Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Boats in the harbour

Taken in Kefalonia last year, yes the sea really was that clear and turquoise.
To fit into the card format I duplicated the same boat.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Beer Garden

Photos done at the weekend in this unseasonally beautiful weather.

Thursday, 7 April 2011


Inspired by American Hatch show prints, that have previously informed my editorial work, I thought of doing a wanted poster as a card, as far as I know this has not been done - I've not seen it anyway. Includes all my favourite hallmarks; wood, distressed type, old paper and 2 colour combinations

Really nice to be featured on the Printpattern blog, still the best in our industry.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Crown & country

My blog posts have been getting fewer and fewer, because I've been quite busy, mostly with card work, and this blog was originally concentrating on my other work primarily editorial which has unfortunately now dried up.
It seems in my experience, magazines are commissioning less and less in a very competitive market as their advertising is dwindling as the print media shrinks.
Even my monthly 2 illustrations for The Guitarist seems to have disappeared, a shame I really loved doing those - often quite a challenge and at times it really got the brain going.
Anyway here are my latest designs for my Crown & country range.
You can see more here

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Greetings from Mendips

For an article about John Lennon's house (more like a middle class hero really.)
I wanted a vintage postcard feel. The lack of any guitar in the house was noted, so the silhouette 'gap' was always part of the design. Something else was needed, the strawberry was just right, and obviously signifies strawberry fields for ever.

Personal column

This editorial illustration of a vintage personal column for a 'guitar for life' was simple but an effective solution. I had to match the old newspaper with the design I created.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Dead end

For an editorial illustration about the death of the cheque. I wanted it to have an autumnal theme, and had Autumn Leaves by Millais in mind for the feel I wanted.
The grave photo was taken for this project (the client wanted a bigger and more ornate Victorian one than the original that I chose - and it works better.)
Instead of 'old people' huddled round a grave, as the original suggestion in the brief, I thought it would work to use old fashioned people - like this Victorian gentleman, with his pen quill.
I like to add details like the bird stealing the old fashioned cheque, and signed BACS on the grave, which is how I get paid in nearly all cases these days.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Tuesday, 31 August 2010


This was a really good commission from Oxford Today magazine.
Ostensibly about DNA and the consequences of it's discovery, it was to include Darwin as a main feature along with the DNA double helix. I've not done any work like this for a while, and it's brilliant to get a commission for such an esteemed publication, read by suitably intelligent illumni.
I relished working on it, I am interested in these subjects that require proper thought, and I wanted to include enough metaphors and elements to appeal to intellectuals reading the magazine. Darwin is opening the door to the double helix, with a key that also unlocks the keyhole in his brain. He is followed by the monkey Darwin who follows him everywhere he goes. The brain of the monkey is the double helix coin from 2003. The butterflies represent the overload of information escaping. The picture in the top left hand corner is a vintage family tree. Elements such as the Origins of life book cover and inside pages, DNA fingerprints and Darwin's own handwriting appear as ghostly elements. It was like a jigsaw, fitting all the pieces together, but being careful not to overdo it.
I was really pleased with the result and so was the client.

Stop thief!

The brief for this guitar thief illustration was a "typical stumpy character, black eye mask, black and white striped top depicting the thief somehow stealing a guitar" it was to be in the style of "Pink Panther" DePatie-Freleng - and I was looking at 1950's style cartoons generally. I loved hanna-barbera cartoons as a child - so I wanted to evoke that look as well.
I also wanted simplicity, in composition and quality of line to look like it was hand done, so I sent some time in illustrator getting the line work just so for that authentic look.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


I love doing parody designs, and this seems to be my signature style for the Guitarist magazine.
This article was about left handers - and as one myself I wanted to do it justice!
A 1950's advertisement was what was required, which means my usual limited colour (usually red and black) and aged paper. The main type is actually Coca cola, and the smaller type Futura and one called Balloon, which I got for this piece as it suited this design. I loved doing all the little details like the cut away coupon - which adds to it's authenticity.
Job done!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Monday, 28 June 2010

Nu Ukes

For an article about the writer's aversion to the ukulele. This parody of the No Nukes poster was a great idea by my art director. It was all looking ok, with the ghostly apparition of George Formby, and the nuclear explosion, but something was missing. I tried adding little instruments in the mushroom cloud, but this was not working an looked fussy. Then quickly adding 2 larger ukuleles as glasses gave that menacing air that was needed, reminded me of the ban the bomb sign, and the nuclear waste symbol - and in that moment I knew it was complete.

Monday, 7 June 2010

More guitars...

For an article about how vintage is vintage?

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Nice cakes

I put loads of new photos on my Flickr site including this one, I took in London at the weekend.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Man and fish in Chip shop Queue....

I wonder what the fish ordered....

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Hatch Show influences

These new illustrations were influenced by the Hatch show style, which is an American letterpress print shop that traditionally produced posters often for country artists', and have included work for Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams and more up to date, REM.
The first illustration - Steve Cropper came very quickly - often the best designs do - but it helped that I had a clear and bold idea of what I wanted to do. The second, a little more subtle, but worked just as well.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Great British Birthday

3 of my favourite things plus the flag for simply the aesthetic value...

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Love Union

Editorial work seems to be scarce at the moment, so I'm concentrating on designing loads of new greeting card designs hopefully to sell..
Mainly (though not exclusively) masculine captions as clients often ask me for these...
The union flag seems to be fashionable at the moment, this has to be a good thing, it is aesthetically pleasing.
See some more here

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

No no never!

For an editorial illustration about a designer showing his board something different .

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Start the day

I always start the day off with a proper coffee - here's an illustration of it...

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Print Pattern Book

I'm kind of a split personality when it comes to work.
I started off my professional career almost 20 years ago, as an illustrator, with a job for Granada TV, then an illustration in The Observer magazine, for 'A Doctor writes' column. The thrill of going to the newsagent and buying a copy, and seeing your work in print never really leaves you. I just had that experience when I got a copy of the new
Print & Pattern book through the door.
The other part of my work is greeting card and wrapping paper, which I kind of got into by accident in the early 90's working for Lip International.
I started designing on the computer in the late 90's (used to paint before then - by hand) and had a few studio jobs, including Senior designer at Carlton cards
I few years ago I wanted to be freelance again.
This blog is mainly about my editorial work, but of course I still love doing cards & wrap.
So when the Bowie who runs the leading blog on this industry Print Pattern wanted to print my work in her first book, (a collection of the leading print & pattern designers) - I was really thrilled. To be in a coffee table book is a dream of mine, especially when it's of this quality, and other designers are of the standard of Orla Kiely! I really loved my page, how the pieces she chose sit together, and the way it was designed (the logo using my initials are a really lovely touch.)
There's a really interesting article about the huge influence of PrintPattern from last Sundays Independent here
You can buy the book at Amazon here
For anyone who has found this blog from the book, here's lots of more work:
Scott Rhodes Card designs
Scott Rhodes Wrapping paper

Friday, 19 February 2010

Robert Johnson

This was an interesting follow up to the last illustration I did last month about blues legend Robert Johnson. I needed to do it in the same style as it was a continuation of the article. The first attempt really worked, especially the use of the recently found photograph of the man - that the article actually mentions.
However I found out that The Robert Johnson estate charges a high fee to use his image, which ruled that out.
So now we had a problem - I have to illustrate an article about a musician, but we cannot use his image! We countered that problem last month with the brilliant idea of using his shadow on a dusty crossroads - meeting the devil.
However, I was able to replace his image with that of his replica guitar. Just replacing it didn't quite work though, so I had to re structure the whole illustration.
I made more of the envelope, stamp and map - this represented all the traveling he did in his lifetime - and we have the result.
Hopefully the image has the right feel to evoke the history of the blues legend.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


For an article about band chemistry, the brief called for a hand drawing of test tubes in an old school rack with different coloured test tubes indicating each element of the band. I loved the idea, but thought a photo would be more effective, I could just picture it in my head. The only problem was that I didn't have any test tubes. After various emails sent out to friends proved fruitless, I took another trip out to Bygone times in Chorley. After at least an hours search and about to give up, I found a set of bath salts that looked the part. I bought some food colouring, but only used one of them (the bright red), the other colours are washing up liquid. After I designed the labels, I spent a day photographing the result, (and in poor light) - and one of the first pics I took had just the right light - after quite a bit of adjusting in Photoshop.
The result is satisfying and has that bright shiny, colourful scientific look that I imagined.
I would not class myself as a photographer, but I can effectively use photography in my illustrations. What's good is being given the freedom to use whatever method fits the specific brief best.


The brief was for an article about following in the footsteps of blues guitarist Robert Johnson and exploring the myth of him meeting the devil at a crossroads. Seeing just his shadow on a dusty southern crossroads was a challenge, but a brilliant idea by my art directors and suited the mood of the article.
I added the shadow of the devil as it needed something more, and was very pleased with the final result- it just had the right 'feel' to it.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Flyer 2010

I had to design a flyer to send to future clients, somehow linking all the elements of my work together, and showing all my skills, but still working as an aesthetically pleasing design that would attract people to my website.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Let it snow.....

Amazing amount of snow fell today.....

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

A load of old baubles...

The light was amazing today, so I went out to a local park to take these pictures in the snow - which of course reflects the light wonderfully. I hardly tweaked these photos believe it or not - they were pretty perfect from the off.
I was so pleased with the results, I was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
You can see more here

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Christmas Markets

I went to the Manchester's Christmas markets yesterday for the last time before they leave.
You can seem more Christmas photos here:
The snow is really coming down now....