Thursday, 19 February 2009

Turn on, tune in.....

...Play out!
The article was about encouraging people to get out of their bedrooms and playing their guitars in public. I managed to find a fantastic photo from Image bank Corbis.
The style that was needed was 50's advertising. At first the client wanted me to reproduce a similar illustration to 'Lets Rock' ( I was happy to do that, but felt like I didn't want to repeat myself - and I could just visualise the illustration more or less as is. This is always a good sign - the most successful illustrations come with a clear idea of what you want at the very beginning. If you don't then messing around for hours with no clear idea is a real bind - and often results in a less strong images (though sometimes happy accidents happen.) Also my best illustrations are executed very quickly because of this.
There is so much inspiration on the Internet, no illustrator has any excuse to be uninspired (though it happens to us all.)
Here's some vintage cigarette ads that were an influence on this project:

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

It was a real thrill to do a piece illustrating Motown's unsung musical hero's of mine The Funk Brothers, the studio band who played on all of those tracks I love so much.
I incorporated parts of their signature style - the stars and text and graphics from those wonderful vinyl records, and melded them together using my signature style - old paper and a vintage feel that really suited the subject matter celebrating 50 years of Motown.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

The simple (still) Life

And now for something completely different:
I 've long loved still life paintings, since I used to be a painter myself. I'm a much better digital artist though. I love the speed which I can create on the mac, I went back to painting a while ago, and couldn't believe how long it took! It was quite theraputic though.
I've created these works, using my own photography, but with the feeling of those old masters works. I went to a wonderful exhibition of these in 1995 'Spanish Still Life from Velazquez to Goya', at the National Gallery London (book available here: )
I was especially taken with the work of Francisco de Zurbarán (1598 – 1664) less well known than his contemporary the great Velazquez.
The book cover above has an element of a still life by Juan Sánchez Cotán who was an major influence on Zuberan's work.
This painting created in 1600 has such beauty in its visual impact and the compostition is thought to have been created under strict guidelines of mathematics and geometry.
The natural order, simplicity and balance appeals to me and is something I always try to achieve in my own work.
I try to not put too much in that over complicates, and spoils the composition.
I love a lot of modern digital illustration (Vault 49 et al) This stuff is amazing and beautiful.
But it is not me - I like really simple composition and work.
What is not put in is as important as what is put in.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

I ate all the Pies!

I consider myself a bit of Pie connoisseur - the inspiration behind todays illustration. make excellent ones, available at many summer festivals, but the best Pie I ever ate was at the Windmill Pub in Mayfair London, they call their Steak & Kidney variety an "Institute of Pie Excellence"

Monday, 2 February 2009


Part of my on going Hi Cutie range - it's great to do a card range that is none Birthday/Christmas related. Key elements - simple, cute, minimal colour, screen print look, and 'hand painted'.
Even though it's created digitally - I work hard to make it look hand done. I start off with simple clean lines then paint over them for that rough edge. There has been a move away from that 'perfect' finish recently - it just looks to clinical and soul-less.