Thursday, December 31, 2009


Having spent a depressing chunk of December 25th checking Twitter and Facebook under the turkey table, I know the internet is already far too awash with greetings for Christmas and New Year and all that, so I won't bother.

It was also Emily's birthday, of course, and I made her a card (drawn quite quickly). The URL is for a Spotify playlist (compiled quite quickly), so if you didn't get a bottle of Sloe Gin from me this Christmas then have a listen and consider that your festive gift from me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sloe business

In the true spirit of Christmas, Char decided to exploit her friends and family by selling them things they didn't really want. This year: Sloe Gin. As indeed I was with picking the sloes, preparing the gin and pretty much every other stage of the process, I was asked/forced to help out with the packaging.

I started like this:

And polished one slightly to this:

And then stuck it on the bottles and threw in a tantalising lens flare like this:

If you want to some, well, you can't. It's all sold out. Sorry. Your only hope is that you are my Uncle Coco, in which case you're getting a bottle for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Dibujando Diario: 07.09.09 - 06.12.09

I'm back now from my gap-month, four weeks of finding myself in Colombia.
I was with Charlotte for the first two weeks, and then all alone for the second two. It worked out a bit like this:

We flew there with Iberia, via Madrid. A pretty painless flight except for the films: 500 Days of Summer, He's Just Not That Into You and Moulin Rouge.

We started in Bogota. It's pretty high up - about 2500 metres - so you get tired walking ten yards. This is La Puerta Falsa, the best place (says the Lonely Planet) to catch your breath with a nice Chocolate Santafereño - hot chocolate with cheese melted into it. Which is pretty much as you'd imagine: like an ovaltine with a dairylea dropped in.

Then we went on to Medellin, Colombia's second city. It's loved by all but we didn't really give it that much of a chance because we wanted to rush up to the coast for the weekend. Plus someone pulled a knife on me in the famously safe Zona Rosa. Luckily I managed to stumble and stutter out unscathed, but still.

So we headed up to Cartagena. By all accounts the jewel in Colombia's crown - the whole of the old town and it's crumbling colonial splendour is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the weekend of a big independence day festival (they must really love that film) which is somewhere in between Rio Carnival and Brighton Pride in terms of scale and glamour.

Next we went to Playa Blanca, whatever that means. It's a beach that looks like a postcard feels like an island and is actually a peninsula.

The only thing I made up is the friends.

We ended up staying there for four days - this is how long it takes for the idea of a shower to become more appealing than waking up in a hammock metres from clear blue sea.

To the west a few hours is Tayrona National Park: 150 km² of jungle hanging over the Caribbean sea, like the set of Where the Wild Things Are (the book).

It was really relaxing. And we were lucky to go in low-season: we saw more monkeys and lizards than people.

And then we had to go back to Cartagena, because Charlotte was flying home from there. Leaving me in Colombia all alone for two more weeks, with no idea what to do.

More out of a need for a fixed new gang who couldn't escape me for a couple of days than out of a passion for archaeology, I booked on to a five day jungle trek to find Ciudad Perdida: The Lost City. It's a city way up in the mountains dating back to 800AD that went completely undiscovered until the 1970s.

On the way some of us took a tour of a cocaine factory hidden in the jungle and were taken step by step through the production process. It's basically leaves+gasoline+acid=delicious drugs. So now you know.

Poker Face (jungle version)

And then finally back to civilisation in Santa Marta. If you call mullet haircuts civilised, that is.

All that time on the Caribbean coast eventually got to me. It was just too hot. So I went back to Medellin to give it a second chance. It really is pretty nice. This is one of the main squares in the middle of Medellin, full of about 15 sculptures by Botero: the only artist ever to come out of Colombia, it would seem.

Next I went to Salento, a pretty little place in the Coffee Region and back to Bogota. By this point I was sick of drawing.

...and then home.

Here are some actual photos, to prove it's all true. Trekking to Ciudad Perdida, drinking bag water and sunrise over our home on Playa Blanca.

So that was nice. And how have you been?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Daily Draw: 02.09.09 - 06.11.09

Sketchbook pages from the last two months: pretty much sixty days of either looking at laptops or looking at people looking at laptops, apparently.

London Zoo.

Into the wild.

Strictly come dancing.

Charlotte's bike: it was stolen from outside Vauxhall station but the next day she found it on Gumtree and persuaded the police to go and get it for her.

Welcome to the dollhouse.


Occasionally I have work meetings in pubs, which makes me feel pretty cool.

For some reason I thought Patisserie Paul was the poshest place to buy a croissant in London, until I went inside. It's actually just like an expensive brown version of Greggs.

TV burp.

Curb your enthusisasm.

The thick of it.

Surfing in Wales is probably the most fun thing I've ever done - even in September. And it's right on our doorstep - only 200 miles down the road from London.

Don't tell the bride.

The thick of it.

I passed my driving test, just about. And then, as if to prove a point to myself, the next day I drove 130 miles on my own- 60 miles of which were in the dark- and shat myself so much the whole time I'll probably never get behind the wheel again.

Right then, now I'm off to Colombia for four weeks. And boy do I need a break after this abuse! (In the comments.)

iHasta lluego! etc.