Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Norfolk 2005

This week The New Yorker magazine published this drawing by yours truly. Giving bystanders, witnessess, spectators, early readers, critics and the like, the impression that this is the latest offering from Hughes. A cutting edge up to the minute ink oratorio and in the process, after last month's proclamation concerning Hughes's New Yorker life, making him look like a complete flea grooming, scarlet arsed monkey. Dear follower this awkward appearing caricature has been dusted down, buffed up, nose wiped, poked in the back, had it's ear twisted and tweaked and pushed from the wings onto the page without my prior knowledge. Not a how's your Father? Not a good morning, not a even a sweetie caked in fluff from a scrunched up little paper bag long forgotten from a flannel grey trouser pocket. It's from the museum of fractured nibs. The thing has risen from a grave deep in deepest, darkest, six digit Norfolk, East Anglia, England.  I rented a Thrashing Barn in 2005 - this is where this apparition squirted from. Long forgotten  by me, but not by them across the farmyard pond. No scrunched up little paper bag of gold coins. I should read the smallprint. I should scour the document. I should become a shelf stacker.

Thank you to  Kyle T. Webster, if not for his posted comment I would have remained in the state of ignorance. I would not have been inspired to add my shovel of dirt here. Meanwhile I continue to hunt down a part time position in the nation's supermarkets. Chipping Ongar?

Monday, 13 May 2013

Flogging The Dog not burying the dog.

Look - just to clear up any misunderstanding. A recent snap shot. The actual dog Dexter is very much still breathing,scrounging,
scratching, barking, growling, cocking his leg, tug of warring, chasing foxes, chasing shadows, chewing his feet, biting the postman's industrial footwear, fetching the daily newspaper, impersonating a goat, eating salad, concealing large chunks of crusty bread,just a bit less virile, a bit slower, a bit harder of hearing and if he could he might choose to wear some fine tortoiseshell spectacles, his eye sight ain't as sharp as in his prime, and his shit is normal and polished. His nose is shiny, moist and black. His breath might not be too fresh sometimes, but he's had a medical and his health otherwise is pretty robust. So thank you for your emails and notes of sympathy for the apparent passing of my pal but they are misplaced, but very touching and we appreciate your kind thoughts. 
I was speaking of the Dog as in Flogs The Dog not as in Dexter.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Gone to chop wood - back in 10 minutes.

Wheels come off. The dog needs to be put down. Put to sleep. Has had it's day. I've run out of cliches. I've lost the plot, if there ever was a plot. I've tried to stay with illustration. So dear followers I suspect you suspected the loss of appetite and have lost patience with the dog, but there you have it. The routine has had it's day. For now thank you for reading. 

Friday, 12 April 2013

It's All Greek To Me

The Iliad drawing wasn't a straightforward piece. It was tricky. Maybe not an award winning illustration. Completed 21st October 2011. For over twenty years I have been fortunate enough to have been illustrating for the New Yorker magazine. It was crossing my mind that I hadn't heard from the New Yorker during 2012 and I finally emailed them recently to remind them of my existence. Turns out - that's it - that's my lot. The Iliad is/was possibly my last drawing for the magazine. Here's a small selection from the archive.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Hunchback? Isn't that politically incorrect, said the renowned childrens book illustrator.

This afternoon I was looking for a number. An hour or so, forgotten scraps of paper with strangers numbers, business cards handed to me, stuffed in a drawer full of pills, old spectacles. Polish bank notes, a key ring from Oporto, ticket stubs, football matches, an opera. Restaurant and post office receipts from 2008. History. Couldn't find a surname, found an email printout from December 2006. Two shocking emails from writer Jan Needle. Nudged me off the rung. Two hours of sliding down the ladder. That week, I gave a talk about the drawing of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame at Kingston University. That night I delivered probably one of the most excruciating talks delivered by my egocentric self. Anyway that's a footnote. The following morning after my 'triumphant' performance and a top seat at the table as a special guest of the publisher, I was treated like a biblical leper at the Walker gates when I went to collect some of my artwork. It was hinted that I had produced something that was not somehow appropriate for a childrens book publisher to be publishing. I was ushered from reception post haste (is that the expression?)down the steps to Vauxhall Walk, musn't taint the teddy bears, musn't contaminate the bunnies. It was only when I returned home and read the second email from Mr. Needle that I fully realised the extent of my sordid work was to have on my career as a picture book illustrator.
I'd forgotten how much I invested in those drawings. And for what? To be dropped by the publisher. Bloody naive fool. The brief asked for forty five hand lettered chapter headings and forty illustrations. I drew something in the region of a hundred and forty illustrations and forty five hand lettered chapter headings. The novel is adult in content. I was serious with intent. Why commission me? They had a choice to edit the work, to leave out the offensive, the graffiti. They chose not to. This afternoon I flicked through the pages with mixed emotions. I like to think I produced some of my best work to decorate Hugo's masterpiece via the Needle and for what. What a waste. The book was so beautifully produced, the best my pencil work has ever been reproduced. Great printing with the silver as a second colour. A fantastic looking book. I'll never better it. It's history. It's done. Use it to ignite the bonfire with. 

The offending image: Original.
Printed version:


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Self Portrait with Ben Casey

Saatchi Gallery: Russian photos by Boris Mikhailov. Lunch at The Mess.