colourbuild up

Starting to paint a sketched out design is pretty nerve wracking. I mean you can sit for hours measuring, drawing and rubbing out a design to get it just right… and then you have to fill it in with some impossible-to-correct medium. And chances are when you start going over the design you think ‘Oh God this isn’t working… it looks really bad… what am I going to do?…Should I start again… should I just scrap it and give it up as a bad job?’ My message is no, PERSEVERE. It may look awful to start with but if you let the design and the medium have a little free will, you can often be surprised by the result.

When working on the Beerguide board for the Noels Arms Freehouse, I was working on a painted metal surface with ordinary wall emulsion paint. I had no idea if it would work or what the outcome would be. And at first it looked a disaster, the paint wasn’t covering well, the colours didn’t look right upon application and I wanted to give up almost as soon as I started. But I did persevere, adding a second coat of paint and suddenly it didn’t look so bad. It might just work.

The above image sequence shows the build up from line drawing to fully painted image, and here was my general thought process:

Line drawing: ‘That looks brilliant, if only it could stay a line drawing forever’

Brown shadow layer: ‘Argh, that looks terrible, the detail’s gone, what am I going to do?’

Orange layer: ‘That’s even worse! The orange wasn’t that bright on the paint can! This really isn’t going as expected.’

Yellow layer: ‘Wait, something’s happening, it’s starting to look like…something….’

Highlight layer: ‘Actually, that looks pretty damn decent’.

So the message really is PERSEVERE, it may not look great to start with but often artworks have a way of working out, or even looking miles better than you originally imagined.

And sometimes they don’t. But never mind, can’t win ’em all.

noels arms board1

150 years of Alice in Wonderland – New window display

Here’s my latest window-scribble for The Melton Bookshop. Lewis Carroll’s book ‘Alice in Wonderland’ celebrates its 150th Birthday in 2015 so what better story to kick off this year’s window theme of ‘prominent children’s books’? It’s already received some great feedback from the public – children and adults alike so that’s fantastic. I will apologise though for the mispelling of the first ‘curiouser’ – it was the caterpillar’s fault, not mine. I shall be correcting his mistake as soon as possible! It’s hard writing words backwards on a transparent surface, let alone spelling them right but I’m sure he tried his best… and a bad workman always blames the fictional characters.

What’s On – pub board design

What's on

I’m currently working on some designs to adorn the in-house boards at a local pub. Each board promotes different events, including quiz nights, darts matches and live music and I have the fun task of creating the border imagery! This is the initial design for the second board promoting the list of musical entertainment hosted by the pub. The ‘What’s On:’ typeface is influenced by a mix of the old Fraktur typefaces and the notes and symbols found in sheet music (something that I will not pretend to have any knowledge of whatsoever!). As usual, the design has 6 ‘strings’ running through it, a theme that seems to have grown to be an integral part of the designs to show the pub’s vast music base. In this case, one of the strings has morphed into a note-producing barley stalk, just to add a bit of real ale flavour in there!

Wax Lyrical – pub board design

wax lyrical

My, my, haven’t I got lazy with uploads?! Seriously though, I promise I’m not doing nothing. I’m working on a commission for a book at present so a lot of my energy is going on that, which I can’t put up on here at the moment. I have, however, been asked back to do an in-house board at the Noel’s Arms Freehouse. The event it’s advertising is a ‘Wax Lyrical’ where the landlord and landlady welcome acts to share thoughts, poetry, songs and so on by candlelight (see what they did there?). So my brief is to create a permanent surround for the board so they can write upcoming events underneath. This is the design I have come up with for a starting point, with my usual nigh-on-illegible typography at the top! Now to wait and see what they think!

Typography urge- ‘Reise Reise’ – Rammstein


Another Rammstein-inspired typography experiment. Rammstein are my favourite band and I always end up whistling one of their songs at random while at work. It’s usually ‘Mutter’ or ‘Laichzeit’ that springs out when I start whistling but recently it’s been the chorus of ‘Reise Reise’. So I’ve fuelled the tune into a typography experiment to see if I can finally get a different song in my head. The typeface is loosely based on the old Fraktur typefaces but with more (technically-called) squiggly bits.

The other Rammstein-inspired piece I did a month or so ago was based on ‘Laichzeit’, meaning ‘spawning time’.