Sunday, 28 October 2012

Another Escape Issue 3.

For those of you who didn't get hold of Another Escape #3 in physical form, it can now be found up on issuu for a flick (click) through at your leisure. Inside my article on the nature of INSPIRATION and how to make the most of it is waiting for you, just as I'm finishing up the next one for issue 4!


Saturday, 20 October 2012


While in London this week I also visited The National Portrait Gallery and saw The Queen: Art and Image exhibition, inspiring me to draw my own portrait of her when I got home.

The collection shows the diverse representation of "one of the most portrayed people of all time", speaking loudly about the changeable perceptions of the monarchy over the last 60 years. The tones of images range from gravitationally austere to playful, overall showing the queen as a graceful, glamorous and sturdy woman and leader. It was interesting to see just how much she has been used as a symbol throughout her reign, particularly being subject to a treatment of artifice - by Andy Warhol, Cecil Beaton, Gerhard Richter etc. and becoming somewhat of a commodity much like the bank notes she occupies.

As part of a generation who has had little relationship with HM growing up (other than my granny having her on commemorative plates) I think this year her diamond jubilee forged a fresh feeling of affection and association to her as a unique figure who positively represents our country across the world.

My favourite image is this one by Eve Arnold (Queen Elizabeth II, 1968) of her beaming up at the Great British weather. It leaves me feeling largely that she is just a person, much like the rest of us.

Only with more hats.

Friday, 19 October 2012

The Sketchbook Project Comes To London.

Today I went to visit The Sketchbook Project at Canada Water Library. The first time they have exhibited submissions overseas, I excitedly travelled to London and rendezvoused with my auntie to greet my well-travelled sketchbook along with many of its new buddies.
The venue feels like a stage as we enter with its bright spotlights, wooden floor and emotive records, spun by a sweet soul in the corner. People are queuing to search the library catalogue and the sketchbook elves are finding their orders using their iphones / as if by magic.

After registering a library card, I first sought out my own Transatlantic-themed sketchbook which I submitted to the project back in January. It was in good condition and even though I remembered each page well it was nice to physically hold it - curiously akin to seeing an old friend. As my auntie turned the pages for the first time it was nice to see her appreciative reaction and share some of the in-jokes with her. I also secured an olympic stamp to a gap I had left at the time of submission; a tiny yet significant resolution to my first submission.

There was a strong sense of community in the library with people sharing their finds (both good and bad) but the books also seemed to be taking each reader into a world of their own. A highlight for me has been meeting fellow participants and looking through their books whilst they look through mine! Connecting to other people who are part of the project has been an unexpected bonus of the day, and some of their techniques for remastering the original book format have sparked bolder ideas for my 2013 entry.

Here is my stubby little thumb with some of my favourite discovered spreads, including the work of
James Milligan, Swansea, UK
Ina Kuehfuss, Auckland, New Zealand
& Jorji Gardnener, Bridgewater, Australia.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Pie Chart.

Had the absolute best day yesterday watching the GBBO final in bed with my boy. We both made little flags for each contestant and waved whoever we thought was going to win, switching throughout the show. Laurie successfully ended up holding the winner at the end, with me amiably cheering for Brend after dear Jams had royally fluffed it.

Much to my delight, we also fashioned a graph of the episode.


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Cannon's Mouth.

As of the beginning of October I am a proud member of the Cannon Hill Collective; a diverse group of Birmingham-based creative types brought together by the latest youth initiative from mac.
Meeting every Tuesday night, yesterday was our third union and a chance for a bit of meaningful Show & Tell, finding out more about each other's practices and learning a little something from every member.
With dancers, actors, poets, artists, designers and musicians in the mix it was inevitably a lively affair, definitely planting the seed for future collaborations between our disciplines. In the foreground you can see me chatting to Sipho Eric Dube, one of the most naturally rhythmic people I have ever met.

Next month we will be pitching events to potentially become part of the mac's 2013 programme, so the project certainly feels like a great chance for us to make some waves. Personally I was driven to join the collective in order to reconnect with the midlands through both understanding and shaping what role the arts plays there, and I am lifted by the knowledge that such opportunity is definitely there.

You can meet all of the collective on the MEET THE COLLECTIVE tab on our blog, and here is a little post-it drawing of Amy Martin, one of the cool beans keeping us all afloat.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Shetland Is Cool.

Those of you who have been enjoying The Great British Bake Off will be familiar with this young whippersnapper. I will be rooting for Shetland's own bespectacled bejumpered James Morton in tonight's final, but may the best man win.

Monday, 15 October 2012


Daily Drawing Challenge: 15/10/12

An unusually emotional post, today's drawing is actually about the endurance of love and ritual.
My dad walks through the graveyard on his way to the gym most mornings and checks up on my granny and grandad's grave to make sure it looks nice, and I have started walking with him. Over a year ago he made a planter out of granite-like tiles to sit at the front of the stone and we change the flowers regularly. One day we walked to the grave as normal only to find that the planter had gone.

Unable to fathom that someone had nicked it, I blearily looked around to see if it had somehow walked itself to someone else's memorial. After the shock of its apparent disappearance and mutually calling the disembodied no-gooders "bastards", my sweet and resilient dad vowed to make another one.

He did. And this is it.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Hard Rock Cafe Manchester.

Legendary 10 oz. Burger - £13.50

The Knights of Salford Docks.

"All my people are lonely. Crowds are the most lonely thing of all. Everyone is a stranger to everyone else." - L.S. Lowry
During Manchester Artists Book Fair we rested our heads in sunny Salford. On the first night we ventured to the Quay where these giants were looking out across the water. In the dark they appeared like vast ragged knights on horseback guarding the stretch and I continued to think about them in this way.
Enjoying the industrial charm of Salford I noted from arrival that it was mostly roundabouts, scrap metal, and tracksuits on bikes eating ice creams (right up my street).

Also the birthplace of L.S. Lowry, we visited The Lowry centre to see a summer exhibition of the great man's work. Without being clichéd: I have been inspired by his scenes of northern life from a young age, choosing to draw from his paintings in galleries as a nipper. Seeing this collection expanded on this favour, revealing more about Lowry's methods and inner-workings. Never before thinking about how he made his paintings, it was interesting to me to hear that all the scenes were done from 'memory' - a culmination of experience and note-taking.

"I never paint on the spot but I like to look for a long time, make drawings and think... I liked in those days to do a picture entirely out of the mind's eye. I think it gets nearer to the truth, because there are no facts to hamper you."

Very simple sketches and plans of situations were exhibited alongside his built-up scenes, and it was the former that he used to capture the action and record it ready for inclusion within his artwork. This was something that made me think a lot about my own methods and whether I could adopt a more freeing way of creating drawings, channeling some of Lowry's wisdom in this manner.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Hot Bed YES.

Tomorrow me and Laurie Ramsell are heading to Manchester for Hot Bed Press' Artists Book Fair 2012!

Spreading the word about SYNTHIA magazine and her recently released second issue, the work of myself and the lovely space invader Kate Rowland will also be on display as two of the magazine's illustration contributors.

You can pick up a limited edition copy of my latest publication Please Wait about time and technology, as well as Kate's excellent zine The First Perm in Space.

Manchester; come and say hello!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Funky Beanz.

Daily Drawing Challenge: 08/10/12

A huge fan of the classic Heinz baked bean, I got really excited by these funky beanz when they came out.
Today I tried them on toast with a poached egg, and my review reads thus: bigger, yet less saucy.

Bit underwhelming, but can't knock them for trying to remix the original and best.

Little & Large.

Daily Drawing Challenge: 07/10/12

Finally sent my first postal offering to my good friend and pint-sized illustrator Louise Wyatt.
Here we are as an unlikely yet dynamic duo comprised of The Statue of Liberty and a viking.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Different Strokes.

Daily Drawing Challenge: 05/10/12

Went to the job centre this afternoon for a Group Information Session. My second visit, I am still fascinated by the different types of people there and what they think about each other and me.
No-one interacted so I still don't really know, but it did strike me as weird that the young men didn't offer their seats in the waiting area to me or the other lady.
Takes all sorts.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Daily Drawing Challenge: 04/10/12

Gems that don't exist in colours that do.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


The hills and grass went on forever. In the distance were purple mountains. Over to his left was a forest of green trees but to the right there were only a few trees here and there. Bright yellow bushes and an odd pile of stones dotted the landscape. A silver stream of running, shiny water cascaded down the hillside.

More illustration for Penny today.

The Beginning.

Daily Drawing Challenge: 02/10/12

This Synthia-inspired doodle actually marks my 100th blog post! Boom.
I guess this is just the beginning.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Rabbiting On.

Daily Drawing Challenge 30/09/12 + 01/10/12

Cracking on with the inside illustrations for Penny Shackleton's first children's book; here are two from this weekend that I'm particularly happy with.
Rabbits are now all I see when I close my eyes.
Sympathy for Donnie Darko.

Daily Drawing Challenge: 29/09/12

To anyone who has ever wondered how I stack my tapes, today's drawing holds the answer.