Monday, 17 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Xmas y'all!

If you'd like to use this as your own Xmas (e)/card then be my guest (but please don't take my web address off).

Good luck and see you on the other side!


Tuesday, 27 November 2012


***If you are an artist working on this project who hasn't completed their entry yet then read no further.***

I have a piece in John Miers' mind-boggling Comica exhibition, Score and Script. It's on at The Centre for Recent Drawing in Highbury (down the road next to the Tube where cars emerge from and try to run you over), London until 15 December. More deets on location etc here

30ish comics artists have responded to John's ingenious research project on the language of comics, all part of his PhD research. John drew his own one-page comic and then came up with two ways of abstracting it, 1) a minimal 'script' and 2) a terrifying 'score' that looked like this!

I agreed to interpret the score foe my entry! Each of the red boxes is an 'actor', not necessarily a sentient character but an object that in some way has an impact on the progress of the story. The blue lines show the centre of gravity or direction of movement of each 'actor'. 

I wrestled long and hard with this fiendish system...

...and eventually came up with the below. There are still some artists who are working on John's project , and as the whole point is for the results to be untempered by cross-contamination, we're not supposed to be projecting our artwork onto skyscrapers, but I hope he won't mind if I show it here.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Here's my entry for this year's Observer / Jonathan Cape / Comica Graphic Short Story Prize (and breathe!)

I wasn't enormously enamoured of the winner but the runner up by Banal Pig's Steven Tillotson is a corker. Read it here:

Friday, 26 October 2012

New Statesman

Capital City has been featured on The New Statesman website.

This basically makes me the George Orwell of illustration, right?

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Capital City

Capital City was my big project that I made for my Illustration MA at Camberwell. I never seem to be able to leave William Blake alone and this was inspired in particular by his 'Prophetic Books'. In the same way as Blake explored the big issues of his day, eg the American Revolution, I decided to try to tackle the big, ugly mess of our current economic cock-up in a phantasmagorical, pseudo-mythological narrative. This involved reading and trying to understand some books on economics, writing poetry (bring me my flouncy blouse) and figuring out a new aesthetic, less indebted to my previous comicsy-style and more rooted in messy paint, pastels and ink.

I'd like to do a much longer version of Capital City in which I could get to grips with the central themes in greater detail, but at the moment, appropriately, I am skint, so I'm hoping that a broadminded publisher might come to my aid.

I've decided to put up the current twenty-page version on issuu here and below are some work-in-progress shots that give you an idea of the techniques behind the artwork.

You can buy a print copy of Capital City over at my shop.

(Weirdly, I actually know the person pictured in the newspaper here).
Ink and tea are my two favourite liquids.

Me and my print at our final exhibition at Camberwell.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

It lives!

I have created a monster, and here it is, on the floor of my living room.

This is my MA project, Capital City, a graphic poem about The City and the financial crisis. It's even more fun than it sounds.
If you want to see more of this kind of madness then come along to our MA Illustration final exhibition at Camberwell College of Arts from Thursday 6th September to Thursday 13th September. Here's the invite and our group website at

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Let's draw with Herbie

I've been rejigging my portfolio and website for my MA final assessment and exhibition. My style and approach to colour has changed so much over the last few months that I've been struggling to make it all look like one person's portfolio. In particular I didn't really think that my previous 'title page'
represented what was to follow anymore so I decided to do a new one.

But I still wanted to use my 'signature' colours of cyan, yellow, black & white, so I returned to my original source of graphic inspiration...

... the book of Blue Note record covers. Such amazing graphic compositions coupled with stark b&w photography and emotive use of colour.

There, I found this little beauty, the cover of Herbie Hancock's second album (or so the internet tells me).

And here's my new portfolio title page. See the resemblance?

Mmmm.... nice.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Ink + Paper

Ahoy! Customary apology for lack of blogtivity.

The reason for this is that I have been busy finishing my project for my Illustration MA. Today I held the proof copy of my little book in my trembling hands and should get the final version from the printer tomorrow. More on that then...

The other thing that I have neglected to shout about recently is the publication of issue 2 of Ink + Paper, the new comics anthology from David O'Connell.

I've got an 8-page story in there called The Inventor of Colour. It's based on an assumption I briefly made as a kid that the world actually used to be black & white, you know like you see on the telly and in old photos. I imagined that colour must have been cooked up in a lab somewhere by a scientist and then released into the world.

In my story, the scientist is Prof Anthony Benetton, an Italian-American whose family fled Mussolini's black shirts in the thirties. Here he is as an old man...

...and here he is as a young lad in pre-colour flashback.

And here's a bonus sketch of the good professor that gives you a clue as to what happens next.

This was a really fun project and it was great to get out something that's been rattling around my head for over twenty years, but what I'm really chuffed about is to be published alongside some seriously impressive talent. Issue 1 of Ink + Paper was stuffed to the gills with great stuff (my favourite being Hugh Raine's heart-breaking Iris) and issue 2 similarly delivers the goods.

Andy Poyiadgi delivers an eerie mediation on mirrors and imagines what it would be like to meet your reflection. His artwork is simply stunning, so much detail, texture and mood, I must ask him about his techniques. Can you believe he's new to this comics lark? He's only being doing it for a couple of years or something. The swine!

Talking of beautiful artwork, Will Morris' watercolour style always makes my jaw hit the floor. He has a five-page story called The Hairlet, which despite being nothing like Hugh's afore-mentioned Iris is similarly surreal and touching in equal measure.

Will's book The Silver Darlings seems to have been on the verge of coming out from Blank Slate forever, but I think it may really be imminent now. And he started the book on last year's Camberwell MA Illustration, same course as I'm about to finish, don't you know.

Horn-rimmed comics and kids' books legend Sarah McIntyre has a lovely strip about an inquisitive reindeer who finds herself in a somewhat surprising situation. I love the colour scheme she's gone for with this and the way that she manages to get so much facial expression across with the minimum of marks, reminds me of Gromit, so it does.

Our esteemed editor David has his own tale in there, also in a lovely muted orange colour scheme. He's been too modest to put up an extract from this on the I+P website, so I don't have an image to steal for that one, but rest assured it's a corker.

But there is an extract I can show you from Andrew Waugh's strip Old Lady Vs Nosferatu. I don't want to give the gag away but it's clever and brilliant, and I think that this strip and the Old Lady's later encounters with Werewolf and Creature from the Blue Lagoon are probably my favourites in the whole issue.

Sounds good, right? Well, those are just my faves. There are loads more comics and articles in there from names including Francesca Cassavetti, Rich Eades, Sarah Gordon, Paul Harrison-Davies and Sean Michael Wilson.

So yeah, I'm biased, but I reckon this is a cracking mag and I hope that David is able to keep on publishing it long into the future. Did I say that it's only £8 for 100 pages? Head on over to the Ink + Paper website and get yourself a copy already...