Isaac the birthday boy. I don't know at what point something becomes a tradition but as this is my third Newtonmas card (see the others here and here) I'm going to call this a tradition of mine.

Raise a glass of spiced cider and don't forget the apple on top of your Newtonmas tree this year. Warmest compliments of the season and a very happy new year to everyone!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

a somewhat spotty triceratops...

Here's my (last minute) creature for this months a little bit bunny. Triceratops was always my favourite dinosaur as a kid (so many pointy bits, though not as many spots as mine now has)... but, for a wee while, there was some proper noun panic over whether it really existed...

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

mammoth prize draw...(draw in both senses of the word)

Torquay Museum are finding lots of exciting uses for the mammoth illustration I did for them. I'm led  to believe there is a Mammoth Free Museum Weekend at Torquay Museum this weekend along with a special prize draw, for which I've been asked to doodle a couple of mammoths as prizes (so long as the post arrives in time). Very relaxing drawing mammoths. Nice and scribbley! Sadly I'm too far from Torquay this weekend otherwise it sounded like a fun old time !

Monday, 10 November 2014

Aesops fable of "The dog and his bone" for Storytime magazine...

In some small defence of my slipshod blogging of late I've had one or two illustration jobs that I had to keep under wraps until they saw print. One such commission was for the grand folks at Storytime magazine who kindly asked me to provide illustrations for the Aesops fable of the dog and his bone (a.k.a the dog and his reflection) for their November issue. Y'know the story; dog finds bone, dog happy with bone, dog sees his reflection with said bone in the river and thinks it's another dog with a better bone, so dog goes to bark at this 'new' bone owner and nab the better bone... What do you know, dog loses his bone in the river... The moral of this fable, avoid rivers!

I pitched three different dog characters (named Sniffer, Banger and Spot... for ease of distinguishing them apart) for Storytime to choose between. Most gratifyingly, after the story was illustrated, they asked for a further group illustration of all three dogs (plus heads and a bone icon) to use for a game page to accompany the original story. All in all a very rewarding brief to work on.

I must say it's great to see the modus operandi Storytime have adopted for themselves, commissioning a variety of distinctly different illustrators to accompany a stimulating mix of story content in a well designed and produced quality magazine for children. Long may it continue.

Friday, 24 October 2014

me mammoth used for Torquay Museum's Mammoth Appeal...

I'm pleased and proud to say that Torquay Museum have launched their Mammoth Appeal and it's my 'hippy mammoth' that they have chosen as a mascot. I believe they are even setting up a name the mammoth competition on their facebook page very soon. I'll be interested to find out what name he / she is. Very nice to see the hirsute old fella / fellaess out and about (although he / she still looks a bit bemused by all the attention he / she is getting!)...

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

chimp think doodle...

Just a sketch that passed some time today... and I know chimps aren't monkeys, but I saw the quote and  it seemed apt to scrawl it in there...

Sunday, 19 October 2014

an orangutan on a penny farthing...

Well then, what better way to break a prolonged dry spell on the old blog but an orangutan on a penny farthing... (incidentally I don't think there is an answer to that...). I recall many conversations with friends about the ergonomic considerations for vehicles, furniture and the like, should apes have culturally and technologically evolved a pace like we hairless chimps did. Just think of it... Certainly there would be buttons and switches on car floors. Chair seats would be lower down while arm rests would be longer (the budget 'cattle class' airlines wouldn't be economically viable in an ape world), and the handle bars of bicycles would be higher up!

As usual with my illustrations for a little bit bunny blog I'll post sketches plus a sneak peek of the final pic here, pop on over to A.L.B.B blog for the full thing. TTFN.

Friday, 12 September 2014

book cover design for "The Burned-Out Blogger's Guide to P.R."

Quite appropriate considering how neglectful a blogger I've been of late but I can finally show one of the several projects which I have bubbling away under the surface till their respective release dates arrive. I'm pleased to say the estimable writer and tech pundit Jason Kincaid was good enough to entrust me with the cover design for his first book, "The Burned-Out Blogger's Guide to P.R." Even if you don't see yourself as a tech entrepreneur, should you rub shoulders with the press or P.R types in your daily existence then Jason's book has a wealth of do's and don'ts narrated in a witty and very readable way. The ebook launched a couple of days ago and the paperback is due in the next couple of weeks. For now dear blog here are my rough alternative concepts and the final ebook cover.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

an ostrich...

Here's a sneak peek of my ostrich for this months a little bit bunny creature... as always follow the link if you are inclined to see more. I ended up revisiting a pose I'd used a while back for a flamingo illustration. I guess there are only so many ways you can arrange avian legs this long!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Saturday, 21 June 2014

don't believe those crocodile tears...

It's been far too long dear blog. Please excuse the lack of posts but I've creative projects ongoing that I couldn't post about, at least not yet. Thankfully good old a little bit bunny blog is always there, as it's supposed to do, to encourage me to blow the cobwebs off and post something. Well this months ALBB creature is the crocodile and I had great fun getting inky and tearful! Here, as always, is some of the sketch work plus a detail of the final illustration.... pop on over to a little bit bunny blog if you'd like to see all of the emotional croc.

Okey dokey, I've a book cover to design, but first I have to read the book... TTFN

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

a sheep...

a sheep I saw, I sketched... it's tricky to sketch sheep, look at too many and you keep dozing off...

Sunday, 13 April 2014

murmuration screen print designs...

A few weeks back now I was fortunate enough to witness the amazing spectacle that is a murmuration of starlings, all swooping and pulsing in a flock before they roosted for the night. It really is a jaw dropping sight to see... and hear. It sounds just like the sea breaking on shore and, when two masses of birds conjoin it actually moves like waves crashing and flowing together.

I really wanted to try and do justice to the scene and cook up a screen print illustration so, off an on, I've been trying to depict the flavour of the event graphically for the last fews weeks. Just like the actual murmuration itself it's such an intangible thing to capture, like bottling smoke. There are the silhouettes of the birds themselves against the sky but, more importantly, there is the motion of the flock as a whole that I'm trying to get at. The pulses, swirls and eddies of the birds all add up to a group organism that is curiously more than the sum of it's individual parts. It really is like in 1950's cartoons when the protagonist goes after the honey, gets chased by the swarm of bees, who form into a fist and bop them on the head.

It's fascinating to read up on theories about this behaviour of flocks of birds, and also bait balls of fish (something else I'd love to see), grouping in such a manner as to deter predators by, perhaps, appearing as a bigger predator... kinda like when a cat puffs up to 'look big'.... (anyone else recall that far side cartoon ? I need to reread my Far Side, it's been far too long... I digress. Here's a smattering of my exploratory sketches, photos I took of the murmuration, (some as animated gifs) and the final "Early Birds" and "Home to Roost" screen print designs. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did cooking them up!


Sunday, 23 March 2014

the trojan horse... or... it might well prove a good idea to look a gift horse in the mouth...

I was stumped for this months a little bit bunny blog post as the prospect of illustrating a horse didn't sound all that exciting... until I remembered the trojan horse that is! As usual I've only posted a cropped detail of the final illustration below, plus some rough initial sketches. If you would like to see more the full epic tale is over on a little bit bunny blog... I must admit while sketching, at one stage my wooden nag's design was unintentionally veering toward Monty Python's 'wooden rabbit'.... or was it a large wooden badger...?! Such marvellous creations as Gilliam's bunny tend to burrow into your brain and stay there (if you pardon the pun...).

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

tardigrades... and an interview...

Time to break the dry spell on the blog, and as is my wont I'll do it with this months ALBB creature which is the tardigrade. Truly fascinating little fellows these. Tough as old boots too. Burn 'em, freeze 'em, dry 'em almost to dust... high pressure, the vacuum of space, massive doses of radiation... all that and these little tardigrades (aka moss piglets or water bears... ahhh) keep on keeping on. Hard as nails and yet still thought by many to be the cutest of microscopic critters. Well worth a read all about them. I've opted for a variety of colourful mossy piglets for the illustration and just had fun with different characters. As always, here is a sneak peek and some sketches (and collage elements) while the final illustration is over on a little bit bunny if you would like a look down the microscope!

While I'm blogging I need to also send belated yet sincere thanks to Craig over on Fishink blog for his asking for an interview and including me on his truly excellent blog of all things illustration, photography and textiles. Much as I hate talking about myself it's hard to shut me up once I get waffling about illustration as a topic! I cannot recommend Fishink blog highly enough. Just looking back through his posts it's spooky how similar a lot of our visual tastes are and he's also posted a wealth of words and pictures on many glorious illustrators I'd certainly never come across before. Bookmark fishink and I guarantee it will give you all the illustration eye candy you could wish for! Cheers again Craig.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

a further sketch in the informal 'cameras I own' series... the Polaroid SX-70

I threatened with my last camera ink sketch to continue the theme... oh, I have plenty more cameras yet... So, while I'm on a roll with my old nikon FE sketch one, old nikon F2 sketch two and my much newer panasonic LX5 sketch (geeks love numbers) here's the transformation of the sublime and anachronistic Polaroid SX-70 camera (this link is to an wonderful Charles and Ray Eames produced original SX-70 advert). Sadly I have to admit that I have never had the polaroid film packs to be able to discover whether this lucky car boot find of mine even works but, as an object of quirky and beautiful design history I'm glad to have one to sketch and admire.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Staithes illustration greetings card...

I'm very happy to say that you can now buy greetings cards from Art Angels stockists of my Staithes fishing village (well Staithes inspired) screen print illustration (previously on Matt Dawson blog...). The production quality of the Art Angels cards are just grand with a nice heavy textured card stock with a debossd print area and a great print reproduction to boot. I'm over the moon at being listed with such printmaker luminaries also stocked by Art Angels as the superb Edward Bawden, Angie Lewin and Mark Hearld. Truly inspirational illustrators to rub shoulders with. I've already had several enquires for screen prints of the Staithes design so the sooner I can get things sorted and my house covered in acrylic and drying prints the better I shall feel!