Thursday, 26 July 2012

Sneak Peek: Farm Book!

Here are a couple of sneak peeks from the farm activity book I recently finished. I can't wait to see this one as I drew the whole thing rather than just the single-colour line art. I used a mix of drawn and photo elements in this book as the series has mixed media throughout. Hopefully it works! I really enjoyed drawing this book and will hopefully be starting another one quite soon...

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Doodle: Expectations

At this point in the morning, I don't think it's coming.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Colouring Book Samples

Although I didn't get the job, I recently did some samples for a publisher looking to produce some partially coloured books for young children. I quite enjoyed drawing these and anything to add to the portfolio is good! (Also, any excuse to draw an Ankylosaurus.) I'm becoming rather fond of making colouring books and may start producing more of my own; I don't think there are enough that include werewolves and robots, personally! :P

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

T-Shirt Designs!

Last year I was contacted by an apparel company to design some t-shirts which was very exciting. The resultant tees are now available in a range of shops, high street and on-line!  I have a bunch more hopefully coming out soon! :D

The tees are available from Blue Banana, This Is Pulp, Jukupop and Play among others!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Sketchbooks Are Awesome

Anyone who has been to art college or university to do any art-based course will most likely have had the importance of keeping a sketchbook drummed into them. It took me quite a while to get into the habit of keeping a sketchbook in art college (way back in 1999) but as soon as I realised I didn't need to make every page a masterpiece, I was hooked. I've got a huge stack of sketchbooks that I've kept over the years, alternating from hardback A5 150gsm paper books to normal lined paper note books. My parent's loft contains a couple of boxes of my university sketchbooks that while I'm too embarrassed to look back over, can't quite bring myself to throw away. 

One of the reasons I love keeping sketchbooks so much, is the fact that I can take them anywhere with me, even if I don't end up drawing anything. It's like a comfort thing! My sketchbook is always in my bag; I daydream quite a lot when I'm walking about and if I happen to happen to have an idea, I can quickly scrawl it down while I walk. It's also a perfect place to mindlessly doodle, something I'm particularly good at. A lot of the personal work I do starts off as some weird doodle in my sketchbooks that I've decided to work up.

I've been trying to get into a more regimented sketchbook routine as of late; I started a shiny new one a couple of weeks ago and decided I wanted to try and draw in it every day (not something I always do.) I leave for my part-time job at 10:20am on weekdays so I make sure I'm sat in the living room at 10am with my SB and try to doodle something. It's been pretty fun so far as I can just draw nonsense and have a bit of fun with it!

I rarely draw any roughs or ideas for work for publishers in my sketchbooks though as I try and keep them just for me. Roughs for work usually end up on normal photocopy paper so I can keep everything together. This does mean my desk becomes an endless mess with piles of paper everywhere while I'm working on books but it's a system that works for me! XD

Materials-wise for sketchbooks, I particularly fond of A5 Daler-Rowney hardbacks because the paper is nice to work on (not to thin) and they're easy to carry around. They also all look nice together on the shelf when they're full! XD I use Uni-Ball Vision Elite black pens to draw with, as they're pretty nice rollerballs and can be found in most supermarkets if I lose one. I have about a billion of them lying about, all in varying degrees of used-up-ness.

I also love looking at other people's sketchbooks; there's something very satisfying about looking at how people work and the doodles they come up with. Sketchbooks are essentially brain-dumps and I like looking at the insides of other artists heads this way! XD My insanely talented friend Mark Pearce keeps the most awesome sketchbooks and he must get fed up with me constantly asking to look at them whenever he's over our house. I don't think mine are quite so interesting to look at but I enjoy drawing in them anyway!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


I recently bought a new sketchbook. I felt it needed to have some ghosts in it.

Self Publishing is Addictive!

I didn't realise how many Small Press books I've self published over the last year; I think it's safe to say I've got the bug! Although I started to self publish my own comic when I worked in a comic shop back in 2004-2007, it's only really been in the last year or so that I've gotten back into it and started to realise the potential in printing books myself. One thing I love about self publishing is having complete control over what I write and draw; if I have an idea for an activity book or a comic, I can do whatever I want because I know I'm the one paying for printing costs and I have to push myself to sell it. There's also a huge amount of satisfaction (and mild terror) when you receive a box of books from the printers and see them in the flesh for the first time! Somebody recently commented on how much they liked the overall look of my books and how I have my own creative brand going on. Although I feel a lot of my book covers look a bit samey (I'm not the world's best designer) I do like how they all tie together. This is also what I like about a lot of my friends that self publish too; they all have a very distinct and unique look to all of their books (I'll be doing a blog post about some of my favourite small pressers soon!). I've been a part of the UK Small Press scene for a while now and have made some awesome friends through it, all of them very talented.
With the exception of Brains Etc, all of my books have been printed through Inky Little Fingers. I cannot recommend these guys enough; they're fast, easy to print through and the quality, especially colour stuff, is outstanding. They are also extremely reasonable price-wise. Although I only have an electronic proof to check before my books go to print (you can get hard copies but they cost extra) I've come to trust that unless I mess something up on my end, they always do a good job.
Hopefully in a few weeks time I'd have printed my Rather Odd Alphabet and I've made a start on another book, this one with a little bit more narrative that I'm hoping will be really fun!
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