With all the graduate shows going on, it seemed silly of me not to scope out another generation of competition. I chose D&AD New Blood this year, as I haven’t been before and it’s free. Win win. I thought it was a stunning display of talent, in particular the product design (it always amazes me that people can make these actual real things). But I was primarily there for the illustrators. Overall, there was still very much emphasis on hand-drawn, home-made, childlike stuff, and using paper cut-outs. Not new, but done very well. My stand out picks:
Recently I found out about a fantastic life drawing session that happens right around the corner from my humble abode. And it only costs a fiver. Not that I don’t love my novelty/trendy/costly classes in central LDN, as you can see here, but this is everything I’ve been looking for. They don’t have a website, and most of the artists there have been going for decades, literally. The clas itself has been running since 1985 – that’s longer than I’ve been running as a human! Long story short, it takes place 30 Rosebery Gardens, Crouch End every Thursday 8–10:30, open to all (but don’t take the corner easel IT’S MINE!)
Buses: W3, W5, W7, 41, 91
This month I’ve had the pleasure of getting a painting included in a local exhibition, Women of Crouch End, which is currently being held in the Haberdashery cafe. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this – seeing my work alongside so many talented local ladies, and in my favourite cafe! (Try the hot chocolate there and tell me it isn’t the best you’ve ever had. I dare you.) My piece is the painting I made prior to the illustration, Crouch End Tiger, which I featured a little while back. I love the colder tones and using silver paint – may be one for the winter but it’s not like the summer has been much different…
All the works are for sale and the show will be running until 14th July 2013. Get yourself up north and have a gander at some art!
Seeing the musical Cats as a child had a lasting impact on me. For weeks I listened to the soundtrack, pestered my parents for a black cat I could name ‘Mr Mistofelees’ and poured over the brochure. Still today I have a penchant for leggings and legwarmers. To thank for my love of these fantastic feline fables, I have
Andrew Lloyd Webber T.S. Eliot. My homage to ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats‘:
This is an ongoing personal project in which I’ve chosen some of my favourites from the animal kingdom and illustrated them, in hope to turn them into a series of prints, greeting cards, tote bags and t-shirts. Keep posted, they should be available on the shop soon.
Last weekend I went to the Southbank Centre, to an event part of the London Literature Festival, (21st May–8th Sep 2013). It was a talk with three prominent British graphic novelists, one of which I’d seen recently at my visit to Laydeez Do Comics.
First to talk was Mary Talbot, who last year won the Costa Biography Award. It was for her (and husband, Bryan Talbot’s) collaborative graphic novel, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, a tale of two daughters: Lucia, the daughter of James Joyce, and Mary herself. I won’t claim to have read Ulysses, but I love the idea of basing a graphic novel around such an obscure non-fictional character. I suppose it was less obscure for Mary, as her father was himself a Joycean scholar. Plus, I love the title. ‘Dotter’, which is pretty much an identical aural reproduction of how my (Irish) mum says ‘daughter’, and that it links to a line in another of Joyce’s masterpieces, Finnegans Wake.
The images are fantastic too of course – the contrast between the two tales, coming from the sepia and bluer colour palettes.
A final thing that Talbot caught my attention with, is her work in progress: a graphic novel about a Suffragette. It is historically accurate so could potentially be used as a teaching aid – this is such a fantastic idea. As much as I enjoyed history (mostly) I know it always helped to bring the topic to life, visually in particular. My favourite history teacher would draw cartoons for us all the time, and encourage us to illustrate our work, and it’s been proven enough times that visual aids greatly help memory. Can’t wait to see this one on the shelves.
Next up was Glyn Dillon, which I have already raved about here, but this talk only served to strengthen my love for The Nao of Brown even more. Just when I thought a copy of the book couldn’t be improved, my friend who bought one got a full painting of Nao in her copy, then and there by the author extraordinairre himself. #jealous
Finally, Stephen Collins presented his GIANT BEARD THAT WAS EVIL!! Not as scary as that sounds, but absolutely stunning as a book. The most mind-blowing thing is his drawing skills – the whole thing was done in pencil. I can only cry at the thought of attempting that, especially when you see pages like this:
All authors ended with some of their own ‘must read’ suggestions, and now my list is a mile long. I’ve only quite recently been discovering my love for graphic novels, but I think this is the start of a happy (though expensive) relationship.
Seeing as it’s ‘summer’ (ahem… a term I use loosely in the British Isles), I figured it is high time I get some new customised footwear designs out. I’m pretty happy with my latest – fluorescent pink, toned down with my sharpie-work. I’ll be taking orders over at the shop, any special requests I’d be happy to meet, if it pleases your feet 😉
Click here to order at the Catillest Shop (£30 + p&p)