Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kinky boots.

I've just done these illustrations for internal use at Macy's department store New York. I was a bit smitten with them, but these are actually the rejected ones!
The real one is very similar but I don't like it as much. They're size 4 by the way...

Natural History Museum.

In January I did this illustration for the Natural History Museum in London. They needed a fresh image for their own-range giftware, and this was created using fineliner pens and time spent in the Museum itself, along with hours poring over their massive photo library. It's finally in the museum so I'm allowed to share it!

The illustration had to summarise the enormity and breadth of their collection along with the unique architecture of the building. Creating this illustration combined everything I love to do: observe and study nature, draw challenging new things (ie: "animals are not my strong point!") and work in a detailed and accurate way, while being invited to flavour the image with my own style and atmosphere.

For the curious, featured in the illustration are the following species and elements:

Long-tongued bumblebee
Asterope Lepreuri Butterfly
Jackson's Leaf Butterfly
Stag Beetle
Silver Chafer Beetle
Great Raft Spider

Dippy (whole)
American Black/PolarBear
Blue Whale
(There are two more dinosaurs, one skeletal and one whole (Bronto?) but I've lost the notes for these! Maybe you can advise?
Assorted bird eggs


Crucian Carp

Giant Fern

Koh-i-Noor diamond replica
Fool's Gold

Fly Agaric

Stellaria Solaris
C. Varia

Homo Erectus skull
Charles Darwin
Australopithecus Boisei skull
Human embryo

Assorted generic specimen jars and notebooks
Earth Gallery and other architectural details
Volcano cross-section

Images are shown on my website here.

and you can buy the NHM's illustrated goodies here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Central Illustration Agency

The Central Illustration Agency have just published this beautiful book showcasing all their artists. And I never thought I would be able to say 'I'm one of them'.

That's not some special faux-blog-modesty talking there. Nope, I mean it. I mean it because CIA represent some serious time-served people I admire and look up to as masters of their art - Peter Horridge, Sir Peter Blake, Andrew Bannecker, Paul Slater, David Hughes, Jeff Nishinaka to name a handful. I also say it earnestly because I've happily put in the hours, grafting away at a job I love for many years, to get to the stage where I might be able to sit in the company of these artists, and the relationship I have with Ben, Jules, Rhiannon and Alicja is rather special to me. Long may it continue!

Here's what the press release says:

License To Inspire is an eclectic mix of stunning artwork and fascinating interviews from the world's most talented illustrators and industry innovators. An invaluable resource for art buyers and other professionals within the creative industries, this will soon become a recommended text for art students and particularly those who wish to work in the industry. With inclusions from a diverse range of artists from Jonas Bergstrand to Sir Peter Blake, the book is packed with beautiful images and thought-provoking words. Created by the acclaimed Central Illustration Agency, who have been associated with the brightest talent in illustrative art since 1983, this book will be an essential addition to any coffee table or agency library.

"Illustration has been arguably the liveliest art form of this decade, and CIA have been right in the centre of it. This book paints a brilliant and lively portrait of the world, the art and the business of contemporary illustration." Marc Valli, Elephant magazine & Magma.

You can buy a copy on CIA's website.
or from the ever-reliable Amazon.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Hey doll.

I cleared out and re-organised the toy display last week, and all the toys that could go in the washing machine, did. Those that couldn't had their clothes removed and were bathed by hand in the kitchen sink, since they were covered in plaster dust (I omitted to cover them before work started!)

I was struck by a couple of things. First, I only had three baby dolls, all Tiny Tears, one of whom was stolen from the pram, the other two given away so there are none of those. Second, all my dollies have shoes and pants. It's a long time since I put that many tiny pairs of knickers out to dry. And third, how many of the clothes me and my Mum made ourselves.

We were very short of resources, but Mum could sew anything, and in fact made all of our clothes herself. This was not out of choice, but it did mean that anything she made, she could make at one-eighth of the size, and that meant that by the age of 11, I could too.

This is a version of Lady Diana's wedding dress which we made for the Royal Wedding. Her train was measured to be the same proportional length as Diana's, and her flowers were correct. I thought about cutting her hair...but thankfully resisted. She also has a crystal head-dress.
Fifteen years later, Mum made this version of my emerald velvet bridesmaid's dress worn at my best friend's wedding. We wore boots and thick tights for the December 27th wedding, and had an identical bouquet. She also made an exact copy of Jules' wedding dress, which she still has.
Check Sindy's flares. The jeans were bought, but the blouse was made. Those shoes were the easiest to fall off and I'm astounded I still have them both.
Glamourous brunette Sindy, a ballerina by trade, wears a hand-made fur-collared cape lined with the same black lace as the halter neck dress beneath. And of course, black strappy shoes.
For a more relaxed occasion, Sindy wears a crocheted pink mohair polo neck with shop-bought jogging bottoms.
This Sindy wears the yellow moccasins, because she is an adopted one, and as such bears the scars of a pet dog who likes doll feet.
Purrrrrr! Glamour. Knitted sparkly halter-neck with lace trim and blue slip-ons. And...a haircut NOT by me. Another adopted Sindy.
As well as the dolly clothes I made toys. This is Shrew and Shrew, one made about a month after the other. They've never been apart and came to France with me aged 11, when David Rinaldi dangled one aloft over the side of the ferry and threatened to drop. He didn't, but he's still quite the b*stard for showing such cruelty.
And finally, these bonkers creations were found in Grandma's house after she died. We don't think she made these clothes - she was NOT the crocheting type - but there's such attention to detail I had to keep them. They have matching turquoise knickers and check the little tiny slippers. Pair of hard gits, these boys.
Finally, I didn't make this - this was a compensation gift from Grandma when my sister was born, so I didn't feel she was getting all the attention. Or at least that's how I remember it.
I love the box. And it's mine, look - it says so!

Pelham Puppets:


Are you sitting comfortably?

Check the Rob Ryan skirt! This is me standing next to a hoarding in Old Street, London which shows the beginnings of the Start A Story project run by James at the Big Antidote. I started it off, as you can see, and it's still live - so if you want to chip in a chapter go here: http://www.bigantidotecom


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