Sunday, 30 December 2007


Quick scribble for this week's IF, created in Flash and Illustrator so no dirty hands! Shame really, I like the feeling of ink on my fingers...

So, I wondered idly about how big an Angel's wings would actually have to be to be able to fly and came across a fun little thread of silly people here. The gem of the comments is this lovely quote from a guy called "Ramon Valentin" (Can that be real? Sounds like he should be in a Jack Black movie);

"I have prepared a model that would fit any human and is still in tests, but i tried it at the beach with a lot of wind, and just opening both 3 ft. long wings( 3 ft. each )I was able to float for like two minutes. My arms got tired and the wind was inpredictible and I was like 7 1/2 feet lifted up in the air, so I fell on the sand. With a little more excersice, and a better phisycal condition, I think that we can just lift off and actually fly...Hope to hear from someone really interested. We could really do this and earn money at the same time."

This is just an assumption, but a guy who spells "physical" "phisycal" ain't going to be all that great at "phisicks" which is kind of what you need to be good at to be able to "fly".

Expect to see this guy on the Darwin awards anytime soon.

Oh, yeah, and if you are out there Ramon, and you do actually fly, awesome dude!

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Justice & Favourite Shows to Draw to

Finished image...

Sketch... and now for the whinge!

I've been wanting to write a post about how my first year blogging's been going but I think I'll wait for the year anniversary of this weblog rather than the calendar year because... well... we've got 4 months left and who knows what could happen!

Ok, this image started out as a sketch that I drew whilst watching the popular BBC programme "Dragon's Den".

Now, I don't know about you but I have favourite shows to draw to. I've had a little think about the one's I usually draw to and I don't think it's got anything particularly to do with how "wordy" the show is. Having said that, I just spent 2+ hours drawing to "Pulp Fiction" last night, a particularly wordy movie and sat there gawping at the screen, sketchbook untouched, whilst flinching at the dreadfullness of "Jurassic Park III". There are some surprisingly good actors in that movie... but it just sucked! Oh the Christmas schedule...

To the image! I messed around with it for ages, scanned it 3 different ways and generally messed around and procrastinated while avoiding the big image that I keep talking about! I put colour all over it, took it off, put it on again, vectorised it and... here it is!

Right, back to work...

Friday, 28 December 2007

Will It Be Too Much?

Good Christmas? Mine was awesome thanks for asking!

So, this is a small part of the large image I was working on when I gave up and did the "Girlfriend backpack" image for Illustration Friday (see the post below for the protracted dumb and boring explanation.)

I need some help. I've been a doofus.

I like to work fast. Real fast. 5 images a day fast. This image is killing me. I've been at it for 4 or 5 hours now and I ain't even half done. This is really testing me as this isn't for money or nuthin', this is just something I've started doing and so I must finish or the whole thing will be a big fat waste...

The crop above is part of a street scene I've started. It all began with the I.F. theme "backwards". I had this idea to do a guy talking on his phone crashing into another car "backwards". I had this plan to write a whole thing on how much talking on your phone and driving annoys me blah blah blah blah blah.

But then I got ideas.

I started drawing the bus to go behind the car (this is all in Flash) as I thought it would be fun to create all these little characters to go in all the windows and stuff... damn it, I drew a bunch of windows! Now I'm putting in pedestrians and... I need a break! So I'm going for a run. Relax me down so I can concentrate. I need to finish this so I can get on with updating my website! Oh the freelance fun...

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Girlfriend Backpack

Ok, I cheated a little... I did the "back" but not the "wards"!

I started this Illustration Friday theme at home, ran out of time, found some spare time at work, worked on another idea (the one above that I'll come on to in a sec), realised I would have no time to finish my original idea this week and so I decided to post this image instead, as loosely themed as it is!

Make sense? Yes, no..? Aaaall-righty-then!

The image above is based on a plan I had to make a "girlfriend backpack". I guess in these current climes we'd have to call it something else though, like a "Person Backpack" or a "Mobile Assisted Reverse Lumbar Partner Pack" or maybe a "Weaker Partner I-told-you-to-stop-complaining-so-I'll-just-bloody-well-carry-you Pack"

Check out the radio spot: "Have you ever been out shopping all day? Does your partner's choice of footwear hinder your excursions? Does your loved one's little legs tire easily? Well, worry no more! From Reeko, the company that brought you "The Boat Made of Cheese" and the "Monkey's Uncle" comes the device guaranteed to boost relationships the world over! For the introductory, one off, super sale price of £49.99, you too can enjoy the pleasure of man powered co-dependent transportation!"

Of course this sucks if you are the carrying partner. I'd recommend a strength test followed by a "Whinge-omoter" rating to see which partner should have to carry the other in times of stress. The whinge points would count against the strength points, so a excellent whinger who was a super weakling would always be carried. Of course in the event of a score draw there would be a certain number of steps (say 200) before the couple would have to swop places.

So what do you think? Ideal Xmas gift? Should I apply for a worldwide patent?

What's that? Back to the drawing board? Why you little...

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Xmas Creativity

Why is it people and/or companies get all over excited around Christmas with their creativity?

I'm soon to be leaving my current position to go freelance. The kind of creativity my current job normally involves is picking new images of multi-racial happy, professional and productive co-working team members for corporate templates. Snore...

However, in the last month, these corporate brand managers have just gone nuts! I've been creating illustrations, animations, crazy party invites and all sorts of fun material to send around London town celebrating the winter solstice. I'm not sure why, but along with the office christmas parties, corporate jollies and various hilarity people get creative.

The above image is a classic example of this. A company wanted me to create some personalised parcel tags for all the boxes of Celebrations they were sending out to their clients. Awesome! Loads of fun with textures and brush tools later and another fun creative christmas creation.

Now why can't these guys be open minded and creative the rest of the year?

Thursday, 13 December 2007

The Ten Minute Rule

I broke a bunch of rules with this one.

First rule to break, price! I did this as a freebie for a client of ours at work. He's not even a illustration client so that was dumb too. However, I was bored, we've slowed down this near xmas and it was bit of fun.

I guess that's one of the problems of doing your hobby for a living (apart from the long hours) is when your not doing anything and someone ask you for a favour... it's pretty hard to say "No! You must pay me full wack!" as any car mechanic or builder would probably do. I should though. It's good practice.

However I am on someone else's clock at the moment, so I don't really give a monkey's about payment, since I'll get paid anyway! Still, not the right attitude in a forward, industry thinking way.

Second rule that I broke; I did the image without knowing what I was about. I was sent a faxed scribble that had the basic elements in place, the desk, the door, the man, etc and I read the title "Use The Ten Minute Rule" and assumed it was some dumb in-joke. So I did the image.

Then, as I was finishing up, I thought, "I'm sure I've heard this before... somewhere..." so I googled it like I should have done in the first place. See here.

Acknowledge, "I don't feel like doing that," but do it for 10 minutes anyway. That gets you over the hard work of initiation. After being involved in the activity for 10 minutes, then decide whether to continue. Once you're involved, it's easier to stay with a task. Succeeding at a task does not require that you like doing it.

Sounds like a good idea to me! Not so great for my illustration though. I could have a ball with a topic like that! Never mind, I altered some of the positioning of the figure to help with conveying the idea and sent it in. Oh and "Who is Gary Smith?" I hear you ask. Well this is an xmas present for him and I've no idea what he looks like! Fingers crossed he looks vaguely like this guy... What else can you do?

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Don't Hitch a Ride on a Spaceship

You'll get burned...

Just one of those little things, those life lessons that are so important to get right! Now what's that thing your supposed to never do to a Klingon...?

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Why I Came Back


I was stressing. I'd started this blog at work because I was getting back into illustration, I was bored, and I wanted to post the little things I was making in between jobs. Also I'd discovered Illustration Friday and I was having fun with that.

I went on other Illustrator's sites. The way that people had dealt with the blogging issue appears to very much be a tale of 2 cities. On one hand you have my favourite illustrator's website (not my favourite illustrator... although he is awesome! But his site is especially awesome!) which integrates the blog squarely into the site. In my opinion, Kevin Cornell has perfectly designed a portfolio/weblog site. The home page opens up straight into the blog with all the portfolio and other projects, links and goodies arranged down the right. The portfolio sections and the store are easy to navigate and beautifully designed. A gorgeous creation.

On the other hand you have Illustrators who sepearate the blog and the website. I assume they do this for the same reasons I do. They have an existing website, free blog sites are super easy to set up and use, they are unsure that they will keep the blog up and they have a lack of technical knowledge to create their own. The amount of coding required to set up a portfolio site is, well, I set one up in my first Dreamweaver lesson. A blog page with comments and and all the trimmings is a little more complicated to code from scratch.

So I ignored all that. I was so into bearskinrug that I tried essentially to copy it.

I failed. Why? Because I don't have the technical skill to do it. I could have paid someone to do it for me but... I wanted to be in control. Also, it was awesome procrastination.

I was teaching myself all the coding I needed in order to create the site and I started to put it up online and one weekend when it had all gone wrong again I sat there staring at my screen and looked down at my sketchbook and thought...

...what a waste of time. I'm supposed to be an illustrator not a web developer.

So I fished around for a solution. I found RapidWeaver. I spent a whole day at work playing with it when we were quiet. RapidWeaver is a template based web design application for Mac. Actually, saying it's a design application is misleading. It's not really a design application. It's more of a content manager. They give you a bunch of templates and off you go. They are customisable up to a point (you can change the colours, whether you want the boarder on the left or the right of the screen etc) and that's what bothered me. It wasn't free enough. I wanted my website to be like my work, you know, unique (in my eyes).

Thing is though, website are not that unique. They pretty much keep to one essential layout. Header at top, navigation bar underneath or to one side etc etc... and of course this is a great thing! We know how to work this format! There's nothing worse that a page that says "How to use this site". If you need that page then you've failed as a designer. Remember all those crazy slow loading flash sites? I used to love designing those...

There I am, um-ing and ahh-ing over RW. Then I found a plug-in that let me add my own picture header. Ok, I thought, this is now looking like "mine". Then I started adding the galleries and you know what? My greatest internal fear was realised. Once I'd put my work up it looked like my site. All those hours coding was a waste. Well not totally a waste of time. I'm much better at CSS now!

RW has a built in blogging tool that allows you to put up an all singing all dancing blog much like this one. I figured this is it! I kill off this blog and I've created the site of my dreams! Just like Mr Cornell's! Everyone will love me, angels will sing, doors will open and the packed masses will carry me through the streets of London with money cascading down from the heavens!

I posted the death of this blog and played with the site all weekend posting a couple new things.


All was not perfect. The new blog was giving me grief.

One of the things, as a posting artist, I love about blogger is that you post a small image on the blog which then links to the full sized file. You get the gist from the blog image but if you want to see detail (how I love the detail) you select the image. Not so in RW. I found the RW page hard to read, the fonts were too big and the spacing was all wrong. The gaps between the posts were too small. The format was too wide and strange... I fiddled with all the options and couldn't get it to work. I looked back to the blogger account for guidence and saw my old nicely ordered and spaced blog and my 100 old posts, all standing behind me like an achievement, each one giving me confidence to go on with the next.

The other thing that was troubling me was that I didn't feel free to write whatever I thought on RW. My website is my shop front. You don't air your dirty laundry in the shop in front of customers. You do it out the back where they can overhear it and giggle at the gossip.

This blog is my staff room, my fag break. I feel free and relaxed here. I can say what I think and take on all comers.

Also, especially as I'm going freelance full time in the new year, I can access this page remotely.

So I put it all back like it was! I'm keeping RW for my site because it's an awesome app for managing my images and contact details and all that shop stuff. I can have a store on there too for when I start selling prints in the future. And all for $49 (£24.99 thanks to the weak dollar. I was bought a limited edition Rage CD for more than that). If wasn't posting artwork I would definitely blog there. In fact I'm going to have a little "News" blog up there, mainly to say when I've posted new images in the portfolio section.

So that's where I'm at. Going to do some drawing now. Free at last...

Up Hill Struggles

It's definitely been a struggle in a season they've made a complete meal out of... but Spurs finally won this weekend! In other related news, on the virtual betting website I put £300 on Spurs to win and £100 on the final score being 2-1. That's right, I've taken home £1,130... virtual... pounds! Now I'm off to have a virtual celebration with virtual champagne and virtual strippers and if I'm really lucky I'll get beaten up by a virtual drug dealer and left to die in the virtual rain. Just another night on the virtual tiles...

Reports Of My Death...

...that were given by me, about this blog are not true. I've resurrected it again. The long and boring reasons why I will scribble down here tomorrow when I've slept on it.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

The End Is Neigh!

It's sudden, but pretty final.

After 100 posts, and an awful lot of fun, it is my unfortunate duty to inform you that this Sketchblog is dead.

From now on I will be posting at my website, rather than here.

Why? Simple. I want to keep all my posts, sketches and portfolio in the same place.

Thanks for the good times and for taking the time to read this page. Come on over and continue the fun at

Nuthin' but love,

Jimmy Boy Reeko

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

I hate Quark

I really, really do. I just can't contain my rage any longer. I just downloaded the 7.3 update and it killed my copy of Quark, so I get to write this rant whilst reinstalling the whole thing AGAIN.

Remember Quark 4? The all conquering application that was the staple for publishing printed media? I learnt Quark on 4.0 with it's weird little world of backward short cuts ("Command - E" for I-mport? who's idea was that?!) but it was the standard. You didn't question it because it's all there was. Ok, so there was page maker and the "lesser" applications like publisher but quark was king. Got my first job in a studio and bang! Quark 4, Photoshop 6, Illustrator 8, get on with it! No problemo...

Then, my missus got a job at the BBC. They had recently switched to InDesign which came with the newly released Creative Suite. She came back from training raving about it. "It's just like Illustrator but with a multi page layout!" she cried as if she'd died, gone to heaven and been pulled back to earth to be told "Yes, Earth and Heaven is now the same place."

See, designers love Illustrator. Why? Because it's a free creative environment. It's vector based so it runs quickly, you copy-drag ideas around a vast artboard, grabbing bits, merging and splicing at will. Quark is practically the opposite of this. Want to place a picture? Well, how big is it? Where do you want it? There? Where's that then? Which font? Nope, wrong font type can't deal with that one. Now, you want a table of information? Why would you want to change the line weight? You'll have to find my sub menus. I give you a clue, it's in the preferences that I just lost. No, wrong tool! Double clicking won't help you there! You need to hold down 5 keys to do that. Which ones? You think I'd know, wouldn't you? Oh, and I just lost where all your pictures were kept too. You'll have to import them again.

I remember the great Kevin Cornell describing designing with Quark "like trying to draw Mount Rushmore with an Etch-a-sketch" on a message board.

You see Quark wasn't designed for designers. It was designed by technicians to do a job. "Put picture here, put text here, print." I used to design (still do actually) on paper or in Illustrator and remake in Quark as it's so anti-creative. I've had to developed a new mental workflow which requires imagining the entire layout before beginning. Super annoying for a guy who likes to push things around and see where they go.

I got Quark 7 at work about a year ago. I had hoped they would take on board the threat from InDesign and add in some more creative elements. Copy dragging, outlining fonts, additional image previews, multi image importing... nope. Drop Shadows. That's what they managed. Oh and a new properties bar made utterly useless if you know the shortcuts that Quark pretty much requires you to know to use it effectively.

In fact Quark is so reliant on it's users knowing shortcuts that I know of one recruitment firm that devised a test for it's DTP applicants involving a shortcut Q&A, i.e. "Centre text. A: Shift-Alt-M, B: Shift-Alt-C..." and handed you a print out and an unplugged keyboard to "help".

To add insult to injury with Quark 7 they even managed to screw up a load of things that previously worked fine. My version has never imported pdf's consistently and struggles with rendering CMYK .eps and .tiff files to the same colour. How basic is that? How can you not fix that stuff?

So why don't you switch to InDesign then Reeko? Well, I can't. My boss requires me to use Quark because he doesn't want to learn InDesign. I can see it in my Dock, taunting me. Crying out for me to switch! Oh well. Quark will die soon. People will have to switch. Hopefully.

Monday, 3 December 2007


"Excess" seems to fit so nicely into a environmentally themed post.

Check it;

"One study estimated that a single transatlantic return flight emits roughly half the CO2 emissions produced by all other sources (lighting, heating, car use, etc.) consumed by an average person yearly."

One thing that's amazed me, whilst doing a little browsing, is how many people seem to believe that Global warming is an invention of the media. Now, I'm no scientist (really? no kidding...), but I can't buy that all the fumes from our power stations/cars/aeroplanes are having no effect. Also cutting down all the trees on this planet... good plan? Hmmmm. Digging giant holes in the ground to put all our rubbish in. Not really a long term solution is it?

I hope global warming is a load of scare mongering, I really do! That means that the ice caps won't all melt and my children will definitely have a nice future on a nice planet. In the mean time, however, I'll be using public transport, recycling my waste and watching what I buy. Even without Global warming, all of the policies and practices that are being put in place because of it can't be a bad thing.

Catch up...

I've been out or away since Tuesday, hence the lack of posting. Went to an awesome wedding on Saturday night (Congrats Owen & Lizzy!) where I ended up slightly sozzled and looking a lot like this drawing. I have to play catch up for my excess now and I have a part two to the castle post below to finish writing.

I ain't feeling too inspired though. Might give it a couple hours. Food shopping calls me!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

The Castle

I've been thinking today.

"What about man?"

I was thinking about the world, about all it's problems, about the guy who cheated his way into line at the generic coffee shop and I came to a conclusion.

"What was that man?"

Well I thought... screw 'em.

I'm going to build me a castle. It's going to have massively thick wall and a moat full of monsters who breath fire from their nuclear charged anuses.

"Hold on a sec? They breathe from their asses?"

Ok, look it's my castle and my monsters, ok? It's not like I'm Darwin or someink?

"Take a chill pill..."

Now back to my castle. In the Gate house I will have an army of goblins, bred specifically to kill anyone who isn't me. I will, of course, teach them to leave alone my army of servants who will all be trained ninja so I will never hear or see them as they tend to my every wish or command.


Yeah, man, it'd be awesome! You just shout "beer!" and then... Whoooooosh! One would just slide done the table, uncorked by the swish of a katana! Hoovering would just be an occasional swish as dust was destroyed! Food would be scared into being done!

"Hang on, isn't that how Chuck Norris cooks?"

Chuck? Well he'd be my Sherif! He'd be off kicking Kevin Costner's ass. Now for the good stuff...

The Keep would be a giant tower with all your usual Cribs trappings, giant fish tanks, bowling lanes, throne room, damsel-in-distress-window-seats, Lincoln Navigator... and of course the dungeon for people who really hacked me off.

Now, let's get a couple things straight this castle is there to keep all you monkeys out and me in in my own little wonder world! It's a bit "Neverland Ranch" I know, but unlike Michael I've had it hard and so know the value of money. I don't need a Zoo, I have my goblin army to keep me entertained. They come cheep because they eat each other and breed faster than amoeba so they'll pay for themselves. Chuck of course would come at a pretty penny but then I could always just keep him so drugged up on killing Merry Men that he'd never know all that cash wasn't going into his off shore bank account.

Right, I suppose I'd better go apply to Hammersmith and Fulham council and see if they'll let me build it on Shepherds Bush green. I don't want to be too far out of town after all...

Oh and I'll get the pitch ready for Dragon's Den. They are just going to love it!

Monday, 26 November 2007

Business Card

I was typesetting a business card this afternoon.







Oops, Mutha F*...


Look at what I made this poor lady's job title into!

Monday's nearly over!


I don't tend to post my design work here, mainly because this was supposed to be my sketchbook blog but also because the majority of the work I do for my day job totally sucks.

This job started off sucking majorly too. I did this calendar last year (the first year of design hell) and it was... ok. It's for the maintenance section of a large developer of key worker living. It features pictures of workers messing around the office and it's a cute little job but not exactly cutting edge design...

This year however I've been gifted with this photo of the "I.T. team" (love the fact they're called a "team". Could they give the A team a run for their money? You betcha sweet little *ss!). Great photo, great colours, wonderful expressions!

Wish the rest of the photos were as good! Sadly that is not the case as I had nothing to do with taking them. Maybe next year... I won't be here! Wooo hooo!

Nearly home time...

Sunday, 25 November 2007


Reality TV seems much like a zoo to me.

Unusually for me this is a real painting, on board, using pencil, gouache and ink. No digital, no retouching, no nothing.

I haven't done that since collage!

I'd forgotten how great it feels to have dirty, paint stained hands! More like this to come methinks...

Thursday, 22 November 2007


Sadness hits me like a wave. Not a big wave, more like a slow small one that keeps coming with a massive undertow.

I don't know If that's possible. I'm a city boy. I don't get waves. One time, I had to be rescued from a beach in Cornwall for swimming in the wrong part of the sea and I couldn't get back to land. This lifeguard, younger than me, tanned and with surfer hair, pulled me out of the water and took me back to land. I was so scared, confused and embarrassed that I paddled like crazy as we coming into the beach because if I helped him, he wasn't saving me and none of my pride was hurt.

It was hurt, destroyed. I was terrified. I couldn't cope. The waves were way too strong for me.

So, as you may have gathered from this I'm not very good at asking for help. That has lead to the situation I'm in at the moment, at the job that I just can't stand anymore. I don't think it's the sole reason but it's a major one. Pride and front are big factors in this too. I get confused about how to use them to my advantage.

I guess it's because through a lot of my life I've been fine. I've muddled through. I'm confident in conversation, I make friends easily and I'm intelligent enough where it matters for most situations.

I've spent the last 4 years getting knocked. I could do with a pick up.

I need some help. I just don't know what kind.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

The Door

I'm tired tonight, more on this later. I'll just leave this post as it is.

Saturday, 17 November 2007


So I have a superstition. I fear that one day the ghosts of all the calamari I've ever eaten comes back to get me.

I love sea food, I love meat. I even love "Surf 'n' turf". I don't really get scared that in the afterlife there will be this army of creatures waiting for me to get their own back (what an image!). I am more than happy to get hands on with the meat that I eat and have gutted fish and like in my time.

However, I am aware that our society does use up more of our resources than we probably need to, and when you see pictures of conveyor belts with thousand of animals being shipped around sections of slaughterhouses one cannot help but think... really? Is that necessary?

Unfortunately we can't all live of farms, so... yes. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have a moment of pause to consider what we eat.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Coming For You!

I think this guy's pooping his pants!

I love this drawing! I used up a whole ink cartridge on it and it frickin' rocks!

I'm allowed to say that too. It's nice to be totally happy with a drawing once in a while. I even like the mistakes I made in it. I drew this about a week ago (I've had this backlog of drawings to post, I've got three more just waiting!) when I was waiting for the bad news. I guess this could maybe, possibly, have something to do with that.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Hillside of Killer Bunnys

See this? (Well Duh...) ok, but do you see it?

Yup, you got it! It's a hillside of dead people with giant rabbits rampaging!

Ok, so, like, you wanna know why?

Well tough t*tties boys and girls! You ain't getting nuthin' from me!

"Is that because, for all that's holy, you don't know why the monkeys you drew this?"

Ya, pretty much. But look at the BUNNIES!

"You're leaving your money to the rabbit sanctuary aren't you?"

Na, those freeloaders ain't getting nuthin'!

Probably because I'm broke...

"Get your hands out of my wallet!"

Sunday, 11 November 2007

I Had This Plan

I had this plan to paint again. Since I restarted in May I've been working exclusively digitally, apart from my Sketchbook, and I wanted to try to produce something "real" again. Also I was spending ages messing around with brush tools in Photoshop and I just thought "this is completely pointless, why don't I just use a real brush..."

So I go to the box where I keep all my paints and brushes, untouched for a couple years.

It's gone.

I then do what all co-habiting people do when they've lost something. Rather than actually look around for it myself I shout for help.

"Christie, where are my paints?"

"You threw them out in one of your clear out rages. Remember when I asked you if you were sure you didn't want them any more?"


"All gone, honey. All gone."

So I painted the above image. In Photoshop. Damn it....


So, I live in London. It's a big arsed congested stinky city.

In said big arsed city I have to take buses and tubes to get around. The tube is over 150 years old (ish)and looks and feels like it and the buses are the worst form of transport known to man. What is it about buses that attracts the crazies and the mentalists? Oh, yeah, that's right, that's the only way they can get around. But why do the have to sit next to me and twitch and shake and sing and talk to the whole world about how crappy life is. Hang on...

Now we're agreed that this blog is the equivalent of the crazy stinky old man on the bus we can get into the meat of this rant. Judging. One of the advantages of public transport is you get to mix with, observe and sentence thousands of people on face value and their behaviour in the 10 or so minutes that you share the same air in a confined space.

With the current obsession in the media with weight in this country, and given the tiny space allotted to each human on public transport, the fatties of this city tend to attract the worst looks. Yup, don't pretend you haven't raised eyebrows and winced when a 20 stone chunker slams down next to you in the only seat available (well, ok, on the seat and you and your neighbour). The natural reaction, well, to me anyway, is to mentally slap yourself around and say to yourself "look, it's probably glandular or genetics and it's not their fault but hang on isn't that three packets of biscuits and a burger in that bag, what are you going to do, like, die if you don't get enough sugar in you before we get to your stop, don't you know there are people starving in..."

Assumption is the mother of all, well, human interaction and judging people is quite rightly frowned upon but almost impossible to stop in the confines of our own heads. We shouldn't give in to these unfounded rages and always try to challenge them and weigh them up against fact and rationality.

And try not to mutter "if I can't get on this crowded bus because of you, fatty..." too loudly at the bus stop.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Uncertain Under The Sea

Inspiration has been a little lacking this week, motivation similarly hiding nowhere to be found. I had some bad news, work wise, this week and it's taken me a few days to get my mojo back.

So what went wrong? Tell ya what, track me down and buy me a beer. I'll explain everything.

(Click... fizz...)

A corona? How did you know?! Right then...

I tried to run before I could walk. Took the stabilisers off too soon.

This blog (May 2007) marks the start of me trying to "make it" again as an Illustrator. Again. What happened the first time? Well...

I graduated 4 years ago and spent a couple years running around the industry like a headless chicken, pushing my drawings very badly but getting some (and some paying!) work but not enough to live and nothing with any ...profile. I drew some cartoon koi carp once. One was eating celery.

So, I quit Illustration. I kept drawing but stopped pushing my work. I moved into London and got a job as a Graphic Designer and Pre-press Operator which I hate. I concentrated on pouring out my rage into the pages of my sketchbook as I dealt with the long commute.

Then I moved further into town and cut down the commute. I found drawn. I started this blog and it gave me hope. Each post was and still is a victory. My attitude became "Even though I'm broke and my job sucks I achieved today because I posted a drawing".

Then, because I'm me, I started getting over confident. As an Illustrator, the style of my images are still newly borns, clumsy and unfocused collages and confused ink drawings. But I wanted to start getting out there again! So, a couple weeks ago I started sending out some brochures, printed at work for free, to agents and art directors, I entered Images 32 and figured I was a shoe-in.

I started getting the rejections immediately. Last week I found out I didn't make it into Images. Gutted? You betcha...

So I fished around for some inspiration and found this guy. Rory Blyth's writing is raw, crazed and angry in all the best ways. He made me realise that I've been missing a trick. Honesty. I should stop trying to be whatever I think I should be this week and concentrate on image making from me. How I see things, my interpretations. I decide what's finished and unfinished, what an image should and shouldn't be about.

My personal interpretation is all I have to sell and if I don't focus on that I have nothing. My rejections are a blessing.

I will work on me first. The outside world can wait for later.

Stabilisers back on, water wings re-inflated, I pick up my pen. There's work to be done.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Bad Day At The Office

Funnily enough, I drew this after a bad day at the office. Do you think air traffic controllers have bad days at the office? You know, crashed a couple planes, sent a few flights the long way round, lost a flight to Cape Town...

Saturday, 3 November 2007


I'll try to stay away for my usual bitching about the theme for my comments on this Illustration Friday image (How can can "hats" be a theme?! The're just... things!).

I've been doing a lot of black and white ink drawing lately and that's how this image started before I decided to give it some colour. Although I'm mostly pleased with this image it feels like... I don't know... the first step on the way to something. When I figure out what that is, I'll let you know!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Junk Food

Ok, I'll come out and admit it. I love the Junk food. I love it in all it's cholesterol busting, horrible bits of animal, mono sodium glutamate crapness.

However, I don't eat it very often. Probably once a week I will have a burger or similar from a major chain or a kebab shop style establishment. See, I know junk food is absolute rubbish and I want to stay healthy. I exercise regularly and try to fit in my 5 a day fruit and veg. How do I start the day? With a smoothie bad boy! That's how I roll!

After my weekly relapse I tend to get junk food eater's remorse. See above image. I hope the big chains don't go bust, as many people do or that junk food doesn't completely disappear. I need my regressions! They make me feel human.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

High Above it All

After re-reading yesterday's post I became clearer on what I wrote off as a niggle when I was composing the text to accompany the image.

The niggle was this: I explain far too much.

This is artwork. If I explain everything then what do you have left, hmmm? Questions breed interest which breeds repeat viewing which breeds fame and fortune!

So today you get nothing from me. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Monday, 29 October 2007

Giant Rocket Head Man

As far as post titles go, I'm real pleased with that one!

So, as antidote to the slightly lame collage I posted yesterday, here's a nicely strange drawing for y'all. What it's really about is "another crazy idea taking off". The rocket is facing away from the moon, it's intended destination, as, like most of my ideas, they tend to fly a little wide of the mark. The red man is what I tend to look like after a day in the sun and the guy being hung (or is that being hanged. Oh yeah, that's right, meat is hung...) well... that one I'll leave up to you.

Oh and I'm letting myself draw big again. I have more drawings to come this week, always exciting when I have a bunch of quality work waiting to be posted!

Sunday, 28 October 2007

TV vs Film

Now, I'll be honest here, this image has been a right old pain in the...

Designed to accompany a piece on the current state of TV and Film (no, really?) The rough (see right) I really liked. It's full of dynamism and life. The image is true to the sketch in composition but the elements don't work as well as the drawing. Once again I forced myself to stop playing around with it thanks to the saviour that is time constraints but I am left ultimately highly unsatisfied. I had hope posting the image would help but it doesn't seem to.

I have been struggling with the relationship between my drawings and my collage of late. I really want to find a way to match the two up and sometimes I crack it but more often than not recently I've been missing.

I'm going to do some angry ink drawings. That'll help.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Trick or Treat

Ever been treated by a friend to a drink? Ever been taken out for a meal? Ever been offered money when times are tough?

Pay them back.

I had a boss once who was always giving out little gifts and loans to his employees. Nice guy right?

Wrong. Who do you think he called in to work weekends?

Money is a treat but it's also pretty damn tricky.

By the way...

We don't really do Halloween this side of the pond, plus the fact I don't agree with it, so I just wanted to illustrate the theme of "trick or treat" rather than Halloween. Only if that's ok? It isn't? oh well..

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Extendo Arms!

From a crowded corner of my sketchbook, Mr Extendo arms attacks! But what are his powers? Well, Extend-o arms of course! His arms give him the ability of... really long...reach! Yeah! Bad boy!

Superman would so kick his ass.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Bird Brain

"So remember those birds that I was drawing, like, loads?"

"For sure, dude, weren't they here"

"And here"


"So you want to know how I stopped drawing them?"

"Dude! Did you cut a hole in your head, fix a zip to the rim for speedy resealing, and set them all free!"

"No, I just drew that."

"Help me out here man I can't get the zip to stick. Did you use a special glue or something?"


Sunday, 21 October 2007


People grow at different rates and at different times in their lives. Oh, sorry, you knew that already? You mean I'm not a great omnipotent truth telling sage? Oh well. Maybe tomorrow.

I started growing (I am now 6' 2") a little later than my peers so I am in one of the unique (ok, not too unique, not even rare maybe but that does remove a little gravitas from my statement) position of being aware of what it's like to be both tall and short.

This drawing is in some vague way about that.

I've just looked at the drawing again and all that makes little sense and bears little relationship to the image. At least my posts are getting consistent!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Birds On The Brain

So, for some reason I have birds on my mind. Not only for work, I've started sketching them all over the place (well, in my sketchbook at least!). This is another of the ideas for treatments I came up with. Again, I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think there's a time period after finishing an image when your still thinking in hyper critical mode and so it's impossible to be objective. You need some time and some distance to make a informed decision, you know, like whether or not I actually like it?

Oh, yeah, and if I was called "Brian" I could be a "Birdbrian". You, know like "Birdbrain"! Ha! Yeah!


Where are you going?

Wednesday, 17 October 2007


Went for a beer with Tom Gaul last night to do some sketchbook chatting and he picked this one out. I drew it over the weekend and had forgotten about it! Pretty cool image and a good spot. Cheers!

Monday, 15 October 2007

Early Bird

Just started work on an album cover in collaboration with the missus and I wanted to send in some textural treatments with the sketches. Not amazingly happy with this but it's a start.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


This is the next step. at least in crazy rain climates like London. Trust me. Our heads will grow to be shaped like umbrellas and protect us from the rain.


Except, we'll all bash into each other still, like pushy people in the city. Listen up all you pushy umbrella people. I'm taller than you! Mind your spikey umbrella ends! Without my specs you'd have my eyes! I need them for drawing... and watching trash TV...

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Busy Busy Busy

No time for "finished" illustrations at the moment as I'm working away on some other stuff and some promotional work. This is a little sketch I did the other day (maybe whilst on holiday... I can't remember) maybe whilst watching a busy intersection... probably just whilst watching TV.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Holiday Sketching

So, I've been away! Flying up to bonnie Scotland, staying in Edinburgh and St Andrews. I'm not one of those artists who like to sit and draw landscapes for hours on end on holiday. I prefer to use cameras for that kind of game, focusing on my sketching for ideas and feelings about the place I'm in, although for some reason that normally ends up with doodles and scrawls along the lines of "beeee-eeeer-iiiiiisss--gooooo-ooooooo-oood... I love you, your my best friend... HIC!"

I did however manage to finish a few pages in between rounds of highly priced continental lager. This one I finished before I went away...

This page was drawn mainly in airports...

I bought a brush pen, I messed around with it and decided I don't like it. If you like these sketches, drop me a line in the comments and I might persevere...

I've got some more, but now is not the time! Blog soon...

Saturday, 29 September 2007

The Blues

I'm an Illustrator, I draw, paint and click but what would really give me the blues to such an extent that I would feel really hit rock bottom is if someone smashed up and took away my guitars.

There ain't nothing like a crisp clear minor chord to blow away anything. In fact I might go play for a bit now, having delivered my Illustration Friday!

On more image geek note, now I've posted this I'm totally not happy with the way the image crops off at the bottom. Now comes one of those testing times to see just how much I care if I can be bothered to to open up the .psd and see if I can re-crop it.

As for now, D minor, the saddest of all keys, is calling me!

The Finished Page

Been very busy this week with one thing or another and so I have had little time to do much drawing and/or posting.

Having said that, this spread has taken a week or so to complete mainly due to my new way of working. I have been trying very hard not to draw for the sake of it and just to draw when I actually have an idea. Also the small thumbnail sized panels really help me to focus on the shape and composition of what I'm doing rather than the pre-rehearsed mechanisms of stressing over shadows, exaggeration and the like.

Anyways, I'm off to see Reuben tonight! Catch you soon.

Monday, 24 September 2007


It rained today. I hid in a coffee shop. It was like, empty, but no one was, like, getting coffee to have in.

"No way, dude!"

Yeah, I know! And that was, like, a metaphor or something for like, my life?

"No way!"

Yeah I know! I felt so, like, deep.

"No. Way."

Fact, dude, just plain fact.

"Dude, are you, like, a Prophet?"

No man. I think they're signed to Vagrant...


Sunday, 23 September 2007


Another tough one from IF, ...or is it tough? I think it is if you want to stay away from traditional subjects, as is pretty much always my want, like a jester juggling or getting hit by balls or juggling "elements of your life". Not that any of these ideas are in any way unworthy! In fact I've gone for one of these, juggling people in you life with one hand (People can be tough too).

I think I spend a lot of the "idea time" section of my process trying to push out the hardest, most clever, most obtuse idea I can come up with... and then end up realising that those ideas are so far removed, or about such a small part of the theme that they are pretty much no longer relevant.

I also often think that the idea is the thing we should strive for but the execution, the thing that can fall behind in prominence, should never be overlooked in almost it's ultimate importance. A great image, with no idea at all, can stand entirely alone. For some reason, it's real easy to forget that.

This sketch is tiny, approx. 28 x 35mm (about and inch by an inch and a half). I love the bold lines and the paper texture that come out when you blow up a sketch this size. Hmmm... another thing to play with!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007


I was doodling in a generic coffee house in the City today and began to feel quite alone amongst the suits, venti latte's and blackberrys, sitting there in my scruffy jeans, doodling.

So I drew a submarine. Now I can travel with them undetected!