Tuesday, 27 September 2011

"Boris. Why always Boris...?"

A couple of weeks ago we were in Italy with Rowan's family, staying at their beautiful house in the even more beautiful Sibillini mountains. On the first two nights we were woken at 4am by wild boar snuffling and grunting and chomping figs beneath our bedroom window. We never got to see more than the undergrowth shaking as they moved about, but Rowan's sister managed a glimpse of a sow and piglets one night, from her window on the floor above us. Their parents, in a room on the other side of the house, slept through it both times, much to his mum's disappointment, and she vowed to sleep in a more piggy room once we went home. It's her birthday next week and, just in case she still hasn't seen or heard one of the noisy buggers, this chap's for her.

His name's Boris. Until he was shot by the Forestry Commission in 2009 he was the most famous wild boar in the Forest of Dean. Unlike most wild boar he had little fear of humans, and would enter villages where locals would offer him food and he would feed from their hands. The Forestry Commission decided it was time to put a stop to his friendly forays after Boris accidentally (and somewhat unsurprisingly if you've ever tried feeding a domestic pig from your hands) bit someone's finger. The local newspaper ran the headline "Boar Attacks Man For First Time in 300 Years". A little over the top? Hell yes.

I drew this monoprint from a photograph taken by David J Slater. For more of his photos and more on the wild boar of the Forest of Dean, including in depth info on the haphazard and indifferent culling practices of the local Forestry Commission, visit his website http://www.djsphotography.co.uk/British%20Mammals/Wild%20Boar.htm

New Compassionate Dorset Design

The lovely folk over at Compassionate Dorset asked me to create another farm animal T-shirt design for their charity shop, so I drew this cute little lambikin for them.

He'll be available in a range of colours (I like how scary the red makes him) and will be on sale very soon, along with this piggle too.

All proceeds go to Compassion In World Farming, who work to improve the welfare of farm animals worldwide. TV producer Phillipa Clunes (wife of Martin) is apparently the proud owner of one of my Chook tees from Compassionate Dorset. Why not follow her example and do your bit for farm animals at the same time?

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Christmas Cards

For once I've actually designed my Christmas cards ahead of time, go me! I've done four different ones, each based on lines from Christmas carols, using the text to create a border. Here are the first two, O Little Town of Bethlehem and I Saw Three Ships.

I'll get the other two up in the next few days.

Monday, 5 September 2011

The Good Life

Crumbs, it's been over a month since my last post! That really highlights how little work I've done recently. It's been a slow illustration year for me so far; I've only had two commissions since December. I started the year doing a few bits of personal work and I designed and sent out a ton of promo postcards, from which I got only one reply, from a lady who, nice as it was, really only wanted a long, non-illustration chat. Since then I've been somewhat lacking in motivation.

So, you may ask, what have I been doing with my time? I've seached, fruitlessy, for a part time job that doesn't involve serving food or drink, but that also doesn't need a heap of qualifications I don't have, I've read a lot of blogs, spent a lot of time on Facebook, re-read almost the entire Wheel of Time series and wasted whole afternoons reading about serial killers on Wikipedia. I've left the house once or twice too and even spoken to some real people to stop me becoming a gibbering nutcase. The best thing to have come out of it though, is that our allotment's done pretty darn well, partly thanks to the free time I've been able to donate to weeding. Despite our carrots getting eaten by an anonymous digging critter, half our brassica bed succumbing to club root and our sweetcorn failing miserably, everything else has been grand. I won't bore you with a list of vegetables, but suffice to say we haven't had to buy any veg for months, and I've been busy filling our cupboards with homemade preserves. So far I've made courgette and tomato chutney, salted beans, damson jam, damson chutney and I'm planning on making some tomato ketchup too. Here are a couple of before and after pics of the plot ('scuse the picture quality, my phone camera is a tad primitve).

January 2011. The potato patch just dug on the bottom right, crud left by the previous owners at the far end.

Early August 2011

I had to eat this lot (and more) myself when Rowan went galivanting off to Wales for two weeks on a field trip.
 So, it's been fun! But I have done a few bits of work too. It was my dad's 60th birthday at the end of August, and he specifically asked both me and my brother (who's a photographer: dottygallery.com) for a piece of artwork that summed up our practice and/or us somehow. So I created this piece specially for him. It's not only the way I'd like for us to live once Rowan's finished his degree and we can get the hell outta Leicester, but also the way we lived when I was growing up, so it's also a sort of subtle but cheesy thanks for a thoroughly wholesome and lovely childhood. Click for a bigger, better version:

I also used this in a promo email I sent out the other week, so hopefully some work will come from that. I'm currently working on some lino print Christmas card designs too, and I'm pretty pleased with the results so far. I'll get them up here soon.