Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween!

My frightful family! I'm a bit wobbly when it comes to face painting, but i think I got away with it ; )

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Being Human

Funny and deeply depressing at the same time. What's wrong with these people and their thoughts about everyone else? Everyone should get paid decently for the work they contribute. This is key, less profits and much fairer realistic wages. The balance has all gone terribly wrong. It is paradigm shift time. We can't just keep on accepting it is how it is because it can't be any different. I'm hopeful that we are all starting to see beyond that. Russell Brand gets a fair amount of stick for his efforts and daring to make money from a book!... but he gets it out there and you can't argue with someone basically asking us all to be fair, kind, look after each other and be a bit nicer, rather than just look after yourself, make as much as you can, and shit all over others to make it and then punish them for having less than you! .... and how nuts is that woman!?

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


I know I've posted some from this album before, but I'm forcing it on you! I've listened to this album so many times this year. This song has really grown on me, it's an amazing song, amazing stories, all in the space of 6 mins. That's the power of a good song. Great writer and musician. familiarise yourself with Mark Kozelek, Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters. (He was also in the film Almost Famous, as the bass player in the band)

I'm also adding this live version of a song from the same album, Benji. It feels so portentous.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Double Dads

It's half term now, so no playground drop-offs and pick-ups. I was giving you blog readers a break from the School Run Dads, my twitter followers were not so lucky! Here are a couple i never shared with you. I'm going to keep them going for as long as they still entertain me, but i won't share them daily. I'll accumulate a good few then batch them up. I'll probably put them all together as a section on my website at a later date.

It's fun keeping an eye on the dad fashions. It's making me look and focus on what and who's around. This last one i actually know, he seems like a nice guy. His name is Morgan and it was a gift when he walked into the playground in these red chequered trousers. I'm assuming he's working in a kitchen somewhere. Obviously it doesn't look that much like him, but that's not the point! I just enjoy pulling them from my memory once I'm back at my desk.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Food Fermentation

A couple of weeks ago I signed up for a food fermenting workshop which takes place tomorrow just down the road at Moose's Kitchen. It's being run by Darren Ollerton of Ferment Revival for Octopus Workshops. We're going to be making sauerkraut and hopefully learn some cool stuff along the way. Been reading a lot about fermentation this year on root simple and the Dervaes family's Urban Homestead. Old school methods of preserving food, a useful skill I thought. I'm also being accompanied by my mate, gardener Mark, my permaculture pal. If you're not already reading his blog please do, His Own Two Feet. He writes great posts full of thoughtful and useful stuff.  I'll report back on how it went and what we learnt.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Tattoo Triptych

I've been messing with these simpler, thicker pen drawings. School Run Dads included. Also looking at my old sketchbooks threw up some old ideas, which triggered a mini set of 8 so far, but there are many more. I just felt these three hung together best, mainly due to colour. Hell, the third one isn't even really an idea! I just made a drawing i liked. That's about all i'm asking for from my work at the minute! It's testing little paths to see which ones want to open to me. In the past these would have been a starting point for me to focus in on and draw up a little better. The bird tattoos would have all been drawn up. Not now. That's enough for just me. Commissions are a different beast, different expectations. I'm still not satisfied, but these kind of images are placating me... for the moment.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Wish List - Money Box

Wish List, based on a traditional earthenware money box in Hastings Museum. This drawing was sitting there next to the little pig image of previous post (the stump he's sitting on is also a rustic tobacco jar in the museums display). I was working on doing a whole sub-set of Wish List based on the museum's collections.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


Ok. I'm back in business. I finally have got around to getting some new clay. 100kg of the lovely stuff. Not your potter's Tonne, but then i'm not a proper potter! I'll settle for my 100kgs, lots of ideas to finally start making, got to get back into the feel of it. Got to get that electric wheel running and start fulfilling the promises i made to myself. Got to teach myself how to throw good pots. It's got to happen this time. Wish me luck. I'm going in!

Friday, 17 October 2014

School Run Dad #2

Another quick, from memory, drawing of a dad in the playground yesterday. Let's see if i can keep these coming.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

School Run Dad

Saw him at the school gates the other day and just had to get a mental drawing down. Pale camo waterproof "suit" with over sized trainers, all in pristine condition. I'm more used to his platform boots with metal toe caps and long leather raincoat look, I think that's what caught me out the most!  He's about 6ft 4ins tall too, so he stands out! This guy actually lives just up the road, but has never said a word to me.. not even a nod of acknowledgement.

Oh, i told you my drawings were getting simpler!! Don't think i can boil it down much more ; )

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Mess We're In!

Yeah, I wish!

Trying to figure out the workings of modern day companies is clearly beyond me! I  spent 40 minutes of maddening discussions and eternities on hold, trying to sort out an obvious solution (only to me, apparently). I'd done 15 mins before I was cut off the first time and after 40 minutes (but getting no nearer to a sane solution) i was cut off again! Fuckers!!

How did it come to this? How do systems and procedures get so fucked up, to the point where the person on the other end is almost uncomfortably laughing at the craziness of what they telling me. Systems, diversions, no one department accountable. No one is accountable anymore... and it doesn't seem important to anyone to be so. My problem isn't huge. It's just a fridge freezer that struggling after 5 months. The manufacturer was happy to send an engineer, but then they don't have one in our area. Anyway, they were happy to take it away and replace it. A note was sent to the company that sold us it… it couldn't be that simple though! They will collect the old one and after 7-14 days will refund the money.... But no replacement! I have to actually buy a new one and then wait for the other refund! What?? Are they living in the same world as me? If i fucked something up and had to do it again imagine me billing for it twice! And telling them it's ok, I'll pay them back for the first fuck up in a bit, when it suits me. Imagine. I'd be out of work pretty soon ( not that I fuck up, my clients love me! ; -)

Nuts! It also leaves me with no fridge or freezer between them picking it up and a new one coming. I guess I'll just stop them picking it up until I have the new one (paid for twice at this point!). They don't care about one customer, their business will go on. All i can do is get my money back and take it elsewhere. Just not deal with them again, not give my money to them again. that is my protest, not that it means a shit to them. It would if everyone did it though!

I'm shocked by the nonsense of it all… and how it didn't seem like nonsense to them! I even tried to get them to authorise Jakki, so she could help deal with it. I couldn't do that over the phone, they'd have to send a letter for me to sign and return! I told them that was pointless, the issue would be dealt with within the day. I asked them why the 'security' questions to confirm i was the account holder were even asked, if i now couldn't authorise someone else. Surely they just proved i was the account holder!! Why even bother with that layer of bullshit if it means nothing? They laughed uncomfortably again. You see how a system develops with absolutely no logic. It's just how it is. "it's our policy".

Bullshit. Time for monster companies to go. There's a lot of anti corporation sentiment around and it seems to have been building fast over at least the last five years. Times are changing, it's not just radical, fringe thinking anymore. We've been sold a pup. If we can't change it we just have to ignore it, turn our backs to them. Give them nothing to feed off. Let the monster wither. Decentralise, localise, deal with your own town, things you can actually change. I'm fed up with it.

As to the bigger issues, if companies paid more to their employees and paid their due tax, we'd all be doing a lot better. The government is scared to tax them and then subsidises their low pay with benefits to help working families survive. Double bail out. We're effectively paying to supplement our lousy salaries! Ridiculous. Pay folk more money, they'll start to buy stuff and support other people running businesses. Forget growth. Growth is over. How can you keep expecting to make more year on year and not shit on people along the way? Am I ranting now? Oh. Fuck it. You can't sell school shirts for a £1.50 and trousers for £3 and not expect there to be misery somewhere along that supply chain. People buy them though (we buy them!). Thats changing. I'm starting to change. People buy them because they're not getting paid enough, they can't afford to shop consciously, ethically, see how it all works? It's pissing me off and it's not just because of a fridge! Honestly after those phone calls I wanted to go stick my head in the oven, but then the oven probably wouldn't have worked either! What a world we've created. Let's start taking it apart again. I think we can do better.

Vote BLANK. Have you heard about this? We'll have our election next year. I've always been a bit uncomfortable with the idea of not voting, I always vote, although i understand the thinking behind it. If you make another mark, or comment on it, it's a 'rejected vote'… but if everyone just left it perfectly blank and placed it in the ballot box it would be acknowledged. You acted, got up, went along and posted your vote. If there was a massive turn out and say only 40% of those were for all of the main parties… well, i would hope that would send out a strong message and be the start of change to the current system.

Friday, 10 October 2014

More From The Past - Sketchbook

Thought i would share some more from these old sketchbooks of mine. These are from the same notebook/sketchbook, Life Behind Glass - 2001. I wanted them to show up here bigger, but sometimes i have an issue with blogger's sizing. Too big and they clash with the side bar, but then the other option seems a tad too small. Oh well, just click on them to see what they say.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Here's Hank... Again

Book number 3, Stop That Frog! gets published today, 9th Oct. I think it was my favourite to illustrate, lots of fun scenes and nice to have a frog! Book number 4 is already in the bag for a Feb publication date. These are great books for kids just getting into reading, easy to read and well laid out, the pictures ain't bad either!

The set so far

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Harrison Fraud

Another old notebook drawing from fourteen years ago. I'm having fun looking back through them. Some of the ideas i shall be revisiting/reworking, they never got enough of my attention at the time. 20 years in this business and i'm taking stock of what's been and what i would like to come. 2014 has been a funny old year, 2015 could be a difficult one, but hopefully i make a few breakthroughs too. Somethings got to give.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Messing With Mr Cardew

This would have him rolling in his grave. Sacrilege. I couldn't help myself, every time I see this pot (or similar) i just want to stick a little face on it. Now imagine that all covered in relevant sgraffito too!... I know, why aren't I showing you the real thing by now? You know why! God damn.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Winston Pickle

There's life in Winston yet. Something is stirring. This is just a doodle i was knocking about with, but something is happening. I will keep you posted, when i can. I'm liking my low effort, doodly stuff more than the rest of my (low effort!) stuff these days. I even like my crappy lettering. I think i'm unravelling.

Some of you folk may remember this past teaser too.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

We're All Guilty Of Something

One of my pieces from "We're all guilty of something". You can see the set over on my website by just clicking through them.

Don't know why this image is connecting with me right now ; )
Actually i do! I'm drowning in my own life, Ha. I really must do that tax return too! Hate it, hate all that shit. Forgetting to pay bills too. Just the relentless struggle trying to keep up. I'm falling off the back of the pack, waiting to be picked off.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Stumbling In The Dark

 I saw a book entitled, My Friend Jesus Christ, in a charity shop the other day and i just liked the title and the premise, but thought it deserved a nicer cover, so i just did a doodle mock up and liked the simplicity. I have no real idea what the book is about, other than a biker turning up at some guys house claiming to be Jesus. I would probably have worked up some biker badges and a few more tattoos, but i just left it plain for now. I had considered adding the back of a pink, flowery sofa... but then decided to keep it stripped down.

This other one is just me playing around again. Dogwalker, by Arthur Bradford is one of my favourite books. Very funny, creative, absurd little stories. They make me think I could write stories, but that's his knack, when of course i couldn't. Anyway, it's purely visual. There is a character in the book called Catface, who wears double denim, but my doodle is not accurate. i just drew a cat faced man and liked him white! I've even split the title into two words (sacrilege!). These are me just playing visually, trying to find where it is i want to stand. They are not great book cover designs, but they are really helping me see pathways. I'm sharing them... just because. This is what goes on. This is what my mind looks like. I find a lot of graphic/illustration blogs are just adverts for work published (which i do as well, of course), but i really like ones where i get to see some of the person too. Why pretend we're not all just a little bit fucked up? It's only human.