So I recently did some artwork for an album cover- Human Ruins by Dawnwalker (featuring Dane Cross from Sacred Son, who caused an incredible fuss last with the Black Metal fanboys with his choice of album artwork) . I did the moons and runes, and someone else did the photograph and logo. Photos courtesy of Mark from the band.

Hear a track:

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.


The risograph lives again (after a fashion)

fire and hemlock website version

About five years ago I did two risograph prints, one based on Diana Wynne Jones’ Fire and Hemlock, and the other on Euripides’ Bacchae. Each print was an edition of 50, and I sold all of them a long a time ago (except for a couple of copies I kept for myself). Now I have a giclée printer though, I have resurrected them as a new edition. This time they’re printed on Canson Infinity rag museum paper, which is an acid free and archival watercolour paper for fine art digital printing.

For the curious, the Greek text reads “I caught this young lion myself, without a trap” and comes from the scene where Agave presents Dionysus with her own son’s severed head.

Available from the shop for £10 each. The price includes UK postage, international is extra.

bacchae web

I’ve got it on, your favorite tee, it never looked as good on you as it looks on me

4th sept web

(Ex-army shirt from military surplus store a very long time ago, dark denim skirt from Oasis last year, black tights who knows, shoes from Dr Martens 3 years ago. Necklace made by Mika Hallor. Hair in desperate need of a haircut.)

“I thought we had an understanding there
That wouldn’t leave too soon
Figure it over and you’ll find out where
Your green shirt’s gone”

Talking of 90s revival, I realised that the clothes I was wearing yesterday were something I could easily have been wearing 20 years ago. This isn’t the actual shirt I had as a teenager (that one, like all of them, inexplicably had a German flag on the arm), but it’s pretty much the same. I got this one from an army surplus store at some point in my 20s for £4, but by mistake they gave me two, so it essentially cost me £2. I recently saw some identical shirts in Topshop for about £40. Sometimes it pays to be a loser who never throws anything away. Until about five years ago I actually did have a top I’d been wearing since the early 90s. It was a burgundy and black ribbed thing that seemed to be made of near-indestructible material.

A lot of bloggers make slightly shady money by taking photos of themselves in clothes that are currently in stores (often sent as a free sample by the manufacturer), and then using a special tracking link that gives them commission for every click and purchase. Distasteful hyper-capitalist ethics of turning your life into a walking advert aside, I would be hopeless at that. Most of my stuff is second hand or home-made, and I hang on to clothes I like forever if they still fit and are in good condition (I’m pretty ruthless at giving unworn things to charity shops though). A couple of times a year I go on a big (unpleasant and stressful) shopping trip and stock up on basic things like jeans from chain stores (ok mostly Muji or Topshop to be honest), and that’s kind of it. Probably by the time I’d notice a trend it would be on its way out.

Talking of army surplus clothing in my youth, when I was a teenager I also had one of those army jumpers with the fabric covered shoulders. Almost everyone else I knew did as well. Oh yeah, I also had one of those canvas army bags that I used as a school bag. That was also the thing. Why did I even bother going to other shops? (Not that there is much selection in my hometown, it’s a decrepit shipbuilding town that went into a massive decline in the 80s). They clearly had everything I needed in the local army surplus shop.

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If it ain’t bracken, don’t fix it.

me cow parsley web

I refuse to apologise for that pun, you’ll just have to suffer. Here is a photo I took of myself recently in my dad’s garden. I can’t remember the last time I had a new photo of myself bar a few awkward phone snaps when I’ve been out. Perhaps you could say I was communing with nature when I took this photo, but I was sat on a plastic bag to avoid sitting in anything nasty hidden underneath the plants, so I don’t think I was that in touch with nature. Luckily we don’t have poison ivy or dangerous snakes in this country, I was more worried about the milder perils of stinging nettles or fox droppings. I was also a little limited with angles and framing, because sticking a wide-angle lens in your face is rarely flattering, but I couldn’t get the distance to use my portrait lens because I didn’t have a tripod with me.

There’s a wooded area at the end of my dad’s garden where I took the photo, left over from the woodland that covered the area before they built the houses in the 20s and 30s. It’s not really a proper wood or field because it’s too small, but it’s not really garden either because it’s left wild. A lot of the trees are about fifty foot tall, and there are ferns and wild flowers and daffodils growing underneath. I don’t know if it would even be legal to cut the trees down, anyway everyone prefers them standing. My parents used to keep their caravan down there (there’s a lane that runs along the back of the other houses which connects it with the road), and there’s currently a dilapidated Second World War Anderson shelter which houses some foxes, a compost heap/bonfire pile and a pet graveyard (RIP Sukey, Sweep, Sue, Snowdrop, Honey and Smokey) and my old climbing frame overgrown with plants.

The deeds to the house also contain some interesting clauses banning you from using the land to host a travelling fair or farm pigs (it doesn’t ban you from farming any other animals, mind). I think any fair that would fit on it would be a pretty disappointing affair, but some pigs would probably enjoy rooting round in the compost and tree stumps. My parents never gave the pigs a go, sadly, but at least they aren’t in prison for illegitimate pig-keeping and funfair-hosting.

January print sale & lots of reprinted zine back issues

Kerguelen v2
I have some A4 prints of this design left, and over New Year’s I’m selling them for £3.50 + postage in my shop. On high quality 250gsm semi-gloss paper. When they’re gone they’re gone. I’ve also added loads of old zines to the shop, including lots of mini zine at a bargain 30p and 60p each. Read more

Fabric designs

70s fabric sampler

I finally got the printing samples back of the fabrics I designed. They are all available on Spoonflower, a print on demand fabric site. I was very pleased with the end results. I was a little nervous about how they would come out, because I didn’t stick to the recommended colour palette from the site, but the colours came out exactly as I wanted. You can order them as fat quarters or by the meter/yard. I recommend getting them printed on the kona cotton. If you do order any fabric, make sure to wash it on a delicate cycle with a less harsh detergent like ecover.

Here are some scans of the actual fabric samples. Each piece is about the size of a handkerchief – 8″ square.

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  Amoebas from Emma Falconer on Vimeo.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been doing work experience at an animation studio. I know I don’t want to be an animator (too much minute adjusting of other people’s artwork!), but it’s been good to do anyway. I’d much prefer to design things, and then hand them over to some animating wonder, who would do a much better job than me. I made some minor contributions to an advert for Canadian tv (I’ll probably link it when it’s been on later in the year) and did costing for getting some promotional gifts made, but the most valuable thing has actually been just talking to people. Everyone is very friendly and helpful, and has insightful things to say.

In the spare time I messed around with After Effects, and ended up with this. I was interested in the play of lights and shadows and lines mostly, which is why nothing too exciting happens, and why it’s very short. I wanted the cilia to move, but didn’t really have the time to hand-draw it, and the puppet tool on After Effects doesn’t like fine-lined shapes with lots of transparent areas. My friend John Newman did the sound, after asking for small sound projects a little while back. It was kind of a Brian Eno/Windows type brief- 12 seconds that sounds like amoebas (but with less silly requests than the actual Microsoft one)