Thursday, December 28, 2006

Seagull Party

The advertisements have changed from food and toys to gyms and self-help, so I guess Christmas is over. This is bad news for the Christmas card market. Next I'm going to do some more general cards, and not necessarily just Brighton ones. Like horoscopes, the more general cards they are, the more people they fit, and the more they sell.
Having said that, here's a Brighton one. It hasn't turned out too well. I think the lines on the birds are too heavy, and they don't look like they're dancing or enjoying themselves. Maybe I should have given them beers and fags, but beers and fags don't guarantee a fun party atmosphere. Do seagulls even do hard drugs? Probably. I planned on putting a small boy in the bottom left corner, gazing up in amazement, but forgot. Perhaps that would have livened it all up, I don't know. I do like the shadows, reflections and photographic elements though, they're fun.

Also, I recently rejigged my myspace page to act as a kind of web-portfolio. I'm not sure if this is the best way to do it though. Any comments would appreciated.

Don't Panic: Dreams

Another Don't Panic entry. I may as well squeeze these out before I have the chance to lose the public vote and get all tearful and dispirited and don't want to enter again. This one is for the theme that got promoted ahead of Work, Dreams.
Dreams are all built up out of personal elements from the subconscious, they say, so I used this as an excuse to lift old sketches out of my sketchbook- to put along with some new ones: the Ninja warehouse, Jessie our dog, a frog from the garden, friend Archie playing crazy golf in the Summer time, frying bacon in the pan. And that's supposed to be Michael Stipe twice at the top. From REM. REM! Eh! Geddit? Not my usual style of image, but I like it and may start doing more this way. It basically involves creating one image and reflecting it, which theoretically is only half the work, if not practically.

If this is past 3rd January, you can vote if you want by clicking here.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Don't Panic: Work

I've been meaning to enter the monthly Don't Panic poster competition for a while now. The public vote for their favourite image and then Don't Panic put it on a poster and give it away in those flyer packs that get pushed into your hands when you leave clubs, like the party bags you get at kids partys. They're always worth looking in because sometimes they have free gifts in them- the kind of stuff they think the people that go to clubs and stay till the end might like: big Rizlas, Guarana bars, condoms. Not that I smoke, like those bars or ever have sex, of course. I'm waiting for the pack with a sample bottle of a nice balsamic vinegar for brunch the next day, or a Radio4 schedule, something like that.
I did several with the upcoming theme of Work in mind. Annoyingly though after I entered them they told me the theme has now been put right back to February some time. This is annoying because a) I'll now have to wait even longer to discover I've lost, and b) there will be more entrants. I assume what happened is that the theme seemed so mundane, not many good people entered and so they panicked and pushed the deadline back. How ironic.

First I did this, but I really don't like it. The only good thing about it is the colour scheme which I stole entirely from a much better illustration by some Italian guy whose name I can't pronounce.

After a two day grump following my bastard first attempt, I I went back to the drawing board. This time I tried to remember it was supposed to be a poster, and so should at least be moderately interesting. Kids these days like big robot monsters, I thought to myself, so I decided to represent work, or the company at least, as a gargantuan robo-monster that feeds off the staff and their time and effort, with necessity but no obvious gain to them. A bit like this:

But it all looks a bit bleak, and dull. And anyway, kids these days like happy-slapping and Ketamine, not silly monsters. Some bold cropping left my image not-quite poster size so I added some black stripes and then put the whole thing in garish neons in a bid to jump on this "new-rave" band wagon. This one I quite like and entered it to the competition.

Then later the same day we had a friend called Hannah over for dinner and whilst I spoke to her I drew this, and coloured it the next morning and put in a scan from the business section of the Guardian in the background. It took a fraction of the time of the monster, but I much prefer it. In fact, it's one of my favourite things I've done. It all just works for me kind of. Plus, the reams of paper at the top kind of spell out W-O-R-K. It does work you could say. If you're a tosser.

The nice guys at DP even gave me this nice button to promote myself, but don't feel obliged to press it.

Don't Panic

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Snow Child

The Introduction to Illustration course I was doing has finished finally. It's a shame, but more because now I'm actually doing nothing rather than anything else.
This is the last thing I did, the only thing resembling a 'piece' to emerge from the course. It's an illustration for this magical realist story, The Snow Child, by Angela Carter. Here, you can read it if you're that bored. It's quite good.


Maddy asked me to help out with the artwork for her new EP or whatever it is. She has a lovely singing voice, a kind of Nina Simone meets Scooby-doo in Beth Ortons basement, all lit by candles, and then they discuss true love through blinks and stomach rumbles. That sounds rediculous but when I was at Ninja Tune that's how some of the people actually spoke. It was doubly confusing when all I'd asked is if they take sugar in their tea.
So here it is (I didn't take the photo though). Seagull's for Brighton, umbrellas for the constant weather metaphors and pink flowers for the fact that she's a girl.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Charles M. Schulz, of peanuts fame, said that "Creativity is all about making mistakes. Art is knowing which one's to keep." I read it on a record sleeve a few weeks ago and now quote it at Charlotte several times a day. "You left the front door wide open when you came in last night, and now there's a homeless man eating toast in our kitchen" "Well, Char, Charles M. Schulz, of peanuts fame, ..." Hilarity ensues every time, and all is forgiven.
This picture is really just several mistakes, but I don't mind.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The evolution of an invitation.

It's Beatrice's birthday, and Evil Tom's too. And, as people often do on such occasions they're having a party to celebrate. I didn't on my recent birthday of course, instead choosing the safe option of a dinner with my parents. Even then, only half the invitees showed up.
I've been allowed to create the invitations for their party. I was determined to do them well and so started, like a real illustration student, doing some preperatory drawings. First Beatrice:

And then Napoleon (the party's to be at the Fortune of War, which has something to do with Napoleon)...

And then I drew this, combining all (both) my ideas:

Pretty disastrous though. Why's it all brown? Why are their faces so dirty? Who are those two freaky weirdos anyway?
Then Beatrice phoned me again, and told me to add another name to the list of hosts- I can only assume initial interest has thus far been pretty low- that of Phil, whom I have never met. So then I did this. I don't know why they look like babies though.

And to justify the time the job took, also made it up in different colour ways.

You're invited too, by the way.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


A sketch I did in the car whilst Char and I drove to Brighton. Some people say that having a girlfriend who can drive and has a car whilst I can't and don't makes me less of a man. It doesn't. The fact that I do whatever she tells me to and that I had to keep stopping drawing this because the car movements were giving me a headache do perhaps, but that's irrelevant.

Incidentally, at Ninja I've been in charge of the myspace page for the new Ninja club night, You Don't Know. Cool, aren't I?


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I, I.

Really not sure about these two, so if you're looking, leave a comment with your opinions.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dead Tree

Here's a picture I drew last night with my new pen. It's a pentel brush pen, like a self-reloading paintbrush, from Japan. That's the logo of it, I think, or it's the japanse symbol for pen or something.

D, E, F, G & H., but you should at least know this one.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Better known as a 'Hot Lunch' in the UK, apparently.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I've got a project I started thinking about a long time ago, which I'm slowly resurrecting. It's called "the Inappropriate Alphabet", and it's going to be a very adult children's book. It centres around two cliched post-modern bunny rabbits, nameless thusfar, and their sordid aebecedarian antics.
As with many terrible things, it all starts with Alcohol.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Gregory's Sketching Blog

I've moved to London, which is nice. I'm here for five weeks whilst I do an internship at Ninja Tunes (a vaguely-fashionable-but-really-not-really record label.) The office, Ninja HQ, is as glamorous as I dared to dream. It's like the set of Nathan Barley on dress-down Friday. All barefoot scenesters, apple macs and turntables. I know because I was accidentally sent up there when I arrived an embarassing hour-and-a-half early on my first day and I pressed my grubby face against the window and felt the warmth in my cheeks. Since then I've been on my own downstairs in the windowless basement warehouse, stuffing envelopes and asking myself "If I was being paid for this, would it be worth it?"
I'm living with my wonderful girlfriend, Charlotte, which is wonderful. It's just like a luxuriously long date, or a luxuriously short marriage. The only trouble with it really is that I'm still too self-conscious to really relax into taking big long (I mean in chronological length) and loud shits, since I always assume she is in the next room, listening intently. Thus far I've either had to set a quiet alarm for the middle of the night, or else when we're just about to leave the house together, announce that I've left my watch in the bathroom and bound in there only to emerge a quarter of an hour later seven pounds lighter. And still watchless.
Our house is very nice (well, it's her house really), but for all the modern conveniences: an ice-maker in the fridge, drawers that shut themselves, lots of tightly packed neat little staircases like an Escher picture, there is no internet. Hence I'll be updating this less and less.
But if you are looking for a fix of some rambling and some doodling, then I recommend Greg's brand spanking new blog. He's like my older, taller, more talented and better looking brother.

Friday, October 27, 2006


I haven't done much drawing recently, I've been spending big chunks of my days taking my Christmas cards round more shops in Brighton. It only takes about a few hours to go round all of them, but it's tiring and I have to spend the rest of the day under a blanket watching Judge Judy.
I got a few big orders, which meant I had to really up my production methods.
I've even left a load with the council (albeit on a sell-or-return basis) which they're going to put in their various shops around town. Because they're the council I got an "official order" form which refers to me as Jack Noel Card Co., which is nice.

My friend Beatrice came back from Uni though and we walked round town until we were hungry and then went back to her mum's house for tea and tuna-melts and then wining and dining all in front of the telly with the whole family. Whilst there I drew.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Home continued

Here's the street where the girl lives. She's coming home, you see. I'm not sure where from. Prison perhaps? Ooh, now it's edgy.
I'm not sure how to colour it but I think this simple white/red version is best.

Another option is blue, like this:

Sunday, October 22, 2006


This girl is intended to be part of a bigger piece, but I haven't drawn the rest of it yet.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


This Tape Dog is sure to be a hit. Ticks on the trend checklist come for an old wall background, an allusion to the cassette tape (as well as a modal nod to genetic engineering) and rediculous meaningless Banksy-esque paint drips. Check, check, check.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I'm a Billy Two-Blogs, no more.

I do really have two blogs. Before I set-up this sketch blog I had my Comic Strip Show, which was all well and good but I only let myself put comic strips up on it, so it was a bit boring to maintain. It really all fell apart when I drew two new strips- equally intricate and hilarious- and then lost them somewhere. I couldn't bring myself to do any more for a while.
Instead now if I do a new strip, I'm going to put it up on here. It's a kind of one-stop-shop. A one-attack-shack-of-Jack. A no-slog-hog-o'-blog. A... oh, Jesus. Sorry.

Here are the four strips I managed to get onto the Strip Show:

Grandma Chagrin

Giving Back


I'm a blogger

Book Face

Here's a pencil sketch, quickly coloured in photoshop. The girl pictured isn't a friend of mine per se, she's more a friend of a friend. Or perhaps a friend of a friend of a friend even. Nice girl though.

I've never met her of course, I just saw her on facebook.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Another of Felix's.

Eskimo piss and other stories.

I've got a friend called Felix who is funnier than I am. The thing is, I'm a better draftsman than he is. When we combine, we become a cartoonist. Like a kind of loser power rangers. Every now and then, I'll get a text at four in the morning detailing some visual pun, and duly get out of bed and draw it.
Here's the first one I've done.

Monday, October 16, 2006

An introduction to Introduction to Illustration

I've just come back from Introduction to Illustration. It's an eight week evening course at Camberwell arts school that started tonight. It wasn't exactly hard to get into (unless you count signing a cheque for £240 hard, that is), so I expected it to be attended largely by bored housewives. In fact the crew was a blend of trendy teenagers and foreign girls, much like lots of London.
We went through a few exercises and didn't really push back any boundaries, but it was fun. I'm looking forward to next week.

West Pier Christmas cash-in.

Okay, here's a Christmas version. It's really pretty shit. Oh well.

West Pier coloured

And here it is coloured in. At the last minute I threw in a lens-cam flare, frowned upon by photoshop cognoscente, but I couldn't resist.
I was joking before about making it into a christmas card, but now I'm going to do that too. It's not like I've got other work to do.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

West pier sketch

Here's a new picture I did last night, for no particular reason. My plan though, once it's coloured and if I like it, is to put in something festive like a snowman swimming in the sea or a flock of robins circling above and thus make it suitable for the lucrative Christmas card market. Entrepreneurial, moi?
I'm not sure how I'm going to do the sea yet, but it could be interesting.

Obviously I didn't want to post this last night, because then it would look like I spent my Saturday night drawing to a Radio 4 soundtrack, and that would be tragic. Much cooler to hold onto it for a Sunday morning posting.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Brighton Christmas card

Today, overwhelmed by the idea of another day of checking if any new channels had been added to the freeview package, I decided I had to leavet the house. I had some Christmas cards to pimp, which I designed I while ago. It felt too early for festivities. Indeed it is too early, but I hadn't done any Halloween cards or Ramadan cards, so what can you do.
I didn't really have anywhere specific in mind, but it turns out there are more greeting card shops here in Brighton than there can possibly be any need for. No doubt big sellers are the "congratulations on setting up a new cards and trinket store in this saturated market" followed closely by the "sorry your business has failed" card.
It turns out I wasn't so early anyway, a lot of carderies order all of theirs in February. Only one guy was actually prepared to ask for some- though a few did seem generally interested. A shop called Custard (totally kooky) said they could make space for half a dozen, and I was so excited at not being laughed out the shop I quickly promised all these things I hadn't organised- envelopes, cellophane packets, a professional invoice- and now I'm basically going to have to set up a whole business just to sell six cards, probably for less than they cost to make. But still, it is selling them.

Here's the design:

One guy wanted to see some more designs, and so I came home and quickly knocked out some more colour schemes, though obviously when I say quickly it took me about six hours. I wonder if he'll believe they're completely different designs. I may try and draw some more soon.

I spent several hours intricately replacing the colour halftone pattern, the dots in the background, with little snowflakes. Now that's festive. It took so long because I had to make each one entirely unique, otherwise it just wouldn't ring true.