Saturday, 26 December 2009

One more...

The final of my Christmas cards for this year, this is a painting for my girlfriend of a Doraemon cuddly toy she bought me a while back. Doraemon is a Japanese cartoon character. Although pretty much unheard of over here, in Thailand his image is everywhere- on bumper stickers, posters, toys, DVDs- to the extent that I came to view him as some kind of adopted national mascot.

So here are the painting itself and then the image I used for the card, Christmassing him up a bit by placing him in a vast snowfield of photoshop snowmen, being observed by a solitary child. I like to think that the child has just finished singlehandedly building this great gathering of snowmen, only to be a bit puzzled and cheesed off that a gargantuan, magical blue cat-creature has just landed amongst them.

Pat liked it, so I'm happy.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas Again!

Some little watercolour & pencil pics I gave as leaving-it-a-bit-late-really family Chrimbo cards. Based on tree decorations. I hope everyone's had a great day.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

I wish everyone a brilliant festive season. Bring on the mince pies!

Christmas Cards

The last couple of days I've been painting, printing, folding, writing & posting a load of Christmas cards. It would've been nicer to have had more time to work on the image, but postage deadlines loomed. So, it's a snowman who's been grafitti'd, his assailant leaving behind a spraycan and a trail of footprints. I hope that comes across okay in the image.

I wanted a bit of a warmer feel than most Christmas scenes, despite the snow, hence the yellow evening sun and brownish underpainting.

Thursday, 17 December 2009


A couple of weeks back my girlfriend and I bought a kitten, white-with-black, whom she named 'Mon', for 'monster' and after the Japanese cartoon character Doraemon. He was tiny, cheeky, playful and unbelievably hungry for affection. But sadly despite the round-the-clock attention and care he received from Pat he was just a little bit too weak and tiny for the fight and he died at the weekend. Mon was ace, a proper character and he won't be forgotten.

I regret that I didn't get round to drawing him properly while he was around, but I've gathered together the odd little sketches I did manage in the days after we picked him up (mostly while he was asleep or eating) as a little mini-tribute here. Rest easy little man.


Sunday, 29 November 2009


A self-promotional piece I painted this week.

Comparative Anatomy

I noticed that my girlfriend's pet sugar glider Mooham rather resembled the overweight goldfish in the family pond, which I brought to her attention through this clumsy doodle.

P.S. 'Mooham' means simply 'ham'.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Little bird

From something I've been working on this week.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Cockatoo & Cactus

A couple of still-lifes of small items loitering about the house: an amethyst cockatoo and one of my girlfriend's cacti, which I made into a little cactus dude.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Some life drawing

From a class in Stroud on Sunday, the first time I've made it to life drawing for a good while. I think 'rusty' would be quite generous, but it felt good to get back into it.

Monday, 9 November 2009


The picture I posted a while back was chosen as one of the winners of Little White Lies magazine's Where The Wild Things Are competition, and can be seen in issue 26 of the magazine. I didn't win overall, but I'm not too bitter because I actually like the winning design quite a lot. Incidentally, the cover actually commissioned for the magazine is considerably weaker than most of the competition ones, I would say.

Those winning entries, along with a few others, can also be seen on the website.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Pumpkin Painting

Bit of a late one for Hallowe'en. From another painting afternoon at Joe's, a pic of his pumpkin.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


Having the urge to do something purely imaginary for a change, I painted this a few days back for a competition run by film magazine Little White Lies to celebrate the release of the new Where the Wild Things Are film. The brief was to fill the mag's front cover template with your own wild thing. With these flying snail creatures I aimed for a balance between creepy and humorous that is similar to the vibe given by the creatures in the film and Sendak's original book. Not liking the idea of a big round stamp on top of the pic, I made this part of the scene: it becomes the illuminating moon.

Unfortunately the painting scanned appallingly, losing a lot of the smoothness and subtlety of the surface. Should've photographed it really. Looking back at it, it's also far too bright. But it was fun and only took a day from idea to completion so not a waste of time I feel.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


This is an old portrait of Scott, my housemate of the past 3 years, painted while the two of us were having a bit of an artistic painty session in our tiny back yard on a glorious sunny day way back in spring or early summer 2008. The painting stayed displayed on that spot where it was born, braving the worst elements, until we moved out a couple of months ago, at which point I took a few quick pics of it for the first time, before snapping him up. I realised I'd become quite attached to it, possibly more so than to any other image I've ever produced, come to think of it. I guess this is purely sentimental, due to the painting's link to the two great years spent in the house, but it's also partly, I think, because it's one of those very rare pictures of mine that was produced in a completely unconstrained, unselfconcious situation: splashing a bit of paint around on an old bit of wood just for the fun of it, listening to a bit of Taj Mahal in the sun.

The white outline on the figure is not my doing, but rather an inevitable vandalistic result of leaving an old piece of wood in the back garden for 18 months. However, it was annoying me a lot so for my own satisfaction I've crudely photoshopped the spraypaint out in the top image. Much better.

I recall that Scott and I vowed to have a painting session like this every week or so from then on, and Nathen, jealous at our paint-date, was going to join us next time. Inevitably though, 'proper' work and such took over and the time never came round again.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Painting Day

On friday I spent the day at my illustrator buddy Joe's house for a bit of painting. We started off by braving the October drizzle to paint cows and small landscape sketches in the valley below his house, taking inspiration from the American artist Nathan Fowkes in trying out the use of warm, complimentary underwashes as a base for the rural scenes. It was great to get back outside painting again for the first time in a while, and I'd forgotten how enjoyable it can be to work alongside another person rather than in the isolation that is imposed by much of my work.

Eventually driven inside by the rain, we had a crack at some still life, something Joe practices with admirable frequency but which I've neglected almost entirely over the past couple of years, at least as far as paint is concerned. As Joe switched from watercolours to oils, I pressed on with my acrylics and we set to work on an old feathered hat. Tricky translucent reflective shadowy feathers! I was quite pleased with that (at least with the feathers themselves), and I finished the day on a few smaller objects plundered from a bowl of dried fruit and pine cones (I'm sure there's a name for that stuff).

There really is no substitute for painting from life in terms of furthering one's understanding of structure, material and most vitally how light interacts with objects. Obvious really, but it's something that, aside from life drawing, I kind of just neglected as I moved towards the end of uni, concentrating purely on completing projects.

I've most definitely got the painting buzz back, the sheer enjoyment of using paint just for its own sake, just to try to capture that essence of a subject. My girlfriend has sent me a gorgeous bunch of white roses and eucalyptus for my birthday, and I'm going to have to have a go at painting those before they go over...


Throughout August and September I spent a fantastic four weeks and one day in Thailand visiting my lovely girlfriend and her family. As well as a couple of weeks in Bangkok we managed to travel around a good deal, seeing several extremes of a stunning, friendly, frequently surprising country. We flew to Phuket in the south, Chiang Mai in the north, and visited Kanchanaburi, Hua Hin and the old ruined capital of Ayutthaya on the central plains.

I didn't manage to do a whole lot of drawing during the trip, sticking more to my camera. However I've posted a couple of sketches here, the top one is a couple of crumbling prangs at Wat Phra Mahatat in Ayutthaya, at the bottom an orchid plant sitting on my girlfriend's coffee table. At the top is a peeping buddha at Wat Yai Chai Mongkul, also in Ayutthaya. The stray dog is wandering by the sea on Phuket island. In Thailand such dogs are known as ma kang tanon, literally 'dog next to the road', and they're quite abundant.

I'm going to try to resist the temptation to upload a load of photos, apart from where they're relevant to the work I'm busying myself with based on the trip, which should pop up soon.

Degree Show

Way back in the stuttering summer I had my degree show down in Brighton (top). A brilliant end to three years, and incredibly satisfying to see my work up alongside that of my coursemates on the shiny white walls.

The paintings are taken from two documentary illustration projects I'd produced in the preceding months, one based on the UK's disgustingly abundant vacant property, and the second (the rightmost trio) based on the construction of a new sports stadium. The latter formed a book relating Darwin's theories on the struggle for life to modern humanity's interactions with the planet.

...of course, with the paintings separated from the books they are produced for, this all falls a bit flat.

For our show at the Rag Factory off Brick Lane a month later, I dropped the Darwin paintings in favour of some smaller illustrations from a picture book, trying to show a bit more narrative. This show was also ace, particularly on the busy private view night. Everyone seemed to get very excited about the gallery's multi-coloured floor.


I'm always disgusted when I check someone's blog and they haven't updated it for ages. And when the inevitable '...been really busy...' is mentioned I respond, internally, 'BULLSHIT! How long does it take to make a quick post?!'. Hmmmm...

In my defence, I never really started to update. At no stage, up to now, has this blog ever actually been a log of my artistic activity. There was no initial activity for me to fail to keep up. But that changes today!

So here you go, Pat and Joe.

I'll start by re-posting my website address:

Sunday, 19 July 2009

My housemate Nathen summarised the courtship technique of a male pigeon as (to paraphrase) 'He jumps into a massive load of women, then turns his attention to the one that's least quick to get away and says "Right, you, you're slowest".' Obviously this approach is highly successful.

My website is...

Go have a look please!

A little doodle

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