“I cried for madder music and for stronger wine”

I have Bacchae prints available again. The text says “I caught this young lion myself without a trap”. Based on the scene from Euripides’ Bacchae where Pentheus’ mother tears her own son’s head off with her bare hands while under Dionysus’ spell and parades it round the stage. Available from me as a print here for £6 or £12 depending on size. Ideal festive gift for all, look how red it is.

It’s also available here as a coffee mug. Ideal for drinking the consecrated blood of your enemies from every morning. (Please note- the mug printing people send them out direct- I only supply the artwork)

Topiary

I used to work at Hampton Court. This is a marker drawing of some of the trees in the gardens there. I earnt a pittance, worked every single weekend for six months, and wore a terrible polyester uniform. I got very used to being surrounded by incredible splendour though, and spent quite a lot of happy hours minding the maze, sitting in a shed reading long Russian books, listening to whatever mellow music wouldn’t annoy tourists (lots of Elliot Smith, Fleetwood Mac, Tortoise and Grandaddy), and making up lies about the maze to tourists. (I wrote about being in charge of the maze in issue 22 of my zine). I also used to get a good amount of free glasses of Pimms too from jugs that were left over from the outside bar.

Getting menial jobs like that in museums is fiercely competitive, and I gave up on ever earning more than minimum wage in the field- I’m still planning to write about that. Still I had a nice summer being in charge of a maze.

 

A magician calls

Another old sketchbook page I scanned in. This one is from a couple of years ago. I was teaching on a residential course for teenagers. It was in an old nunnery in the middle of nowhere, so the staff organised a lot of evening activities and film showings to keep them amused. One night a magician came to do a show, and I made these notes.

Ljubljana Biennial

 

Exhibition title "This Is Not A Name"

This summer I had to chance to go to both Documenta in Kassel and the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts. Here’s my photos from one of the Ljubljana Biennial exhibitions that allowed photos. The theme of this Biennial was this poem by Slovenian writer Jure Deleta (and inspiration from Karel Destovnik). There was no overall curator of the festival this time, previous winners of prizes were allowed to each choose an artist to take part. Ljubljana is a small, easy-going city, and so was the art festival, although the artwork and exhibition presentation were high quality. None of the stress of Documenta. I have written a zine about my trips to Slovenia and Croatia this summer, available here, and am in the process of writing one about my time in Germany.

Read more

Green concrete

Here’s an illustration of a car park in Bracknell. Like the one I did yesterday, the original artwork was a pen and ink drawing, and the colour was added digitally. It’s available as a print in three different sizes, from £6 to £30.

(If you want to colour the picture in yourself, then the same artwork is also available in colouring book form.)

The photos it’s based on can be seen here. I took them in 2005. At the time I was studying at the University of Reading, and working part-time in a camera shop/photo lab. Every so often they would send me to cover the Bracknell branch. Bracknell is a New Town near Reading built in the 1960s, with a reputation for being bleak At the time I took the pictures, 60s Brutalist buildings were still considered ugly by many, before the reassessment that Brutalism has had in the last few years. The concrete wasn’t green in real life anyway, that’s just from the chemical process used on the film.

The shop was in a windowless 60s shopping centre, and there was no staff room, so rather than eat my lunch in a cupboard I would go and wander amongst the concrete. I haven’t been to Bracknell since 2006 or so, so I have no idea if it’s the same or different nowadays- I know that the mirrored 3M building in my photos has been demolished for sure. In 2005 the centre of Bracknell felt completely dead, it would be interesting to see if that’s still the case now.

 

My only love is the sea

Here’s an illustration of a fishing village in Cornwall. The original artwork was a pen and ink drawing, and the colour was added digitally. It’s available as a print in three different sizes, from £6 to £30.

If you want to colour it in yourself, then the same artwork is also available in colouring book form.

Ghost Notes

sketchbook notes of Cambridge ghost tour

When I go to museums or talks, even if I’m not actively drawing, I like to take sketch notes. It’s a habit I got into while studying for an art MA five years ago, where we were required to keep a visual diary of talks and exhibitions we attended. (You can see that diary here). Earlier in the summer I went on a ghost tour of Cambridge via work, and I took these notes. (You can read more about haunted Cambridge here too). If I’m in a situation where I’m walking around or moving a lot, I block out the text and images in non-photo blue pencil, and then do the inking later when I have a desk. If I’m sat down, then I do them straight in pen- usually a 0.7mm bullet Posca marker. I’ve scanned a few pages today from my current sketchbook, and I’ll post them gradually, interspersed among other things.

A few notes about this page:

  1. Cambridge is essentially on a drained swamp, surrounded by a lot of water, and on completely flat ground right to the North Sea. This means lots of swirling fog and mist in the winter. Ideal for ghosts and haunting.
  2. The Night Climbers are apparently a real club of students who scale buildings. Or maybe they’re ghosts.
  3. Cambridge was very badly affected by the Black Death. This means a lot of plague pits and mass graves. Again, ideal for haunting.
  4. I didn’t go in the Haunted Bookshop, because it wasn’t open very often. I did however go in the “haunted” café next door, and nothing spooky happened, apart from a braying young man with a supernaturally irritating voice yelling at the table next to us.
  5. The Everlasting Club is a local ghost story about a secret club with yearly meetings.
  6. Charles H. Fisk (I wrote his name wrong) is an American study abroad ghost.
  7. “Stone Tapes” is a reference to this famous ghost story, and its idea that ghosts could be a physical recording of dramatic and emotional moments in the past.

Sea Serpent Bookplates

Sea serpent bookplate artwork

I’ve made these printable bookplates, in both A4 and US Letter sizes. Four per page. They are for personal use only- you may not sell copies you have printed, host these files on another site, or use the artwork for any other commercial purpose.

The downloads are free, but if you like and use them, a pay-what-you-want tip is very much appreciated.

Bookplate inside book

Download links:

A4 monochrome
A4 colour
US letter monochrome
US letter colour

Pay what you like (via Paypal)

Colouring Book

colouring book web

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been drawing artwork for a colouring book zine, and here it is. It’s an A5 colouring book with 15 different images to colour and comes with a free packet of crayons. Postage is free within the UK, and calculated by weight for the rest of the world.

You can buy it, along with zines, prints and ribbon, here.colouring book previewHere is a free sample page as a pdf to print out:
a4 paper
US letter paper