Saturday, 30 December 2017

Red Christmas

I had the idea of a Christmas card design about different homes years ago, so when my friend buddy Olly Armstrong asked if I'd help out his campaign in Northfield with a lovely festive design I knew just where to begin.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Something To Say

I recently took part in the #OnceThereWasABook exhibition and print auction curated by Badego, where I was invited alongside other Brummie illustrators to create a one-off print inspired by our favourite children's book. Aware the story I had in mind wouldn't be known by everyone; not even close, it nevertheless felt like a good chance to try something a little different as well, whilst hopefully raising some P for a good cause.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017


It's about 01:30 on [technically] the 26th of December - although as Laurie will testify I don't class the next day having started until sunrise - and I sit feeling reflective, wearing a wolf hat that makes me feel like a kid dressed to go on an adventure; Max from Where The Wild Things Are. As I sit at home after a low key Christmas day with my parents, long after they have gone to sleep, the awesomeness of this year is washing over me like a wave crashing, and I mean 'awesome' in the true definition - 'extremely amazing or daunting; inspiring awe'. In this moment I feel small, scared and a little empty, as I often do when my days aren't full and focused, but when I think of everything this year has brought I feel proud, loved and a little overwhelmed at the enormity of it.

For a while my mood was simply TEDxBrum. 'How are you?' kindly folk would ask. 'TEDxBrum' I would reply. For an event lasting just a single day, it was incredible how much this project entered my psyche. To describe it as just a project even sounds ludicrous. The lyrics of Emmy The Great describe it better: The world's made of numbers and I am a 3, and you are 908 and you're sitting on me. I am single cell matter, and you are the sea.

Friday, 24 November 2017


Honestly, I'm getting this blog post done so I can write the next one. Not exclusively, of course, but it absolutely has that air about it in my mind as I write; of doing the thing you need to do in order to contextualise and lay the ground for the thing you really need to do, and weirdly this project and the next had that sort of relationship too.

Earlier this year (in April) I was commissioned to bring an artist-led element to the first ever TEDxSkoll event in Oxford. 'While the Skoll World Forum is an invitation-only event, TEDxSkoll welcomes 500+ members of the community to join participants and speakers from across the UK and the globe to engage in rich dialogue, forge connections, and seize on the energy sparked by the Skoll World Forum, Marmalade, and other events taking place in Oxford in the first week of April.' Working alongside producer Immy Kaur and designer Clare Hartley to explore the broader theme of the event - Truth - myself and fellow artists Alison Baskerville, Aliyah Hasinah and Shaheen Kasmani set out to make a zine, including provocations of our own alongside content via open submission.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Happy Illustrator

Around the same time as rounding off v3 of the Birmingham Cocktail Weekend map, a time when we had recently moved flat and had no internet to call our own, I had also committed to illustrating Frenchman Robert Marchard for ray of sunshine @thehappynewspaper. A large 'eeeeep' sound rang out across Stirchley as I realised it was 2am the day after this illustration was due, so I set to work on capturing his mighty spirit before sneaking down the stairs of our communal building and setting up camp outside my landlord's business premises to suck out some emergency WiFi juice. I guess mightiness comes in different forms... and so does determination / desperation.

Cocktail Compass

Earlier this year I was mentioned in a tweet concerning recommending illustrators for a commission with Birmingham Cocktail Weekend. As this tweet was sent at approx 7am and I had stumbled into consciousness around 10am, I was fairly confident I had missed the boat, but sent some samples of my work along to Alex of Birmingham Museums / Living for the Weekend fame anyway. To my surprise I was invited to complete the commission, an illustrated map of the cocktail venues for visitors to use that also highlighted key city landmarks.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Hello, World.

Much like this mural half covered by tarpaulin (or half uncovered, depending on your outlook), so I sortof tentatively am ready to dip my toe(s) and return to my blog; return to thinking about my work, and reflect upon all that has happened over the last few months. Back in June I saw a lot of this tarp, but emerged from it each day like it was a temporary creative chrysalis. Lately I've been feeling much more stuck in a psychological rut, perhaps the consequence of lots of different things happening quickly and not being able to process them all steadily.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

PMT Branding

In response to International Women's Day, my tight homie Alison Baskerville had an idea to hold a special event in Birmingham. A couple of WhatsApp messages and a little meet-up later, PMT was born, in this instance standing for Powering the Matriarchy Together. Gender equality is a serious business, but from the beginning this was fun, light and playful in its approach and focused on celebrating womxn, directly challenging stereotypes and any one-sided approach to feminism just by being itself (or ourselves). I enthusiastically offered my services to create the PMT branding, which I got the idea for whilst on a run around my neighbourhood, thinking about all the different things womxn do with their hands, such as making art, holding babies, building things, throwing punches, climbing trees, shaking the hands of men who get paid more than them, dishing out rude gestures... the list is endless.

I used this idea as the basis upon which to build the branding, including P M T shaped hand gestures (developments below) as well as a pair of hands to represent each of the four content areas: body, love, work and art (above).

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Pocket Film Festival

Last month I worked on a little brochure for the first ever Pocket Film Festival, taking place in Stafford. As a brand new venture grown through Flatpack:Assemble there was no existing assets to work with, so I followed my own concept of basing the design on 'things that fit in your pocket'. This first iteration featured a matchbox containing some tiny illustrated film festival 'parts', like a little kit of collected items for use by borrower-sized types. This also informed the use of yellow and red throughout the design scheme. The festival guide was A6 in size, cross folding out into an A4 page featuring all the film content, from archival footage to La La Land.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

I Made A Calendar: Part 2

So, it turns out I really like making calendars. Just as unremarkable was running out of page turns, I was commissioned to make a 2017 offering by the lovely people at Creative Black Country. Maintaining the colourful risograph qualities of my design the previous year, this special edition calendar celebrates their projects and all the wonderful people they work with, and served as a richly illustrated, lovingly crafted gift for people across the region and beyond. Working closely with the CBC team and print bros Rope Press, here's what we made together.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

It's Business Time

Hey everyone! Here we are in February, the awkward second album of 2017. Whilst starting the year fairly tentatively, not straying too far from the recovery position following last year's intensity, I've been working fairly steadily on what has become my natural focus for this year; to get better at business. What this means to me is:
  • playing a more active role in shaping where my creativity takes me
  • using the making of products as a way to explore my ideas, tell stories and spread joy
  • getting smarter about the data and digits that make up my creative business (whether I like it or not)
Figuring that getting to grips with the business side of your creativity may be a goal for some of you this year too, I thought I'd share the things I'm finding useful to start that journey. Whilst some of them are things you can pay for, for each example there are also resources available completely free, so make sure you have a rummage around in the links without feeling you need to invest in a new bookshelf lined with literature. With that in mind, here are 5 things I'm using right now to increase my knowledge, motivation and progress in the world of business:

Friday, 13 January 2017

UNREMARKABLE: The Final Months

Watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is just making it more confusing / more apt that I am posting images I made a year ago designed for use 2 months ago, but I'm not one to leave things unfinished. Here are the final pieces of the UNREMARKABLE calendar desktop background series, which will at least be useful for you future explorers in November 2017. November was actually one of my favourite designs, featuring Netherlands' first Car-Free Sunday, for the mismatch of coloured hair, the signage, and the decisive 'NO' in the heading.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Hey Girl Dreamer!

Here, in the next instalment of the Byng Inc. temporary tattoo files, I give you a special design for girldreamers everywhere! Designed for mOmhead's second Girl's Night In event at Impact Hub Birmingham, I wanted to make something pretty yet powerful, incorporating the Girl Dreamer colours with a bold outlined tattoo aesthetic. Not only does that give the tattoo some visual weight, it also makes it stand out well on a range of different skin tones; something important to consider when using this medium, as the white paper areas become transparent.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Eye Candy Festival

Bet y'all were worried when I posted on Halloween night and then didn't return 'til next year, huh? *shuffles awkwardly* Well, I came back! Those ghouls couldn't defeat me, even if they did beseech me with a hectic winter.

And now who is this smug little pug? Well, it's me, 2016 me that is, with a victorious (read: weary) smile having made it to St Martin in the Bullring for 10am (just) after about 30 minutes sleep, back on October 1st. What was this in aid of? I hear you cry. And I only really need 2 words for my answer: EYE CANDY. Organised by the brilliant creators of Fused magazine, once a year design, graphic art and illustration are the words on everybody's lips as Birmingham gets the Eye Candy treatment, previously with bespoke commissions adorning the city's spaces and this year complete with an Art & Illustration fair (seen here avec tired me) along with a pop-up store.