Sunday 26 July 2009 in tooth & claw

The latest animal that Phil, Kev and I are to present in our 'mangled menagerie' is the hyena. There are surprising physical similarities in my treatment of the previous wonky donkey (see below) and this blooded beast but in personality, what a contrast! Whereas the old donkey finds life a trial Mr. cheesy grin is a creature that is happy in his work :) I don't think you can go wrong with caricaturing the 'happy' hyena.... might get tricky if you have to illustrate a manic depressive one I dare say... but a hunched set of hairy shoulders, spots and a smile does the trick I think. And I had as much fun drawing this as the hyena is having, although I did get red ink on my keyboard. Messy business illustration.

Nearly forgot chaps... the next animal will be... the camel (hope you don't get the hump over my choice ..tee hee:)

Tuesday 21 July 2009

sad old wonkey

This weeks / fornights / months (I'm not sure which) twisted creature for m'colleagues Phil & Kev is the humble donkey...and it doesn't get more humble than mine. I was initially going to do a "wonkey" and make a play on the legs on one side of the body being too short (is that an old kids joke I've blocked out from my childhood I wonder...?) but as I progressed my donkey just got sadder and more world weary and I realised that's pretty much the essence of donkeys for me. As Phil rightly points out A.A. Milne defined donkeys for all the generations to come with old Eeyore. I added a harness because we always seem to be making them haul something from one spot to another.

Monday 20 July 2009

Giant steps were what we took...40 years ago!

At the risk of adding to all the Apollo hullabaloo here's my little commemoration of those momentous few days. I really wish I was around to share in the world wide event 40 years back. I would have loved to stay up till 3am to see Armstrong's 'small feet' and mankind's giant ones. Who knows, If NASA, or China, or Russia, or maybe even Virgin Galactic manage it I could very well live to see another moon landing (this one in colour with advert breaks for travel insurance...!). To head off any pedantic comments I know the Saturn V rocket didn't get all the way to the moon but allow me artistic license... it's my way of referencing the Lumiere bros Trip to (poke) the Moon (in the eye) iconic image as well. I wanted to get Noel Fielding's Mighty Boosh d'moon in there too somehow but thought better of it. Happy birthday Apollo 11 Now can I get this posted right on the very minute they landed...321
(it may say 20:07, but I did post at 20:17, honest).

Wednesday 15 July 2009

IF "hollow."

There are a dozen other things I should be getting on with but... a slow afternoon, a quick look at illustration friday, the rusty wheels turn, scrap of paper doodle and hey presto.

Sunday 12 July 2009

"...and made him king of all wild things." - Where The Wild Things Are.

I'm sure most people who have an interest in children's books and illustration have already found the enthralling terrible yellow eyes blog but if this name is new to you, and especially if you love Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, have a look ASAP if not before! After seeing the truly inspirational collection of varied artwork amassed on the blog I just couldn't resist having a go myself. "Charles the first duck thing" gave me a hard time at first , as did 'cow thing', but once I got those two I had a ball working with Sendak's lovely characters and setting. WTWTA is really going to be flavour of the year as Spike Jonze film is set to be released in October. As with any book to film project (not to mention an illustration heavy, text light, and fan adored book at that) the jury is out on whether or not the film will be able to live up to it's source material, but if the trailer, and Jonze's track record (the jaw dropping Being John Malkovich) are anything to go by it will certainly be worth seeing on the big screen. I can recommend the crew blog for the WTWTA film "we love you so" as an interesting way to regularly while away a few minutes on this and that.

**********UPDATE********** My sincere thanks go to Cory Godby over at for inviting me to join in the fun with the 'wild bunch'. To post my work along side such a talented bunch as he's collected is an honour and a privilage.

Friday 10 July 2009

Ta toucans

A big, bendy billed thank you has to go out to blogger extraordinaire and creative factory Susan Sanford over at art spark theatre for kindly giving my toucans a plug on her birdy tiny theatre blog. It's impossible to provide a concise description of Susan's varied and inspiring output, though if you like Alice in Wonderland, Hitchcock fillms or Lost you cannot go far wrong by popping over to her sparky theatre for a gander!

Sunday 5 July 2009

twisted toucan (twisted penguin...?)

Here's my Toucan Kev & Phil. It's perhaps as much a twisted penguin as it is a twisted toucan. Not really sure I'm saying anything deeper than as I was drawing my toucan it reminded me of the Penguin Books logotype which I've always been a fan of. I've also posted some ink and watercolour doodles I did to work out the character treatment for the toucan. So much of my work digitally these days that I really miss not having something to see for my efforts at the end of the day after the computer has been switched off. I think sometimes there is also that danger of getting too comfortable with "apple Z" (or ctrl Z for those PC users out there). I've always loved watercolour because you can never be 100% sure about what you are going to end up with. Sometimes things can really surprise you... both good and bad. Similarly I'm not a big one for inking in my work but for these doodles I employed an inky kebab skewer and large piece of paper in order to loosen up a little and see what happens next... All that said I still ended up with a digital final piece. Photoshop is just a lovely place to work I guess.

Saturday 4 July 2009

flightless flight of fancy

As you do I've been mulling over the earlier moa illustration for a few days and Kev's comment was right and (as usual...ta Kev) chimed in with some thoughts I'd tentatively had to try and use my arm for something else as well as the birds neck. I have to say I'm more happy with the "digital trees" (they have digits, get it :) than the bird now. When I finally get started on some Alice in Wonderland illustrations like I've been planing to I think these trees might have the makings of the 'Tulgey wood."