Tuesday, 14 December 2010

self portrait

I drew this about two years ago.

It has been lost in my sketchbook. As much as I like
this image, I never feel able to include it in my portfolio
of prize pieces.

However, I've an affection for it in all its cheesy glory.

I seem to recall it has references to a Led Zeppelin song, etc.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Comic book Renaissance

I have produced 2 short comics for a comic store's publication in Leeds:-)

If you are going to the 'Thought Bubble' comics festival in Leeds next weekend, look out for it:-)

Go to the 'Travelling Man' comic store, and ask for it:-)

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

fancy robots,the aftermath

Today I am back from my Edinburgh exhibition. Plus I have uploaded the drawings so those who missed it can see what they missed!

More news later about how the exhibition went!

Friday, 27 August 2010

edinburgh exhibition

I have a group exhibition in Edinburgh on Sunday and Monday, as part of 'Artspace2let.'

I have produced twelve uber detailed robot drawings, or at least my own take on the theme of 'robot.' I've looked to the victorian end of pier automata, star wars, and isaac asimov for inspiration. In terms of style, the Illustrator Yoshitaka Amano.

To be truthful, since I have been creating these robot drawings for the past month and a half, right up until the night before I leave for Edinburgh,ie tonight, I am left not wanting to see another robot again!

I could just keel over right now, but tomorrow and Sunday will be hectic getting all the extra things ready!

Once all this is over, I can get stuck in much more with my alphabet book! Hooray!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Winona Ryder

Sometimes I will spend several months completing an image,making sure it is finished to perfection. This image of Winona Ryder is that sort of thing. I would sit on the train, or a coffee shop, and use fineline pens, pastel pencils, always finding a new way to make the image work, every time I sat down to it.

Then add black and white ink, for that zing!

Winona Ryder is a great actress and especially in 'Heathers.' I love the vaguely sinister edge to an otherwise lighthearted teen comedy.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Cousteau's Lobster

I love Jaques Cousteau, and his love of eating lobsters, so that's why I created this image. He used to go hunting for them at the bottom of the sea, and then share them later on in the day.

Blue is one of my favorite colours, and that's why it is blue.

I am producing some digital prints of these, and I will be selling them online, and through an artsy shop run by Brodie Doyle, of 'bestjoinedup,' the graffiti artist's collective.

Sea animals are so much fun, especially the lobster with its endearing claws. Salvador Dali loved them, and also phones. I once knew a man who had a pet lobster, as well as a pet crab. The crab was a pleasant soul, but the lobster was much more lovely.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Art in Unusual Spaces: Corn Exchange Leeds: 'quick on the draw'

This was my contribution to the 'quick on the draw' event in The Corn Exchange, Leeds, organised by 'Art in Unusual Spaces.'

This event used the building's circular shape, and the amount of time an artist was allowed to spend on a drawing was dictated to where it would be placed within the circle. So if an artist gets 2 o'clock the artist gets five minutes, and so on.

Thankfully I was given 23 minutes which was stressfull enough! I drew this clown to represent my sadness at how The Corn Exchange has changed so much, since its glory days of alternative quirky stores, comic shops, and goth emporiums. Now it is a souless yuppie dive, with a grey eatery on the lower level, and dull minimalist stores, baby stores, and dresses and beige bags for middle aged women. Gone is the eclectic soul of this place!

So my work is a silent protest.

It was great to see so many familiar faces from the Leeds art 'scene'. Though there is no scene: it was a hugely friendly event. It was good to see once again the artists Drew Millward, Fon Fon, and Krystina Baczynski at work. Afterwards I had a great time with the graffitti guys from 'bestjoinedup' in Milo's, half a pint of lager and a good old natter.

I've just had my feet up reading the final installment of the Scott Pilgrim comics to complete my collection. This addition from Brian Lee O' Malley does not dissapoint. Now there is the film adaptation to watch and the computer game to buy.

All in all a hugely mellow and satisfying day. Art events are always the best.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Robot exhibition Edinburgh

Every boy and girl loves a robot, and at the moment I am preparing an exhibition due to take place in Edinburgh, with a collection of robot themed drawings and paintings.

This is part of the 'Sunday Salon,' a monthly exhibition that meets in the founder's elegant home. Alongside me are exhibiting eager budding and talented young artists, graduates of Edinburgh College of Art.

Today you see a sampling. This one is not yet finished but I like it, so you see it in its unfinished glory.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Illustration for music magazine Rhubarb Bomb

I was asked by the music magazine 'Rhubarb Bomb' to produce some illustrations for their up and coming edition. This was to illustrate an article about the band 'Wave Pictures.' I produced two illustrations relevant to the article, and the lyrics of 'Wave Pictures.' This was a difficult process, as the lyrics are so rich in imagery.

I went for something simple, Japanese style waves, and a picture of Blackpool Tower. As well as this, I was priveleged to be able to do the front cover, but more on that later.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Cat Comics

I have started making comics again, and spend all my time writing and drawing them. Most of them involve cats, to some degree, just because I like cats and they make me smile.

I created the two you see here for Free Comic Book Day this year and last year. People always ask me why I don't create more comics with these two cat characters, so I have written a whole saga involving them, as well as some quirky shorts.

Expect to see more like these!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

John's Journal: day two

So today I was working in the Encounters shop again. Though we had a good amount of visitors through the doors, and some enthusiastic members of the public, the best part of the day, was finding some great books on a second hand stall.

I may sell the book on dancing, though it is characterful. There are always vintage fairs in Leeds, and since I have a fairly good quality collection of vintage clothes items and ephemera, this dancing book is a welcome addition, and will look fantastic on my stall.

The French kid's book will be added to my collection of French language books, especially since I have a small number of picture books in the aforesaid lingo. I am always looking to improve my ability in speaking French, so it is great that I am going to Paris this June. I am also applying to teach English as a foreign language, so if I ever end up teaching English in France, this French kid's book will be much welcomed and needed.

Yes, the shop was not amazing today- there were alot of customers, but not many interesting conversations or moments. However, lots of kids were really into planting sunflower and nasturtium seeds, so I really enjoyed that project.

I'm hoping for a better day next Monday. And as always, Tuesday is screenprinting workshop day-so without fail, that is exiting.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Georgette and the Dragon

Today I was at my usual screenprinting class in Leeds and once I had finished there, I arrived home and finished these two images you see today.

They are my own take on the George and the Dragon story.Both of them started out as sketches or doodles from about a year or two ago. For several weeks I have been adapting them, and tweaking them as an aside to my main creative projects.

I always wish to have some artworks that commemorate St. George's day-England's national day. For some reason I never seem to complete the appropriate images in time, though St. George's day does tend to pass me by anyhow.

It is always rewarding to create work, that is inspired by mythology and folk tales. This is not something I often do, though I do read a great deal of myths,legends, wundermarchen and suchlike. My dissertation was on fairytales and folktales so it only follows suit that I should sometimes be creating work that is affected by this.

Dragon tales are known the world over, and exist as good, bad, magical, symbolic, greedy, benign, and mischievous. Creationists even believe they are based on actual common knowledge in ancient times of the existence of dinosaurs alongside more commonplace creatures such as oxen, cats, and wolves. It would be nice to think that people actually encountered dinosaurs or dragons and that even a few are still out there.

Enjoy my addition to the dragon pantheon. Another dragon tale for the history books: 'Georgette and the Dragon.'

Monday, 3 May 2010

Fashion and Surrealism

These are three quick portraits that I did this evening.

They are from a fantastic picture book called 'Fashion and Surrealism,' by Richard Martin, in which he explores the close ties between haute couture, and the surrealist artists.

It is a great book to work from, when I want to give my work some historical, cultural and contextual depth, even if the images in themselves seem to be fairly shallow or trite. This makes actually creating the work more meaningful and enjoyable, when it feels like it is connected to art history.

But I always lend this book out from the library, and renew it countless times- it's so enjoyable to look at and read.

Friday, 30 April 2010

new tshirt designs

Hooray- there are now some new t-shirt designs, all ready for the printers.

I will be printing a run of the most popular designs, rather than taking orders initially.

Eventually I may use 'cafepress.com' but in the mean time, I will be at art fairs and vintage clothes fairs here and there, this Spring.

If there are no designs that tickle your fancy, I'm always producing new ones- never fear...

so take care, and have something new, colourful and original to wear this summer.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

John's Journal: day one

Today I was enjoying the first day in my new job: working in a community based art project, called 'Encounters,' based in a shop building in Dewsbury West Yorkshire. Here you can see me enjoying the gigantic blackboard with the weekly opinions of people in Dewsbury scrawled on it.

The night before, I had set my alarm for precisely 8:39am, giving myself an extra nine minutes in bed. However I ended up waking much earlier and spent that time restlessly trying to get back to sleep. I acceded defeat around half eight, had a shower, made sure my hair and face were neat and tidy as I could get, then dressed in the clothes I'd prepared carefully the night before- the old man tweedy brown jacket, the navy blue v-neck jumper, blue tshirt, grey skinny jeans and converse all stars. Also a teacherly pen in jacket pocket.

The early morning was intensely gloomy, like a heavy and extensive grey spillage of rice pudding.

Though I was to be down at the shop at half nine, by nine I was already chomping at the bit, so I grabbed my satchel and headed for town. I was almost there when shockingly on the other side of the street, I spotted my old boss, the tyrannical 'Tas.' I haven't seen her with her trademark red jumper (making her look like a killer tomatoe) in a long time.She was a dodgy kettle of fish, a stalin-like del boy. She's caused me and alot of other people a whole host of problems.

But happily I arrived outside the 'Encounters' shop at quarter past nine- so I had time to think calm thoughts before starting a momentous day of work.

I had volunteered in the shop on one or two occasions, and had come across all sorts: long lost Canadians sampling native pasties as well as Yorkshire relatives, general rough diamonds, kindly souls and cynical crones.

Today however, as a newly self-employed chip off the block I can have a few days paid work over May into June-thats great because I need a few pennies.

The first task of the day that the nicest boss in the world, Ruth, sent me out to do, was to head into town for an hour with a chalk board, camera and clip board, to try to get members of the public to participate in a photography activity. It was very simple, so I thought. 'Joe prole' was to take photos of things listed on the clipboard list, then write down your age and name. Most likely a fairly diverting and enjoyable activity.

Last time I tried this task, as a volunteer, I had fifty and sixty year old regulars at 'Val's Cafe' jumping and taking photos, laughing so much their makeup ran, making a valiant effort to take the photos, even though their long laquered nails and cigarettes in hand somewhat encumbered procedures.

This time I set up outside 'Tony's Textiles' with chalkboard announcing my purpose, smiling and looking personable. Streams of the elderly, with freshly minted tight perms, comfy shoes and carrier bags were rushing to and fro from market to charity shops, faces set in grim determination. These acolytes hardly stopped to look at the innocuous youth with the camera. Anyone I approached would determinidely shake their jowls in the negative, with a definite 'no.' Young peroxide mums would offer withering stares and further 'nos,' for my collection.

I was standing there feeling increasingly desperate, as hordes of chattering pensioners in cardigans and beige slacks made their unstoppable endless march to the market, for tripe, cut price bingo pens, bric a brac and leisurely snacks.

However, one noble youngish man stopped to notice my chalkboard sign. I showed him the camera, explained it's functions and the task at hand, and soon he was admirably taking photos of items on the list.

For 'growing things,' he carefully chose a cluster of minature daffodils in a flowerbed in the vicinity. For 'someone jumping,' I had to repeatedly jump into the air like a maniac, until he managed to cadge a snap.

After that things went from downhill to strange. I managed to stop to talk to a thin man in black wide brimmed hat surrounded by metal discs, long coat, black leather gloves and heraldic tie. When explaining to him the photography task, I noticed he looked dead behind his tiny button eyed non-face. His 1980s specs were hiding his true self. His only words as he drifted away were 'I'm already a photographer, I'm not from here, I'm South African.' He strode off to the market with cyberman precision, like Clint Eastwood on a mission.

By half eleven I lost my faith in humanity and stumbled back to the 'Encounters' shop. Waheeda, a woman also working the same day was outside the shop encouraging folk to plant sunflower seeds, and write down their hopes. She had a similar verdict- a rushing public intent on market day retail. I took over her role, and was pleasantly suprised to recognise the man who I purchase my return tickets to Leeds from, at Dewsbury train station. He happily planted a seed, then went on his merry way. As well as that, I managed to gain a customer to purchase one of my tshirts for his grandson.

The town crier briefly made an appearance, a jolly man in pristine knee high white socks, buckled shoes, tricorn hat and regal blue, maroon and gold cape. He declared he was entering an international competition for town criers. We said he was the best and was sure to win. After he left, we'd registered sixty people in the shop.

Later on, I was diverted by a pleasant Ayrshire woman with a nostalgic hairdo and lipstick. She believed Yorkshire was her spiritual home and enjoyed the beauty, humour and down to earth qualities of God's own county. She stayed a good long time and tried many activities. Apart from the stepping stones, which flummox everyone. Sadly, whilst talking to her, the pretty girls with possibly music cases and elbow patches entered the shop, and Waheeda got talking to them instead. Foiled again!

The day was almost over just after four in the afternoon,I left the shop with not so much as a cafe latte.

Monday, 26 April 2010

'A is for Android

To commemorate the recent installment of my robotic anamatronic metal lung, I include a detail from my acrylic painting of an android.

Today's letter is 'A,' hence the inclusion of an android in today's post.

This is part of an alphabet book I am writing and illustrating, hopefully to be finished in time for the thought bubble comics convention, in Leeds in the autumn.

But in the mean time, I am drawing and painting robots!

If you have any old robot models or toys that you're throwing out- do pass them on to me, as I'm looking for reference material.


Friday, 9 April 2010

I am planning a sequence of exhibitions, with myself and a handful of other artists, from illustration,graphic design and street art backgrounds. If all goes swimmingly, we will take our work to The Artmarket gallery in Leeds, then on to Edinburgh, London and Bristol.

These three images are potential fodder for the galleries. I am working on creating images that relate to science fiction, with robotic, anthropomorphic and alien forms. As well as this, I am inflecting the work with elements of haute couture, 60s futurism, and utopian cityscapes.

Confused? You saw it here first.

To mark my first day of self employment, here is a selection of images I have been working on in the past few days.

For a long time, I have been looking for work, and attending interviews with no joy. I have been creating bucketloads of artworks and illustrations, but with no direction, concentrating more on finding some kind of shop, cafe or admin job.
I had a Eureka moment the other week, and decided to really go for the whole freelancing thing. So today I signed off from the jobcentre, and registered as self employed with the Inland Revenue.

I am unbelievably exited. The next few days are going to be a maelstrom of activity, with alot of projects coming together, and alot of publishers and galleries contacted.

It's a great day- it's great to work for myself finally. I had no idea things would happen so soon-but it's official- I've employed myself!

There's wind in the sails.

Friday, 26 March 2010

This was originally going to be a logo for a rock band from Harrogate. They chose another design over this one, so this image is my own to do as I wish.

I have reproduced the image on a t-shirt, it looks great, and has recieved lots of good feedback...soo message me, if you want to order a shirt, with the above design on it.

You will be too cool.

Monday, 22 March 2010

I am exited to announce, that Issue 2 of 'Aspartamo,' the auspicious comics series, is almost finished. There are three pages left!

The above is a sample from issue one, which introduces the main character of Joe Crownest, the gloomy West Yorkshire teenager- the true successor of Eeyore and John Cooper Clarke.

I have a lovely bunch of fans who have been waiting for issue two, for too long to mention. I am so happy to say that they will no longer be chomping at the bit..

issue 2 is almost here..

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

I've had an interesting time over the past few months, collaborating with Leon D. on some artworks. Find a link to my good pal's work here: leon-d-art.blogspot.com

He's introduced me to the graffiti artist's collective, 'bestjoinedup,' who meet in Leeds...and I've produced work there, as part of their live drawing sessions, at Milo's and The Faversham, both in Leeds.

Here's a few photos from those meetups/events:

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

I'm really exited for the new Tim Burton movie this year, so to commemorate it, I am producing some prints of this portrait of Burton, and Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands. Just let me know if you would like to buy a print, and I'll let you know. I can say it will be very reasonably priced.

Tim Burton should be my uncle.

Saturday, 30 January 2010


These brand spanking new mushroom designs, will be available as t-shirts soon, so watch this space!

I recommend drawing mushrooms, it's big wheeze, and I tell no lie.