Those zines I’ve spent the past few months working on are almost ready for packaging up. It’s a limited run of 50 sets that I’ll be sending out as self-promos. I’ll be posting some for sale and will keep you in the loop. If you know anyÂ #artdirector after someÂ #teenÂ to adultÂ #gothicÂ #alternative#illustration, please ask them to contact me with their details and I’ll send a complimentary set over.
Updated: For anyone wanting to buy a limited edition set, please visit myÂ Etsy store here
I’ve changed things up a bit so please let me know if anything’s a bit buggy or just generally annoying. I’ll be adding new illustrations to the portfolio section rather than the blog, and most of my sketches you can catch on Instagram
I’ve introduced a couple of new styles that I’m developing, but I’m still creating and working away in the same style that you’ve got to know. Please see my Bright page or visit the archived projects at the end of my portfolio feed
So World Book Day came and went this year and I haven’t done one WBD event. I would have but I had deadlines building up like fruit in a sweet shop. I started my MA in Illustration earlier this year so on top of a huge educational project, I’ve got those uni briefs too. And then we adopted a pupsicle. A sausage shaped pupper.
Meet Benny Rocket. He lives up to his name.
Anyway, even though WBD has come and gone, I did a very quick reading-related warm-up sketch this morning – apart from that, my projects are all a bit top secret at the moment. I’ve opened up a section on here where you can find my R&E for my MA (if you’re that way inclined) and I’ll update you on my graphic novel adventures very soon.
I’m not a linear thinker and I’m more about dialogue and image than description. Writing descriptively feels uncomfortable, it’s not a good fit. The best engagement I can get is when a reader looks at something I’ve created and puts a different slant on it. That stimulates my mind and keeps me on my toes. A good way to do that is to attempt a wordless and laconic narrative illustration style.
Some of you know that I started my MA back in September, and it’s definitely encouraging me to try new and different things. Before I committed, I knew that the only way this would hold value for me was if I pushed myself in a different direction. But, because children’s publishing is where my heart is, that’s quite a difficult task.
I’ve enjoyed the research involved so far and it’s definitely produced a rabbit hole for me to get lost in. I found graphic novels down there thanks to my tutor, Kate. Until I started that research, my experience with illustrated books for grown-ups had been limited to Hellboy and Gemma Bovery (Posy Simmons), which follow a typical panel style. I love to read them, and the artists are crazy-talented, but I don’t feel compelled to create something in that style.
A lot of the research I’ve been carrying out has been focused on dark and taboo issues within children’s books. Very far removed from what I do day-to-day. I tried to remove any opportunities for whimsy. I also made a conscious effort to not look at my close peers – the guys I interact with via social media or share an agent with. The next thing I did was like jumping off a cliff. I turned off my Cintiq and lined my ink bottles up. After lots of experimentation, I put another restraint on myself. No paintbrushes. The style of this illustration is informed by considerable research and I don’t want to write a lengthy post here. As soon as my research is graded, I’ll link it so you can read about that side of things, if that’s what floats your boat.
Here’s a piece I created for my MA ‘Prey’ 2017. Ink on paper
Some speed-paint adventures from the last few days – all strictly 10 (squirrel) or 15 minutes. It’s helping a lot to enforce these mini-deadlines on myself. Procrastination is not winning this week. All posted on Instagram if you’d like more regular updates.
So a few months have passed and it’s safe to say that my ambitious social media plan didn’t quite work out. As much as it might seemÂ as though I sit on my behind all day (kind of true), stuffing my face with biscuits (also kind of true), I do manage to fit a lot of work in.
After months of working on a mixture of rush projects and two larger ongoing ones, I’m tired. Great to be so busy, but exhausting. You hit a wall, a bit like runners do, when you get about two-thirds of the way through.
It gets particularly difficult when the sun comes out and you’re stuck indoors. Contrary to popular belief, we can’t just get up and relocate to the garden. Have you ever tried seeing a laptop screen when the sun is glaring? Or felt the powerÂ of a bright white sketchbook page on the old retinas? Not ideal.
Anyway, for the first time in a long time I have a bit of time before starting my next projects. I’m cramming in as much tidying, invoicing, administrating, portfolio-updating and general nose-arounding as possible. I’ve even checked Twitter. I’ve read some blogs about the constant self-doubt that surrounds authors and illustrators the world over. As much as these ‘rest’ periods make you feel like you’re slacking, they’re essential to stop you feeling burnt out. And you get to empty your head or just respond to things going on around you. Today, I responded to the#NationalGardeningWeek prompt on Twitter by creating this little thing.
Tomorrow, I’ve been told I’m going swimming. My youngest is enjoying my time off even more than I am.