Monday, 5 October 2009


Monday mornings are made more bearable with a large cup of coffee, Spotify and the warm glow of a lava lamp.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Sunlit Silence

I don't normally go for this kind of thing but I stumbled across this gorgeous painting by Alex Hamilton. You can see more of his aircraft paintings here.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Dan Dare Desktop

click on image for closer view

Nick Denchfield, my collaborator and all-time genius cardboard engineer on all of the pop-up models I've illustrated sent me this great Dan Dare Wallpaper today. Made from scans from a domino set apparently. Nice one Nick.

Monday, 7 September 2009


Ok, I know I've posted these elsewhere but I'm thoroughly enjoying my new iPhone. Marvellous bit of kit and wonderful gadget to have in your pocket when out and about.

One thing I've never been great at is carrying around a sketch book or camera to capture something I may end up using as reference for my illustration work. I have a Nikon SLR which is great but heavy. Even a small compact digital camera is a bit of a pain size-wise.

Standard iPhone 'non' Polaroid

Even though the iPhone only packs a meagre 3 megapixels I'm finding it produces great photos which a are perfect for taking quick snaps whilst out and about.

My favourite App at the moment is 'Shake It', fake Polaroids at a click and a shake of the phone.
Essentially, it's a filter but it gets some great results. I'm starting to prefer the results to those I get with the SLR.

I couldn't stop snapping away in Brighton last week, particularly around the bricabrac and second hand stores in around North Laine. Only drawback is exhausting the battery.

Shake it.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

North Laines Temptations

This shop frontage tempts and taunts me every time I visit Brighton.
Lovely, lovely Brighton. If only one could live in two places at once.

Thursday, 21 May 2009


I'm currently working on a new project for Orchard Books. It's a story written by Jonathan Emmet and is the second story I will have illustrated of Jonathan's. The first, 'Pigs Might Fly' was published by Puffin and won the 'Books for Younger Children' category of the Red House Children's Book Award 2006. As a follow-up I suggested to Jonathan that we should do 'Pigs Might Swim' with submarines. Jonathan took that all on-board and came up with a swashbuckling piratical yarn...but without the pigs.

Without giving too much away at this stage, I can say it's going to feature some of my favourite subject matter and features a pirate submarine, a small dog, a fat cat, a crocodile and a jar of toffee. This project has had several delays and it's been almost two years since I started doing the first sketches and character designs. But now we are back on course and I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into the drawings.

The main 'star' of the book is of course the submarine and I am about to go overboard with detail in a massive fold out cross-section within the book. Again, I can't give too much away but here are a couple of sections from working sketches I've made during the process.

click on images for a closer look

Roughs are almost approved and it's almost time to go 'full steam ahead' with the artwork which will keep me pretty busy over the early part of the summer. (That's enough of the nautical puns - Ed).

Just time to quickly mention one of my favourite Tin Tin stories by the brilliant Herge, featuring a shark submarine.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Tom Paxton & Me

Tom Paxton invited me to go and see him in a recent concert at St. George's in Bristol the other week. The reason being, that we have just produced a book together based on one of his songs. I've been working on the illustrations for this since last August and it's satisfying to bring the project to it's conclusion. I have to admit that it's been one of the biggest challenges of my illustration career in the fact that I was 'forbidden' to actually illustrate the main 'character' in the story. The book will hopefully be published later in the year but I am sworn to secrecy for the moment. I can say that the American publisher is called Imagine and it will include a CD of the song which the book is based on. Watch this space...

Thursday, 12 February 2009

When You're Dying For a Wii

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: When we were in Blackpool and whilst visiting rellies, we were treated to a go on a Wii. Ok, I'd heard of them but had just lumped them in with PlayStation/XBox 360s etc which I am utterly useless at anything that requires more than two buttons pressing at the same time (yes, I know that's most of get the picture) and haven't got the patience for. (Give me an old Mega Drive 2 with an Aladdin cartridge and now you're talking).

Anyway, after a few hours spent digitally ten pin bowling and lobbing a virtual tennis ball over a photoshopped net we were hooked. I lasted about a week before we went and got one from Argos. Three days later we were still moaning about sore muscles that we hadn't used for some time. Bloody good fun though. My son Joe had his 19th birthday recently so that was a good excuse to buy him Mario Karts, House of the Dead and Call of Duty. Mario Karts is pretty good fun and the most 'family' orientated. House of The Dead is obviously a massive gore-fest with plenty of exposed rib cages after you've unloaded your pump-action into the chests of a lurching zombies. Haven't played that one yet...looks a bit scary.

Aside from Mario Karts, the next most played game I bought is 'Blazing Angels'. Yes, I know, predictably it's a WWII flying game with missions, dogfights, bombing and strafing runs etc. A little tricky to get the hang of the controls at first (if you're a klutz like me that is) but once you've managed to take off without destroying half your own airfield it's like plain sailing...I mean flying. Great fun apart from getting your arse riddled with tracer fire when you're not expecting it. Utterly frustrating but immensely satisfying sending Heinkel 111s spiralling out of the sky trailing plumes of black smoke. Joe is miles ahead of me and I don't get many goes on it but it's much more fun than watching telly or doing the washing up.

Red Rant

Ok, this is minor...but nonetheless it gets my goat every time I reach for the tommy sauce to spruce up a sausage sandwich. Not that I consume much of the stuff anyway but when I do it would be nice if the stuff came out of the bottle in an orderly fashion. For decades, if not longer, the consumer of this fine product has had to endure bruised palms from slapping the arse off the bottle trying to get a glob of ketchup to appear. The freshly opened bottles were the worst, I've had to resort to stuffing a knife down it's neck just to dislodge some of the red stuff.

Finally some boffin in the Heinz labs came up with the idea of the 'squeezer'. Good idea...except it still doesn't work. The new inverted ones (the fat one on the left in the pic) are the worst. You have to squeeze it so hard to get anything to appear that it nearly always overshoots the target and goes all over the plate/table/trousers etc. If you're going to re-design packaging Herr Heinz, do it properly please because this sucks. Sort it out.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Working From Home...

click on photo for larger view
Whilst the entire country seems to be taking the day off to have snowball fights or just stay in bed and watch TV the humble home worker plods on immune to the effects of the weather. I listen to the local radio and am told that nearly every school and university/college in Bristol and Bath has been closed. I hear people who are old enough to know better phone in and tell the radio presenter how much fun they are having on their day off in the snow. Am I jealous?


I can't think of a single excuse for not delivering a job on time as I 'work from home' anyway. Still, I shall try and get out at lunch-time and throw a large snowball at any passing child that comes withing range. Humbug.