Monday, 31 October 2016

End of the Road

As  an attempt to max out on the last remaining daze of Summer, at the start of September I packed some sun cream, a waterproof poncho and some temporary tattoos and set off to the green fields of Dorset. It was the weekend of End of the Road festival, tickets for which I had booked as soon as I saw The Shins were on the line-up, one of my favourite bands to keep me company when walking home at night or to listen to whilst drawing.

Thursday, 13 October 2016


Ah, October. A year ago I had planned to produce my 2016 calendar by this point, but instead it took until December. Here we meet again, and - as I try to pull together all the research and ideas for my *new 2017 calendar* - October stands awaiting my next move, discussing my fate like 4 dapper dans in raincoats.

Available as desktop background for download as both full screen (1600 x 1200px) and wide screen (1448 x 900px) versions. To find out more about the Unremarkable* project visit the website-shaped corner of the byngternet.

Monday, 29 August 2016


Greetings, earthlings. Do not adjust your set, I really do have September desktop backgrounds ready in advance of the month starting. I know I'm surprised too. Enjoy this little Piggy Wiggly sketch in either full or wide screen.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Creative Cafe

On  Friday 5th August I got up earlier than usual. On this day I needed to be in Birmingham for 8.20am; no mean feat for a creative who stays up all night and lives in Halesowen, and, having sustained a pokémon GO injury earlier that week, this was my first foray out the house since Monday morning, when regrettably a hunt for much-needed pokeballs had gone sour. Like bambi stepping out onto the ice me and my bandaged up foot took a leap of faith, towards the fiat 500 of my dear friend Kat Tromans. Today we were giving a talk at Badego's Creative Cafe event, and there was no time to lose. We sped towards Urban Coffee Company, comparing notes as we went.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Lydia & Matt 4eva

Here are Lydia & Matt. They are very much in love, so much so that they decided to get married. Hurray for them! Whilst we were on the subject of strange requests, I was asked to turn this blushing bride and glorious groom into a temporary back tattoo by one of their bridesmaids to wear on the happy day. 'Of course', I said. "Let's do it!"

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Pokémon GO Home

Honestly, I get a lot of strange requests. But when my friend Tim asked me to recreate EU referendum propaganda using pokémon I thought jet lag was playing tricks on me. However, he was completely serious, and what resulted was a series of reward prints for a kickstarter campaign to crowdfund for Pokémon GO Home, a free day-long event using Pokémon GO lures to support community cohesion in Birmingham; a bandage for post-Brexit Brum.

Thursday, 11 August 2016


Not much has changed during my blogging hiatus this summer, except for, y'know, the UK leaving the European Union, the prime minister resigning, and Boris Johnson ricocheting around like a political ping pong ball covered in fluff. As voting day drew near on this massive country-wide decision, I got the deepest sense of fear at the possibility of an impending reality without the kinship of our fellow Europeans, a relationship that I both see as a big positive personally, but more broadly representing the idea that we cannot be an island [at least proverbially], so I decided to get to work.

Sunday, 7 August 2016


If there is one blog post to explain where I disappeared to for a few months, then this is it. I was part of the team for TEDxBrum this year, the biggest independently-organised TED event the city had ever seen. My main role was creating illustrations of the line-up, resulting in 24 drawings of the world-class speakers and performers that took to the stage on Saturday 11th June to an audience of over 750 people in Birmingham's historic Town Hall.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Snapshots of Vienna

I've been lucky enough to do some travelling this year with my new role at Impact Hub Birmingham, descending on Vienna in a sleepy heap earlier this summer to participate in their #1001hackathon to explore how storytelling can create social impact. Exploring the city on foot between sessions at the beautiful Impact Hub Vienna, I was delighted by how much creativity was felt in the city, alongside impressive sites of tradition and new growth.

Choose Your Changemaker

My love affair with temporary tattoos has continued to grow this summer, providing illustrated changemaker tattoos for Beatfreeks' Social Exchange event at mac birmingham. This mostly involves a lot of printing and cutting out, but the act of creating bespoke designs for one-off events suits my desire to continually make something new and fresh, inspired by the projects themselves, rather than rolling out the same designs until they lose meaning.

Friday, 5 August 2016

UNREMARKABLE: The Missing Months

It's good to have a bit of mystery in our lives every now and then. Do other people see the same colours I see? Why is love so hard to explain in words? Where is the unremarkable desktop backgrounds for this month? (said no-one ever.) However, I'm not one for leaving things unresolved. Here are the missing months of May, June and July in both wide and full screen. My maroon period, as I call it. Should probably reconsider the connotations of that...

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Making For Change

Earlier this year I worked on Making For Change, a social acition training programme for 16 - 25 year olds run by Craftspace in Birmingham. Using presentations, exhibition visits, discussions and lots of making, participants leant how to tackle social justice issues culminating in making-based social action campaigns led by the group. It was my job to interpret the different campaigns and produce illustrated postcards to promote and support their ideas.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016


I'm back, baby! There tends to be a lot of gaps on my blog, if I'm straight about it. I forget I have a blog sometimes and hurry back, trying to fill in the documentation gaps, but where do we, as creatives, go during that time? Well, sometimes we go into our own heads, but more often than not we get busy. We go into production mode, we're making money, we're doing it rather than recording it. What I love about blogging is a chance to reflect and take stock, which I'm happy to say I'm able to take some time to do now, after a fairly nuts summer so far.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Beyond Borders

Earlier this year, I created a hand-drawn postcard-sized piece for Beyond Borders, an exhibition and wider event series by The GAP Arts Project. All artworks were put up for sale to raise money to support young refugees and asylum seekers within the city of Birmingham, and this cause was my reason for submitting a work, as well as proudly exhibiting alongside my creative buddy Shaheen Kasmani.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

British Marilyn

Good evening sports fans, and welcome back to the live action replay that is the Byng Blog. I kind of feel like I'm in a blender at the moment, so I'm still hopelessly playing catch up with acknowledging, thinking on and sharing the things I've actually been doing, never mind my any larger, more unruly thoughts, ideas, dreams and visions.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Lizzy Maries

As many of you will know, the productivity paradox of having lots to do can mean you don't have a lot of time to talk about it. If you complete a project but don't blog about it, did it even happen? This is surely one of the greatest philosophical quandaries of our generation. I jest, but to me reflection and sharing go hand in hand, which is why the ceremony and processes of learning surrounding my creative moves need to be upheld.

Sunday, 3 April 2016


問候 (greetings) and welcome to April; the month of hailstones, possums and ping pong according to my calendar. Those who recently turned over Ivan Ivanovich - ping - I salute you, but for anyone following along digitally - pong - here are your desktop backgrounds as promised so you too can proudly rep some unremarkable artwork.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Drowning Not Waving

Curl up in the carcass of your sanity in order to survive the storm.
You’ll emerge, covered in blood, yet warm, and more importantly, alive.

You can tell I watched The Revenant recently, huh? In the first week of March I felt myself crashing. After a super mega driven start to the year in a new job with lots of new projects, hopes and ambitions, everything just suddenly hit me at once. Any ailment I had worsened. migraines returned, my stomach was in knots and I realised I had been behaving perpetually, just keeping going without allowing myself any time to stop, think and reflect, because there were bigger fish to fry. In reality, it was my mind that was fried, and my body was broken. And that goddamn song by My Chemical Romance kept coming into my mind as I internally screamed: I'm not okay!

I wrote the following on Friday 5th March, and having debated whether or not to share it, I think in some ways it's a responsible move to anyone else who's felt or is feeling totally done. I think we tend to think people who are seen to be getting shit done are invincible, infallible, or that they don't ever slow down. This is simply untrue, and this myth will propel us all into the centre of a black hole of sheer exhaustion, if we let it.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Wise Old Uncle

At the beginning of February the Wise Old Uncle of the South West commissioned me to draw him for use on social media and the like. I really enjoyed making the drawing, and thought I'd use it as a way of showing the processes I go through when doing a portrait, as it made myself more aware of them too. Sure, I draw the thing with pencils by lamplight, but how I present illustrations digitally has become second nature and is an increasingly important aspect of the work itself, yet something I rarely acknowledge or demonstrate. Firstly, if the drawing is bigger than A4 I only have the capacity to scan it in sections, meaning there are lots of headless illustrations in my folders.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Snapshots of Berlin

Last month I joined Laurie on a creative adventure to Berlin to visit Transmediale festival, in order to inform his current residency at Birmingham Open Media and my own investigations into wellbeing & technology with this year's thematic strands of Anxious to Act, Anxious to Make, Anxious to Share & Anxious to Secure. My second visit to the city, we stayed in an apartment near Hauptbahnhof, enjoying little trips to explore Kreuzberg and grab a burger, do a spot of vintage shopping at Humana near Alexanderplatz, and a walk through Narnia / Tiergarten.

Friday, 4 March 2016


To anyone who told me their Januarys and Februarys were a struggle, I'm sorry - but I couldn't relate until I hit a month-shaped bump in the road. That bump is March. Though I may be presently dangling, lifeless and colourfully dressed like Ivan here, I bid you, dear reader, a fair March. Take care of social media for me, I am lost in the void.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

How To Build An Ice Rink

The main series of illustrations I completed for AUB's One Piece of Advice publication was a zesty collecition to accompany an interview with The Syrup Room, entitled How To Build An Ice Rink. The design duo's pearls of wisdom included start with scrap (and neon), never say no and always pay fair. Inspired by their trips to junk yards and the straight-talking sensibility of their outlook, the series featured contemporary twists on traditional elements, building up a colourful urban world of hammers, neon lettering and beer. Above all, I wanted the illustrations to be fresh, and as the boys said, encourage people to see things differently in their environments.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

One Piece Of Advice

Before Christmas I heard from Bond & Coyne, who were putting together an alumni publication for my beloved Arts University Bournemouth, building on their One Piece of Advice series of pearls of wisdom for the next generation of creatives. As part of the first issue, I was pleased to be asked to contribute a range of illustrations, including wrapping my pencils around 10 portraits of contributors to the magazine - including Bob & Roberta Smith, Sir Peter Cook & Ann Chaisty - and 3 spot illustrations on the theme of speech.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016


Hey 2016-ers! My calendars have all flown the nest now, and to those of you who have turned yours over today to see the leaning typography of February, ben arrivata! (& sorry about the lady's grey face.) As promised I have made this month's artwork available as a desktop background in wide screen (1440 x 900) and full screen (1600 x 1200). Have a fabulously illustrated month and sign up to my Byng Bulletin if you want to know what's up.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

What Bowie Taught Us

3 weeks ago today one of my creative heroes, David Bowie, passed away. I stared blankly at my phone screen in bed on monday morning - crestfallen - in stark contrast to 8th January 2013 when I woke up to find the world talking about his 66th birthday due to the announcement of his first album in 10 years. I guess the news was a hard pill to swallow because true heroes are infinite (not just for one day) and his supernatural properties of reinvention and constant innovation had allowed me to forget that behind all the majesty beat a human heart.

This image is of what Bowie was up to when he was my age (find out yours at putting the finishing touches to the look of his character "Ziggy Stardust". Like me, he loved a pattern, and I think looking at Bowie's time on Earth as a pretty fascinating, vibrant, otherworldly dude, can teach us a lot. Here's what I've learnt:

Thursday, 14 January 2016


Let me level with you; I've been researching for / trying to produce a calendar for the past 3 years. At the start of 2015 I wrote down CALENDAR: TO PRINT BY END OF OCT, planning to sell my long-awaited creation at a couple of markets before the end of the year. That didn't happen, but I did manage to squeeze out the final artwork just in time for Christmas, sending it to Rope Press on a bit of a wing and a prayer.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Scrambled Mess: Looking After #1

"Now your mind's a scrambled mess / I'll patch you up with a needle and thread / This, your old skin, you will shed / And, with care, on this new path you will tread."

When I heard Seren The Heron performing at How The Light Gets In festival last year her song 'Scrambled Mess' really struck a chord with me, describing perfectly the tangled web of tasks, internet tabs, meeting notes, ideas, events and self-created / self-adopted pressures that was my state of mind. I cited this brief trip to Hay-on-Wye as "the ultimate cure for my drained soul", but I was shocked to find to what extent my energy had reached such a critical low in the first place, and how necessary and quickly-obtained some brain breathing time had been.

Looking after yourself can not only make you happier, it can also make you more productive in your work and in your relationships. It has been this realisation that has led to a shift in thinking for me. A consequence of the driven sensibility that what you're doing matters is a tendency to stop at nothing to get things done, including missing sleep, meals and defying a healthy rhythm or balance in favour of just keeping going. The trouble with this approach is that it is very taxing to the body and mind, making you less efficient at the things you want to do, and I have found a fed and focused mind can complete tasks more quickly than a weary, overstretched one.