Anyone who knows me will tell you how much of a fan I am of the TV comedy Black Books written by the comedy genius that is Dylan Moran. I've illustrated my take on the fictional, sinister beverage "Life Cry" that appeared in the show but another subject I wanted to tackle was the dilapidated shop front that appeared in the show's titles.
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!