Thursday, August 25, 2011

Enzo + Nio vs Inkymole.

Funny what you find on Twitter when you spend some time looking rather than just dashing in breathless, twitting and running away again!

Someone's purloined some of the 'Walls' wallpaper and created this little firebomber with it, somewhere in Williamsburg. I love it, it made me laugh. Nice to know this piece of work, now 5 years old, is still in someone's creative conscious! They've called it 'If A Girl Writes Off The World', named after my original show and Sage Francis' lyric as well as having some resonance over here of course, given the alarmingly low age of some of the 'looters' of a couple of weeks ago.

Stuff on the walls, in frames.

The original illustration I did for The Natural History Museum is on show, in a fancy black frame, at The Association of illustrators' Images Show - somewhat grandly subtitled the 'Best of British Illustration'.

Organised by the Association of Illustrators, I first entered the 'Images' competition in late 1992 as a second year degree student and got into the book and show, which I didn't expect to do at that time. The piece is below; an A1 pastel pencil drawing showing my flatmate's knees! Work offers rolled in as a consequence, but with so much work to do on what was a very packed, old-fashioned degree (27 briefs in the first 9 months, 19 briefs in the second year, and 22 separate pieces of work for my final project plus third year briefs, competitions and collaborations) there wasn't time to take them up, which was a shame.

I've entered it almost every year since, and sometimes I'm chosen, sometimes I'm not. I like the fact that I can't just assume I'll get in - depends who's judging of course! (I've been a judge too, which was immense fun but bloody hard work) - and whether the work is any good...

Billed as 'the premier and longest running jury-selected illustration annual and touring exhibition in the UK', the exhibition is a showcase for some of the busiest commissioned illustrators in the UK today. This one features new work by illustrators whose work you'll have seen out and about as well as graduates and excited newbies.

You can win prizes too, in the categories of Advertising, Books, Children's Books, Design, Editorial, New Media, Self Promotion and New Talent. I have never won a prize, but then I'm not the gong-winning type!

Images 35 tour dates and venues:

26 August - 2 September 2011
Bankside Gallery, 48 Hopton Street, London, SE1 9JH

Darlington Civic Theatre and Arts Centre: 26 Sept-30 Nov 2011
University of Derby: 5 Dec 2011-5 Feb 2012
Viewpoint Gallery, Plymouth: 13 Feb-14 April 2012
Aberystwyth Arts Centre: 30 April-10 June 2012
Prescot Museum: 3 August - 16 October 2012

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

When I was 14, I wanted to be...


a) a 'graphic designer' with a Filofax, sports car and a flat on the top floor of a block in Birmingham, because my Dad had taken me and my mate to Aston University and impressed us with its paternoster lift

b) a concert violinist / pianist or

c) a writer of fiction...possibly for a newspaper (I'd have been snapped up by the Daily Mail!).

I became none of these, but as often happens in life, all three things stayed relevant. I do fiction book covers and write blogs, I play music constantly albeit other people's (I still have my violin, I don't play it anymore), and I work with graphic designers - even doing the odd magazine cover.

This was my first attempt. I oversaw the design and layout of the school 3rd year magazine Reflection, replete with hand-rendered masthead in Stop, which I'd learned to draw with my eyes closed from copying Thompson Twins album sleeves. Note the different typographic treatments for the contents list, which are comparable with the Sight & Sound covers I was doing last year. Inside are hand-drawn headers (I'm doing one of those now for a client) and adverts, which also pepper my folio.

It's a magnificent time capsule, with a guide to what computers we were using. You'll see Apple weren't even on the scene then, but you could have an Amstrad, a Dragon or a Sinclair, as the article by the school computer nerd shows. Record (yes record) reviews were for Duran Duran, Madonna, King, The Eurythmics, Divine and Howard Jones - Dead or Alive in particular get a very dismissive one-line review for 'Sophisticated Boom Boom'.

Fellow designer Jason Bailey I'm still in touch with now, he and his wife running their own Berlin studio, Bailey und Bailey. Julie Neale went on to become a wedding stationery designer, and Kevin Rose also made it to the creative industry. We're the only three that did, but I'd love to show this to the whole gang, as I suspect copies are as rare as that jigsaw-shaped Thompson Twins picture disc still upstairs in the pile.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lily's blog.

We have a guest blogger this month, Lily Blythe from Stoke on Trent, who is working at the Inkymole studio just a month after graduating with a first in Graphic Design. Lily has something of an obsession with - and incredible flair for - typography, and was in the audience at the last college lecture I did in 2010. When she approached us at the D&AD New Talent Show last month, we were only too pleased to get her involved in our current projects.

Watch this space for more about What Lily Did Next!

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This month I was invited down to the Inkymole Studio to lend a helping hand in this month's installation at The Factoryroad Gallery space.

After bumping into Sarah at the D&AD exhibition in London in July, on the last day at around closing time, we got chatting and she was kind enough to give me a project to help keep my hands and mind busy. The brief was to use all of Inky's unfinished creative scribbles, which were a result of years of process work showing an insight in the life of a busy creative.

I kept an open mind and when shown the three crates of work, thought…this isn't that much. Little did I know that once I started to delve into Sarah's work, it was like Pandora's box. Thousands of tiny treasures on scraps of paper, ones which folded out, ones which were covered in coffee stains, blue-tac and ink splurges, and ones which were stuffed into folders along with many other different versions. All of which were done with love.

Whilst taking this sneak peak into Sarah's work I saw that being a creative with such love and passion, it really isn't a job, but it's her life. All the stains on the work showed hard working nights, and early mornings, thousands of drafts trying to get the right solution for a client (and yourself). Every picture really did tell its own story.

After reflecting on all the hard work we put in as creatives, many of us with little money in our pockets, many sleepless nights and cluttered work spaces, this experience has made me realise that I really do love what I do and I can't wait to get my first foot in the door of the creative industry.

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The show is on the walls of The Factoryroad Gallery until our group show in September, 'The Penis Show', opening Saturday September 24th. If you're interested in calling in for a look, please get in touch on and we'll get the kettle on.


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