Thursday, December 20, 2018

Mole Loves Christmas - a 2xC90 tape marathon!

The last monthly Molemix of 2018 is not a mix actually, but a three and a half hour (or two-tape) Christmas sesh with a heavy emphasis on the non-traditional...though there's a bit of that in there - of course there is! 

I've been doing monthly mixes since July (though they're really just collections - despite having run a radio station or two and owning 6000 records, a pair of decks and a mixer for the last 20 years neither of can actually 'mix') but this one is the one I was looking forward to the most. Despite not 'mixing' the chunes, it's quite a job to source and assemble them in an order that makes sense and create a journey - especially when, on this occasion, there are so many to choose from. And to remember to add those ones that pop into your head in the middle of a working day!

Some of the tracks don't exist digitally so needed to be recorded by me from my 7" vinyl copy and artwork added - Nathan Fake's beautiful version of Silent Night, for example, and Kate Bush's December Will Be Magic Again.

I love Christmas and the cheesy old classics (except the Pogues because it upsets me, ditto Wizzard, behind which there lurks the tragic story of a new talking Palitoy dolly who died on Christmas morning and had to go back AFTER CHRISTMAS) but electronics are closest to my cold aluminium musical heart, so you'll find many twinkles, bleeps and sparkles are made by machines in this set.

Interspersed with those are sweeping film soundtrack excerpts (from one of my favourite Christmas films ever, the sob-inducing gothfest Edward Scissorhands, and The Nightmare Before Christmas), new re-interpretations from the rich canon of classic Christmas music, little narrations and realistic sounds as the C90 tape turns over and clocks off at the end.

Enjoy Sufjan Stevens, Aphex Twin, Arvo Part, Kate Bush, Nathan Fake, Low, Marvin Gaye, Bat For Lashes, The Strokes, Plaid Kurtis Blow, Isaac Hayes, The Leisure Society, The Knife, 47Trees, LCD Soundsystem, Fleet Foxes, Amina, The Shirelles...and LOADS more.

Listen on Apple Music

or listen on Mixcloud

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Together We Can Do So Much

This lovely Christmas campaign from 1973ltd has an animated Helen Keller quote drawn by me.

Inkymole's company charity of choice for the last ten years has been Mind, so I couldn't have been happier to help out with this project!

I was put forward for the job by a long-time client, Jamie MacDow, who used to work for AFishInSea (who doesn't love a good pun?) who now works with 1973ltd. Alison and Tom there asked me to create a hand-lettered interpretation of Helen Keller's quote 'Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much'.

Due to the fast turnaround (Christmas isn't it!) I decided to create this piece using my Apple Pencil and Procreate, which would allow for fast changes, additions and fidgets. As it was, very few of those were required - I sent five options, and one was chosen with virtually no changes, just a little polishing here and there.

Here's the progress from blank screen to final; you can see where I've used a clock face to get a good circle, since I can't draw freehand circles very well!

To read the full text from the campaign go here:

Thanks to Tom and Alison at 1973ltd for inviting me to work with them on this! And should you wish to contribute to Mind, you can do that here.

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Christmas Radio Times Cover

Every illustrator of a certain age knows that a Radio Times cover is up there among the traditional bucket-list jobs - along with an album cover, a Royal Mail stamp or maybe a cover for a book by your favourite author. 

I've done the stamp and the album cover and the novels, but I'd never done an RT Christmas. I've got colleagues who've done them - Mick Brownfield being the most marvellous and prolific! - and once upon a 2015, I almost did too.

In 2016 I created the festive page headers for the Christmas RT, and a nice big bit of cover type and a hand-lettered DPS for the July edition too. 

But, before both of those, the 2015 Christmas RT almost had a dramatic, type-led cover bursting with stars (astronomically and celebrity-wise), over a night-time snowy horizon. It was different, for sure - but just a little too different for the audience. The art director and I were mega-keen, but sadly, in the end, the senior decision makers went with tradition and a beautiful image of a Briggsian snowman. And who can argue with that, albeit reluctantly?

These sketches are as far as it went and have lain hidden in my archive ever since, but I thought it was time they saw daylight - I like this idea that, maybe, this job will one day head back over Mole's way.

Who knows! After all...more unlikely things have happened after throwing a little cosmic ordering into the air...

Merry Christmas Telly to all!



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