Sunday, 21 December 2008

He walkin' on me face.

...I should REAAAAALLLY be in bed...

Saturday, 20 December 2008

It's true you are an Idiot.


Tell me something I don't Know...

Friday, 19 December 2008

Most Awesomnest.

Had such a swell night last night with Jen, we had a takeaway and then our Christmas Presents. Jen's ace at presents at the best of times but I didn't see this one coming. Subsequently what do you get for the Jeffrey Brown fan who has all of (or at least most of) his literature? I suppose the images speak for themselves somewhat!

I do like kitties, guitars, checkered shirts and my old bedroom.


Even a small message and a doodle on the back. Apparently Jeffrey likes checkered shirts too.


Thank you to Jen and family for a super-awesome christmas gift. I feel so chuffed everytime see it, I just need to find a good spot to put it now...

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Spending December Days Drawing

It's been an absolute age since I blogged last. Not too sure why - think I've been distracted by new gadgets that I have obtained, trips to Edinburgh and Glasgow and also a heck of a lot of work. These are my daily drawings from Jen's 'Every Day A Drawing In December' challenge. I figured that I wanted to put them all up but not totally overload the Sea Legs page with work that I'm not overly proud of. 18 pages in total. Maybe it'll give you an insight into how my brain functions...or maybe not. Here goes - 

1st of December was a Monday


2nd -'There's a room for us in a red brick building...in Denmark' Listening to The Mountain Goats, surprised?


3rd - Some more Mountain Goats 'Do you have the heater on?'


4th - a terrible drawing of Bruce Springsteen prancing about.


5th - Born to love Volcanos (and patterns)


6th - Shame about the weather


7th - Still not convinced


8th - Atop a Moroccan Mountain


9th - Concerning Lead Mining


10th - I Hate Apple Today


11th - Merry Christmas


12th - The Burrow Owl


13th - Owl and Text


14th - Guitar Dance


14th - I'm Okay


15th - Cat


16th - Bring Back The Beard Please...

17th - John Alan Hamish MacBirch

So there you have it. I'm enjoying the challenge, however I go home next Tuesday for Christmas and as a result I will be without a scanner until I return in January sometime. I'll upload as much as possible before I head home for those who are genuinely interested. Also I imagine I will be spending a lot more time blogging while I'm off work for some time...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Everyday Matters.

I read Everyday Matters:A Memoir by Danny Gregory. I realised I needed to draw more things from real life. I got a new Moleskine and I felt incredibly creative all of a sudden. I just want to draw all the time at the moment.

...and then, as per usual I went and listened to the Mountain Goats. You can never give enough money to the Ace of Base...

I swear this man is a goddamn genius.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Please Put Your Scarves On.

I've had an idea for a while now to start work on a couple of books. One is the Mr.Eraser comic mentioned in previous entries (which I have actually started, it's just top secret is all) and the other a zine - just a collection of works that I've been doing over the Post-University time. Today I finally managed to get a few finished pages together along with a cover for the zine which will be titled 'Please Put Your Scarf On' named so after a quote taken from a J.D. Salinger Book I read earlier this year. Hopefully I will do something productive with both of the books such as sell them or mail them to people who may be interested. We'll see - I've got plenty of time to think about it while I'm putting them together. Here's the front cover - 

'Please Put Your Scarf On' - the book will be printed solely in
 black and white, and the front cover on blue paper - 
this is merely a mock up of what it may look like.

One image that I've done is a picture of Ted Danson - an idea that I'd thought of a while ago but hadn't been able to come up with something I really liked. I feel that I had a good concentrated period of drawing/painting time today that I really got a lot done over a short time. I think I just need to maybe be more meticulous and specific when dividing up my time and making my plans.

Indeed it is true.

The next image is where the name of the book comes from, speaks for itself I suppose.
'Stop being an awkard bugger now John.'

The final image I produced today was a new version of the Transcona picture I did which is posted over at Sea Legs. I really enjoyed doing this, I simply decided to do it bigger than the original in order to get in some more detailed pattern. I liked the colours I used, although I couldn't decide whether it actually needed the ink wash in the background - this may take over the picture a little too much when it's converted to grayscale.

Thank you Transcona for bringing me home.

It's nice to be feeling productive and to be coming up with ideas, just hope that this state of mind sticks around for a while. Oh yeah, I was totally going to have a crack at that drawing yourself as a teenager and drawing yourself now thing that Jen had mentioned to me but I got carried away with the above - I'll probably have a go soon. That is all. 

JAB

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Glory, Glory Hallelujah.

Hey there y'all. Got the new Ryan Adams and The Cardinals album this week but yeah, to be honest that's not much to write home about...so don't know why I'm bothering to mention it at all. Besides uneventful musical findings I did manage to get ahold of the new Mountain Goats Ep 'Satanic Messiah' from here, now if you've not listened to them before much I'd give it a look in as it's free (well voluntary donation), it's only four tracks long and the last two tracks are sublime (albeit in my opinion which, okay...may be a little biased).

This week has involved already pretty bad weather getting colder, wetter and windier. Oh how I love Scotland's climate. Although reassuringly my dad informed me that the weather on Merseyside is pretty much the same at the moment. This week I will be working as per usual but for the first time in a while I have a Saturday off meaning I can spend a friday night out without having to get up in the morning and instead will just have a whole day to nurse a beautiful, well constructed hangover.

On Sunday I really felt like something from the 24hour bakery so I went and picked up a nice tuna and sweetcorn baguette and a couple of fudge donuts for me and jen. When I got back to Jen's flat I remembered that I had a few pickles left in the cupboard from the week before and to be honest nothing goes better with a tuna sweetcorn baguette than a nice bit of pickled dill, so I joyfully added it to my baguette, much to Jen's disgust of course (sorry Jen) and now there's only one pickle left in the cupboard...all alone. How saddening a story it is. Regina has a song about a Pickle so they must be awesome.


Jim, the loneliest pickle.

Last night I sat and watched 'The Big Lebowski', I'm a fan of all of the Coen Brothers work that I've had the pleasure of seeing and I suppose in saying that, it was pretty much sacrilege that I hadn't seen this one before. Anyway, it is a fantastic film and I just couldn't stop laughing at the character John Turturro plays (however small a part it actually is). He plays a rather flamboyant, cocky, die-hard bowler named 'Jesus' - 'nobody fucks with the Jesus...', so yeah this clip may be a little out of context for those who haven't seen the film but you see what I mean - pure genius.


'It don't matter to Jesus! You don't fool Jesus'

Tonight, I sat and watched the football to wind down after work. The Manchester United fans always sing 'Glory, Glory, Man United' and for some reason I couldn't stop thinking that the Weakerthans have a version of 'Glory, Glory, Hallelujah', now I may just be going crazy and I know it's a long shot but if anyone happens to be reading this and knows that they did infact do a version please let me know that I'm not insane. Cheers.

Right now I'm enjoying a fantastic cup of smoky Lapsang Souchong tea before I head off to bed. brilliant.

JAB

Thursday, 16 October 2008

They're All Souled Out In Heaven

Hungover. Tired. Late for work. Great night last night. Here' a nice video for y'all to watch, it's fairly awesome have a gander.

Conor Oberst - Souled Out!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

HOLY CALCULUS!

Not feeling too creative or productive at all this week. Not too sure as to why really, I did manage to do another page in my comic book and then paint a picture of the place where I work that will be used for the Christmas advertisements in the Shop. before you ask - no, it's not the picture below and no, Batman and Robin did not come to the shop for Coffee instead of attempting to save Gotham City like they should be. Slackers.


Hopefully be in a more creative mode soon enough.

JAB

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

'Do you do coffee?'

No actually, we pride ourselves on irritating alot of people by having the words 'Coffee' and 'Shop' incorporated in our name and NOT serving coffee...Sorry for any inconvenience.

Can't be bothered.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards.

Me again. Two weeks ago I  headed back down to Liverpool for two days, a very fleeting visit to say the least but still it was great to go home and see family and have a few pints in my favourite public house with my Dad. Can't beat a pint of Timothy Taylor's from the Magazine's, trust me. Apart from that it's been relatively quiet hence why I've not been blogging a great deal my weeks are generally work, drawing and trips to Dundee in between - this is fine with me just think I'd be writing the same thing every week at the moment. This week I have mostly been:

Listening to Billy Bragg sing about politics.

Starting to illustrate my "Mr.Eraser" comic 
(Sorry, just a sneak preview I'm afraid)


Making my pillow look a bit more 'Palestine'.

...and generally making this place feel more like 'home'.

JAB

Saturday, 13 September 2008

These Aren't the Droids You're Looking for...(A Review of this weeks Films and DVD's)

 So the week is drawing to a close again and I'm thoroughly exhausted after an exceedingly crazy day in work today. In advance, I'm sorry for posting so many youtube videos on this particular blog post but as the title states I've just been watching films and stuff when not in work and this is what I think of them all...take some time out to watch them if you will, you may find something that you like. This is how I've been entertaining myself this week.

Running my mum's shop hasn't been quite the walk in the park that I had imagined it may be...typical really. At the beginning of the week I mentioned that a bunch of Illustration folk did the Art Bar pub quiz, anyway I was kicking myself on not being able to get the Star Wars question, so when I was reminded of the scene referring to the question by a friend, I remembered the answer...too little too late. My embarrassment at my absolute lack of knowledge about Han Solo using Luke Skywalker's Lightsaber in Episode V has pushed me back into Star Wars mode as it must be oh, I don't know, three months since I last watched them all?...I was intending to do some work this evening but after such a mad day I'm going to sit with some beer and a pizza and watch Episode 1 (Not my favourite of the Star Wars saga...but where else is there to start?). The following scene isn't the scene that was mentioned in the question but simply a classic original school Star Wars scene.


Classic Alec Guinness. 
'These aren't the droids you're looking for'

Generally when I have a busy day I can't be bothered doing too much drawing or illustrating, and this week was no real exception - I finished up my answer to the Illustration Friday brief to illustrate the word 'Clutter' here, which was my main illustration goal for the week. The first film I watched this week was one that I discovered through my good friend Redd, now I'd never heard of it before and I'm not a huge Sci-Fi fan (apart from Star Wars of course...) but I remember he had mentioned a film called 'Man from Earth'.

Man From Earth

Now I'll admit it's an odd film but it's one that get's the mind racing. I'd say that it's the most intriguing film I've seen this year without a doubt, due mainly to the style of the film. When I first began watching I must admit i was thinking 'Well...this looks fairly low budget...' and as a result I had fairly low expectations, usually something like this may make me want to switch a film off or not give it any real attention but I must admit I was glued to this one after a short while. I couldn't have switched it off if I was forced to. I'd say to give it a watch if you want something thought-provoking to view. I liked it anyway. I'll not give anything of the story away incase anybody does decide to watch.

On thursday I took charge of mum's coffee shop, it's been okay in general I'm just pretty tired. Oh well I have two days off now anyway. 


A pink Danny Wallace style car that I saw 
on the way home from work on Thrusday.

I've also been getting back into Black Books again. On Thursday evening, lets just say I wasn't much in the mood for a film so I watched this.

Bill Bailey - Pure genius.

Last night's film was 'Waiting', a rather comical take on life working as a waiter. I'm not really a huge Ryan Reynolds fan, and I don't act like this as a waiter but this film does make me laugh.


Waiting.

...and then tonight I watched Star Wars Episode 1, but I already told you that though right?


Weird Al Yankovic sums up Star Wars:Episode 1  perfectly.

I also forgot to mention that due to this week being the 7th anniversary of the World Trade Centre attacks we watched a programme about the hotel next to the world trade centres, anyway, that started me off thinking about the whole 9/11 conspiracy thing. I'm not saying that I believe it as both sides have such a great supporting argument, but I know that I'd like to believe that the American government couldn't possibly do such a thing to their public. But no one seems to have a definitive answer. Anyway, I don't know, i'm the king of sitting on the fence I guess. What are your thoughts? I haven't posted any videos here simply out of respect.

Ciao

JAB

Thursday, 4 September 2008

September's Sea Legs

I haven't posted anything in the last few days as all I've really been doing is drawing, working and playing on my DS, and instead of posting work on here (except maybe the odd sketchbook page) most of my work will be going towards Sea Legs, which I recommend you keep an eye on at the end of every week for a good ol' bit of Illustration Friday, go have a look, it'll all make some sense then.
 
Stuff that made me smile this week - The first was a comic posted by the genius Jeffrey Brown over at The Holy Consumption Blog. I dunno, I found it hilarious - maybe it's just my humour - let me know what you think... Is it just simply typical John Alan Birch humour?

Secondly, was some dutch comedy in work on Saturday - four men from the netherlands came into out shop and had a stack of beers and food, anyway, when they had finished their food they decided that they fancied some coffee - one of the men ordered four black coffees when one of the men (who had retired to the couches at the front of the shop in order to read the days newspaper) said quite loudly "NO! I will have some milk with mine..." to which the remaining three men burst out in laughter saying "He is an Englishman!....Always with the Milk and Sugar, Milk and Sugar! HAHAHAHA!" I suppose I would maybe have found this a little offensive if I were a true patriotic Englishman, instead I found it quite comical, apart from the man sitting alone on the couches reading the paper feeling a little dejected simply for asking for a drop of milk...C'est la vie.


Step Brothers: Unrated Trailer... (Watch your language...)

Had a nice two days off from work in Dundee again. Saturday night Jen and I went to see Step Brothers at Cineworld which I thoroughly enjoyed - however it wasn't a scratch on the genius of Anchorman, but then again I'm not sure if any Will Ferrell film will ever be that good again!

On Sunday Jen's mum and Dad came up and took us out for some lunch, we went to a Bar called 'The Town' that I don't think I've ever even seen before in my 3 years in Dundee! The food was pretty enjoyable and I can never complain about a pint of ale with lunch on a Sunday.

Yesterday me and Jen headed into town so I could pick up some new shoes - something I've been in desperate need of since before my trip to Morocco but have been too lazy to do anything about. After that we went for a leisurely stroll in Balgay Park as the weather was the warmest it's been in a while. We also spent ast night with uni chums at the art bar doing the pub quiz which we, 'the team formerly known as team wolf' or 'symbol of a wolf' won, take that arty-social-scene like people! KAPOW!

As for work today, we were fairly busy despite it being a pretty darned gloomy day, after work I popped by Dunns Art Stores and picked up a new A3 portfolio (another thing to do on the ever-growing list of things to do) and this week promises not to be a boring one as Mum is off to Croatia and I am left in charge of the shop for a few days - when she's back we're going to be visiting Wallasey for a day or two though which I am looking forward to quite a bit!

Tonight I'm going to get started on Tracey's 'clutter' challenge...

Hope you are all well...

JAB.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Take me back to Constantinople...

This week I've felt fairly creative, after having my two days off, buying art equipment and sorting everything out, including backing up all of the work on my computer. Mostly I've been coming up with idea after idea and not actually finishing the work but it's a starting point. After coming up with a bunch of ideas I decided that I should go back and get stuff that's been on my mind for quite a while out of the way first.

Firstly, this Batman idea had been bouncing around inside my head since before I finished Uni, I've just always thought it was quite odd the way that the old Batman song used to go 'dinner, dinner Batman' or at least that's how we sang it as kids playing Batman in the school playground.  Anyways, a Lightyear song made me thing about it again and then this image of a slightly podgy Batman was born. The reason for the two different versions is simply because of the fact that i couldn't decide whether to use the actual Batman style fonts or whether the handwritten text gave it more comic value. I think that the second version is better in both typography and compsition.

Attempt number one.

Attempt number two.

Another idea that had popped into my head a good while ago was to produce a comic-zine for Mr.Eraser that I created in 2006, well I hadn't given any thought to the idea of making him into a comic since probably well over a year ago but recently my Mum kept saying 'I think you should do something with Mr.Eraser' and I thought that I really should. Also I don't think that many people's Mum's would encourage them to spend their time making comics...Awesome.

Cover page for 'The Escapades of Mr.Eraser'. 
Watch this space for  updates...

Besides these two ideas I finally finished a drawing of a tree that I'd been planning and attempting since I was in Morocco in July. An idea that came after listening to 'Time is All Around' by Regina Spektor. Listen, I do get my inspirations from places other than songs, ok? This is simply a coincidence. Anyway, I can't put the image of the tree up until my next blog as I am Dundee for a few days and the image is in Perth...

I also started an painting of a bin. Just wait, I'll show you when it's finished and you'll probably understand.

Apart from drawing it's been a relatively relaxing week, I had a few quiet days in work and then I spent Sunday sorting out an online portfolio and CV for a job in Liverpool. I have also been listening to much music, I discovered another two Mountain Goats albums that I didn't have and also got hold of some things I had been meaning to for a while such as They Might Be Giants and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Rock on...

Goodbye

Monday, 25 August 2008

Attempting to Save the Creative in Me. (The Memoirs of an Idiot)



So lately I've been a little concerned of how little drawing work I've done. This blog entry is mainly to review the stuff I've done over the past three months since finishing University. In scanning stuff in I've been surprised to see that I've done a fair bit of work. There's no real direction or any particular meaning in anything that's been put down on paper to be honest but hopefully the chronicling of everything will help straighten my head out a little.

Morocco and Beyond.
During our venture to Morocco in July I produced a sort of travel journal-esque sketchbook sort of thing. I suppose it was inspired by reading Craig Thompson's 'Carnet De Voyage', not that I'm comparing my sketchbook to his book in anyway. There's no depth or narrative to what I drew when I was away in Morocco, it was mainly for fun. The first time I'd drawn for fun properly this year. I'll put up a few images from the sketchbook on here but it's a large book full of sketches, receipts and bits of nothing so I'm not going to put everything as I'm sure you'll all understand.

The Morocco Journal.

Ah, Moroccans and Illustrators - 
we understand each others fashion sense.

Coca-Cola. Couldn't find much to draw on this day
 but I quite like this page for some reason.

An attempt at reproducing a intricate pattern on the back of the
 doors where we stayed (there's more to the pattern to this
 but the pages in my sketchbook weren't really big enough.

Things you may see in Meknes.

The above image is my favourite page from the sketchbook. I guess I just enjoyed standing on the roof with a Moroccan beer, in the Moroccan sunshine drawing some Moroccan things.

Just to note that When I was on the train with Sanna to Dunfermline the other week I noticed she had a sketchbook dedicated to pages and pages of drawings in a similar vain to the ones above that she'd done when travelling. It's a nice way to work. On returning from Morocco I intended to draw from photographs taken when we were over there, the problem I encounter when I want to do this is that the drawings never quite encapsulate what I want them to. I've done a few little bits and bobs but I do intend to draw from some photos at least to finish of the last few pages of the Morocco sketchbook. Anyways, here's a couple of things that I did do when I got back.

A Meknes Petit Taxi. (Not taken from one of my photos).

My Moroccan slippers. The leather stinks, 
or maybe it's just my feet. Anyway, I like them.


Just for Fun
Besides the Morocco drawings I have some stuff in my sketchbooks from the past few months that are just for a laugh. They make some sense to me...some sense, not a lot though. The majority of the stuff I've done just for fun consists of things that I want to develop in some way either by developing the drawings or making them more 'finished'. Also I had an idea of producing a zine or an artists' book sort of thing by myself although I don't feel that I have enough to go towards that yet and not enough material that fits together or compliments each other enough. I suppose I really need to pick a subject at random and then I may be able to get underway in producing something a little more substantial.


If anyone read my blog when I first started it, 
there's a chance you may know what I'm going on about here.

Dad has a few Buddhas sitting around the house and I couldn't find anything to draw.

Ever wonder why Buddha has a bag over his shoulder? Now you know.

Airport drawing is incredibly exciting. I was amazed that a young 
girl standing near to us was enthralled with my drawing of a cup...

A couple of chaps with fine moustaches.

The moustache idea is a bit odd i must admit, I can't really explain it. I think that since I did the whole 'Ode to the Inventors' postcards thing at degree show I've had an urge to draw old-timey kind of folk and in my eyes there's not much that's more old-timey than a good old, over-the-top moustache...you just don't see them these days. I've had a few ideas going around my head for a collection of light-hearted drawings of some gents with intriguing moustaches...watch this space.

Chaps at the Airport.

I did put a bit of writing on the above images but for some reason I chose the lightest pen that I could find so to be honest you can't see what I've written, and I can't be bothered copying it all out. I think I made a comment that I figured that God would kind of look like the guy in the right hand picture and that the guy on the left is doing some incredibly important work to do with WH Smith of the lottery or something like that.


What would the band The Mountain Goats look like
 if they were indeed mountain goats?

Just a bit of silliness escaping from inside my head. I was having a rough time trying to draw John Darnielle (lead singer of The Mountain Goats), up to a point where I just got fed up and decided I was going to turn him into a goat. I do quite like how this image turned out despite the fact I was just being daft, I may adapt this into a larger version. We'll see.


A Joe Forty's Yellow Cab.

I'm not really too sure why but I wanted to draw another taxi, but i did, and it was made even more exciting by the fact that this one looked all old fashioned. The drawing doesn't look that much like the picture I took it from but I feel like I want to draw it again, I also feel like I want to draw more taxis.


A drawing of a Photo by Loren Brand.

Since Jen and Loren had both done 'Colour Week', I'd thought it had sounded an ace idea, not that I was going to do the whole photography thing as my skill behind a camera is rather questionable but after seeing their photos I had an urge to draw yellow things. The above two images and the drawing of Morocco Slipper came from this yellow phase.


Good ol' fashioned advertising.

Whilst in Dublin and enjoying Guinness and all things Irish I wanted to pick up some of these old Guinness adverts, there's something about them that's so much more appealing than modern day adverts in my eyes. I'm not sure what it is but there's certainly something more endeering about them. For anyone who hasn't figured it out yet, I didn't draw this image. I just like it. However I'm on a little bit of a quest to find out what the font is called so if anyone has any ideas please let me know. Thanks.

I was back in work today, it was a relatively quiet day. However I was meant to be taking charge of the shop again for a few days while Mum and Darren took a day or two off but no one else was available to work the shift with me. I have a day off today so I'm hopefully going to wander into town and pick up some art materials that I need. I may get my bank holiday yet...take that scotland!


Cheers.

JAB