Friday, December 27, 2013

Keeping it real.

As well as buying the few presents that I do need from tiny indepedent traders and artists that we know, I also bought my Christmas cards (since family receive a non-corporate card as well as an official one) from fellow paper artist Su Blackwell (, and paper to wrap things in from Wrap, a tiny British company not unlike ourselves printing the festive designs of artists whose work they like. All the designs are printed on recycled paper using soya inks in the UK:

I couldn't ask for anything more, really!

Clay Magic.

Here are the charming Christmas decorations for my two best friends’ Christmas presents, hand-made for me by Caroline J. Allen. They came as a set of ten each and every one is completely unique. They feel biscuitty and light! So they won't weigh the tree down.

Knitted Christmas Joy!

My Mum (she of the woolly zombies) made me and my sister Joanne a really quite awesome knitted wreath each just before Christmas. 

Christmas roses, poinsettia, holly, mistletoe, berries and a sparkly bow were all improvised and adapted from two needles! I love it. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Kaleidoscope Gloop by Ed Garland.

How the Christmas cards were made!

This year's Christmas greeting was inspired by a seasonal story commissioned from Ed Garland, and written specially for us. When he wrote it I had no idea what I would do, but the words 'kaleidoscope gloop' leapt out and, inspired by an editorial piece I'd done earlier in the year about chemistry and their symmetrical, often tiny circular forms full of detail, the answer came joyfully and easily!

I knew I also wanted to fully indulge my love of print techniques this time and was in recent receipt of a new swatch from a paper company which had the most delicious new metallics. And my ever-patient and creative printer, who can do absolutely anything you ask (after a few practices, of course) got excited about this one.

Here's the original ink artwork for the four kaleidoscopes:
Doll feet, holly, snowflakes; parcels, skulls and ooze; 
Bows and rained-on cars;
Umbrellas, clouds, windscreens and mistletoe;
and finally the tangerines, books and Christmas trees, all key elements in the story.

Here's my mockup of the how the finished card would look:
And here, looking like the most exquisite piece of jewellery, is the block for the gold foil on the bauble. I was terribly excited by this.

Foiling tests:

The cards were printed 2-colour litho (some innovation was needed to print the gold on the brown board, because of its already-high gold fleck content):

Then the baubles die-cut:

Finally the cards threaded and three different colours of Swarovski crystal stuck to each one.
Address labels were sprayed gold before printing, stuck on to three shades of sparkly envelope, then the cards hand written with a message and sent out! Oof.

And here for the print lovers is the beautiful old Heldelberg creasing the cards. That’s the multi-skilled Roger supervising (and me chopsing). Just listen to those sounds! (you might need to turn up the volume).

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Thursday, December 05, 2013

It's Time.

I always did think the white envelopes were a bit boring, so I changed them - they're now Gold! 25 designs to pick from including our 45rpm adapter Christmas Cards (not in the same offer as they're a different species altogether).

Designed by Graham Robson.

The Journal.

The Bernstein & Andriulli Journal arrived today, available in the US. A nice sturdy, well-design thing with great print. This one has my Male Me Heart piece in it. Designed by The Brooklyn Brothers.

Thanks to Aaron Barr at B&A for sending it!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Inkymole Christmas Shop

If you’re a client worried you haven’t got anything organised for your company Christmas cards this year, or just someone who likes to tick off Christmas cards early, my big fat Christmas collection is here to help. Mole's Christmas shop is where you can licence any one of 25 Holiday and Christmas images for your print or screen campaign - or just buy them as Christmas cards.

Hark the Herald!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Wall.

This afternoon, we finished The Wall, a 15 metre wide painting on breezeblock inside the newly-built premises of Briggs Hillier creators of retail environments for the likes of Schuh, Nike, Adidas, JD Sports, Screwfix and River Island.

It's been a big one, both creatively and in terms of logistical challenges - the building was still being constructed as we began work, and we had no power, no light and only a ladder to the first floor mural location. As the most prominent part of a creative space in which the entire BH team have to work, this had to be something inspirational, devoid of cheese or platitudes, timeless and beautiful.  We asked the client what they wanted. The answer was 'we leave it totally up to you'. Ah. Gulp, then.

I started by looking at what the company did, and where they did it. Adrian, the Briggs half of the company, travels almost constantly to clients in exotic locations like Dubai, Shanghai, Jordan, Tokyo, Bucharest and Riyadh. He also has a thing for shoes, as well as working for some of the globe's biggest shoe retailers and manufacturers (which becomes relevant later). Here's Adrian and his building. (Note: he isn't mincing, he's demonstrating the height of the eventual cupboards).

I was taken by the twin ideas of the different languages spoken in these countries, and the universal appeal of shopping - particularly in the UAE where I had visions of beautifully-kohl'd women perusing racks of gloriously coloured sparkling garments, shoes and jewellery: the love of retail. I was all for a swirling mass of Arabic and Hindi and jewel-like colours... till a mate reminded me 'yeah, but they work for Screwfix as well'.

Quite. Back to the drawing board then for a more inclusive and down to earth approach, this time focusing on the Briggs Hillier end of things - their creative process.

Adrian and Jenny (the Hillier part of the company) don't do things in the most predictable way. Their new building - although still a shell - was already looking like proof of that. So sketching over architect's drawings of the wall, I settled on a choice of two things:, a famous quote about shopping by Bo Derek (one of several), seen in one of the early sketches below, or one by Dieter Rams. And Dieter won.

The design became a combination of two sketches. I surrounded the Dieter quote with 'starbursts' either side of some of the myriad things BH's clients sell, with, of course, the emphasis on shoes. The whole assembly was punctuated at the bottom with a multitool of the type sold by Black's (another client), re-engineered to represent the many-skilled single weapon of mass creation that is BH. The most important thing for such a massive wall was to give it movement, and energy, and the shape of wall lent it an eye-like feel into which I put a 'pupil', 'iris' and white edges. At either corner, the buildings of BH's conquered cities were to glow white, alongside the word 'shopping' in their respective languages.

Each element of the design was first drawn up on paper in ink, with the centre lockup at A2 size; languages, objects, and buildings too.

Here's the finished illustration mocked up on screen. (Nigel Axon of Axon Architects was kind enough to donate a 2 metre print of the digital mockup, so we could start to see how it was going to look at scale):
And here's the real thing:

The journey from desk to breezeblock took four people nearly two weeks, working 14-hour generator-powered days and nights in dingy conditions, rainstorms, thunder, chill and with way too many chips for sustenance. With Leigh in project management and base prep modes and Graham and Tiffany on painting duty, it took form shape by shape, layer by painful layer (we had no idea breezeblock took three coats - every line of the illustration has been painted three times!) with a painting method more akin to rendering plaster and Polyfilla-ing. We all got extremely comfortable at heights too, with scaffolds and vertiginous ladders becoming our friends very quickly.

In all, it was quite an awesome experience from beginning to exhausted end, along the way discovering new techniques, methods and reserves of grit. And we're all incredibly pleased with the result, especially the clients Adrian and Jenny, to whom we're very grateful for letting us have free creative rein over their huge wall. Thanks must also go to Graham and Tiffany for their heroic efforts beyond any reasonable human endeavour, and the little blue van which trundled us there day after day.

Here are some action shots, starting with a time lapse by Graham. Can you hear the rain? Smell the paint? Feel the height...?

Mum's sausage sandwiches delivered with all condiments and delivered by Dad were most gratefully consumed on a particularly rainy Sunday afternoon:


Related Posts with Thumbnails