Ternberg is a small town in Oberösterreich, very near Weyer where I went a few years ago.
I think people get the idea I go to some kind of Alpine Scandinavian utopia, by looking at the scenery and maybe an mental image of some long ago ski holiday or weekend break in Vienna.
Goat comics for fans of Borges and Le Guin. Volume two is finally here.
While in Milan, I also bought a ticket to the cathedral and attached museum.
When you say to people “I’m going to Italy for work” they think you’re going to go to some sun-kissed medieval tourist spot to live la bella vita, when the reality is often more like San Donato Milanese.
In September 2021 I returned to teaching EFL abroad. I had come home from Austria in March 2020, and then not taught at all for 18 months. It was a last minute trip, because the Italian government had suddenly decided to allow school visits
I recently did some more illustrations/cryptic symbolism for my friend’s band Dawnwalker. All to be revealed later.
My goal this year is to read 100 books, but also regularly write small reviews of them. Here’s the first instalment, with Alan Garner, Seanan McGuire and Matt Wesolowski.
I was reading about a Chinese tradition similar to an advent calendar that starts on this day. It’s 81 days until the Spring, and that makes a neat grid of 9×9, leading to the tradition of Nine Times Nine Pictures to Dispel the Cold- draw or colour a picture every day to get you through the winter.
My 2022 calendar is now ready – you can order calendars and prints of the artwork here.
I got some vinyl stickers of my artwork printed up (after some long twists and turns with printing companies and the current goods/delivery shortages in the UK). £1.75 each (inc uk postage), or bundles available.
Something I have been thinking about recently is how much the internet itself has changed in the past few years, possibly not for the better. I like the convenience of modern services like Google Maps or internet banking, but I actually think the level of interesting content on the internet has gone downhill.
I’ve made a children’s activity book about various locations in Margate, with open-ended drawing and writing activities that encourage observation, exploration and creativity, with very clear layouts and instructions. Suitable for age 7+.
Another Dr Oetker cookbook from a charity shop in Austria, focusing on winter and Christmas treats this time. I don’t really have much to say about this one, I just thought the photos and styling were cool.
Secrets! Mysteries! Forbidden powers of the forest!
I’ve been tired and busy lately. Here’s a great bubble gum advert from the 80s with a Kraftwerk-meets-Eurythmics soundtrack, and some odds and ends of interesting links.
A short interview with my friend, illustrator Sajan Rai. I first met Sajan when we were assigned adjoining tables at a zine fair, and he was offering to draw people as sloths for £5. This clearly being a sign that he was the right kind of person, we became friends.
If I remember my dreams I try to write them down in a notebook, to use for later inspiration. The one I’ve been using suddenly fell apart yesterday. I tried to stick the pages back in, but the spine was completely disintegrated. I think I’ll just start a new one and copy the old entries over. Here’s some various bits from it.
In the Bonesetter’s Waiting Room, The Making of Home and Woman on the Edge of Time. Indian medicine, social history, the brutality of psychiatric hospitals and ecofeminist utopias.
My reading for January and February
After multiple people asked me, I did a print design of everyone’s favourite neotenous, cute but somewhat cannibalistic Mexican salamander.
I had dream that there was a craze for parmesan-infused mineral water, and everyone was obsessed with the stuff. I didn’t like it, and was considered extremely uncool.
I haven’t eaten meat since the late 90s. Vegetarianism was on the rise at the time in the UK, but the selection of meat-free products was very poor compared with the current day, and many of them had to be bought in the health food shop.
Some tips and tricks for working with subtitles, text formatting and image descriptions.
I got this postcard from a supermarket in a small town in NW Germany near where the festival is held. I hope it has genuine Rammstein tears in the soil sample, or I’ll ask for my €3 back
The building I live in was built in the 1870s, and still has the original wooden windows. Well-looked after original examples are highly prized in the UK. Unfortunately mine were not well looked after by owners in the recent past.
I was given this book as a gift as a child. I never made anything from it because it’s definitely much too difficult for children, I just admired the projects.
Ruth had a dream that you could buy tins of something called “Greencheeks” that seemed to be tinned Kermit meat. I had to make this a reality in Photoshop using a stock can mockup template.
I’ve finished my 2021 calendars, and they are available to order.
I love using Photoshop product mockups – there’s something satisfying about creating a total lie of an object that doesn’t exist. I wanted an 8 track tape mockup, but I couldn’t find one. So I made one and you can download it.
I’m finishing off my 2021 calendar artwork – I’ve put pre-orders up.
Calendars are £8.50 inc UK postage and you can also get prints of the artwork
Second volume. This time with Tove Jansson, leylines, derelict canals and a strange comic about insects.
I don’t normally do seasonal stuff, but on a whim today I decided to do a halloween themed thing, make the A4 prints cheaper than usual at £8.50 (uk postage included) and only do 25 of them.
Another charity shop book- this time from the 70s. It’s a slightly strange mix of technicolour things made from recycling bin objects or fabric scraps, and then a section about making candles.
Here’s a playlist I made while I was in Melbourne of (mostly current) Australian stuff I heard played in various shops and cafes. Daytime Australian radio is where cock rock goes to die, and keeps Midnight Oil forever living off royalties, but I definitely didn’t go there with this playlist.
On my last day in Australia, I had a few hours to waste in between checking out of the hotel and getting the train to the airport. I was staying right next to the Aquarium, so I went there. I didn’t visit the local zoo, because it looks grim, and I’m generally against city zoos with large animals who don’t have enough space to roam. The aquarium isn’t the cruel kind with large sea mammals, so I felt ok about going there. It’s mostly small fish and coral, with some rays, sharks and small penguins.
While I was in Sydney, I went for the day to visit my friend Zoe in the inland mountain town of Katoomba.
This edition has a behind the scenes of Captain Pugwash, extracts from Tove Jansson, Jill Patton-Walsh, an article about CS Lewis, and interviews with various different authors.
While in Sydney I met up with my friend Emma Davidson who runs Take Care zine distro, and we had a wander round Newtown (not far from where she grew up) and had some dinner. Newtown is the area of Sydney next to the university, full of old houses and narrow lanes. It used to be very cheap- full of hippies and students and LGBQT bars and bookshops, but is now extremely expensive.
To be honest I wasn’t fussed about the centre of Sydney. I was staying close to the harbour, but it all felt very bland and glossy, like living in a Westfield shopping centre. I was there to visit friends more than anything.
Another book from a charity shop in Austria. I love how incredibly cack-handed some of the cakes are. Most themed cake books are impossibly professional, these ones actually look like the result you’d realistically get.
MONA was one of my main reasons for visiting Tasmania. It’s basically in an underground bunker like a Bond villain’s lair, and requires a boat ride to get to. The owner David Walsh, is the richest man in Tasmania and a very strange character in his own right- he grew up in a rough area of Hobart, and made his fortune by using maths to outsmart the gambling industry, and then spent it on this museum. He’s simultaneously “mathematical genius” and “13 year old edgelord”.
Hobart is the capital of Tasmania, and one of the oldest cities in Australia- lots of old buildings. Even by Australian standards it has a really grim history of genocide and massacres against the original local people, with lots of explanatory plaques and signs around as memorials.
Here’s Australia continued- my trip to Tasmania and the pretty seaside town of Sandy Bay, hometown of Errol Flyn. If you have any idea from the cartoon that Tasmania is a hot desert place, it’s not think. Think more New Zealand.
I got this craft book for kids from a charity shop in Austria earlier this year. Austria doesn’t have the same volume of charity shops as the UK, but when you do find one they’re usually really good, especially in small towns, where vintage isn’t really a big thing.
This charity shop fancy dress book is certainly… something. Lots of 80s actors modelling the costumes.
Fitzroy Gardens is a park in the centre of Melbourne with a model village, lovely botanical conservatory and some fairly strange sculptures and tree carvings.
Sticky Institute is a Melbourne institution- a zine shop in the basement of Flinders Street train station that’s been there since 2001
In Australia, charity shops are called op shops, short for opportunity shops and Melbourne has really great ones
Here’s some photos from around Melbourne in Sept 2018 (yes, it has taken me that long to sort them out), they’re mostly phone photos taken as I wandered around. Melbourne is a mix of Victorian terraces very similar to those in the UK (with the addition of sunporches), gleaming new blocks, and wild west saloon type streets like this.
Here’s a few photos from St Kilda in Melbourne. It’s a fancy coastal suburb of Melbourne filled with interwar bungalows, with a pier and esplanade. In the 1960s it was run down and where all the hippies lived, but is now back to being fancy. I went there because there are wild penguins living on the pier and I hoped to see some. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to spot any that day.
Last year I went on a trip to Australia, with a stop-off in Singapore along the way. I’ve finally started sorting out the photos and writing a zine about the trip. Here’s some photos from Singapore- they’re all phone photos as I left my suitcase at the airport for convenience as I had to fly to Melbourne the next day and I realised the battery charger for my camera was in it too late.
I meant to do a lot today but ended up napping on the sofa, so I went for an early evening walk along the beach to see the sunset and get some fresh air. The funfair was in town but there was almost nobody there on a Saturday night. Surreal.
I was tidying up some old photos and found some from my trip to Denmark in 2015 that I never posted. These are of the Louisiana Art Museum. It’s a modern art museum and sculpture park just up the coast from Copenhagen.
Everything has been grim- the world, politics, more personal matters. Here is a short playlist of a certain mood of corruscating bleakness.
At the time of writing in June 2020, we’re going through a dramatic shift in public consciousness in many countries about racism, the problems with current society, and nasty histories that have been brushed over and ignored. A lot of my friends are arguing with family members and acquaintances, or discovering that friends are much less well-informed than they’d hoped. Here’s a resource page of response ideas and links to resources.
The main way to keep up to date with what’s happening on the ground with the Black Lives Matter Protests is via social media (and Twitter in particular).
It’s really confusing though, because there are a lot of people and organisations acting in bad faith and deliberately making communication and fact-checking difficult, and using manipulation strategies to drown out the real information about what’s happening on the ground.