Monday, 14 December 2009

Heart of the Continent...

It's been a relatively slow few weeks on the drawing and blogging front with the likes of work and a little spot of decorating taking up my time. I'd wanted to draw something American General Store-ish for some time and I finally got round to it. I'm pleased with the outcome but not so pleased with how long it took me.

Listen to this song: John K. Samson 'Heart of the Continent' - I can't switch on my iTunes lately without listening to it.

Christmas time means Blogging time (I think).

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Four Blokes and a Mountain Dwelling Mammal.

The past few days have been rather productive after recovering from what I can only assume was some form of Cold from the busy weekend. I decided to take some of the portraits in the previous blog to the next level, alot of the work I've done recently (if not all of the work I've done recently) has been sketchbook based so I nailed a piece of cardboard to the wall (we have woodchip you see, terrible for drawing on) and set out doing some pieces that were A2 sized and larger. It feels good to actually do some substantial work, and the both of the last two days spent drawing took up the majority of the day - time well spent if you ask me.

John Cleese, lately I've been watching ALOT of Monty Python.

Bill Murray.

Dean Martin, from a time when excessive smoking and drinking were endearing qualities.

Me, from a photo taken last year after playing baseball in Morocco. Random.

A Mountain Goat, for obvious reasons.

I've been rather enjoying my Pentel Brush pen as you can probably tell, The Mountain Goat picture was done solely for the reason that I wanted to go overboard on the whole brushstroke marks that it makes, I think that the paper that I've used and the fact that the pen is starting to run out helped this somewhat too. I also like how my beard turned out in the Self-Portrait (I do miss my beard)...all of this brush pen-ness now means I need to purchase some more refills, and I only replaced it a few weeks ago. Oh well, at least I'm having fun I suppose.

On top of the work I've been doing, drawing in the studio and listening to music has given me time to think, which is a side of art I seem to have forgotten about as recently any drawing I've done never really takes up much longer than 30mins or so - drawing in a sketchbook and rather small unadventurous stuff. Anyway, working on the larger pieces has seen me take about two to three hours per piece and the has got me thinking onto a few more ideas that are hopefully going to keep me busy for the next few weeks and create a nice body of work. Hopefully.

After all this busy-ness I'm off to play the latest Grand Theft Auto installment, back to drawing tomorrow. Keep you informed.


Monday, 26 October 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different...

A man with two noses...

Last week turned out to be a rather busy one, spent a fair bit of time preparing for Mum and Darren's Wedding which was on Friday Afternoon. I was giving my mum away and as a result had to make a speech (well I didn't have to, but I wanted to) and I must be honest I'm hardly renowned for my public speaking, I think I made a speech at my 18th birthday but I was fairly inebriated when I was asked so it never really phased me at all. I was pretty damn nervous at making the speech on Friday though, infront of about 150 odd people and without any of the Dutch courage, however it went okay and a few people even said I seemed really confident...Not likely. I had a fantastic time at the wedding and I'm really happy for Mum and so was everyone else I spoke to. It was great to see everyone together again, I hadn't seem some of my relatives for over 5 years so it was awesome to have a drink and catch up, hope it's not too long before we all see each other again. I'd like to thank everyone who came once again (if you happen to read this that is).

Me and Jen at the Wedding

At least everyone's having fun. (Me, Andrew, Emma and Alison)

On Saturday Morning after the wedding I was hungover, as was to be expected really. So me, Graham and Louise went for breakfast in Morrison's, it's been a while since I've had a fry up and it tastes about 100 times better when you're hungover. Afterwards I spent the rest of Saturday lazing around and slowly making my way back to Dundee where I played some XBOX and watched Monty Python's Flying Circus. Sadly my hangover decided to make it's way over to Sunday morning as well so Sunday was fairly uneventful too apart from doing a few bits around the flat and meeting Jen's family for a chinese. Today I rolled out of bed and straight into my sketchbook, I'm finding it difficult to carry on with the whole 'drawing signs' idea as I had stated in previous blogs, I may pick it up again when I feel the time is right, but this morning I felt like doing some self indulgent stuff, drawings of people with brush pen and fineline. Awesome. After seeing how these images turned out in the sketchbook I am pretty tempted to do some large scale versions of these and maybe a few more, which is nice as I finally have some room to be able to do this.

John Cleese. Inspired by my recent watchings of Fawlty Towers
and Monty Python I love how eccentric his hair makes him look.

Mr. Tarantino

Bill Murray.

So that's that really, I enjoyed drawing portraits again, if you can call them that. I may take a bit of time this week and do some larger scale versions and just go crazy with detail and hopefully carry on enjoying my drawings and maybe build up some steam on the inspiration front to keep me making more creative stuff more frequently. Novemeber promises to be a quieter month than the past few have been so...'s hoping.


Monday, 19 October 2009

If All Else Fails.

Something to listen to this week: 'Kate Miccuci - Just Say When'

Just a short blog today, have had a nice quiet weekend after a night out on Friday and a hangover on Saturday. Watched 'In Bruges' last night, a film that a fair few people I know had been singing the praises of and I finally got around to seeing, I must admit I did really enjoy it, and from watching it I'm now listening to the Dubliners a fair bit today, delightfully Celtic and Jaunty. Anyways, here's some more drawing and the likes.

Roald Dahl from this Saturday's Guardian 'Review' section.

Self Portrait.

On my twitter I posted saying: My artistic words of wisdom for the week - "If all else fails draw a self portait". But what then do you do when the self-portrait fails? I'm not overly impressed with the self portrait, firstly, whenever I draw myself lately I have this tendency to draw my eyes too far apart, I end up looking like a frog or something and secondly, I feel that the shirt pattern was a bit too much, and it looked better before I added it. I suppose my twitter should've said - "If all else fails then carry on with what you were already doing before". Which is what I did.


Jasmine Tea

7up - YOU LIKE IT . IT LIKES YOU. (treating a sketchbook like a sketchbook again).

This week promises to be a fairly eventful one, despite having only one day at work this week on Thursday, it's my mum's wedding day on Friday during which I will be giving my mum away and making a speech, I must admit, I'm fairly nervous about the whole thing but looking forward to it all nonetheless!


Wednesday, 14 October 2009

A Place to Begin Again.

Please, feel free to listen to some new Mountain Goats whilst you read. - "Genesis 3:23"

So it's been a busy old few weeks in my world. After finally putting together my website last month my Mac decided that it'd had enough and just packed in, all programs and such that I was running slowed right down and then ceased to another joyous trip to the Apple store in Glasgow was needed. That said, after waiting over a week for my Mac to be fixed I was given a larger hard drive by the Apple folk and luckily didn't lose too much of my data as most of my stuff is backed up to an external Hard Drive.

The Life of the World to Come, the latest Mountain Goats Album.

I've travelled back down to Merseyside twice since the last time I wrote, once to accompany my mum who was going to visit my sister and then just a few days ago whereby we (me and Jen) went to my Dad's via Manchester to see the Mountain Goats...well, it wasn't so much the Mountain Goats as just John Darnielle on his own which I actually think is miles better anyway. I majorly enjoyed the gig but I suppose that's to be expected, John Darnielle could show up and play a few chords and I'd go away happier than most. The one downside to the venue was how small it was, I know that this generally makes for a better gig but for some reason there were so many tall people at the Ruby Lounge which made it very difficult to see even a few feet infront of yourself, that said the setlist and the fact that he played a few piano numbers made it excellent.

My workspace (taken by Jen)

Illustrationwise I seemed to hit yet another brick wall after my computer died and then I set about reupholstering small pink cabinets, decorating rooms (see photo above for my new workspace), and spending alot of time playing new XBOX games generally anything that meant not drawing. It's odd though, writing that makes it sound like I'm effectively trying to avoid doing any drawing which I'm not. I think that I'm generally trying to force myself too hard to come up with an idea that will become some amazing piece of work, which I suppose is my greatest hinderance at present.

Old man and old car.

There's something that I love about the old style FIAT and it
seems to be somthing that I simply cannot capture in a drawing.

In an attempt to get myself moving again creatively I've taken to drawing signs and alike, anything really that maybe contains text or some form of visual identity, from street signs to cars and crap like that. I see it as nothing more than a starting point for now if I'm honest, some active research in order to get some sketchbook work together and get the cogs inside my head moving (albeit rather slow and clunkingly at this moment in time but moving nonetheless).

Racecar and a selection of other things.

Front of Moroccan train.

WMU insignia from my new mug, found by Jen at the Recycling centre.

"R" from Boris Bilinsky's Metropolis poster.

West 44th Street sign, New York

Street signs by day and by night in Marrakech, Morocco.

Some text.

I find the whole blogging about work that I have/haven't been doing to be rather theraputic, putting everything that I've been doing together in a spot like this makes it fairly obvious to myself that I have actually been doing something besides sitting on my arse in the living room drinking beers and playing FIFA 10, which makes me feel less guilty about doing that. Now I'm off to make some bread and the bed.

Keep listening for more.


Wednesday, 9 September 2009

New website at last.

So, at long last I've managed to put a new website together, I must admit I didn't care too much for my old site and I've wanted to change it since day one but it's done it's job over the past year or so. I did half expect that the creation of new site would take me a long while to put together and I was rather surprised at the fact that it only took three days (still, I'm totally unaware if this is a good frame of time for web design, but for me, a laymen, it seems quite good.) Hopefully getting the new website out of the way will pave the way for me actually using my free time more constructively over the coming months and actually put some more substantial work together. Anyway, check out the site if you have 5 minutes -

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Sink Dundee, Sink.

This week I've been slowly attempting to get myself into some sort of routine again. The past month or so has been rather eventful on most fronts apart from the 'Art' front if I'm totally honest. In an attempt to get myself back into gear I have set myself the task of completing (at least) two pages a day in my sketchbook in a hope to let me draw some inspiration from something. Although I am quite lenient with myself, if for some reason I don't do the sketchbook pages one day then they will accumulate to the next. I haven't been feeling too inspired by the things I've been drawing lately so hopefully this may help some. Also Jen's been helpful in mentioning a few projects that I think I'll enter into, again it gives me something to do and hopefully get me moving and feeling a little more confident of my work again.

So the past month as I mentioned was eventful, my friend Dave visited Dundee for the second time, Jen and I had a holiday to Skye with her family and I joined my family for a holiday on the West Coast, Mumford & Sons concert in Edinburgh, Inglourious Basterds preview, a few days of work in between and this weekend I'm back off to the Wirral again to see a friend from Morocco. I've been kept busy to say the least but it has been rather enjoyable.

Today's been a successful day as far as drawing and stuff creative goes, getting into the swing of things again. It's also been raining very heavily, I like the rain though, it's nice to be inside in the warmth and just listen to the rain and know that I don't have to leave the house until tomorrow morning, I sure hope it's dry tomorrow though.

A new painting for the bedroom wall.

The old painting from the bedroom wall. (I'm not a fan of this picture...)

Sketchbook pages (Proof of work!) Chickens from Carrbridge

More sketchbook stuff: Moroccan Water seller and New York street sign.

Sketchbook stuff: Jen's little wooden church.

Note: For safety reasons not all sketchbook work has been included as some of it is terrible and boring.

Until next time,


Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Sail On...

A sketch of Jen's little Milliput house

So again I appeared to have been sidetracked by work and alike and I haven't blogged in a while. It's quite handy though as I practically got two weeks work at full time in the end which made up for taking two days off for Dave's visit to Scotland. I've been attempting to keep up with doing some drawing and I'm starting to build up some steam on that front. Oh, and yesterday I finally started to plan a little of how I want to change my website...Well, I've only been wanting to change it for like a year...

So first up, some drawings! I've not had any huge inspiration at the moment for self-initiated sorts of projects and I'm kind of enjoying the safety of the sketchbook, however I do realise that sooner or later I'm going to need to break out of the sketchbook and actually do something of some significance. I have half a mind to take up the Zine/Comic ideas I was having at the end of last year again although I kind of feel that they may have passed and it may well be time to just start something completely new. We'll see.

The Liver Buildings

A sketch of the Liver buildings, it's weird because whenever I seem to think of 'home' or 'Liverpool' in particular this building always comes to mind. In reality though this building holds next to no significance to me...I mean I've seen it, but that's honestly about it. I don't know what's so 'homely' about it though.

Root Beer and Grumpy Cat

I'm not too sure why but lately I've kind of started looking at old timey american signs, I guess sort of anything spanning the 50's/70's, I just find something inexplicably romantic yet tacky about the style. I suppose in reality I would rather have a can of Root Beer that looked like the can above in my sketchbook than anything Coca-Cola/Pepsi-esque. Each to their Own. I don't think the cat picture needs much explanation...I like cats.

Scruffy Portrait

Today has been spent doodling in my sketchbook again and also trying to come up with a more solid idea for my website before I actually start putting it together as soon as possible. However I've not really been able to find much to draw so I just drew a self portrait, which I do realise now that I've scanned has terrible proportion and probably only really looks like me because I have glasses on, and something from iPhoto (exciting, huh?) but yeah...something about artistic license.

Another iPhoto Sketch: New Brighton

It's nice to finally have all my books with me in Dundee again. I just started looking at 'Vernacular Drawings' by Seth whilst taking a break from drawing/computer with a cup of tea. I never really knew too much about Seth but I really love his style as you can probably tell (he was the reason I decided to get a date stamp for my sketchbook) also maybe an explanation for my love of drawing signage and alike.

Lumberjack by Seth

Mimico Fish & Chips by Seth

I'm off to make soup. Until next time.


Monday, 6 July 2009

The end of a Sketchbook.

It's been a couple of weeks since the last blog, just overly enjoying my time off I guess. There's been a little bit of sketchbook work, not a huge amount to be honest but Im getting started on the right track again which I suppose is all that matters for now. I went and visited 'home'* last week, it was the Magazine's (our local pub) 250th Birthday and there was a huge beer festival - as good a reason as any to visit home if you ask me. It was great to see friends and family again as last time I was home was over 5 months ago for the Christmas/New Year period which feels like an age ago. I did take a sketchbook home but only managed three pages, although over 3 days of heavy drinking and catching up with people I don't suppose that's too horrendous.

*I still manage to refer to the Wirral as 'home' even though I've technically lived in Scotland for almost 4 years now.

Sketch of Coffee table in the Living Room at Dad's house.
I really like how this picture turned out.

Today whilst waiting for the plumbers to come and fit a new shower I did a few more pages in my sketchbook, and managed to finish it. I started the sketchbook in November and really wanted to get into the swing of drawing daily (or on a regular basis at least), a practice that went rather well until I realised the reality of needing to look for a job and the sketchbook took to the back burner for a while which was a shame. However, I've finally finished it, a few months too late in my eyes but finished nonetheless, and now I can get started on my new sketchbook and hopefully approach it with the same ethos as i started the last. Here are the pages from today, not sure why I wanted to draw American 50's diner style signs, but I did so there. Apologies for the scans, the last few pages of the sketchbook are falling apart a little which made them difficult to scan effectively.

Hollywood diner.

I'm not sure what Donald's Serva-teria serves but I want to go there.

Hopefully have some more sketchbook work up soon.


Wednesday, 24 June 2009

A "REAL" Blog.

Jen's Jon Burgerman Birthday card to me (coloured by me)

It's been far too long since I've put some time and effort into a proper blog, saying what I've been up to and what I've not been up to. I'm just starting to get accustomed to having so much time off (it's a hard life, I know) - last week's five days off were a little wasted to be honest, however, this week I feel they have been put to good use. Today though, I have to wait at the flat for an electrician who's meant to be coming to fix the shower so it seems a good time to give the blog a go. As some of you will be aware it was my birthday last week, I had a great time and just wanted to take this opportunity to say a huge thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday and such.

I'll start with a few bits of work that I enjoyed from the Edinburgh and Dundee Degree Shows. Luckily we got to see both of them (although I did only make it around Illustration and some of Graphics at Edinburgh).

A set of Drawings by Laura Martin, Dundee.

I feel that the choice of the Vision building for the Dundee show was a good decision and would quite like to see the show there again in the future if at all possible. There was a fair bit of work that I enjoyed at Dundee but would probably take me far too long to talk about it all so I'll keep it short and sweet. I think one of my favourite pieces in the Illustration department were these sketchy drawings by Laura Martin, I like how fragile the line is and also the use of colour.

'Treehouses' drawing by Genevieve Ryan, Edinburgh

I didn't really get a chance to look in great detail at Genevieve's work, although I really liked this postcard. I may be somewhat guilty of not taking sufficient time to view everyone's work in the Illustration department at Edinburgh but I enjoyed the show nonetheless.

Print by Lizzy Stewart, Edinburgh

I've been a fan of Lizzy Stewart's work for a while after being introduced to her work by Jen. I really enjoyed seeing Lizzy's work up close at the degree show and also thought that the amount of sketchbook work she had amassed was pretty impressive (and of great quality). Well, after looking in at the degree show in Edinburgh we decided we'd leave for a wander around Edinburgh, however the weather didn't really allow us to do that, instead we popped into a coffee shop opposite Analogue to shelter from the storm. After that Jen and I went to purchase a Nigel Peake print (from Analogue) for our bedroom wall, which I must be honest, is still yet to be put up.

Sketch in an Edinburgh Coffee shop (page 1)
and then doodles at home, the next day (page 2)

More doodles from the next day (or so...)

Back to more some work that I like, I'm a huge fan of Jeffrey Brown's work (as I'm sure most of the people who know me will be well aware) and when I heard that there was an 'Incredible Change-Bots' fan club I felt I just had to join, with joining I received a membership card, a 'Change-Bots' mini-comic and a trading card which is another piece of original Jeffrey Brown artwork for the small collection. Anyway, after getting hold of these I wanted to look at some of Jeff's work again and so the other night I stuck my head into one of the books, 'I am Going to be Small' to be precise, no matter how many times I flick through the pages it always makes me smile. Could be a contender for one of my favourite Jeffrey Brown books...although in all honesty I suppose I could say that about any of his work. So yeah...

My 'Incredible Change-Bots' fan club membership card.

'Shootertron' trading card (front and back)

Classic Jeffrey Brown.

On Saturday I booked my first official holiday from work and we (Me, Jen, Fiona, Daniel, Mark and Margaret) went up North to Carrbridge to attend a party to celebrate Jen's aunt's wedding. It couldn't have been a nicer day to sit outside and have drinks, chat, a barbecue and a fire, definitely some of the nicest Scottish weather I've seen in a good while...and this is the fourth year I've lived here. The following day we travelled back through to Dundee, again the weather was great and so we stopped at Bruar Falls for a bacon roll and a walk alongside the falls, a most awesome weekend (following photos where taken by Jen).

Making friends with the residents.

Life's a Killer: Wisdom from a piece of wood.

Bring it on Mel Gibson.

Me and Jen at Bruar Falls.

At some point last week during my ridiculously lazy days sitting about the house playing XBOX, watching South Park and drinking some beers, I decided that I really should take advantage of having a lot of time off and also the fact that I now can get pretty much anywhere in Scotland for free. It did strike me that for somebody who lives in Scotland I've not seen a huge amount of it so I'm going to make an effort when I have days off to use my rail pass and go to places I've not been before. As a result, yesterday I decided to go north to Stonehaven. I was originally going to visit Aberdeen although a friend discouraged me saying that there wasn't a huge amount to do there.

In the end I was happy with the choice of Stonehaven. I had best intentions to get up early and make the 0720 train, however, after staying up until 1 o'clock the night before with friends I managed to fall asleep again after trying to get up at 6. I almost stayed in bed but I started to feel guilty when I noticed how nice it was outside. I got out of bed and made the 0930 train. I've never visited Stonehaven and I was rather lost when I first arrived but after a bit of a wander I made my way into town and then to the harbour, the weather was stunning, but with it being Scotland I didn't bring sun cream but instead i had two jackets (one of which is my winter coat). Typical.

I walked up to Black Hill War Memorial and sat and drew for about half an hour in the sun before heading south along the coast towards Dunnottar Castle, a set of castle ruins from around the 17th Century. I spent about three hours looking around the castle grounds and enjoying the sun before sitting in the shade and having some lunch and a little more drawing. I think from my sketchbook pages I realised that I don't have the patience to sit and draw old ruins, however I found the place itself really interesting and enjoyed spending the day there. Instead of heading straight back to the harbour I made my way down to the beach (falling over once, the path was rather steep), went for a paddle in the North Sea and skimmed stones.

After that I headed back and found a Pub in the harbour area, and was rather pleased to find that they served my favourite ale. Two pints of Timothy Taylor's Landlord later and I decided to head back to Dundee and finish my day out. I walked about 10 miles all in all and caught the sun quite a lot, I have a very red nose but I had a great day out so it was worth it. Next time I go away I think I'll make sure I have Sun cream, then again saying that if I pack sun cream it will most surely rain. You've got to love Scottish weather (Following photos were taken by me, unfortunately I only had my phone camera so they're a bit crappy but you get the idea).

Black Hill War Memorial, Stonehaven

Sketch of Black Hill War Memorial

The approach to Dunnottar Castle

Seagulls atop Dunnottar

A section of the ruins.

Sketch of Dunnottar Chapel and Black Hill War Memorial in the distance.

The beach below Dunnottar

Beach below Dunnottar, a great beach for stone skimming.

Apologies for the terrible quality of the photos from my phone, two lessons learnt from yesterdays trip? Wear sun cream and take a half decent camera.

Oh and someone should probably tell the authorities that an Englishman comprimised Dunnottar's defences. Gees, and I heard that place was practically impenetrable.

Until next time...