The Game is On…

It’s always great when something different drops into your inbox, and half way through last year something did. I was commissioned to design a board for a new board game called ‘Play the Book’.

Although a lot of work and very fiddly, it felt like a breath of fresh to be undertake something so different. I guess what they say is true – ‘a change is as good as a rest’; and this ‘change’ paid the bills at the same time.

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see how many books you can spot….

Beauty is in the eye of the money holder

I recently did some illustrations for a new client who wanted their old book given a new look. The brief was simple, take the old images and redraw them in my style. This all seemed quite simple, especially as they liked my style and chose this style to be the new look for their beloved characters. What could go wrong….

After redrawing the characters and starting several of the illustrations I was informed the client hated the new look and wanted it to look like the original drawings. To quote:  ‘she is saying she doesn’t like the characters because they don’t look like hers.  She wants them to look exactly like hers do‘.

At this point I did feel like pointing out, if the characters must stay the same, that it would be easier to stay with what was on the page already. Anyway manners stopped me, so I politely bowed out and pointed out that it may be better to find someone who could match her style, rather than picking my work which was radically different. A small fee was agreed, which wouldn’t fully cover my wasted time but would at least ease the pain. As of this moment in time I am still waiting and to be truthful I’m not holding my breath.

Anyway check out the images and see which you would rather have. (Before I get any cheeky comments, mine are the brightly coloured ones).apple_origianl Printspin spin2

The Beauty of Working in Sketchbooks

Over the last year I’ve once again started to work in sketchbooks. At first this seemed to be going backwards and left my Cintiq in danger of gathering dust. However, the sketchbook has become a brave new tool helping my jot down ideas at all times and in any place inspiration strikes. A strange form of filing has been born from this as a sketch in one book creates a new one which then follows on that theme. For instance I might sketch out a monster which gives me an idea for a whole heap of different monsters – a sketchbook all about monsters is born. In fact it’s felt quite good redeeming the sketchbook for one of its primary uses – Sketching. This all makes a refreshing change from creating on screen images that can’t always be easily accessed.

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What’s it all about?

If you look at the time difference between my very first post and this one you might have been wondering what has been the delay? To tell the truth I’ve been thinking what I’ve should be writing about. Then at 1.20am this morning inspiration struck. So with a cup of coffee in one hand and a bowl of popcorn with in easy reach here we go.

Over the years many in the creative industries have asked what my role is. When I’ve replied an ‘illustrator’ I’ve sometimes received a strange reaction. It’s as though there is some unsaid hierarchy. I am only a ‘mere illustrator’ which seems to be a lot lower down on the ladder than a real (fine) artist. This seems strange to me as some of the professional illustrators i met have been wonderful draftsman, demonstrating real skills. On the other hand some of the work done by ‘real artists’ show a considerable lack of any talent. To make matter worst, some even look down their noses and call me a ‘graphic illustrator’ as if the title ‘illustrator’ is reserved for only the truly deserving, and my mix of cartoons and madness can never be seen in the same light. Now I’d be the first to admit that I’m no Rembrandt as the monkey head in my last post shows, but I’m proud of what I do. So to all those opinionated arty types please except this blog as a English archer’s two finger salute to your views and creative sensibilities.

So what’s this blog about?…  …it’s about the journey I take every day as i pick up my tools and have a blast creating the things I love. It’s about painting monkey heads wearing a fez…   …it’s about delivering jobs on time to happy clients and working with those clients, both good and bad along the way…   …and it’s about a whole lot more, but most of all it’s about having fun doing what I love whilst showcasing that work. Being my own boss and enjoying the journey, even with the lowly title ‘illustrator’.