Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Sarah Coleman Has Rightly Become Famous" says Computer Arts, in whose July edition I'm chuntering on again for their Illustration edition.

They're deluded, of course, but I have contributed a fair chunk of energy to the pen'n'ink cause over the years. The mag dissects three media; Bold Vectors, Glorious 3D and Beautiful Ink, the one I'm in. They asked me about my working process, and here's a quote (in which I'm referred to rather unnervingly as just 'Coleman'):

'It all stems from her Dad, Coleman says, who would produce titles for the cine films he made. "He had some original Witch pens - short for William Mitchell - and he lent them to me with his bottle of Quink", she explains. "I still use them to this day. I think he thought he'd get them back at some point!" laughs Coleman.'

If you want to read the rest of the article, which also has some very luscious drawing by Izzie Klingels on the next page (don't see a lot that really stops me in my tracks, but this did), the magazine's on sale for another two weeks or so.

D&AD New Blood, London 4th July

I'm going to be at the D&AD New Blood event on Monday offering the benefit of my experience over the years to anyone who fancies it. Well, specifically, anyone interested in a creative career who feels they need to ask a few questions about getting there!
I'm there with my friend Richard Hogg, as well as fellow crayon-wangers Luke Pearson, Anna Fidalgo, Jamie Wieck and Guy Moorhouse from Airside and a few others.

My slot is 12-1. Pack some sandwiches and come along!

D&AD's New Blood website

Monday 4th July
D&AD New Blood, The Old Truman Brewery,
91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL
(F Block T1, T2, T3,T4 &T5, Shop 14 & Dray Walk Gallery)

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Steam-powered type.

Despite doing both in my time, I'm neither signwriter nor calligrapher. People who can call themselves either of those things have the enviable quality of being trained in very specific skills, both of which were on plentiful show at the weekend at our friends George and Michelle's 3rd Annual Vintage Rally.

George and Michelle live on a farm in Cadeby (actually, their farm seems to BE half of Cadeby, a tiny Leicstershire village) from where they grow apples, keep chickens, geese, horses and a pack of well-trained guard dogs, let the cats roam free to catch the mice and run an architectural reclaim and demolition business. It's a busy site, and this weekend it was completely taken over by a collection of old and steam-powered vehicles from tractors to steamrollers to live-in vehicles (and our old Austin Allegro which we sold to George years ago).

Most of them were adorned with the most beautiful typography, humbly rendered in paint like this Foden lorry from the 30s, or as metal insignia. Take a look and marvel at the steady hand that did these.

'Isobel' the Lorry wears this pretty name badge, which reminds me a bit of some of my own handwriting. Again perfectly spaced, which is difficult to do on a curve like this. I'm not keen on drop-shadows but this piece would be so much less without one!

This is clearly done in a one-take hit, using a brush, I think. The handiwork here is by Brian Evans, who I'm told is the authority on signwriting including the kinds of technicolour work you see at fairgrounds!

The kerning on this is perfect. I can't help wondering if he uses a guide line, or masks bits out. And there's more than one layer of paint on there too.

My hand-rendering would be more like this...

Here are the pretty vehicles wearing the type, after years of restoration.

E. Taylor, whose notoriously council-hassling skip firm supplied our drive with massive metal yellow bins for months on end last year, had this old beast on show. His new lorries aren't nearly as attractive.

Look at the angles on this one - HAS to be some masking tape involved, right?

There's nothing like seeing elegant typographic curves hewn in three dimensions. The first instinct here for both of us was to grab this Foden logo and grip it. It just looks like it needs 'testing' doesn't it, with a firm hold?

...though I prefer this unpainted version with its unashamed screw heads.

Even a simple debossed A in a car's hubcap is quite exciting.

Then there are the juicy little details you get on second inspection:

Typographically perfect and no bigger than a couple of inches!

Name the font on this plated slab of a thing? Whatever it is, I want a UNIMOG 1000. Or a fleet of them. Preferably ones who are mates with Optimus Prime.

Here's an entire vehicle splendid in its coachwork and lettering. So many shiny bits, and pretty wheels too.

This little beauty together with all of the other vehicles travelled together into the village centre on Saturday afternoon to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of Teddy Boston, rector of Cadeby Church (he christened my youngest sister) and spare-time railway-builder. The Reverend Edwin Boston was described as "a short, round, jolly man, much given to Anglo-Saxon language in times of stress, such as a close run race with his traction engine Fiery Elias", and was the inspiration for fellow Reverend W V Awdry's Fat Controller. The vehicles made a slow trundle to the church where they placed this home-made tribute, bearing worryingly fat-penned but well-meant type by me.

(I went with the wrong pens, thinking I'd have a space ten times the size of this! But no-one seemed to mind).

Here's the invitation I designed for the event, printed by Gartree Press of Leicester on a Heidelberg GTO Press on Arjo Wiggins Conqueror Wove:

A pint at Sutton Cheney and a fitting end to the weekend. For the record, here are the organisers of the whole thing, George and Michelle. Cheers Denny family!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Cash In Hand.

I read recently about an illustrator who kept a list of 'dream clients' on her wall. I don't have such a thing - I've always thought it was a bit limiting - as in, what do you do when you've worked for them all? - and besides a dream client is actually, as my friend Jill Calder put it, 'one that creates an exciting brief, allows you to do your job, communicates well, has a sense of humour, pays well and is fun to work with.'

Or, it's one that pays you in chocolate.

I designed some packaging for D & D Chocolates who specialise in dairy-free chocolate and carob, and (amen) happen to be down the road from us. We used to buy their gear anyway, then when we had a couple of big shows they provided the bespoke chocolate and carob bars we made as giveaways (below).

Check the latest stash I collected yesterday. I had the run of the store room (we'd already given two bars and two eggs away and eaten one of the fondants). This was payment for the plain chocolate; I've not been paid for the mint version, the 100g version or the orange flavour. Bring on the twitchy sugar-fuelled settling of THOSE invoices...


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