Saturday, 29 December 2012

iphone cases - the gift that keeps giving

Before I started slapping my doodles on plates I had already forsaken paper in favour of another surface....iphone cases. I don't actually own an iphone myself but as the majority of my friends do I thought personalised iphone covers might make nice presents. I discovered a website called, gaudy and brash in design (as the use of a 'z' in replacement for a 's' might suggest) but easy enough to use and they provide a good service. It's a simple case of uploading your image and then leaving the rest to them.

I have made three iphone cases and am pretty happy with them all.
Firstly for my medical student friend Flo a personalised Herge style phone case. We are both obsessive fans of the Tintin books (I could corner you and explain why Herge is the greatest artist who ever lived for many hours if you had the misfortune of running into me at a party) and though I've know Flo for about five years it only occurred to me recently to try draw her in Herge's style. I was pretty convinced that any attempt to re-create Herge's style would be shambolic but I was thrilled when it worked out okay. The patients head is a nod to Tintin and the Shooting Star, Flo as Tintin and as I am a nurse I decided to throw myself in as Captain Haddock (considering this has been a nickname for me in the past).

In a previous post I mentioned my film maker friend Leanne Welham, I also mentioned the fact she is working on her first feature I made her a Twitcher phone case. The iconic symbol of the film is a Wryneck bird....thanks for choosing that Leanne... what a pain in the arse to draw.

I have also mentioned my contour fashion student friend Ruth, who designs wonderful bras and pants. Well if you've glanced the images below you'll realise I not gone down the underwear root for Ruth. Ruth and I bonded over our incredible taste music and in particular Joanna Newsom (the single greatest song writer of my generation).  One Joanna Newsom song in particular is dearest to both our hearts, a song called 'Only Skin' in which every line is spine tingling and soul piercing in its beauty and perfection. I illustrated a line from the song for Ruth with a nod to her own blog Lesson's in Scarlet.

And there they all are on phone cases. I should have got a picture of each one in use by each person. Darn.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Paper No More

I have an idea, it involves my drawings on ceramics. I experimented last night with this concept. It is not an easy process and with the three attempts I made to plaster my drawings onto plates or bowls I learnt something different with each one.

The first thing I learnt with plate one was that if you really need an image with a good clear outline that you can cut right up to because other wise the decal paper is quite obvious once attached to the ceramic.

The second thing I learnt is if you are going to apply a glaze to protect the decal image once it is on the plate...then be careful and exact. Just put it on the image and not a wash covering some of the plate as well. It is quite obvious where your new bit of glaze is and it does not look good.

Finally on a bowl I learnt if the surface is curving, you might have to deal with a wrinkle or two in the image. It is early days but I think it might be possible to do something real nice with this. Wish me luck....

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas Card

It's been a while and this is largely due to Christmas preparation. My days have been spend fighting through the busy rainy streets of Brighton and braving establishments filled with consumers shopping seemingly with the notion that the world is ending and only presents will save them. It has not been at all like the Dickensian imagery I always create in my mind before I head out Christmas shopping, the streets are not snow covered, I have not strolled cobble paving my arms steeped with string tied parcels while ever shop keeper calls a cheerful greeting, I have not even tussled the hair of a newspaper boy and given him a shilling to buy his family a fine Christmas goose.

Inside The Captain’s Lodge (…my flat…) things have been more festive and traditional. I have hung clove studded oranges by red ribbon and wrapped gifts with bows while the spicy zest stings my nostrils. I have also sat drawing with yuletide purpose while listening to high quality Christmas music bathed in the light of a hundred fairy lights.

The first of my Christmas creative endevours I will share are this years Christmas cards. Again I had them printed at, this saves me time and probably money. I’m pretty pleased with the final result even if they printed them slightly too dark and the detail of the hair was lost. Anyway you can see for yourself. I am a man of little money at the moment and was unable to print very many so this year only a very few people got a Christmas card from me. I hope this doesn't make me hated.

Black and White Original


How it may have looked on your shelf if I had sent you a card

Merry Christmas ya'll

Friday, 30 November 2012

Digression and then Sharing The Love: Part Three

Due to the boiler death outline in the last post I had to shower at work this morning and will have to continue to do so until Thursday. The male shower at work is located gents toilets, there are three cubicles, two contain toilets and the last a shower. These are the communal toilets for patients and staff alike, so it was with a certain degree of uncertainty I embarked on this venture. The shower cubicle is just that, no shelves or anything, so no where to put clothes and bags, so after a period of hesitation I disrobed in a toilet cubicle and left my mountain of winter clothes in there. Though it is a short distance between cubicle to cubicle the anxiety of the prospect of a meeting (an early patient sent to provide a urine sample or a lab technician planning to void his bowels for the first time of the day) while in only boxer shorts can not be underestimated. Also crossing a hospital toilet floor with bare feet is one of the more psychologically unsettling tasks I’ve had to undertake.

The water was at least hot even if the stream feeble and fluctuating, it was very much like standing under an elderly gentleman with prostate trouble attempting to void his bladder. I have often ideally wondered why the sinks and mirrors above the sinks in the unit toilets are so low; they reflect your torso and cut out the head all together. This had always been a mild curiosity but post shower upgraded to mild inconvenience. Kneeling on the floor to comb your hair makes you feel like a dick.

So that was my morning and it has nothing to do with this post, I just needed to share that. One of my best friends is a film maker called Leanne Welham. She is a partial deaf little creature with one hand bigger than the other, she progresses through life managing to be confused and irritated by it at the same time. Look I did a picture of her.

 Despite this she is a beautiful and talented film maker and will be a very big name in British film making I promise you. She is currently working on her first feature film, Twitcher a dark yet uplifting human drama. I can tell you it is going to be brilliant already because I have read every draft of the script so far (and made lots of wise suggestions). I can also tell you it will be brilliant based on the three short films Leanne has written and directed so far: Novo, Transgress and her latest Nocturn. Nocturn has played many important festivals and impressed many important people and has won awards and that and is quite incredible. You can download it at itunes for less than £1.50p, you’d be a fool not to and you don’t want to be a fool do you?

Some links for ya'll

Thursday, 29 November 2012

New Life Drawing

The universe seems to have decided that if I am going to start being creative again I am going to do it properly….in despair and poverty. Granted much of the world’s most powerful and beautiful art and literature has come from depressed garret dwellers but I rather be chipper and be able to afford more than one pair of trousers myself. I can at least get behind emotional traumas being a great source of inspiration and poetic thought processes but I see nothing to gain by having no money. So the last week or so has been experienced with mounting distaste and distress.

This morning my boiler broke while displaying a raw natural talent for impeccable comic timing. My boiler departed from this world while I was in the middle of a shower on the coldest day of the year so far, leaving me with no heating and being sprayed with cold water. I have now been informed this will cost me £2000 to replace. That’s not great this close to Christmas, or indeed anytime of the year. It is even worst coming just days after been informed I’ll need to pay nearly £3000 for the re-damp proofing of my flat. The news of the damp proofing itself had followed hotly on the heels of a bill for re-rendering the front of the building.

Now my chief inspiration for attending life drawing classes will just be because it will be some where guaranteed to be warm. Yes. That is right. I have finally reached the point of this post, more life drawing. On Tuesday night I once more found myself with the mark of a red bee on my hand being ushered into the Bee’s Mouth. This time the small cluttered room was a lot busier, filled with exactly the sort of people you’d expect to see at a life drawing class in a trendy pub in Brighton. Apart from the model, I was the only man in the room and before the model arrived I felt the distinct uncomfortable sensation that everyone thought I was the model and was waiting for me to strip down.

In actual fact the model this week did not seem very keen to strip down himself. Lizzie and I agreed that he was quite visibly self conscious; he would often have an embarrassed smirk playing around his lips while his eyes sifted uncomfortable during poses. He also pulled on a large woollen jumper in between every pose even though there was normally a matter of seconds between the poses. I’m not judging him, if I was naked in a tiny cramped room full of fully dressed young women I would be pretty self conscious too. It just seems like an unusual handicap for a life model….as did his tendency to slowly move through out poses. Looking at my drawings I think you can actually see his discomfort coming through, or perhaps I am just looking for it.

All those quibbles aside he was great to draw, he had a weathered and complex face and an angular body. It was as if someone had hurriedly chipped him out of a slab of granite and then left him to be battered by the elements for thirty years. I must confess I did prefer drawing the model from the week before, a comment I made on the night and mortified Lizzie. I did say it quietly…but hadn’t realised his girlfriend was sat next to me.

The poses are always fast with ten minutes being the maximum you’ll get to scribble something down and I keep hoping for a twenty minute pose. However being forced to work quickly, without care is feeding exactly the sort of freeness I wanted to re-discover. Last week I noticed I was struggling a bit with hands and it has become an issue, I slow down and fret when I get to the ends of the arms and merely through the act of concentrating on what I am drawing I completely foul them up. The low lighting in the room does not help; anything in shadow is largely guess work as my feeble eyes squint and strain. Anyway some drawings and also why not think about coming along to one of the sessions? Also does anyone know how much a health kidney might fetch on the black market these days?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Bowie shaped filler

It has been nearly a week since I last posted anything here. It was not my intention to leave it that long. It just seems that it is difficult to try and fit blogging in around my full time work (trying to save peoples brains and all), being creative and trying to live a life of sorts. It is especially hard with the run up to Christmas beginning as I have taken it upon myself to design my own Christmas cards and even a couple of presents for a couple of lucky (?) people.

I went life drawing again last night so I will scan in a few of those and post them at some point when I have more time but not tonight. Tonight is date night with my foul mouthed doctor friend Helen: a free lecture on Phillip K Dick, followed by 2-4-1 Pizza Express dinner, then 2-4-1 cinema tickets to ‘The Master’ at the best darn cinema in the UK, The Duke of York’s. A cheap but perfect evening ahead, I hope you have something equally great planned…it seems unlikely.

Anyway while I’m out living the dream I will leave you with a drawing I did a while back of David Bowie. It sort of follows on from the last post… the life model resembled the Bowie period that inspired me to do the below illustration in the first place. It is also a bit wintery…look at the snow.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Brand New Nudie Pictures!

I haven’t done life drawing for about twelve or thirteen years, as mentioned in the previous post the discovery of those thirteen year old life drawings stirred me to inspiration. My architecture student friend, Lizzie, suggested we go to the life drawing class at The Bees Mouth pub in Hove. It runs out of a small but suitably decorative back room of the pub at 7:30pm on Tuesday nights. Upon arrival you get the sense you are attending something very different to life drawing but that it will still definitely involve nudity. You pay your money at the bar and a red bee is stamped on your hand. You are then ushered down a dimly light corridor to a room at the back of the pub; the room has no door but instead a tattered black curtain hanging across it. Drawing back the curtain I half expected to see an Eyes Wide Shut situation unfolding, masked tuxedoed men watching naked masked girls. The room has the perfect ambiance for that sort of romp actually, all Chesterfield sofas, gas lamp style wall lanterns and ornately framed mirrors.

The room is small but it really didn’t matter as last night there were only five of us in it, myself, Lizzie, a Spanish girl, the class organiser and a naked man. I couldn’t have hoped for a model more suited to my drawing style actually, a tall, thin young man who seemed to be made up of sharp angles and knotted muscle, bearing a passing resemblance to David Bowie in his thin white duke days, in short great fun to draw.

I was a little nervous having not drawn from life in so long but really happy to be returning to it. In fact I might not have been nervous, just excited….I can’t really tell those feelings apart. Still I was fairly bold with it and went straight in with ink on paper, no backing out or changing things like you can with pencil. The poses were all very short over the two hours mostly five or ten minutes and I might have been more comfortable with a longer pose so I could be all careful and neat but to be honest it was great to be so free with it all. As an illustrator I have crafted a very careful and neat style that is therapeutic in its own way but is all about control.

It was great to be cavalier about drawing again…you may also notice I am cavalier about proportions! I have little interest in getting things exact while life drawing, I’m much more interested in the quality of the line. This used to vex and irritate many a teacher during my university days and I know foreshortening and all that is an important skill to learn. However once I had learnt it, I decided to disregard it as this gave me the freedom to just enjoy the quality of the line, to enjoy the freedom and enjoy drawing. Hang the plumb lines! Anyway here are last nights efforts.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Stained old nudie pics

My parents have, for years now, been slowly and calmly been attempting to ride their home of all my old crap so that it clutters my flat rather than their house. This is fair enough, though I am running a fairly successful counter strike of neglecting to remove items from their home when I am there. Today as part of their operation my old portfolio was delivered to my flat.

I have had a delighted morning sprawled on the floor pawing over long forgotten images and projects and smiling at the meories they have brought rushing back. I was pleased to discover I actually still really like a lot of the work I had done, especially my life drawing. As most of them are massive it is a dull process to scan them in in sections and then join them together (it's probably even duller to read about it, sorry about that....oh well nothing we can do about it now. You can't unread it, we'll just have to press on) but I do intend to preserve them this way.

Already many of them have been stained by some unknown brown slurry (I'm going to tell myself it add character and try take comfort in that). I present a few of very old life drawings for your pleasure and will no doubt post more in the future when I find the time to repeat the scan and join process.

I do feel newly inspired to return to life drawing classes looking at these so if you are very good you might get brand new life drawings and wouldn't that be something to tell the kids about?!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Sharing The Love: Part Two

What’s with the drawing of the boozy, meat pawed, man child? That is a (none too flattering) portrait of Mr Daniel Locke. He is a brutish flesh engine of a basketball player not above swatting girls to the ground to reach the ‘bucket’. He is known to be prone to fits of mania, inducing himself into a giggling almost feverish state with his own humour. Like Nick Cave, he rocks a wagon R. In short he is an excellent friend to have.   
However none of this is why a line drawing of his face is staring you down right now. Dan also happens to be a very talented monkey. He is a skilled all round artist but to my mind Dan is the most naturally gifted in the arena of the comic book. In fact I would go so far as to say he is THE MOST naturally gifted comic book artist I have ever met. His comic book work is beautiful, intelligently observed, sensitive and often sweetly nostalgic. Dan has already been published in a number of excellent comic book compendiums where his work has been nestled alongside many other gifted contemporise but next year will see the publishing of his first fully solo graphic novel. I urge you to seek down this fine fellows work. I urge you really firmly….at knife point.

You can start right now, below links and pictures:
Here the man has a website

and also here he has a blog

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Morbid self-portrait

I tend to draw myself a lot because I'm about the only person I feel comfortable enough to ask to draw and I'm always around. It has little to do with self exploration and much more to do with convenience.

The other day the idea of drawing my head in a bell jar just entered my mind. I could, with a small amount of concentrated thought, attach 'meaning' to this imagery. I'm sure I could find plausible links to life events and emotions but I don't really believe its about anything. I love taxidermy and just thought it would look cool.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Sharing the love: Part 1

I find myself in the lucky position of being friends with a number of quite wonderful and talented human beings (see the post regarding Ruth below). So I thought I would punctuate the posts regarding my own 'work' with links to other people blogs and websites that you might enjoy. I will also seize the chance to may be slap up a bit of my own work if it relates to that person.

So first up Dr Laure Fernanez's blog. If you think you might be interested in a mega cute, super cool, French girl with a PhD having adventures in New York with an effortless and natural sense of style  and then posting beautiful, witty and tasteful imagery from said adventure online then hop to it, this is the blog for you.

Look I did a drawing of her. Click to enlarge.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

As seen on somebody else's blog

One of the chief inspirations to dip my toe into the blog….water, was that I had just very recently been asked to illustrate the header for a friend’s blog. The delightful and talented lingerie designing vintage darling Ruth Schechner is keeping a blog to catalogue her progress through a degree in contour fashion (knickers and bras to the average plebe on the street….which I no longer group myself with). The blog is called ‘Lessons in Scarlet’ for which I drew a cardinal on a chalk board. The chalk board because of the lesson in class, industry (and in life) Ruth will no doubt experience over the next three years. A cardinal has been said to symbolise passion, an activated life force and identity. Ruth also had cardinals in her backyard in Georgia growing up. But mainly because cardinals are kinda red and so is the colour scarlet…so you see what I did there?

I was pretty happy with the header so here it is below. You should also go check it out on Ruth’s blog where it sits above her excellent work.