Sunday, 20 May 2012


So here it is finally, the second volume of Kaleidoscope, the first so many will be hitting the mailboxes of Art Director's up and down the land and further afield next week, the second batch which I think i'm going to keep a closer eye on, as I think in hindsight they need a bit of further trimming at the printers so there's less deadspace (these things happen) will be sent out over the upcoming weeks and months, apart from said niggle i'm generally speaking happy with the quality of print, selection of images etc.

Thought i'd kick off the post with the cover image, see above. I wanted to do something more iconic on the cover with this one, and I wanted to do something again wholly personal to me, I suppose the image
above could be classed as a double portrait, one of me as a boy with his nose in a book (although that was more usually a comic book) drawing paper and Star Wars toys nearby.
The second portrait it could be argued is the demented clapping monkey with a carousel head, i'll let you read into that as you will, surrounding these portraits are references to things that have influenced me; kitsch bits of pop culture, video-games, comic books, animation etc..

The illustrations i've posted up on this blog are generally new images that haven't seen print anywhere else, in reality the actual booklet is made up far more of my more well known printed images that have already been displayed on this blog, the booklet is kind of a 'best of' with a few new things... a greatest hits, with new material if you like.

Above is an illo of the Arctic Monkeys, nice to be a bit more subtle with the colouring for once, also serves as a companion piece to the John Grant illustration I did for Mojo which this runs opposite to.

As a boy growing up in the 80's, there was a time there when bad taste to a certain extent was enjoyed for what it is and for a period became a cultural phenomenon, as anyone that used to collect the Garbage Pail Kids will attest, which I've said here before has been a long time influence on my work... the above image I think owes something to those sensibilities; Stephen Hawkings: P.I.M.P!

For a period in my career, the majority of my editorial jobs came from magazines with a decidedly female demographic, this to a large extent changed because of a couple of things; Women's magazine which were for a period a hotbed of illustration stopped using quite as much, and secondly my work, after I took a brief sabbatical (to use an Americanism!) a few years ago became a lot more personal, as a result I swapped what was then a more "flowery" approach to my work in favour of my current style.

The above images I hope go about resetting the balance, because i'd love to be working as much for women's titles as I do for the boys mags, and tech mags and business mags I now work with.

So as people already know that have read this blog before, I love drawing things from my own childhood, pop culture stuff from the 80's and 90's regularly shows up in my personal work, the above series came from an idea spawned by an actual paying job that was commissioned by Men's Health.

It was a series of exercise illos that featured the Terminator (see top three images) which have already been posted here before, anyway I got to thinking; why couldn't we draw other characters from the 80's working out, an Alternative Guide to Exercise if you will.

Above you have Johny 5, Sloth, Hulk Hogan, Chuck Norris and Mr T showing you how to keep fit... if i'm being honest, I hope a book publisher sees these, and we get to do a book on this, imagine a Robocop guide to bench pressing, star jumps with Gremlins, squat exercises with Beetlejuice, I could go on, that'd be a book people would buy right?

The above illustration is one of the central images in volume 2, and is also printed as an A3 poster and given away with booklet, this one took a long time to put together, which if you click on the image above you'll be able to see the level of detail I went to.

I wanted to do a companion piece to the image that I did for Kaleidoscope volume 1's cover, which can be seen elsewhere on this blog, which I suppose is a toy box of visual influences, and things from my childhood.

With this, the original idea was to draw robots from TV and film, only about halfway through an art director quite randomly sent me a piece from the internet that was while not visually the same, was in fact the same idea... D'oh! Thanks Rob Milton formerly of Men's Health for that!

So I quickly changed the theme from just Robots to 'Robots and Aliens' which is the title of this piece.

Now certainly the most popular image that i've done of recent years is my 80's Movie Last Supper scene, which this past month seems to have spread like wildfire on the ol' interwebby, i'm not sure why it's just taken off, but it's one I get emails about pretty much every week.

I'm hoping the above will be equally successful in it's own way, it's lovely to think that my work has reached a large audience that share my more geeky sensibilties.

Okay that's it for now. If you're an Art Director and you want the booklet and poster mailing out then get in touch, next few hundred will be hitting the letterboxes of clients over the upcoming weeks, months (I think it'll take me an age to send them all out!)

Next post coming up probably in the next few days will be a collection of the images that didn't make the cut for the booklet, some of which were really quite nice, just was a case of being a bit ruthless about what made the final selection.

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