Tuesday, 30 June 2020

The Little Black Book (vidi vici veni)



"Megadonna"

"Witch Hazel"

"Jane Playne"

"Captain Jessie Belle"

"Villora-Zar"


"Celeste Goodheart"

"Kitty Kain"

"The Wife"


The Little Black Book Cover

A "Little Black Book" was something of a quasi-mythic thing, long before phones and social media absorbed physical address books. It was associated with promiscuous men and women, who'd record the contact details of their sexual partners. Many would claim to have such a book, but few actually did. Which is why it was rare to actually see one. Someone always knew someone who had one.

Its origins seem to stem from Henry VIII who was believed to have kept a "book of sin." This particular book, however, was probably used more to note his enemies, rather than a book of sexual conquests, but. it was that "sin" part of it which evolved into something which became the iconic "Little Black Book" we refer to today. Now, it's relegated itself to being nothing more than a common turn of phrase.

But, because it was such an iconic thing, I thought it might be a good idea to reference it with the above artwork. The one I've done is obviously fictitious, echoing the almost mythic nature they had. It's drawn with a 2B pencil in a small, eight page, A7 pad I made for myself. The comments, the tallies, and even the reworked latin phrase on the cover, pretty much sum up what they were and how they were used.

They were certainly of their time.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Angry Elf


(HB pencil on 74mm x 106mm paper)

In this dreamscape piece, I liked the way the dream construct elements of it made up the branches of a tree that the elf is hiding behind. Usually, it becomes nothing more than background, as in previous pieces.

And this little elf doesn't look too pleased at being discovered!

Sunday, 12 April 2020

The Happy Party People

(HB pencil on a 139mm x 87mm postcard)

They are The Happy Party People. A disturbing cult inflicting "forced fun" on unsuspecting victims. They cannot be stopped, and they know where you live...

"Hi there! We are your local chapter of The Happy Party People, and your home has been chosen to host tonight's party. Aren't you lucky? - Yes you are! All you have to do is provide the food, the drink, as well as the entertainment and we'll do the rest. Sorry if you have any problem with this, but I'm afraid resistance is fucking futile!"

"Do you have Wifi?"


It was inevitable that, during this pandemic and lockdown, a piece like this would materialise. It shows that natural need we have for social interaction, going against the grain of all the advice we're given for distancing and isolation. Yet, it also shows that desperate need to protect ourselves from harm as well, in the shape of masks and gloves. Together, they take the form of an insane situation.

Monday, 2 March 2020

The Guru At The End Of Time

(HB pencil on 103mm x 73mm paper)

A somewhat strange, serene, character in a raggedy cloak in this dreamscape piece. The face of it was the first thing to appear at the rorschaching stage, and so ended up dominating the whole thing. Usually, when that happens, and nothing else seems to take form, I dismiss the work entirely, but I actually liked this one.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

BREXIT DAY

(4B pencil on a 125mm x 105mm sheet of toilet paper)

To commemorate the UK leaving the EU, I decided to add my little "celebration" to mark the occasion, in the form of an inverted union flag, crudely drawn on a single sheet of toilet paper. A false sense of nationalism drove the UK out of the EU. It's therefore to be wondered how far that nationalism will serve the country on the outside. Probably as far as one sheet of toilet paper.

"Mind how you go!"

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Merry Christmas 2019 : BOLLOCKS TO CHRISTMAS



(HB pencil on 147mm x 96mm card)

It's that time of year again, so I did another drawing to use on a Christmas card, together with a story to go along with it. This "Spray Can Clown" is the main character of Reginald P Grimm, who has his own particular dislike for Christmas. With this one, I added a rare flash of colour to the actual card design in picture editing software, as you can see here:

(final card design)





It wasn't much, but it's worth mentioning. In the previous cards I've done, it's usually just the words "Merry Christmas" and the year. However, depicting the character in his clown mask and brandishing spray cans demanded that the extra wording was added.











So, sit back for a moment, and enjoy the seasonal tale of Reginald P Grimm....

(Page 1)
(Page 2)
(Page 3)
(Page 4)
(Page 5)

Monday, 18 November 2019

Miss Penman - Needlework Teacher

(HB pencil on 107mm x 75mm card)
 
It's not often that memories are brought to the surface when doing dreamscape works, but it can sometimes happen, as it has done here.
 
When I started on this piece, the vague shape of the main subject became quickly apparent at the foundation stage. At first, I thought it might be some hooded figure on a smartphone but, as I focused on it more, it developed into someone surprisingly familiar to me. A distant memory from 1984 of a needlework teacher called Miss Penman, casting an expert eye over something I'd made in her class. It may not show her exactly how she was (it is a memory, after all), but there's no doubt that it's her. It dominated the rest of the image which became nothing more than dream construct around her, similar to The Wizard's Cloak piece that I did, but it's a good example of how memories and dreams can coincide.
 
And I wonder what happened to Miss Penman after she left Thornhill High School....

Saturday, 5 October 2019

The Proposition

(2B pencil on a 139mm x 87mm postcard)
 
A juxtapop piece, similar to the Cut-Price Holidays work that I did a few years ago. These juxtapops are meant to look like single comic-book frames with a completely unconnected common phrase in their speech bubbles. In this case, "I love you. Marry me." It was drawn on a blank postcard with the dimensions you see above, but the image itself measures 85mm x 48mm.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

His Parrot Wife Said Nothing

A6 booklet of Dreamscapes
 
I decided to use another of the small, 8 page, sketch booklets I'd made and filled it with dreamscape works using a HB pencil. As with all dreamscapes, they varied wildly in subject and size. One of the smallest was the one below, which I thought would also make a good title for this blog post:
 
"His Parrot Wife Said Nothing" (38mm x 20mm)
 
And yes, it really is that small, but a good little image. You tend not to question what's going on in them. You just bring the image out, whatever it ends up being. They can be surreal or abstract, mundane or insane. That's the beauty of doing them. I chose this second one from the booklet, because it was more stylised in its appearance, and I liked the resulting look of it. I did consider cutting it out from the booklet and finishing it off as a standalone work, but decided to leave it as it was:
 
"The Pickpocket" (53mm x 43mm)



Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Dreamscape Portrait: TRACEY ULLMAN

(ASPECT 1 : HB pencil 60mm x 40mm)
(ASPECT 2 : HB pencil 60mm x 40mm)
 
The third in this set of portraits seemed to be the most difficult to do for some reason. Even moreso than the Siouxsie Sioux one. I found it a struggle to lock onto the subject, dismissing numerous attempts before managing to complete the ones you see above. Strange, considering that I thought I knew a little more about her, from her time on Three of a Kind, her music career with Stiff Records, her success in the US, to her recent comedy sketch show on BBC1. I therefore assumed doing portraits of her would have been easy. How very wrong I was!
 
ASPECT 1 came about after quite a number of failures. The slight Picasso influence you see within it seemed to come out of nowhere, but I was happy that it did and quickly focussed on it, more out of relief than anything else. It resulted in quite a good piece in the end.
 
ASPECT 2 is more of the cluttered kind of dreamscape work. What I like about it, though, is that it does look like a head exploding. I put that down to the manic nature I perceived in the subject. Perhaps in herself, or in the effect she has on others, and considering the trouble I had doing these portraits, probably the latter!