Thursday, April 28, 2011

Restaurant Magazine - May 2011

Restaurant Magazine - May 2011

A piece for the May 2011 issue of regular client Restaurant magazine.

It's about a business man called Malcolm Walker, who is buying a company called the Individual Restaurant Company (IRC), for a really low price. He is apparently halfway up Mount Everest at the moment raising money for charity.

Likenesses are not my forte, but I think I've captured him well enough here (he looks, in real life, like a mix of Martin Freeman and Raymond Blanc).

The composition was the Art Director's idea, but works very well I think. I have kept the palette bright but simple/ limited.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Twitter Ye Not - Joan of Arc

Twitter Ye Not - Joan of Arc

A regular piece for a certain national newspaper about how figures in history might have twittered or tweeted or whatever, had they the chance, inclination and technology.

On May 7 1429, Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc) pulled an arrow from her shoulder in order to lead the final charge on the English and end the siege of Orleans. Recent internet excavations have now unearthed the Twitter feed of that historic day.

I have shown the so-called Maid of Orléans with the arrow in her shoulder on the left, and St. Michael (whose voice, along with those of Saints catherine and Margaret, Joan claimed to hear). He is shown in his traditional suit of armour. The bobbly cross on th shield is the coat-of-arms traditionally attributed to St. Michael by medieval scholars. I have given young Joan a roman nose, after the Smith's 'Bigmouth Strikes Again'!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Twitter Ye Not - The Great Exhibition

Twitter Ye Not - The Great Exhibition

A regular piece for a certain national newspaper about how figures in history might have twittered or tweeted or whatever, had they the chance, inclination and technology.

On the 1st of May 1851 Queen Victoria declared The Great Exhibtion in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park open, The recently recovered twitter feed of that weekend captures the excitement of the event.

I have shown a not-amused Queen Victoria and her consort (and first cousin) Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha. Albert is looking pompous and proud - the Great Exhibition, after all, was his idea. They are separated by a jardiniere and pot-plant, very mid-Victorian!

Behind Albert, upon a velvet cushion on the floor, is the Koh-i-Noor (a Farsi name, meaning 'Mountain of Light'), the world's largest diamond. It was given to Victoria by Albert, who had it re-cut under his personal supervision to make it more facetted and more brilliant, in 1852. The stone has a curse on it, and it is said that 'only God, or a woman, can wear it with impunity'. Victoria wore it as a broach and after her death the stone was set into the coronation crown of her daughter-in-law Queen Alexandra, and used subsequently by Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth II. Who will wear it next? Queen Camilla? Queen Kate?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gavin & Arek's Wedding

Gavin & Arek's Wedding

I was asked by the delightful Gavin Anthony to design and produce an Invitation for his Wedding (Civil Partnership) to Arek Rokicki in the Summer.

Gavin has a love of Medieval & Tudor history and heraldry (as have I!) so we took that as the starting point for the design, particularly as the ceremony and reception are taking place in the fabulous Middle Temple Hall (off Fleet Street), which is perhaps the finest example of an Elizabethan Hall in the country.

101 feet long and 41 feet wide, it is spanned by a magnificent double hammer beam roof. Begun in 1562 when Edmund Plowden, the famous law reporter, was Treasurer of the Inn, it has remained virtually unaltered to the present day. I used the architecture of the Hall to act as a frame for the design. The walls of the hall are literally covered in hundreds of heraldic designs, so I have alluded to that here, with the shields of England (Gavin) and Poland (Arek) at the top in the beams. The Lamb & Flag is the symbol of the Middle Temple.

I have removed the date and RSVP details - hence the spaces!

The image was printed as a two colour separation on high quality slightly off-white card. The colours were inspired by those on the Middle Temple Hall website, and the works of Edward Bawden.

Click on the Image to see it in all its glory!

Museum Journal - Part 12

Museum Journal - Part 12 (May 2011)

Part 12 of theDirector of the National Museum of Britsh History's Diary, for regular client Museum Journal (MJ).

This month our man is invited along to the top-secret Stag do of Prince William at some pile in the country. Unfortunately William's younger brother Prince Harry turns up by helicopter with his army mates. All's well on the first night but on the second Harry and his pal get very drunk, dress up in their Nazi uniforms and begin smashing up the Meissen porcelain and threatening to burn the Constables!

As always with MJ the final print size is minute (3 or 4 cm across tops) so its crucial to keep the design very simple and the detail to a minimum.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Notebook Sketches - The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

Notebook Sketches - The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

This is a a composite of two pages from one of last year's notebooks, when I was reading the Travels of Sir John Mandeville, a mad Medieval travel guide of sorts that inspired (in part) Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus. Full of fantastical creatures, lost cities, Biblical references, talking trees, etc, etc. Rich pickings for an illustrator!

In this image you will see, amongst other things, the great Pharos (light-house) of Alexandria, a pyramid surmounted by a sphere, mythical Christian king Prester John, the Tyburn tree and Pismires (giant flesh-eating ants) hoarding a mountain of gold and treasures. Plus lots of the imagined minutiae of life in the Middle Ages.

Then loosely coloured up in Photoshop. I would love so much to illustrate this book (any Publishers out there, take note!).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wired - Ideas Bank - Pragmamorphism

Wired - Ideas Bank - Pragmamorphism

My first job for Wired magazine, for their Ideas Bank section. It was for a piece by Emanuel Derman, the South African-born academic, businessman, quantitaive analyst and author, on the subject of pragmamorphism, his name for the naïve materialism involved in attributing the properties of inanimate things to human beings. According to Derman 'being pragmamorphic sounds as though it might equate to being scientific, but it easily evolves into dully ambitious and unimaginative scientism.' There. so now you know!

On of the points discussed in more detail was Derman's criticism of some scientists overly-simplistic models of the brain, mind and behaviour. He states that one doesn't 'have to look far inside yourself to know that our interior is a tangled dark garden not easily amenable to naïve cause and effect arguments'. I took that as the starting point for this illustration, showing the creases of a brain as the pathways of a maze, with a figure lost within. I know, I know, Cliché Guevara! But hey, clichés are us illustrators' stock in trade!

I had to make a few changes (move the speech bubble, change it colour) but this is the original - I prefered the layout and simpler colour palette.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Twitter Ye Not - Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn

Twitter Ye Not - Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn

A regular piece about how figures in history might have twittered or tweeted or whatever, had they the chance, inclination and technology.

The forthcoming marriage of William and Kate is merely the latest in a long history of royal weddings that have captured the hearts of the nation. In the Spring of 1533, after a lengthy, romantic courtship punctuated by adultery, an annulment, several arrests, a couple of executions, an almost terminal illness, a pregnancy, two ex-communications, and a complete collapse of relations with the Vatican, King Henry VIII quietly married Anne Boleyn. The marriage was declared valid on May 28th. That royal wedding, just like its contemporary equivalent, excited the Twittersphere greatly.

I have shown King Henry (one of history's biggest bastards in my opinion) looking on lasciviously towards his apprehensive bride Anne Boleyn. To Henry's left is the Tudor rose, the emblem his father, Henry VII, created upon his marriage to Elizabeth of York, ending the War of the Roses and combining the emblems of the two houses, the red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York. Next to Anne's loosely attached head is the HA monogram created for their partnership. Anne Boleyn wears the famous Boleyn pearl necklace with a B of solid gold from which hung three drop pearls - it was her favourite jewel (all portraits show her wearing it) and was inherited, after her beheading, by her daughter Queen Elizabeth I.

Apologies for the hiatus in posting up images of late - I've been suffering from a trapped nerve and bad back for the last month and its really slowed me down.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Twitter Ye Not - Titanic #2

Twitter Ye Not - Titanic #2

A piece about how figures in history might have twittered or tweeted or whatever, had they the chance, inclination and technology.

On 10 April 1912, the RMS Titanic set off from Southampton on her doomed maiden voyage to New York City. Four days into the crossing, at 23:40 on 14 April 1912, she struck an iceberg and sank at 2:20 the following morning. Maritime historians have recently discovered the Twitter feed from that fateful weekend.

This is the sixth of this series I have done so far (Coronation of Elizabeth I, Napoleon entering Paris, the Crimean War, the Suffragette movement, the Titanic before sinking and now this). Its a fun series, although I was disappointed that the author had not included 'The Unsinkable' Molly Brown in the Twitter feed - it seemed to be mostly concerned with the characters from James Cameron's film (including Celine Dion's grandmother!) than with actual real-life victims and survivors of the disaster.

I have shown Lord Twitt, wondering if his tuxedo will work as a life-jacket, and on the other side of the locked gate in Third Class stands a furious Irish peasant (as seen in the James Cameron film), bottle and glass of porter at his feet on the sloping deck.