Guerra per amore

I think we can all agree that not much happens during February (publicly wise anyway, I’m not talking about your mates birthday or anything).  Theres the Super Bowl, but I’m struggling to think of anything else. Other than THE greatest day of all -PANCAKE DAY!! It was always my favourite day as a kid -and even though the shine dimmed a bit when I grew up and was able to make my own pancakes on whichever day I wanted (:D) its still a reason to rejoice, as you can’t beat a f**king pancake, can you?

With the greatest day fast approaching, it sets me up nicely to explain how I came to do… a Valentine’s Day piece this year.

 The original plan was to do a diptych. One about Pancake Day and one about Valentine’s Day. I’d roughed out the Pancake Day one but couldn’t get it right to match the idea in my head. I was wanting to kind of mirror each piece, so the poses were similar and the backgrounds matched up (to an extent) so you could compare the details hidden throughout. The Pancake Day one was stalling though as I wanted to get it spot on as Jadey had pointed out to me, “Not everyone loves Pancake Day as much as you, so why would they want a picture of it?” It’s a fair point, but to be clear, this wasn’t going to be a stack of pancakes or anything. It was going to be a Mucha influenced piece involving everything that goes in to making pancakes. Theres a load of scope when you think about not just the ingredients but the toppings that people put on pancakes these days.
Anyway, the Pancake Day piece wasn’t flowing that well so I changed over and started on the Valentine’s Day one to see if that made both of them work together better. I’d originally planned for both pieces to be pen & ink as I wanted that rough quality to the lines where the pen misses a beat every so often and clumps where lines meet slightly, but when I started inking I saw them working better in colour. Normally if I’m working in colour these days I work digitally but I wanted the whole piece to be done in the same style and I’d inked up the ‘Guerra per amore’ figure already and I wanted the background to be more subtle (even though it has a load of detail in it). I ended up inking it on another sheet and scanning the 2 images separately to give me a bit more scope with the background as I hadn’t fully decided on the colours. I also didn’t want to knacker the original pen and ink figure as the line weights on her would be lost with the detailed background being inked on the same page.
 If you’re still reading this, then well done, you deserve a pancake. I went back to reference Mucha when it came to colouring the piece as even though I wanted it to be full colour, I didn’t want it to be overpowering. And in a lot of his work the colours are bold but also subtle so the linework still stands out. I tried a few different combinations but felt the warmer palette worked better with the imagery as it’s not meant to be a sad piece but colouring it in blues, greens and greys makes it a bit glum.
So, there you go -the story behind this years Valentine’s Day piece and the story behind (maybe) next years Pancake day piece. I’m gutted that I ran out of time on these but its always the way isn’t it -when you ‘plan’ something if you have spare day or two, then you start it and a load of work suddenly comes in! I’m not complaining though as they’re really fun jobs (so keep an eye out for me adding them here) and there’s alway next year for fellow Pancake Day lovers who want a Mucha inspired piece to celebrate the day! 😉
‘Guerra per amore’ is available here and I’ve also added my Pancake Day piece from last year as a print to the shop, here.
Thanks for reading and enjoy your Pancake & Valentine’s Day! X

Dammit

Inktober is over for another year and I royally suck at taking part in it. I will at some point (probably like, February!) but I’d prefer to think of it as ‘Blinktober’ instead as that ties nicely into this post, even though its now November… Oh well – read on and just pretend I’m not a day late.

I created this poster design a while ago hoping to be able to offer it to the band as one of their tour date posters. They didn’t go for it unfortunately and in a weird/lucky kinda way, this was one of the original files I lost when my computer went doolally (see 1st post below). Literally the day before the computer crashed I opened this file and played around with some of the colours and saved a flat version of it for no real reason… Turns out it was a good thing to do or a bad thing (as it serves as a reminder of work that was lost) – depends on how you look at it – I’m going with the former.

Incase you didn’t know (and why would you as this is internet land where no one actually knows anyone) but I LOVE Blink 182 and have been wanting to do something officially for them since I first heard Dude Ranch. I had the pose idea ages ago and started working on it between jobs – adding doodles and lyrics to the skateboard and sketching images of stuff that represented the songs to me. Not really with a clear idea or path, just kinda working on it to see where it ended up.

I always liked the colours in the board and the girl and the background changed MULTIPLE times from flat colour to a beach to a street to every colour you can think of. I’d originally settled on a flat bright green for the background colour but changed it to pink the day before I lost the file. Adding all the detail to the skateboard was fun (I’m speaking about it in past tense now because the original file is no more ;D) as it was made up of imagery from all their albums. I updated it when Matt Skiba joined the band with more obvious ‘California’ stuff which was interesting as the album had just come out so there was no real imagery at that time for any of the songs.

I thought I’d post it here anyway as it seemed a bit of a waste for it to never see the light of day -even though it can’t be used for anything anymore! And although I worked on it as a bit of hobby (over a lonnnngg period of time), it got me thinking about how much I love doing gig posters and would love to get back into doing it more. SO, if you’re reading this and you’re in a band and would like some artwork doing – get in touch and we could make beautiful music together!

Well, you can make the beautiful music. I can draw you a picture.

Fudge

…for the delay in posting! I didn’t mean to leave it this long but since the site relaunched I’ve had a load of work on and you know how it is, when you’re super busy with stuff, the last thing you think of to do is to sit down and write a blog post about it. Well, for me anyway but I suppose I should change that… Anyway- I’ve been working on a load of fun stuff recently. Some big, some small(ish), some branding, some rebranding and I’m soon starting a mural which I’ll hopefully have done in the next couple of weeks and have some photos to show you. Its also that time of year on the Island where local businesses start gearing up for TT and (as I type) I’m working on this years Manx Cider Co t-shirt. I’ve got some new designs planned for them as well as some other cool stuff so be sure to check them out during TT week if you are over.

Thinking about it now, thats about all I can say (work wise) as I can’t share any of the work just yet. The photo above is a shot of my desk though, so if you’re really interested (or creepy) you could zoom in to that to see some of the designs for the mural along with some other working drawings. Right, that was short and sweet wasn’t it? I’m off to continue working on TT 2017 stuff whilst simultaneously not getting excited (just yet) for TT 2017 and to figure out how I’m going to paint a mural in less than 2 weeks…!

Stamps

So, this is pretty cool! Isle of Man Post have produced a set of stamps using the print artwork I created for my Jigsaw exhibition. The set is called ‘The Hearts Of Ellan Vannin’ (a take on a lyric from the traditional Manx song ‘Ellan Vannin’) and features 6 of the towns and villages I produced for my show. It was great to be involved in the design side of this set of stamps as each product has its own unique packaging. A big thank you to everyone involved at IOM Post for all their hard work. The stamps are available now here and (if you’re on the Island) in actual real life post offices! 

Wild Hearts

The new version of this piece has been about a year in the making and I’ve re-drawn it more times than I care to remember. I always liked the original pen and ink graphic below but I never thought it fully conveyed what I was feeling and I suppose trying to put across with the image.

I wanted the piece to be sassy, cool and have attitude, but on the whole be a strong stand alone image. Something that, at a glance you might assume you know whats happening but if you looked closer and thought about it, maybe led you in a different direction as to what was happening and why. I felt adding a background provided more of a story (back & future), and there are little details that make the story make more sense to me but will hopefully not detract from the overall image. 

Not that I wanted to spell out exactly what I was thinking. I’m sure other artists will agree that its always awesome when someone describes what they see in one of their pictures. Or how an image makes them feel even though the artist themselves hadn’t even considered it that way. It’s amazing! And I suppose, is literally the point of art -to make people feel. But, thats a blog topic for another time.

I’m kind of obsessed with Bonnie and Clyde and the classic gangster, moll and mob lifestyle  -I see that whole world romantically. I know it was far from it but you can blame watching the above mentioned and films like The Untouchables at a young age along with reading a lot of comics in my formative years for that one.

Originally this piece was titled ‘With Love & Kisses’ -which is where this piece originated from. I kind of wanted this newer version to work without any text but the further I got with it the more I felt it needed something to tie it together. I’ve had ‘Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken’ written down in one of my notepads for years and spotted it just after finishing the re-draw of her face and thought the two fitted perfectly. Especially in the letterpress style lettering which are actually scans from old newspapers, posters and playbills from the classic gangster era -fun fact, eh?

Born on the Sabbath day

This was a kind of re-imagining of the illustration below that I did one TT week for my Facebook page years ago. I wanted to update it and to add more to the whole piece but keep the fun attitude from the original sketch as to me, thats what Mad Sunday is all about.

In most of my TT pieces I’ll take the sponsors logos from the riders leathers and fairing and re-draw them to fit the vantage points from around the TT course. With this piece though, as there is no actual racer I thought I could have a bit of fun reinterpreting some of the famous spots on the course. I still wanted the majority of them to be rooted within motorcycles and to have a kind of ‘classic’ look to them rather than all be completely made up so I did my take on a few vintage motorcycle logos.

Looking back there are some fantastic logo designs for bikes. Beautiful lettering and some great ideas brilliantly executed without a vector in sight! Thats not to say bike logos these days are rubbish, but I wanted to steer clear of the instantly recognisable logos of Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki and the like. I wanted more cult, niche kind of bike logos -more of a ‘if you know, you know’ kind of thing as the others would stand out to much as obviously being a bike logo take.

Most of the vantage points throughout this piece are takes of motorcycle logos (in one way or another) so I won’t bore you going through all of them but I picked out a few below to illustrate (pun intended) what I’m talking about.

In all honesty (even though I’ve owned a motorbike encyclopedia for 20 odd years) I’d never heard of Condor. I doubt they’d still use the same logo today but just look how great it is. I mean, c’mon, I had to do something with that. Matchless are classic and had to be in there as it was the first machine to ever win a TT and that ‘Winged-M’ logo is known worldwide. As it’s so iconic I thought it’d lend itself to the world famous ‘Waterworks’ vantage point.

I was going for a collage look (obviously) so I wanted each illustration to have a different style/feel to it. You know, like someone in a moment of madness had cut up their old bike magazines and comics that they’d collected through the years and then stuck them to their wall …man, that’d be annoying wouldn’t it?

I also love to add a bit of lettering to each piece (incase you hadn’t noticed) so the whole collage/different style theme was great fun to incorporate my love of logos, letters, fonts and motorbikes.

Going, going… Oh, everything’s gone

When I first decided I wanted to update the site I thought I’d only have recent work on it -stuff I’d created in the last 2 years or so anyway. Then, as work continued and I moved away from the site re-design I kept thinking that maybe I should go back further and include jobs that I loved but weren’t necessarily relevant. I then changed my mind back to only have stuff I’d produced in the last 2 to 4 years but then I changed my mind to include some earlier stuff that I still liked. However, fate then stepped in and I lost pretty much all my digital work and original art scans from the past 5+ years when I (stupidly) updated my OS without removing my external memory drive and it got wiped.

Above is just a small selection (from my social media accounts) of things that got erased. I’d settled on what was going to go on the new site before the ’Sierra incident’ as its now referred to happened so fear not there. I think its just the knowing that you don’t have the files/scans etc stored somewhere anymore. But, never mind. Think positive, move forward and don’t look back. I chose to look at it as a sign that the new site should be for new work and not for older stuff that I was hanging on to.

Stop livin’ in the past, man!