Doodles in the margin from an artist living and working in the Scottish Borders.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Whole Lotta Glove

In June the Forbidden Planet blog organised a riposte to an assertion made in a national newspaper that there weren't any good illustrators any more, illustrators who could actually draw stuff that looked like the stuff they were drawing. The challenge was to draw a cover for either 'Catcher in the Rye' or 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist.' 

I opted for 'Catcher' and read it through again. I was a long way down the moody-kid-in-red-check-cap road before it occurred to me that it wasn't all that imaginative a response.

In the end I picked up on the root of Holden's 'catcher' image, his brother Allie's catching mitt, which had poems written on it in green ink.

I don't know what happened to the competition, it was supposed to be whittled down to a shortlist in July, and then August and now it's December in a couple of days, so although we were asked not to publicise our own work, I'm assuming it's all got lost down the back of a drawer somewhere.

So, this is what I did.

I made it by drawing the glove and experimenting with green ink in a dip nib to get an authentically handwritten effect, then scanning in glove and writing separately and combining them in layers.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Chester Burnett, aka Bigfoot Chester, aka the mighty Howlin' Wolf.

A monstrous vocal and physical presence, standing at six feet three, nearly twenty stones in his prime and wearer of size seventeen shoes, Chester was a big man in all senses.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Car Coming.

Pencil, 3 inches square.

After a long time doing other things, I've decided what I knew from a very long time ago; I just really like drawing things in pencil.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Ho-Ho-Hobot. No, wait, not that at all...

Heavens to murgatroyd! Why, it's nearly Christmas!

Do you know someone you just can't buy for? Are they easily pleased by bright colours that you can order online in about thirty seconds?

That's handy! These fine Olympibots are now available as A3 and A4 poster prints HERE.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Got a Light, Mac?

This is called "The Size of Dragons is Generally Exaggerated."

Pencils on paper. Background nearly drove me nuts.

The Size of Dragons is Generally Exaggerated, pencil on paper, 15cm x 21cm. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Second Hand Books

M.R. James again, 'Canon Alberic's Scrapbook.' 

Someone is reading over Mr Denistoun's shoulder. I hate it when that happens.

Two things: firstly, it actually says that his attention is caught by something by his left elbow, but I've gone for the right, partly for compositional reasons, partly I just got it into my head it was that way.

Secondly, Denistoun takes off the crucifix that the daughter ominously gives him, so that should be on the table, probably. That I just forgot about.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Sharing a Room

I've been reading M. R. James' ghost stories since I was about twelve. (I'm a very slow reader.)

There's nothing quite like them for the subtlety and gradual accumulation of atmospheric foreboding, and one of the best is 'O, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad,' the story of Professor Parkin's seaside holiday. 

I started this in pen and ink, but decided pencil was what it needed.

"I can figure to myself something of the Professor's bewilderment and horror, for I have in a dream thirty years back seen the same thing happen; but the reader will hardly, perhaps, imagine how dreadful it was to him to see a figure suddenly sit up in what he had known was an empty bed."

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Monday, 5 November 2012

Aristocat Pen

Pen version of 'Hunting With Cats.'

Saturday, 3 November 2012


I've been doing some proper paid design work lately but it's nearly done so I can go out to play again.

We did a craft fair today, and I made enough to pay for some new oil paints, and had enough time to doodle this Victorian geezer. I've been looking through Gustave Dore's extraordinary 'London' illustrations, and floating ship maestro Ian McQue has been posting Dickensian doodles on Twitter, so between them I was in the mood.

I was planning on working this

up into a full scale MARK IT ZERO! illustration, but there's a million of them on the internet already. I might go off into DO YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS LARRY? DO YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FIND A STRANGER IN THE ALPS? as the American network TV censor would have it.

That's Tom Waits. I had an idea for what to do with it that I tried. It didn't work. So, the disembodied and disemhatted head and jazz hands of Tom Waits, awaiting a better idea to come along.


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