...catastrophe. That's about the only way you can describe what happened at Heathrow due to the snow that fell in London on Saturday. Half a foot in half an hour I believe.
 The Heathrow departure lounge boards...pleasant reading for some. Not so much for most.

I'm actually blogging this in the departure lounge (edits in the arrivals hall) as I was one of the lucky ones who made it out of the UK given the horrendous weather conditions and complete dysfunction of Heathrow airport, which resembles more of a refugee camp. We were held outside in makeshift marquees (the outside temp maxed at 0 degrees centigrade) and only allowed into the airport once our ticket was confirmed and the flight scheduled. Not everyone was so lucky. A lot of people are still stranded there and will be over the holiday period. The lady above is one of the unlucky mass. One of the people who was corralling us announced that our flight was a go, but only for confirmed, so if you were waiting on a wait list (a lot of people who had flights canceled were) then you'd have to wait until the 24th. The 24th of December. She got this news and just went and sat down, put her head on her bag and shut her eyes. She'd obviously done the math. A bit of education for those of you who only travel short haul around the US or Europe. Long haul towards the East loses you hours. When I leave here on the 21st I'll get to HKG on the 22nd about 5pm. 12 hours in the air is 20 hours on the ground (not literally time travel...but, y'know). She was aiming to get to NZ so tack on a couple of hours transit in HK and an extra 10.5 hours flight time plus the extra 4 timezones east. That brings a total flight time to  about 24-25 hours (inc. transit) and 12 timezones east and that would put her in Auckland at about 9am...26th of December.

Merry Christmas.



...must've been a nightmare.

Anyway, I thought I'd post the two different styles up so people can see the difference. One is the clean vector style and the second is ink on paper with a sepia wash and then a bit of Photoshop manipulation...but not much. If you read the post about 'Tommy' on Tales of the Spiffing (Story extraordinnaire JP Vine has also posted his up...I've seen it and it's amazing!) then you'll know that the two styles represent the 'Real' and the 'Memories'...I hope it's something that works when its read. Anyway, here is a point in the story where the real becomes the memory...something happening at that moment becomes something that happened in the past.



...and here is what'll be appearing next to my name in "Tales of the Spiffing"...Oh the British Tommy.



...of the SPIFFING!

(cover by LUIS COOK)

I kind of hinted at it a while back that some of us here at work had got together to make a book...well it's almost here. Above is the cover by Luis, who is some kind of character phenomenon. I think you'll agree...AMAZING!

Anyways, head over to the blog we've set up for it to see who's involved...it's 19 epic talents and then me lowering the bar...20 of us in total!

So...who wants one?


And the Winner is...

'Shaun the Sheep' nominated for an Emmy award and a BAFTA!!
The world funnest show to work on! Fingers crossed, eh?


Flick Flip Flick

I got exhibited...whoop!

A few months ago the organisers asked if any of the artists at Aardman would like to have a go at making a flip book so that they could start a campaign to get flipbooks and animation into local schools. Led by our illustrious leader (Mr. Lord) each of us came up with a short 30 frame animation, which was then made up into a book which you can thumb through and it comes to life! They also printed out the frames and exhibited them at the University West England (UWE) as the first part of the project launch about a week ago. The second part of the exhibit takes place in a one years time when the work of the school children will be exhibited. It'll be great to see what they come up with!! From what I hear it's all going quite well and the show is off to Denmark where the Danish hope to do the sam thing in their schools.It was a fun project to work on and I got to break out 'Old Blue Sanford' and do some animating again...it's been a while.

Anyway you can see all the artists flipbooks online here.

School and flip books....kind of goes together, right?...I mean what else are you supposed to do in the corner of your maths book?


Gesture Drawing...

...at work.

A few weeks ago (five to be precise) the great Rej Bourdages and I took it upon ourselves to bring the ancient art of 'Nudie' drawing to the populace of our work place. We came down off the mount and bestowed pencils and paper among those who were willing to give up one lunch time each week searching for the elusive goal of a greater understanding of life...


And lo, they answered. With force, they cried, "Thank you for this pencil and also for this paper. I shall go forth and draw like never before. From this day on I shall..."

and then they didn't turn up the next week. But it's okay because it's a drop in, drop out scheme. The rules are fairly simple. Poses are 60-90 seconds with two or three 5 minuters thrown in at the end for good measure.

Week 1 - (Parker Fountain/FC Polychromos)

Week 2 - (Pitt Pen, Brush nib/FC Polychromos)

Week 3 - (Parker Fountain/FC Polychromos)

Week 4 - (Parker Fountain/FC Polychromos)

Week 5 - (Parker Fountain/Charcoal)

I don't use charcoal that often...reason being that after I use it, I resemble someone whose 'been down pit' all day. The 5 minuter above is actually all three 5 minute poses and you can see shadows of the other under the final image. After each pose, I just erased it with the side of my hand and started the next pose. Easier than turning the page. No reason to be precious with it. It was probably crap...or it could've been a masterpiece. We'll never know! (...and be 'we', I mean you lot, because I know they were all rubbish).


Life Drawing 01 & 08.07.10

(4 Mins)

(3 mins)

(5 mins)

(7 mins)

(5 mins)


We had our last figure session of term last Thursday...but it's okay because we start lunch time sessions here at work tomorrow!


Life Drawing 10.06.10

Back to figure drawing after a two week break...one week because half term = no session, one week because I was working late.
(4 mins)

(7 mins)

(10 mins)

(10 mins)
(warm up 2-5mins)


Cat's out the bag!

Well JP has put it on his blog so I guess the word is out...we're making a comic anthology. And by we I mean a few guys from work. You can have a few idea sketches from developing ideas...I'm down to two, but which one gets printed is for you to find out!


Also, I was introduced to 'Rat race" (the 1967 version) this evening. We had a pie and board game night at the pub. I wanted the society wedding to move up to the higher class but sadly ended up with a ming vase, mink fur and some other high society status symbol...plus $50,000. Oh well.


It getting to that time of year again...

...when the sun is up at 5 and doesn't set until 8. I think they call it Summer...

This was the first 'summer-y' weekend this year and I thought I'd make the most of it by going out and doing a bit of sketching in the sun. Not of people or places, just ideas for...stuff. I haven't done that for a while. Anyway, I encountered this on my way out of the house in the morning...

Ah...the view from my flat in the morning. Blue sky, no clouds to be seen, birds tweeting and, coincidentally, someone stood at the end of path on a Blackberry or iPhone, probably also tweeting. What a great day...

And down on the actual street a couple (one of whom does not yet know the benefits of 'sunscreen'...or protein shakes) and his girlfriend /mistress /sister (delete as appropriate) walking hand in hand. Hand in hand in an elongated stretch kind of way...and they're walking at, like, 2 miles an hour...balls.

It was at this point I realised I was stuck behind two bimbling love birds.

And I wasn't the only one. This slow moving convoy of lust was holding up the entire pavement with their doe-eyed stares.

The image is, in fact, inaccurate. I did not wave my arms in the air, screaming "walk faster"!...that would have just made me look like a crazy, bearded, fluffy haired weirdo. Instead I just ambled along behind them among the throngs of others until we got to the end of the railing and could take our chances with the road traffic to get around. I mean we're British...it's only polite. And we do like to queue.

It's not like the time was wasted either...I mean the girl had a great arse...


Life Drawing 20.05.10

Another week, another set of drawings...
(10 min)

(12 min)

(2-5 min)


At the weekend I brought a new sketchbook...a nice A4 one from a company whose name is the the outer layer of a rodent that dwells mainly underground. I don't usually work at A4 size. It's either A3 for figure drawing or notebook size for sketching.

Anyways, the sketchbook is specifically for location observation...something I've never really been that big a fan of and, frankly have never been that good at so I kind of avoid it. Buildings just don't really do it for me.

That said it was actually quite relaxing. Unlike people, I found that houses don't actually move...ever. It's possible to start something, go and get a beer, come back and it'll be in exactly the same place (this may not be true in San Fransisco) for you to carry on!

The opening three pages -



"The Llandoger Trow", KINGS STREET, BRISTOL

The last picture is of a pub I drink at every now and again called, "The Llandoger Trow". It's in a dispute with "The Hatcher" over which one of them is the oldest still standing pub in Bristol. Both of them date to before c.1500...so they're probably both older than the European discovery of the America's. In the Trow they have barrel lids commemorating Admiral Lord Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar (1805) and it also happens to be the pub where Daniel DeFoe wrote "Robinson Crusoe" and Robert Louis Stevenson got the inspiration for the black spot in "Treasure Island"...little history lesson for you.


Life Drawing 13.05.10

(10 mins)
Recently our scanner has had trouble picking up drawings...this one seems to have suffered and lost the feet completely!

(2-3 Mins)
I didn't know how long the pose was and switched from one to the other rather late on (as I found out when they moved) and this is what one of my drawings looks like at about the 2-3 minute stage. It's kind of a weird mental thing I seem to have where this is not a sketch I would have done if someone had said, 'This is a 2 minute pose'. If some one had said that, I would've tried to thrash something out because 2 minutes doesn't sound like alot of time and I feel like I have to produce a 'full' drawing. In this one, with the same amount of time the whole pose is there with the shapes blocked out quite lightly on the page and as a whole it seems a bit more considered than a normal 2-3 minute drawing. Of course, then I go back into it and that's when I tend to mess things up...

(20 mins)
...which is what happend in these. We were in a different room for the session last night so the poses in the second half were longer than the norm and instead of drawing one pose for 10 minutes and then changing, for some reason I got it into my head I had to try and use the full time available (anyone else remember their teachers saying that phrase over and over about GCSE/A-Level time) and ended up over working these. I actually prefer the accidental 2 minute drawing to these. Let that be a lesson in learn where to stop.

Train wrecks (or warm ups and some people refer to them) and caricatures.

Until next week...