Finally complete: The Beerguide Pub Board

I don’t usually rave about work I’ve done, I’m usually just content to say ‘Yep, I’m happy with that’. But now and again, as all artists/illustrators know, there’ll come a day every now and again when you finish a piece and think ‘Whoa, did I really do that?’ and then you’ll sit and stare at it for hours trying to figure out how you did it and why the hell can’t everything you do be that good?

And one such instance happened yesterday as I finally completed board one for The Noel’s Arms Freehouse in Melton Mowbray. I’d been looking into heraldry recently and marveling at the beautiful intricate, flowing designs of coats of arms and old-fashioned pub signs, so when the pub asked me to redesign their boards for this year, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to try it out. The logo for the pub is based on a shield anyway so the heraldry idea fitted in perfectly.The brief for the board was pretty small, mainly to promote the pub’s place in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2015 and having hops as the main focus of the design to promote the pub’s selection of real ale.

So after a creating a rough design and colour mock-up that were accepted on-the-spot, I received the first board and drew out the design. Two nearly solid weeks of painting later and I couldn’t be happier with the result. Nearly every inch of the board is filled with bold colours, the writing can be read from afar (importantly!) and the flowing design draws the eye around the board without getting lost in any one aspect. It’s like everything I ever tried to accomplish with a piece at university has suddenly all come together a year or so too late.

Never mind, the board is now expecting a coat or so of varnish from the landlord and landlady (who are thrilled with it) and it should be on the front wall of the pub very soon. And in the meantime, I can start on the second board. Think I might need today off though…

The gallery above shows the finished board, my initial planning and some close ups of details. Please feel free to NOT tell me about any mistakes I may have made/ any paint spots I’ve forgotten to cover/etc. !

Sneak peek of pub board progress

Finally got the painting underway! I always find there is an anxious pause before painting. I’ve spent the last few hours sketching out a design that looks good in line form, do I really want to run the risk of ruining it with a paintbrush? I think it’s a moment everyone shares, especially when they’re unsure of how something will turn out but we conquer it eventually and so far the board is looking pretty good! (At a distance… if you squint…)

What I’m HOPING the finished board will look like (but neater)! :

CAMRA beer board

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!

Lagers, tigers and bears… Sign 1 is complete!


Fantastic day today, spent the majority of it in the pub… The Noel’s Arms Freehouse in Melton Mowbray have commissioned me to design and create two seasonal signs to go front-of-house, one to promote real ale and one to fit in the the upcoming rugby season. I’ve been working on the designs for a week or so but today I spent six hours making the first one come to life by using chalk pens on a black wooden board. (Confused about the tiger? The local national team are the Leicester Tigers, so the link is literally as simple as that… and I like drawing tigers).


To tie the Rugby board in to the real ale theme I had been given, I used a limited colour scheme of yellow and orange, with red for the ERFU rose and also drew the tail so that it resembles a barley stalk. I’m really happy with how the sign turned out and I can tell the owners are pleased too as they’ve put it up already!


Hopefully this time tomorrow I’ll be uploading the finished imagery of the second sign. Fingers crossed!

Lagers and tigers and beers… oh my


Sorry it’s been a couple of days since I last posted but over the weekend I was approached by the local pub. They had seen my bookshop window illustrations and loved them and they have asked me to design some signs for them to go on the front of the pub! I’ve never done a commission like this before so I’m mega excited. The brief I’ve been given was short and sweet, they mainly want traditional themes of real ale, beer casks, barley, music… and tigers. 

Tigers? Ok, that needs explaining. The Rugby season is coming up and the pub will be showing it live. Our county team is the Leicester Tigers… and that about sums up the explanation really!

So far I’ve been sketching out a few ideas for the boards. I’ve also been jotting some ideas down for a new logo that can be used on letterheads and on their website. The owners said they have had many suggestions for the logo but haven’t found one that’s just right yet so thought that I’ll add an idea or two to the pile as well. I’ve only ever created identity graphics for one client before so my confidence is a bit rocky when it comes to something this big. Either way, hopefully elements from my logo design might be carried through to the final idea. That’d be good to see.

Below are some of the sketches and board ideas that I am going to be showing them this afternoon. Wish me luck!

sketches1sketches2sign designs