An inch a day

If you’re following me on my social accounts (instagram, facebook or twitter) you will have seen my tiny 1 x 1 inch drawings each day this month during September. This was a challenge from The House of Illustration for creatives or anyone willing to have a go and take part.

The challenge was inspired by John Vernon Lord who, in 2016, did a drawing for every single day of the year. Each one was just one-inch squared and made with pen and ink on paper. 

"Every day of 2016 I would do a drawing of something that occurred to me on the spur of the moment. The exercise was done for the fun of drawing - the liberation of drawing 'for the sake of it' is always something of a relief compared to the exacting challenge of illustrating professionally." - John Vernon Lord

So far I’ve found this to be a great daily exercise and I’m considering what to do with them all when I’m done at the end of the month, which isn’t far away. Possibly a numbered, limited edition run of prints… Stay tuned for more info soon! If you’d like to find out more, feel free to subscribe below.

Also, a few people have asked how they’re made and if they’re actually only 1 inch big… Yep, they sure are. They’re tiny! I’ve been placing a pencil in the photo of each illustration I’ve shared as a reference for their small scale.

In terms of making them, I’ve mostly been using superfine dip pen nibs, black Indian ink, watercolour and a hint of coloured pencil to make them pop. I’ll gather some specifics on the products I mostly use for illustration and will share them in a future blog post.

First Day of Winter

Ages ago I pondered whether or not I should get an iPad Pro. I mainly wanted one for its compatibility with the Apple pencil and the Procreate app. As an analogue guy at heart, I decided against it. Although just recently I succumbed to temptation and splashed out and bought one. In terms of how busy I've been recently, and the fact that I've rarely been in a space to spread out, work and leave my gear lying around, it has been the perfect take-anywhere creative studio. I'll admit that using real art mediums still feels more romantic, and there's a rewarding tactile quality you get from scratching around on a bit of paper with a pencil that you can't replicate with a plastic stylus on a bit of glass. 

I decided on the 12" model and it gives enough space to work without feeling restricted. Working with the Procreate app feels a lot like working in Photoshop and more natural than working with other drawing tablet devices. 

I've been working on a number of pieces, and to celebrate the first day of Winter yesterday, I spend around 45 minutes drawing this piece below last night in front of the fireplace. So find a blanket, rug up, hit play and enjoy this little time-lapse!

Why bother making realist art? Why not just take a photo?

"Realist art is pointless, simply take a photo". I've heard this comment before, and at the time I thought, 'yeah, you're quite right really'. But as a graphic artist that naturally leans toward realism in my own creative practice, I also disagree. I was thinking about this comment today while working, as I'm part way through completing a piece for a new body of work, which I'll announce more about soon. I think sometimes realist art or 'hyperrealism' can imbue subject matter with a degree of renewed clarity. An artists interpretation (while debatable in terms of realist art), can convey a previously hidden or veiled message, particularly if that subject matter had only existed in photographic form. 

Still stuck in the 90s

I love technology, but most of the time I think I'm still stuck in the 90s. Rocko, I understand little fella.

Retro Revival

Retro is big at the moment, especially if you're a gamer. Mid-2016 Nintendo announced the re-release of their classic NES console in a scaled down mini version with 30 games pre-installed. Fortunately that night on the day it was announced I pre-ordered... A huge number of frustrated Nintendo nerds missed out. Then later in the year, EB games announced another limited opening for preorders in the lead up to Christmas and that day the traffic at their website actually crashed it due to demand. Clearly there are many people out there, probably of a similar age to me, all seeking the comfort of 8-bit nostalgia and childhood/teen video game memories.  

Just a few days ago, SEGA and ATARI both announced a revival of their retro consoles, and again today, Nintendo announced the revival of their much loved Super Nintendo Entertainment System in mini form with flagship titles. It seems that the days of Mario vs Sonic are here once again. I just can't wait to play Donkey Kong Country, complete with a classic SNES controller.

As a kid I never had an NES or SNES, but I have fond memories of playing Nintendo's ported versions to handheld consoles, particularly on the GameBoy handheld... Which got me thinking. Will 2018 be the year of a revived mini N64 console with titles like Super Mario 64, Goldeneye, Mario Kart and Donkey Kong 64 included? Or perhaps a re-release of the classic GameBoy complete with dot matrix display and pre-loaded games? Oh, I hope so!