I was really hooked on last year's new TV series Westworld, to the extent that I actually went back and rewatched the beginning of the season before it had even finished, in an attempt to figure out the tricky twists and turns ahead. Although ultimately it did have some flaws, it was a hugely ambitious show, with some brilliant performances - particularly Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, and of course, Anthony Hopkins, who was mesmerising every time he was on screen. They were my three favourite characters, and I've finally got round to drawing them, in an effort to get my fix until season two comes out in 2018.
Tonight's London Evening Standard features my Thatcher Colouring Book as one of the Silliest Books of the year!
A coloured page sent in from a reader! Hurrah! Thanks very much, Laura!
Tomorrow, my book will be released. To celebrate, I went down to the Plaza Margaret Thatcher in central Madrid, about a 25 minute walk from my flat, to recreate a pose from the book.
The current mayor of Madrid has promised to rename the plaza, after its unveiling a few years ago attracted a fair amount of public disapproval, entirely warranted in my view, given that Maggie has very little connection to Spain at all, and there are far more deserving figures that the city could commemorate. Still, as no renaming has happened yet, and it's such an incongruous thing to have near where I live, I felt I had to get it in the book.
Earlier this year, I was commissioned to produce a colouring book featuring pictures of Margaret Thatcher. Given that I've always felt antipathy and distrust towards her, it was a weird topic to be handed as the subject of my first book. Outright satire felt somewhat irrelevant, since a) she's dead and b) there's plenty of fantastic examples produced throughout the eighties anyway. So I opted for the position of "misinformed biography". Ironically, that resulted in me having to do quite a lot of research into Thatcher's life, in order to then deliberately present them inaccurately.
But now, as the UK's second Tory female PM takes up office, you can seize this opportunity to learn absolutely nothing about our first, whilst simultaneously wasting hours of your life colouring in her face. What a bargain!
Is 52% really enough of a majority to be basing a once-in-a-lifetime decision on?
Here's an advert I worked on just before Christmas last year, with the guys from Not To Scale. It was a nice fun project.
A little while ago, I saw a rather beautiful bird called "the Bee-eater", in the fields of Extremadura. I immediately wondered if these birds had any preferences as to the type of bees - would a a nice juicy bumblebee be considered a real treat, for example? Do they attack hives, or just wait for a bee to fly past, and then chase it? What do they do when there's no bees around? How do they not get the inside of their throats stung? And would they enjoy the bee more if it was roasted and smothered in honey?
Another animated short I worked on a while ago has finally made it's way online - "The Tall Tales of Urchin" by Hamish Steele, produced by Blink Industries for Nickelodeon.
Check it out here:
The brand new branch of Timberyard coffeeshop has just opened on Noel Street in Soho, and with it their third exhibition from Urban Sketchers London (we’ve previously exhibited in their Old Street and Covent Garden branches). This time there’s 24 of us exhibiting our location drawings/paintings.
Here we all are (or nearly all of us) at the Private View opening night last week.
The pictures will be on display until the end of the summer 2016. Find Timberyard here.
Back in 2014, I worked at 12foot6 on the short film "Lost Property", directed by the brilliant Åsa Lucander, (who also created the animation for the BBC's Science Club show with Dara O'Briain)
After a premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival, it's been touring round various film festivals, but now it's finally available to view online. Check it out below:
4 years ago, my friends got married in Thailand. In Bangkok we went to The Grand Palace, and saw incredible murals in Wat Phra Kaew, known as the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Ramayana story of Hindu legend. Near floor-to-ceiling height, it stretches over 1km along the inside walls of the temple, in 178 scenes of intricately painted detail, all on a Command&Conquer style 30-degree perspective; and is one of the most amazing pieces of art I’ve ever seen.
Having said that, I’ve no idea what the story is about, but it features a lot of monkeys, with swords, some of whom seem to be able to change size at will to become giant monkeys. Additionally, there’s people and creatures with a large number of arms and heads, and quite a lot of battle scenes. Much of this is painted lavishly in gold, which without a doubt seems to be Thailand’s favourite colour. When I got back, I decided to do my own version as a wedding present for my friends; a large scale poster telling the story of their wedding/holiday in Thailand, using almost entirely the imagery and characters from the murals themselves.
I chose some of my favourite scenes – Hanuman fighting giant mosquitoes, weird fish with stones in their mouths, a warrior elephant with a sword held in its trunk, someone who looked like a Thundercat character, and many more. Unfortunately, with starting an MA soon after, I put the painting aside, and over the next 3 years only returned to it sporadically to do little bits here and there. My friends currently live in Malaysia, so not seeing them removed the impetus to finish it, but, finally, knowing they’d be back this July, I sat down and used my time off work to complete it – 4 years after I first pencilled it out!
It was done with fineliners, gold ink, and watercolour.
3 different birds with issues. Unrelated to the game/forthcoming movie.
I dashed this off very quickly late at night for a friend of mine, of how I imagined he was spending his holiday in Florida. The beauty of the internet is I was able to send it to him via my phone straight away while he was still there on the beach. Anyway, I like the spontaneity of it; if I’d sat down and thought about composition and tried pencilling it out first, it probably would've lost its fluidity. Sometimes just putting brush on paper without any plan is the best method. Sometimes!
I studied Classics for my BA, so I have a thing for classical imagery. This is the tale of Atalanta from Ovid's "Metamorphoses" Book 10 (I had to look that up to check, but I remembered correctly! Book 10!)
Hippomenes is throwing golden apples, so that he can distract Atalanta, and beat her in a race (and win her hand in marriage, although rather more importantly it seems to me is to avoid the penalty for losing, which is death). He doesn't seem in that much of a rush here, though, but still, I love this painting, the composition and drama is great.
I drew this back in 2011, from a photo of the original, by Guido Reni, which can be seen in Prado.
I drew this one a while ago now; it kind of got left behind from an abandoned project so thought I'd post it here...
My parents' dog, Robert.... named after Mugabe?