Friday, October 04, 2019

The Inkvent Calendar





My latest project, released this week and already sold out at the time of writing, is this first-of-its-kind Inkvent Calendar - for pen and ink nerds like me!

This calendar has not 24 but 25, brand new shimmer, sheen and plain inks specially created for the calendar. The colours are beautiful, and VERY Christmassy, but the names are exquisite: Ho Ho Ho, Purple Bow, Midnight Hour, Polar Glow, Fire Embers, Winter Miracle, Gold Star, Gingerbread, Triple Chocolate...so much fun must have been had coming up with those!

The calendar has been two years in the making and was the brainchild of Diamine Inks, who I've worked with for many years (more on that later!) Director Christine and her nephew Phil are an inkredible (*drum roll*) couple, having taken on a company established in 1864 and taking it to the modern, mega-successful company it is today. Having designed all of their packaging since 2014, when Phil The Ink Wizard asked me to work with him on this project, I was ecstatic, even though my first thought was 'why didn't *I* think of that!'

Intended for fans of ink and fountain pens, artists and collectors the world over, the calendar was a massive investment and risky project to undertake: would it sell? who would buy it? would there be enough demand? will the inevitable price point put people off? Regardless, Phil and I ploughed on, putting all our faith in the mad ink love of scribblers and artists worldwide.

The artwork was created in ink on cartridge paper, after first being sketched out in pencil around the busy template that the manufacturers had worked out. This was a deep box, to accommodate the tiny but girthy glass bottles of ink - and the Special Thing underneath number 25. Unusually, Phil had taken the decision to introduce a 25th window, so that there was something special to open on Christmas Day. Another first!

There were a number of technical problems that needed solving both in terms of the preparation of the art (which needed to go from organic ink-on-paper to colour-separated vector-ready for a RIP machine) and the placement of numbers over windows. Not as easy as it sounds, each number had to be large enough and clear enough while being different from the last, and not every one could sit exactly over its window - or that would have looked too symmetrical and regimented.






The manufacture of the 225 brand new colours of ink in their specially-made bottles was another challenge, particular for an already-manically busy little company. Diamine are a robustly hands-on team, and the sheer scale of the man hours required to make this, the first batch of calendars, was not to be underestimated. Initially planned for 2018, the postponement until 2019 bought us time to review and tweak the artwork, refine the copy on the back and really get it into perfect shape.







And then: it was launched. We needn't have worried. Launched just 4 days ago at the time of writing it's already sold out, with shops requesting more stock to fill demand. If you've ordered one and not had it yet, they're planned for despatch mid-November.


Watch the film of me looking around the finished product and revealing SOME of the content!


Here are some places you can get one in the UK, there's still stock in the US here and here.


Large and colourful thanks go to Phil and Christine at Diamine for inviting me into their colourful world, and the opportunity to be involved in so many of their projects. Here's to the next ones!




















Thursday, September 12, 2019

‘Out To Get You’! Story 14: ‘Lumpy, Lumpy’

I’m posting one of the original artworks created for 'Out To Get You' every day; that’s one story a day for all 13 stories - and this is the extra story that the author Josh wrote as a 'bonus-ball'. 

This one was printed in the additional little booklet sent out with pre-order and early copies of the book. You can still get one if you want one - we have about 10 left!

This one was made with pencil, ink and collage, and was posed for me by my friend Sara's daughter Evie, also a fan of the dark and murky who lives just a minute's walk from my house. She stood very still looking appalled at an empty bowl for ten minutes while I flitted around her with a camera.


"If I kept dumping it, the oatmeal would just keep getting nastier and nastier. It would turn completely green and fuzzy, and it would start to seep and smell like the bottom of our garbage bin. 

If I didn’t do something soon, it might even become completely infested with maggots.

So it was time. 

Eat it, I thought, and end it

So I lifted my favorite yellow bowl from the microwave, and slowly, I grabbed a spoon from the drawer."









More about the book, including where to buy it and how to get its fabulous accompanying freebies at outtogetyou.run


‘Out To Get You’! Story 13: ‘The Stain On The Cafeteria Floor’

I’m posting one of the original artworks created for 'Out To Get You' every day; that’s one story a day for all 13 stories, plus the extra story that the author Josh wrote as a 'bonus-ball'. You get to see all the gnarly pen-and-ink details close up, which are often not seen when printed in the book!

This is the last of the 13 illustrations, and the first one I completed when working on the book.

I couldn't wait to start work on the final illustrations, having sketched out ideas for weeks beforehand. This is the malevolent soda machine overseeing the disgusting, murky stain on the floor of the school canteen.

What is it?
Why is it getting bigger?
Why does it look...ALIVE?

Here's an extract:

"Just like the dime, the stick of gum fell somehow past the floor...or through the floor, and, just like the dime, the gum twisted, grew smaller, and disappeared.

     "It's like a portal," said Malia.

     "Can we please just get away from it?" Janet said from behind her. 'I don't like it, Malia. Can we just get away?"

Malia turned. Janet's hands were white."






More about the book, including where to buy it and how to get its fabulous accompanying freebies at outtogetyou.run

‘Out To Get You’! Story 12: ‘Neat-o Burrito’

I’m posting one of the original artworks created for 'Out To Get You' every day; that’s one story a day for all 13 stories, plus the extra story that the author Josh wrote as a 'bonus-ball'. You get to see all the gnarly pen-and-ink details close up, which are often not seen when printed in the book!

This is the curiously-names 'Neat-o Burrito'.

Here's an extract:

"And now I know something for sure.

This genie is no good. This genie is trouble.

There's no way I'm making a wish. A lump fills my chest, and I take a few steps back.

     "Do you wish for wealth?" the genie asks. he says it low and kind of threatening.

I don't say anything.

     "Do you wish for fame?" he says.

He wants to destroy me. I can see that."








More about the book, including where to buy it and how to get its fabulous accompanying freebies at outtogetyou.run


‘Out To Get You’! Story 11: ‘Staring Contest’

I’m posting one of the original artworks created for 'Out To Get You' every day; that’s one story a day for all 13 stories, plus the extra story that the author Josh wrote as a 'bonus-ball'. You get to see all the gnarly pen-and-ink details close up, which are often not seen when printed in the book!



"The eye seemed to shift and open itself slightly wider.

It must be the light, Livvy told herself. The moon, she figured, coming out from behind a cloud and shining though her window, Still, she tried not to blink.

After a few seconds, her eyes began to water.

She held her stare, but when the burning became too much, she blinked.

When she opened her eyes, the ceiling seemed suddenly lower, as if it had dropped a few inches, maybe half a foot close during the few seconds her eyes had been closed..."

Eyes were hidden everywhere in this illustration, as you can...see...









More about the book, including where to buy it and how to get its fabulous accompanying freebies at outtogetyou.run

‘Out To Get You’! Story 10: ‘Mighty Comfy’


I’m posting one of the original artworks created for 'Out To Get You' every day; that’s one story a day for all 13 stories, plus the extra story that the author Josh wrote as a 'bonus-ball'. You get to see all the gnarly pen-and-ink details close up, which are often not seen when printed in the book!

"I leaned out the truck window and wondered what sorts of things had been on that couch. Crusty food? Flea-ridden animals? Something worse?

        "Uh - Dad." I spoke quietly. "Whoever put that couch here probably had a good reason for getting rid of it," I said, trying to change his mind.
        
        "What do you mean, little pardner?" Dad looked up from the couch.

Little pardner. It was one of my nicknames. I had a lot of them, all from Dad's westerns. There was also Dead-Eye, Shim and Wrangler..."

The trick here was to make the couch look as grimy and disgusting as possible, while also suggesting its comfort and softness...and how inviting it is!






More about the book, including where to buy it and how to get its fabulous accompanying freebies at outtogetyou.run

‘Out To Get You’! Story 9: ‘The Colour of Ivy’

Day 9 of the 'Out To Get You' artwork posts is this one, 'The Color of Ivy'.

This one I loved especially as it was about a glittery green marker pen with evil intent!


"The marker's glittery colour and perfumed scent told her the marker was different. 


Special.

On the back of her hand, she drew a strand of ivy. She started by making a curving, twisting vine just under her knuckles. 


The ink came out warm, the exact same glittery greenish black as the marker's cap..."





More about the book, including where to buy it and how to get its fabulous accompanying freebies,

‘Out To Get You’! Story 8: ‘Goodbye, Ridgecrest Middle School’

Day 8 of the ‘Out To Get You’ artwork series — an illustration a day from the new book.

This one, appropriately enough following yesterday’s school post (I got a star on the Hall of Fame in my old school!), is ‘Goodbye, Ridgecrest Middle School’.

Made with ink, pencil, charcoal and fineliners on paper, it accompanies a story about a malevolent paper towel dispenser. No, really…

“Wally swallowed hard. Whatever this dispenser was saying to him, it seemed to be saying it only to him. Whatever fate was on the horizon, it was his.

Two days left? For what?

Suddenly the whole Johnson-Johansen thing didn’t seem so important.

The universe, it seemed, really was out to get him.”



More about the book, including where to buy it and how to get its fabulous accompanying freebies,


‘Out To Get You’! Story 7: ‘Shadow Curse’

Day 8 of the 'Out To Get You' artwork series - an illustration a day from the new book.
This one, appropriately enough following yesterday's school post, is 'Goodbye, Ridgecrest Middle School'.

Made with ink, pencil, charcoal and fineliners on paper, it accompanies a story about a malevolent paper towel dispenser. No, really... 

“Wally swallowed hard. Whatever this dispenser was saying to him, it seemed to be saying it only to him. Whatever fate was on the horizon, it was his.

Two days left? For what?

Suddenly the whole Johnson-Johansen thing didn’t seem so important. 

The universe, it seemed, really was out to get him.”


More about the book, including where to buy it and how to get its fabulous accompanying freebies,

‘Out To Get You’! Story 6: ‘The Crossing’

I’m posting one original artwork a day for all 13 stories in ‘Out To Get You’ PLUS the extra story that you get FREE when you order the book (*while swag stocks last!) 


This one (day 6) is ink and pencil and contains the only bits of ‘non-organic’ matter, in the form of some bits made in Procreate.

It’s for the story ‘The Crossing’: 

“For a week, the sign had been beckoning him. It had started when it had shown him a boy in front. Even now he felt sign coaxing him nearer and nearer.

Why?

But he couldn’t stop him himself. He had to touch the sign. It was all so strange. He just had to. 

So pushing past his fear, he reached up and pressed a finger to the girl’s tiny, reaching hand...”



More about the book, including where to buy it and how to get its fabulous accompanying freebies,




'Out To Get You'! Story 5: ‘The Vanishers’



I’m posting one of the original artworks created for 'Out To Get You' every day; that’s one story a day for all 13 stories, plus the extra story that the author Josh wrote as a 'bonus-ball'. You get to see all the gnarly pen-and-ink details close up, which are often not seen when printed in the book!

‘The Vanishers’ is about best mates Jacob and Jakob (who were based on real-life namesakes!) 

There’s a lot of hidden detail in this one which struggles to be seen in the book - a combination of the limitations of print and the paper used, and not unexpected (this one really needed more contrast - I’ll know next time!) But here are some closeups.

You can buy a copy from πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Blackwell’s, Book Depository or Amazon in the UK
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Indiebound or Amazon in the USA





More about the book, including where to buy it and how to get its fabulous accompanying freebies,

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