Monday, September 24, 2012

Illustrations in progress...

...done entirely using the computer:

The last two are Giclée print tests on Hahnemühle German Etching paper. (Giclée is a word for posh inkjet prints on archival paper, apparently laughable and quite rude to actual French speakers).

Tests, experiments and postcards...

 ...done with paper, pencils and paints:

Thursday, September 13, 2012


If you buy the CBeebies Abney and Teal special magazine this month (I think it's on sale all month) you get a free Neep!

It's available in supermarkets and WHSmiths and all over the place. There's suddenly a lot of Neeps about.
Behind him there on the computer screen you can just make out a sample I'm doing for a new (non-abney & Teal) picture book. I'll find out later what I can and can't show here...

In other news it seems the Hurdy Gurdy from the excited post below was damaged in transit. Still waiting to find out what to do about it...
Sometimes I think my instruments are more trouble than pets. Mind you, if I had this many dogs that'd be real trouble.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Brushes with Robots

Have finally succeeded in making Photoshop brushes and layer settings that feel to me as subtle as sketchbook pages (well, as close as necessary for print or HD screens). Strange feeling, but so useful...

Still not quite there with the colour version, but nearly...

Been trying Painter 12 and Artrage as well. They can do some clever (and hideous) things, but I'm not at home in either one...
Painter 12 kills my machine too, and it's not a particularly weedy machine.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


You know those weird unboxing videos that Apple geeks post on youtube (No? You must not be an Apple geek then…), well this is sort of one of those - and about as expensive.

A year ago, when I was in the thick of making Abney & Teal and trying to believe we'd ever finish, I pre-planned a kind of celebration for the never-to-come finishing and ordered two hand-made instruments. Well, one arrived yesterday. A set of Sean Jones' Border Pipes in G.

(A couple of months ago Sean was kind enough to let me make a few parts myself at his workshop, as I've always been interested in instrument making in general and particularly wood-turning. A few little bits are mine, the most obvious being the end of the long sticky-out bit on the right, next to the Ladybird).

These are pipes that look a lot like those in the Morpeth collection in the North of England, but play and sound like those played in Central France. I'll not post any videos of my playing, as it's not up to much yet -particularly while I learn to use bellows. If you want to know what they're capable of sounding like then watch this instead! 

(You see, pipe-playing is cool in France… at least Julien Cartonnet makes it seem that way).

Then today a box the size of a fridge arrived (note that you already can't take a picture in this flat without five instruments being in it, including Toby Dog's original Squeezebox):

What on earth am I going to do with all that foam pasta? Anybody want any foam pasta?

This is a Hurdy Gurdy made by Alexandra Betz in Munich

I'm no better at this than the pipes, but it's a wee bit quieter so here I am looking dishevelled and trying it out:

And trying it out again tuned down low.

There's probably going to be ructions with my better half over who gets to play this beastie, but anyway. Exciting!

If you came here to see drawings and that, here's a picture of a Mole-monster, and an over-cute doggie who has befriended a rat.

Monday, September 3, 2012


I tell myself this is all leading somewhere: