Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Trip to the Seaside! Brighton Illustrators' Group this Thursday


If you're in the Brighton area on Thursday 29th July, I'll be joining the Brighton Illustrators' Group at their 6x6 talk at 8pm that evening. I'll be with a handful of other illustrators sharing six images which have inspired me, shaped my direction, or in some other way been pivotal to my life as an illustrator. And generally geeking off about pens and the like.

I was invited by Pete Mac who runs the group and I'm sharing podium space with 5 others. So if you manage to nod off during my monologue there'll be another one up soon enough!

Can't wait. Am making a fleeting trip to Brighton with a visit to Pete's studio in the afternoon - shared by agency-mate Nishant Choksi, and Vicky Woodgate, Mark Oliver and Penny Dann to name a handful of the thirteen artists there - then dinner at Bill's Produce Store. And this is my job? I'm a very fortunate girl.

Read about the series of talks on the 6x6 website and if you're thinking of coming along, let me know!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cosmic Ordering On The Hoof

I'm fundraising for the first time in my life, and I'm worried I'm going to be dragging my sponsorship form round often for the next couple of months that when I get back to my normal running I'm going to expect to find a tenner at the end of every mile.

Oh well. I do however find a lot of interesting things on my runs. Spookily these things are usually found right at the moment I'm thinking 'I could really use a...'

Cosmic ordering? Who knows. I don't deliberately set out to ask for things, but if I happen to be thinking about them, there they are.
Here's a list of what I've found in the last few months.

- a size 8 black fitted New Look cardigan with gathered sleeves and tiny black buttons - kept, perfect fit, worn regularly. At the time I really wanted one but couldn't find one, and due to my strict 'no-made-in-China' rule, New Look would never have been an option. Here it is being worn in Newcastle's Jay-Z cafe in September (no really! it actually is called Jay-Z's):

- a size 8 black New Look cardigan with tie belt - a good fit but not as nice - washed and given to charity.

- a size 12 grey Top Shop cardigan - too big, washed and given to charity.

- a size 8 black vest top - too tight, cut for a teenager, given to charity.

- a pair of brand new scratchless River Island Jackie O style sunglasses - the day my own brand new ones were clawed to death by the keys in my bag. The first and only time I ran with two pairs of shades. Here I am trying to look serious in them.

- a ladies' lined technical jacket - waterproof with hood and many pockets and internal cargo nets. Found right next to me in the ditch just as the first raindrops came and I began to feel cold on a 7 mile run. Ran the last mile wearing it, located owner via the local theatre, returned to said owner and was rewarded with flowers and wine! She needn't have - the coat was stolen from her car, dumped in the village, and was the jacket she wore for her work as a guide dog puppy trainer out in all weathers, so it had to be returned, no question. All together - ahhh!

- an iPod, silver, full of Miley Cyrus and Disney and High School Musical. At the time I was running with my Sony phone which bounced uncomfortably on my hip. Just as I was thinking I could do with a proper iPod, it appeared right in front of me. My attempt to hand it in to the police station resulted (it's a long story) in someone keeping it who shouldn't have. Unfortunately, a few days later I found out it was my best mate's daughter's friend's iPod, and she'd had a proper bollocking for losing it. She still doesn't know that it was once found, but lost again, and it's perhaps best that she never does.
It looked like this:
- I have never found a body. It's always unfortunate 'joggers' or 'man walking his dog' who find those, isn't it?

So. What d'yall fancy? And remember - I can only bring back what I can carry while running!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

If I could illustrate any book cover...

Earlier this year Diane Luger at Grand Central Publishing asked me to illustrate a cover for the 50th anniversary edition of To Kill A Mockingbird, one of my favourite books ever.

Leaving aside the nerves at taking on such a responsibility, this meant an immediate phone call to my friend Jules who is also a life-long fan and who can still, years after our O levels ended, quote whole sections of the book. She lent me the DVD of the film and had on standby her copy of the book and, together with my friend Drew, provided ideas and thoughts and, later in the process, very objective feedback on what I was putting together, helping keep some of the 'less confident' ideas from the art directors' eyes!

For me the most poignant moments are those when the feared Boo Radley leaves his little gifts for Scout and Jem hidden in the tree, especially the tiny figurines of the children. That needed to be central to the image and in the end, it literally does form 'the spine' of the book. The other elements were Scout's tomboy clothing and the trees (forming play areas and hiding places), and, since I've been working with silhouettes a lot recently, a nod to the work of American artist Kara Walker, whose work frames themes relevant to the book such as race, history, narrative, power and shame.

Ink drawings of Scout and Jem:


An early sketched cover idea:
To my relief the end result was approved of by both Jules and Drew, art director and author. I get quite excited when I think about Harper Lee's eyes on my artwork. Not known for her sociability, it is rumoured she keeps a very low profile in the town of Monroeville where she lives, and where Mockingbird is alleged to have been set. But it seems she liked it. In an enlightening coincidence, a recent BBC documentary on the 50th anniversary of the book led the presenter to Morris Dees, founder of The Southern Poverty Law Centre in Alabama, also a client, and one I'm proud to work for. You can read his narrative on 'What To Kill A Mockingbird Means To Me'.

'The small-town life that Harper Lee wrote about in Mockingbird may be fading away, but many of the attitudes about race live on. Just as importantly, the deep, underlying structures of racism in our country have not been eliminated. On the 50th anniversary of Harper Lee’s classic, we must dedicate ourselves to the work that remains to be done.'


Now, the OTHER one I'd love to do is Wuthering Heights, but for I'll have to wait until 2047 for the next anniversary...

Links:

About the book.
Harper Lee.
Southern Poverty Law Centre.
Buy a copy of the book (US only, sorry).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Inkymole Is Running For Cash: Part One.


I've been running recreationally for two years and intend to carry on doing so. It's just that I've decided to throw in something which is a bit of a stretch. Having read Haruki Murakami's book 'What I Talk About When I Talk About Running' and how it is inexorably connected with his creative process, I realised that having found running, it was very unlikely I would ever stop.

Thus, I'm intending to run my first half-marathon on October 10th in London to raise money for Mind. It took me about five days to decide, because a half marathon needs proper training, which means commitment to regular runs at certain times. Clients would have to be ignored to get them done. Jobs might have to be finished early to accommodate them. I might have to (gasp) go out running in the rain. But I get to RUN further than I've ever gone. It's the Royal Parks Half Marathon through the parks of London, and should be a lovely route.

When I run, particularly on the long ones, my mind clears, calms and refreshes. I come back ready to tackle anything. I want to feel like that all the time, but am in a pressured industry where such spells are rare and precious. I also know how close I've come on occasion to 'losing it'. At least, I thought I did, until I started to discover friends who really had 'lost it', and learned just how commonplace and misunderstood, and how devastating, a poorly brain can be. The unfortunate popular figurehead for mental illness in recent years, Stuart Goddard (aka Adam Ant) describes it as 'a fist in the skull'. And 1 in 4 people will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives. 1 in FOUR. Mind has therefore been my charity of choice for many years, and I'm honoured to be on their running team. More on Mind here: http://www.mind.org.uk/about

I've committed to raising £1000 minimum as part of my agreement with the charity. That's 200 people flinging a fiver my way. There are 600+ people in my address book and at least 50 people read this blog. Should be easy, right...?

Here's the page which makes donation a whole lot easier than going round your neighbours' houses with your Dad carrying a pen and a sponsor form from school:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/inkymole


- I do the sweating, they rattle the tin!

I really appreciate all your support, and I thank you in advance from the bottom of my weary trainers.

Status report: Currently running 7.25 miles. Speed needs to improve and I need to watch my knees! More leg presses and abs required. And don't bother with the Go energy gels again - they taste like Satan's wrung-out socks.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pressies.

I had a morning of wonderment and joy the other day. It was like Christmas, but better, because the things that put the smile on my face weren't planned or requested, or expected: they just arrived.

First of all I received a massive box from my friend Amanda, who lives in Providence. Amanda is an all-round creative being and she makes, amongst other things, hand-blown cake stands for single fairy cakes (or cupcakes, as the Americans call them.) She and I did a trade, but her parcel of oddities far outweighed anything I'd sent her way.

First of all there was THIS - a half-sewn half-drawn note. Can't you just HEAR the frantic ZRRRRZRRR of the sewing machine?

Then delving through the padding was this: wahhh! Snakes and a newt! They later had a fight - turtle won with his flip-top-smother-prey-stealth move:

Beetleface leapt out a bit further down, 3" long, but HE was made of stuff we can't identify, with metal bits, and has a magnet stuffed into his belly so he can hang off anything which makes a clonking sound. I tried him on the range flue, but seeing as this can reach 127C at full pelt, I decided melted beetles wasn't a look I fancied.

Enough already? NO. Buried in paper was the magnificent surprise of an Edward Gorey tarot pack - MY WORD. Did I tell her I liked Gorey? No! Did she guess? Can she see it in my face? Shall I tell my own future and that of everyone I know with characters like The Black Doll and The Limb from now on? Yes, I shall.


And all this is before I even get to the cake stand. Here it is - and can you believe, I had JUST made a batch of sticky chocolate ones. Popped one inside. Yum. Amanda must have used special Dorian Gray-style glass to make her stand, because the cakes in the tin turned to mush that night...and the one inside stayed smugly perfect and youthful.

Then my friend Hayley, who normally writes books like this one showed me her drawing of a rhino. It was so good and so captured the essence of a rhino that I dared her to draw a Mole. Now this was bad of me, because my own drawn animals are always deformed beasts of indeterminate species, but she did it. And here he is. Charmed? I nearly cried. Looks at his massive digging hands! His tiny eyes! His surprised sun-struck face! Now that's what illustration's all about - capturing the squinty digness of the Mole. Ten out of ten, Hayls.

And on the same day I received a thank you gift, which are ALWAYS appreciated - even if I can't drink that wine or eat those well-meant chocs - this was received from Laura and was thoroughly spontaneous, made by hand, and reflective of the arts occasion which triggered it!
Thank you Laura, Hayley and Amanda aka Ezz.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails