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

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…

psb_award1 psb_award2

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.

Leeds International Beer Festival

LEEDS_BEER_music_poster_small

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.

beermat

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.
drewposter

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.

banner1 banner2

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.

leedsbeerpages

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!

The best design work, especially with regards to logo design, is the stuff that is simple.

It communicates what it needs to without clutter; it’s memorable; it shrinks down/blows up well. A simple logo is basically vital for today’s cross-platform and cross-social media environment.

That said, creating simple work can be deceptively tricky when fighting the urge to ‘add more’, and it also sometimes requires a degree of experience and confidence to get your client onboard in understanding the value of keeping things simple.

Anyway, I came across a video by designer Aaron Draplin who is not only great at talking about why simplicity is key but also takes you through some of his iterative process of trying out lots of different ideas along the same theme. It’s a great example of how trying out one thing will suddenly lead onto another version, and another version, and another… and before you know it, it’s like you’ve sculpted your final logo out of lots of other abandoned ideas. He’s really enthusiastic about design and I think this sells the process to clients as well as designers.

This iterative process, right down from the crappy initial paper-and-pencil sketches is almost exactly how I approach logo design myself, so it was honestly a joy to watch someone working the same way.

Whether you’re a client or a designer, I hope you enjoy it.

Work Hard & Be Humble

I’m very pleased to be able to show my latest print, entitled ‘Work Hard & Be Humble’.

workhardbehumble1

workhardbehumble2

This is an A2 sized, 3 colour hand-printed screenprint, in an edition of 45.  I’ll write a little more about the idea behind the print and share some of the process when this goes live on the shop on Monday.

The Official Bad Robot Art Experience – Gallery 1988

Gallery1988_BADROBOTCard JJA_print

I am excited to be involved in the The Official Bad Robot Art Experience exhibition taking place at Gallery 1988, in Los Angeles.

G1988 have teamed up producer, director and all round movie mega-maker JJ Abrams to celebrate and commemorate some of the work he’s been involved in creating.

My contribution is a 3 colour, hand-pulled screenprint, entitled Enterprise Down. It’s a 24” x 13” print in a very limited edition of 30 – signed, numbered and titled at the bottom.

You can see some process pics of the printing over on my Tumblr.

New ETSY Shop

Slightly delayed announcement as it’s been up there a couple of weeks now, but I made the switch from a Big Cartel store to an Etsy Shop.

To celebrate the opening I added some rare and out of print stuff – some of which has gone already!

Swing by and have a look: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArmyOfCatsPrints

 

 

ARTCRANK London 2012

ARTCRANK is a show of bicycle-inspired poster artwork that introduces people to talented local artists and sends them home with affordable, original works of art. Since its 2007 debut in Minneapolis, ARTCRANK has held shows in bike-friendly cities in the US and UK, including Portland, San Francisco, Austin, St. Denver and London.

I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with the London ARTCRANK shows for the past few years, and the 2012 show features poster artwork from 27 UK artists.

The opening night party will take place on Friday 7th September at:

plain wall projects
2A Corsham Street
N1 6DP
London, UK

The exhibition will be on extended view from 8-14 September with posters on sale from 10:00 am—5:00 pm.

If you can make it down to the opening night, you absolutely should — previous exhibitions have had an amazing atmosphere and been rammed to the rafters with bicycle folk.
Those who follow me on Instagram or Twitter will have seen some of the print process for my Artcrank 2012 print, but for those that haven’t yet seen it, here’s a sneak peak:
These will be available from the Artcrank exhibition and also from the AoC shop afterwards!

I created a short video of the printing process behind my ‘Of Monsters and Men‘ gig poster.  Hopefully this will give a good insight into the screenprinting medium, for those who aren’t aware of the process. You see plenty of designers selling mass-produced digital prints these days, so the desirability of silkscreen prints is ever increasing – they really are amazing to view in person, and the be able to feel the texture of hand-crafted ink on paper. Lovely stuff! Hope you enjoy the video.

The ‘Of Monsters and Men’ gigposter is an edtion of 50 which will be available from the Into the Great Wide Open festival as well as from the Push&Pull site, and from the AoC Shop afterwards.

I have also created an artprint variant with no band text/details, titled ‘White Wastes‘ – this is a very limited edition of only 25. I will be putting a few of these online to sell in September and will announce when they go on sale ahead of time – if you are interested in one, be sure to follow me on Twitter as there has been a lot of interest in this print, and it’s certainly one I’m very pleased with!

UA-10756733-2

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close