Catcher In The Rye for the Forbidden Planet competition

Catcher In The Rye cover illustration for the Forbidden planet competition.

Forbidden Planet have now put up all the entries and I love the diversity of the work presented. There really is some very different and interesting approaches to the challenge.

So for those who’ve missed the discussion Forbidden Planet has been running a competition in the last couple of months to showcase what London illustrators can create in terms of book covers after some less than complimentary comments in Melanie McDonagh article in the Independent earlier this year.

The discussion about modern illustration went something like this.

Starting with the original article by Melanie McDonagh back in January.

Personally I just think some individuals are living in a bubble, don’t look beyond there own network of connections and frankly a lot of very lazy journalism is churned out. Sadly this is one such example.

Sarah McIntyre then responded.

She had some very salient points, especially for me, the idea that good illustration is not about drawing accurate portrayals it’s about visually encompassing the idea of a text in a way that makes it enticing to a potential reader.

Finally Forbidden Planet weighed into the debate and set a competition to show the diversity and ability of London’s illustrators.

Perhaps we as readers and artists need to challenge publishers the world over to commission more illustration from the amazing pool of talent instead of using stock photography as the default. Just a thought.


Rocket launch and the 100 Year Symposium

Rocket launch (final)

My painting inspired by old science fiction book covers from last century. Part of my portfolio development work.

This was the first piece I worked on when I moved into my BowArts studio and seems to have taken the longest to finish.

I’m fascinated by space travel and the stark reality of how long it will be before we truly start travelling any substantial distance.

The Monthly recently ran an article about just such possibilities The Stars My Destination by Luke Davies (sorry you can’t see it all here unless you are a subscriber.) The 100 Years Starship website gives you a bit more information. The British Library exhibition from last year Out Of This World also inspired me seeing all the old books and ideas, fascinating.

Alternative Press Fair 2010

Alternative Press Fair booty

Last weekend (13th of Feb) was annual Alternative Press Fair at the St Aloysius Social Club, 20 Phoenix Road, Euston (London). This year saw the ditching of the entry fee with just a request for donations at the entrance. The space also seemed easier to get round and for someone new to this scene. It’s freshing (and a bit daunting) to encounter all this print work and be unfamiliar with almost all of it.

The standard of work was really high with some excellent hand printed and quality digital piece’s for sale as well as a range of other crafty objects and tasty treats. As someone studying illustration it’s both inspiring and motivating to see what people are self publishing at different level’s.

Here’s a quick review of the things I picked up.

First up was StingRay magazine pushed into my hand for a discounted £1 by two enthusiastic young ladies! The writing is set to a fairly high standard and is definitely worth checking out. Issue two is open for submissions now on the theme of ‘travel’ for those interested.

Next up was Will Morris’s “The Apocalypse Club” containing two comic stories, the title (and first) story is a collaborative effort with Chris Bye the stand out of the two both graphically and from a narrative perspective. The graphic style is drafted to a high standard, with dramatic compositions and well crafted designs.

Then World War 3 – Illustrated issue #39 which is a larger American compilation of political comic work. Interesting and diverse I’ve only skimmed the surface but it looks to provide a solid range of topics and styles and I look forward to a more in-depth read as time allows.

Handmade card by Rosie

Last was this lovely Valentine’s card by Rosie – sorry I can’t read the email address and no web address was listed. Please feel free to comment in the details. I like the whimsical nature of this piece and realistic pencil rendered dogs.

Hopefully next year I will have a few more pennies and be able to afford a few more things and maybe (even) have something to contribute myself!!

I’d love to hear any of your experiences of the fair this year or recommendations for other similar events going on in London so please feel free to add them into the comments!


Blur thumb mono

Blur – another Illustration Friday post.

This is a very art centric piece, you often blur or blend a line or shading in pencil drawing using your thumb so this is that kind of idea looking up from underneath, as though the paper were glass.

Perhaps it should have been from above? Regardless I enjoyed this piece, it’s part life drawing practice part Illustration Friday challenge, our teacher encouraged us to use tonal drawing as a means of quickly creating a realistic ‘finished’ looking image. I enjoy the technique a lot.

I made this on a large A3 size sheet which allowed for a lot more detail but I still moved fairly quickly finishing it in a couple of hours.

I quite like working large and close up although the head of my course would say it should have more of the hand! That would be a large drawing but it may be worth trying!

I really enjoy using a variety of pencils to create different tonal shading effects. This was largely done with B, 3B, and 5B pencil and then I found my 4B graphite which I used for the British Museum sketches and adds a lot more contrast which is also nice.

Yes this is my drawing hand!

Hope you like it.

down the rabbit hole

down the rabbit hole

Trying to get back into regular sketching and it helps to post stuff so here’s today’s random Alice in Wonderland inspired sick rabbit, tea and giant stop watch.