it’s coming…

pet portrait, portrait artist, illustration

Ok, it’s still vaguely sunny out there and I don’t want to think about it really, but the crimbo season will be on us before you know it. By my reckoning, Halloween stuff will be in the shops next weekend and once that’s over, they go full on festive…

With that in mind, if you are thinking of a pet portrait as a gift for the animal lover in your life, I’m taking Christmas commissions now. Don’t leave it till the last minute (seriously, the stress on both of us will be horrendous!!).

Portraits can be A4 or A3, and are pastel and pencil on Ingres pastel paper, and can be mounted ready for framing if required. I usually work from photographs supplied. Prices start at £65. If you would like more information just get in touch and I’ll be happy to guide you through the process 🙂

You can see some examples of previous portraits on the Portfolio page.

geometric

Whisky label design

Whisky label design

So my latest project is a limited edition whisky label design (how Scottish :)) for a young drinks company. If you know me, then you’ll know I love a label design. But, as you probably don’t, then let me tell you that despite absolutely loving red wine, the label has at least as much bearing on the bottle that I buy, much to the chagrin of my personal sommelier. I can’t help it! I have books on the subject and a pretty extensive label collection that includes Some Young Punks and Matsu. (That I’m still trying to figure out the best way to get the labels off in one piece is probably for another post…).

But that’s wine labels. To be fair, beer labels have also undergone a bit of a design renaissance in recent years, helped in no small part by the phenomenal success of Brewdog (also Scottish! A theme emerges!). Hmm, whisky labels though…? To uninitiated me (definitely not a whisky drinker) they always seem quite traditional – and for that read: dull. A bit of Googling however, revealed that there are some funkier designs out there.

After brainstorming the concept with the client over curry and a bottle of wine – a design process I thoroughly recommend! – we settled on basing the brand around the road which connects the two company shops; the fortuitiously/unfortunately named Slug road.

First visuals

First visuals

The first visuals were a modern take using a slug graphic (which I loved – that trail was going to be spot UV!) and a more traditional design based on a drawing of the road itself. Although the client loved the slug too, as he so delicately pointed out, “people are fucking stupid, they’ll think it’s made of actual slugs”. Having extensive experience of the stupidity of people, I had to concede this was quite likely the case.

But ok… the road idea was the favourite, except, I didn’t really like the visuals for the road one! I preferred the more modern ‘slug’ version…. So, I went back to the drawing board and worked on ‘modernising’ the road design with a geometric pattern. If I say so myself, it’s actually pretty smart – the triangles represent two mountains, the road and some trees (in case you don’t get it :)). Without the actual slug, I thought ‘sloc’ worked better as the name, and gave it an accompanying blurb by way of explanation. As part of the blurb goes:

“The Slug Road is an ancient ‘mounth’ road in Aberdeenshire. Slug is thought to be derived from the Gaelic word sloc, meaning hollow or dell, named because the road traverses a narrow mountain pass.”

SLOC ~ the final design

SLOC ~ the final design

Anyway, the title of this post is because all those triangles reminded me of this.

Frank Zappa ~ Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch

Frank Zappa ~ Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch

ello

inking foxes

Since I’m back online, I figured I might as well go all out and completely saturate the web with my presence, virus-style! So, in addition to this new website, my Instagram account and Facebook page, I’ve also gone back to Ello. You can visit me there, where I have acquired a slightly Russian sounding version of my actual name, due to my actual name not being available…

Ello is “the only network designed for creators, by creators” and, I have to say, it is achingly cool. You just know it’s populated by beard-wearing, avocado-eating, craft beer brewing hipsters in Helvetica t-shirts, skinny jeans and inconceivably pointy shoes. (Although admittedly, dammit, it might just be me getting old and cynical…). But, I’m liking the ethos of the site and the clean visual aesthetic – and it’s ad free – so I will persevere despite feeling like the uncool kid 🙂 (Plus, I feel my newly found, exotic sounding name can only help me to fit in there…).

Anyway, in the spirit of all things hipster, handmade and authentic (and with my tongue only very slightly in my cheek), I’m posting an oldie of me inking foxes.

fit like flowers

Business card for Fit Like Flowers (front)

Business card for Fit Like Flowers (front)

Business card for Fit Like Flowers (back)

Business card for Fit Like Flowers (back)

A bit of design for a change, a business card for Fit Like Flowers. The locally grown flower business is situated near Bennachie in Aberdeenshire, and owner Janie wanted the iconic ‘Mither Tap’ silhouette as part of her design.

If you’re wondering, ‘fit like’ is a Doric greeting – it basically means “how are you?”.

making Morse

An illustration from the finished Morse book.

An illustration from the finished Morse book.

Ok, those of you who followed the saga of Morse on blogger will know that this book was a while in the making! It started out in 2013 and I finally received the finished book at the start of this summer. For the most part I’m pleased with how it turned out – althought the design itself is not exactly how I would have wanted it – and I have my favourite (and not so favourite) illustrations.

If you’re looking to while away some time, you can catch up on the trials and tribulations on the making of Morse here. I’ll try to take some pics of the finished book and post them soon, and the book itself is now available to buy over on Acair’s website.

But, it’s good to clear the decks. Sometimes just having a project hanging around in the background can stop you focusing clearly on new ones…

And speaking of new projects, watch this space 😉

hello