Northern Craft – PIN DROP

Some of you may have heard of Northern Craft, the great craft fair which takes place here in Leeds. Well, they’ve expanded their remit into a cool looking, curated exhibition of artist designed enamel pin badges, and I’m delighted to have been included.

Contributing artists were asked to design a badge with the ideas of Northern and Craft, or some permutation thereof, in mind and I think the end results will be a great celebration of the vibrant art and craft scene of the North – Yorkshire in particular.

The exhibition will have an evening launch on Friday 4th August from 6pm til 10pm, and will also be available for purchase during the Northern Craft Summer Fair (11am-5pm Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th August) that follows. It all takes place at The Refectory at Northern Monk Brew Co, in Leeds.

For more info please re-read… or swing on over to www.northerncraft.co.uk/pin-drop

Much Ado About Nothing

Shakespear’s Globe Theatre were once again very kind to hire myself and Greig Johnson, this time to design and produce a trailer for their alternate rendition of Much Ado About Nothing.

This version is set at the time of Mexican Revolution around 1910, and is a celebration of all things Mexico – bright colours, banditas, and sun-drenched plains.

The collage and printerly looking art style is a nod to one of the in-house promotional graphics they created, which we all loved and so we set about creating something with a similar feel to tie the marketing visuals nicely together.

The Little Matchgirl & Other Happier Tales

I’ve spent the last fortnight working all hours to create this animated trailer for Shakespear’s Globe Theatre along with my co-creator & animator Greig Johnson. It’s a piece of work we’re both very proud of and so far the reception to it has been fantastic.

A lot of the style here is that of old Victorian etchings. Many etchings from that era are collected in books & online and there are no copyright restrictions on them, so you can use them in commercial work like this.

So I’ve taken a lot of content from such sources. In some cases I just coloured it (originals are mostly black & white), but in many cases I’ve had to chop and change bits, arrange arms and legs, swap one head with that of another, in order to get things how I wanted them to look. And then for a few bits here and there, I drew from scratch. (The opening city & little girl scene is all drawn from scratch).

It’s been a satisfying mix of work: cutting stuff out and collaging, designing & composing the scenes, blowing up patterns and textures, and trying to get everything to have that same vintage ‘storybook world’ aesthetic. One of those times where me being more of a ‘Jack of all…’ type graphic artist is quite advantageous.

I should also say a few words about the amazing work Greig has done in animating here — give it a rewatch and pay attention to how well action is synced to the beats of the music, and how motion has a delightful realistic little ‘bounce’ to it, and how little extra sound effects just help bring it to life. All his fine work – and my visuals would be flat and lifeless without it.

It was a real treat to watch it all for the first time and spot all the little details he’s worked on to give it an extra bit of polish. Very proud to have had him on board for this (it’s the first time we’ve worked together!). Hopefully more animated work from us to come in the future.

This was a daunting amount of work with no time for any back-and-forth. The first time Greig would see the artwork is when I’d send him the finished files for each scene, and the first time I saw it animated was when it was finished(!) – we just had to trust one another but I’m pleased at how our process worked.

Thanks for watching!

British Phonographic Industry Award

A strange text popped up on my phone today, informing me I’d be getting a delivery from ‘Award Framers’. I had no clue what this was about but as predicted, the package arrived and I opened it to find…

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Wow! I was genuinely shocked!  A British Phonographic Industry Silver Record Award.  I don’t tend to put too much stock in awards but I just held it up, staring at it, smiling but completely baffled!

I don’t know how these things work, whether the BPI always sends these out to whoever is credited with the artwork for the record, or whether the band or management create a list of people they felt contributed to the record’s sales, or whether I’ve just been presented with this by mistake…?

All I can say is I’m sincerely flattered to receive such a thing and very pleased that the artwork is considered to have contributed in however small a way to the success of the record.

As I have said before, I’m proud of the work I put into this, especially since it’s an independent release. The Public Service Broadcasting guys are decent, thoughtful people and deserve every success.

Hollywood Cougar

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A few months back, a private client got in touch and commissioned me to create a piece of artwork just for them and their partner.

They were very specific about the colours they wanted, as well as composition and style. The subject matter is a secretive cougar called ‘P22’ which lives in the Hollywood hills and is usually only seen by the scientists that track him. A photographer got some amazing photos a few years back which were the inspiration for the client’s commission.

Anyway, after some back and forth sketches, this was the end result.

Original drawing done in brush, pen & ink and then coloured and arranged digitally.

Printed as a 60x50cm posh digital print, a signed edition of just one, now framed and in their home. A fun piece to create.

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Leeds International Beer Festival

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Art & Music Lineup Poster

I recently finished a large batch of design and layout work for the Leeds International Beer Festival.

I’ve actually done work for them for the past 3 years but the weeks prior to the festival are so busy for me, I’ve neglected to post about it! This year is the first year I can actually attend the festival (finally!) so I decided to take the time to document some of the work I’ve done.

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Beermat design for 2016 – combining Drew’s artwork with new masthead and typography

I was brought onboard in 2014 after being recommended by friend & illustrator Drew Millward, whose bold artwork has provided the festival with a very recognisable visual style ever since. Design and Illustration, while often overlapping, are very different disciplines and sometimes require a different approach and set of skills.

In the case of LIBF, Drew illustrates the festival poster, provides me with the photoshop file, and then I develop that into a visual style that is used across the rest of the festival – coming up with a complimentary colourscheme, typography, and even chopping up and rearranging the artwork for different applications.

Here are some key things I try to keep in mind with this work:

  • Keep it functional and easy for the audience to read/use/engage with – sometimes good design works quietly in the background.
  • Ensure that design work fits seamlessly with Drew’s illustration work to create a consistent, recognisable tone of voice – compliment not compete!
  • Give it enough character and colour so that it feels fresh, new and different from the previous year.
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Drew’s crackin’ 2016 Poster

Not all illustrators get on with the rules-based aspects of design but I actually really enjoy this type of work. It requires a change of mental gear, for sure, but it’s also very satisfying when everything ‘just looks right’ on a page, and information is clear and pleasing to the eye.

The artwork Drew has created for this year’s festival is some of my favourite work of his, so a highlight for me has been taking that artwork apart and reassembling to create a pair of huge billboard designs.

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Some elements are reused and I’ve even drawn some additional parts to match the style, so the end result falls somewhere between collaboration and forgery.

It’s a strange part of the job, essentially scrutinising and then dismantling your friend’s work, but I’m really satisfied with the final billboards and appreciate Drew’s total trust in me to reconfigure his work into a different format.

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I found a great set of bold typefaces which I felt would be perfect for the festival this year, so created the ‘Leeds International Beer Festival’ masthead which is used in various places.

The bulk of the work, of course, has been laying out the 44 page Festival Programme. It’s a simple, practical thing but a lot of thought has gone into putting it together – giving each beer section a coloured edge so it’s easy to flick through and making sure there’s logic and consistency to how information is layed out.

I’m really proud of all the bits and pieces I’ve put together. Thanks go to Darren and Maria, the festival organisers, for hiring me and being so enthusiastic to work with.

I’m really looking forward to the festival! There are an overwhelming amount of great beers available. I hope the design work remains functional and enjoyable to the eyes when the reader is good ‘n drunk.

Cheers!

Thanks Green Man 2016

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This year I again had the pleasure of being involved in Green Man Festival, exhibiting and selling printed wares along with fellow UKPA artists Luke Drozd and Tommy Davidson.

Just wanted to say a huge thank you to all the people who came visit our little marquee and purchase screenprinted art, or get involved with the live printing demo, or even just offer complimentary words on what we were doing.  GM continues to be a great festival to be involved with.

This year, along with posters for selected individual acts, we created an official festival silkscreen poster – a collaborative design by myself, Luke and Tommy. These proved incredibly popular and we look forward to this being a continuing tradition for future GMs. If you missed one, or if you would like to pick up any of the individual prints we had available, the details are below:

UKPA_GM16

The Green Man collaborative print & the smaller, A3 live print are available here: http://ukpa.bigcartel.com/

BEAK> (by Luke Drozd) – Available here: http://lukedrozd.bigcartel.com/product/beak-poster-green-man-festival-2016

Belle & Sebastian (by Graham Pilling) – Available here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/460634416/belle-and-sebastian-green-man-festival

Songhoy Blues (by Tommy Davidson) – Available here: http://tommydavidson.bigcartel.com/product/songhoy-blues

Wild Beasts (by Tommy Davidson) – Available here: http://tommydavidson.bigcartel.com/product/wild-beasts

‘RIDE HARD’ new Open Edition

new_RIDE_print

I’m pleased to announce my popular ‘Ride Hard & Earn the Downhill‘ print (which has been out of print for a while now) has had a fresh lick of ink and is now available in a different format.

Originally, the design was created for the ArtCrank London 2011 exhibition. The first edition sold out, as did the second edition (marked with a small ‘2’ cog motif in the bottom right corner).

I’ve been asked many times if a 3rd edition was planned and after some thinking, I decided to recreate the design as an ‘Open Edition’ print (i.e. one that is not numbered) and will continue to be hand-printed by me as long as there is interest in it.

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The original 2 limited editions of the print are still as limited as they ever were, so I do hope the open edition version is not something which anyone considers to lessen the value of the previous prints.

The original images actually contained a cool little easter egg which only a few people got: the barbed wire fence in the foreground was a tribute to Dutch cyclist Johnny Hoogerland who had a particularly nasty crash into some barbed wire in the 2011 Tour de France but showed amazing toughness (as the pro cyclists often do) and continued on to finish the Tour.

This new and updated version has been refreshed with some subtle changes to the art, but the main difference is (due to popular request) the size of the print, which has been reduced from the previous A2. The print is now a little over A3 in size and should be much easier to frame, as well as to find wall space for.

RIDE

This hand-made print is priced at a very affordable £25 and is available from my Etsy shop here.

Also – by popular request – a companion ‘RUN HARD, EARN THE DOWNHILL’ print is on the way… more info soon.

 

I Art in Your General Direction

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I’m very proud to have created a piece of work for this official Monty Python tribute exhibition.

The opening is this Friday in Leeds from 6pm, at the Northern Monk Brewery (Facebook Event page here).

My contribution is an 8 colour screenprint featuring Tim the Enchanter from MP’s Holy Grail. As an added bonus to make each print completely unique, there is a little killer rabbit printed on each one in a completely different place. This was a time consuming and technical print but I am really pleased with how it came out.

Here’s a little preview…

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Screenprinting Workshop – June 2016

printing course

Myself and good friend Cameron Steward will be hosting another Screenprinting Workshop on the weekend of 25th and 26th of June.

The course takes place at the West Yorkshire Print Workshop in Mirfield, and is £130 to enroll and there are spaces for 6 attendees only.

Cameron and I really enjoy running these courses, the atmosphere is really informal and it’s always a good laugh. Cam wrote up a great post on the last workshop which you can check out on his blog: twoducksdisco.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/go-forth-print.html

While not intended as a beginner’s course, no previous experience of screenprinting is required but would of course be helpful. This course is best suited to graphic designers or illustrators wanting to learn how to translate their work into screenprinting, or for those who have already started out in printing and want to improve their skills.

Here’s what an attendee of our last workshop had to say:

The weekend course with Graham and Cameron was the most enjoyable I HAVE HAD of any workshop – EVER!

They are both extremely knowledgeable but at the same time amazing at passing on exactly the required amount of info to pupils within their personal limitations. I really appreciate all the time you gave me and all the encouragement. The trouble-shooting session whilst screen-printing is what I found most valuable – it’s all very well to know what’s meant to happen, but amazing to already know what to do when it’s actually not! Both Graham and Cameron have such a nice, quiet, laid-back style in teaching that it caused our group dynamic to be excellent as well. I have not been to any other weekend course where a group has been as good at pulling together and helping one another out as this past weekened.”

More information and booking details are to be found here: www.wypw.org/shop/screen-printed-posters-june/

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