Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Danish 2012

Succulent fruits of the blustery, beautiful Thy (pronounced 'Two') National Park, which stretches along the Western Coast of Jutland.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Final Artwork – Cover of the new edition

Fresh off the mind press: 'bio auto graphic' issue 22
"Glass Half-Full/Glass Half-Empty".

Let loose at the Whitechapel Gallery London Art Book Fair 4, this weekend (see below for details).
Ah –  it's so very young and I'm so very old.

Click on the image to make it bigger (if only everything worked that way).

New Ensixteen Edition: Final Artwork - detail 1 - TV Careerings

Here, from the spread covering my 30s, is my ascent from the depths of storyboarding for commercials (Life Half-Empty) to another place (Life Half-Full) – a fragile promontery as it turned out – working with some very interesting people who I was more used to watching on the telly.

Happy times, in the business of laughter.

I still can't quite believe it happened.

Glass Half-empty etc.


Glass Half-Full etc.

"They opened up the top of my head and it's never fitted back on properly since."
My early mind-expansions due to 1960s TV and the like are visited in an initial doodle.

Glass Half-Full/Glass Half-Empty? Numbers crunched

The names and shapes we give to Time.
50 years of it, in this case.

'Glass Half-Full/Glass Half-Empty' - Bio Auto Graphic Number 22

To celebrate my own 50th year, I have composed a new edition under the Ensixteen Editions banner.

It roots around in the broad cliché territory that some people trot out; 'some people see Life as a glass half-full, some people. . .' etc.
Those who know me – though I'd suggest not too well –  see me as a dour Northerner who subscribes to the 'half-empty' outlook.
I can see why, but of course things aren't that simple.

One life, fifty years, ten pages (between covers); signposts, turning points, hills climbed, descents negotiated.
The lot.
A reasonably complicated task, which essentially boils down to a decade per double-spread.

My usual modus operandi kicked in with some stimulating breaks from creating the 'Enemy Map' (see recent posts) during August's dog days, tearing through the pages of a nice new Moleskin sketchbook. Here – beginning with the first doodle of the cover composition – and in a few other posts, are fragments that remain therein – whispers of things that made it to final artwork (or that didn't).

The edition is dedicated to my two fellow travellers:
Michael Ian Cumming 
Andrew John Altmann.

150 years between us, by God.

London Art Book Fair 4 - Whitechapel Gallery

My dear partner, Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck and I will be exhibiting at the aforementioned event, beginning with an evening reception Thursday 20st September, then on through three full days from 11am til 6pm Friday 21st, Saturday 22nd, Sunday 23rd.

Check out
for lots more and full list of contributors.

Mette and I are upstairs Gallery 8 at Stand 68.
We will probably look something like this.

Though perhaps a little older.

Snatches from my latest Ensixteen Edition, 'Half-Full/Half-Empty' ('bio auto graphic' Number 22)
can be found in upcoming posts.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Charlie Higson's Enemy - Early Map Sketch 2

The style of the Sicko's was very important to Charlie; he didn't want them to look too much like generic - possibly supernatural (rotting, animated corpses 'brought back to life') - 'zombies'.

These are living adult humans in a horrible state of advanced illness that – as it's destroyed their personalities and mental faculties in the sense of controlling their terrible urges to violence and cannibalism – manifests in shocking, poisonous distortions of their physical form.

Here the prototype 'Sicko' was possibly a little too familiarly zombie-looking, though the idea that his dreadful hunger is making him begin to eat the Map itself was fun at the time.

Charlie Higson's Enemy - Early Map Sketch 1

More from the sketchbook working towards the final map for Mister Higson's 'Enemy' series for Puffin Books (just released and accompanying Charlie on a first signing tour for Book 4: The Sacrifice).

I was trying to develop a solid working visual language that could be applied across the whole of the devastated London in the books; here the notion of much smaller figures representing both the diseased adult 'Sickos' and the bands of kids fighting them might have been developed.

As I knew they would by necessity have to be very small in the scheme of things (so much ground to cover, literally - the complex journeys of FOUR novels) the figures would probably need to be bold.
Making them a solid black could have been one solution, which is what you see here.

This fragment doesn't refer to one specific incident, but as the kids pick up all kinds of weapons along the way at places like The Imperial War Museum (Book 2: The Dead), the sword makes a good, potentially-distinctive element for the central figure.

No such image made it to the final version.
Click on it to see a larger version, as usual.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Mapping Charlie Higson's Mind? Friend - or 'ENEMY'?

As some have seen from the very man's Twittersphere account, the new Illustrated Map charting the gruesome events of the 'Enemy' series of novels by polymath Charlie Higson has arrived from the printers this very day.

I have yet to see the finished thing, but I was the man that drew it - and prepared it for a first edition of printing with the invaluable help of Danish book artist and designer,  Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (see
Here above you can see one of my early trial images for the Sicko look.

This has been an immensely challenging piece, created over the Summer months from a first discussion in May this year and across several subsequent meetings between
Charlie and I.

You can find the journeys of characters representing the first four novels in the sequence, and begin to see the scope of what Charlie is creating in the epic as a whole.
It sums up London in the grip of the dreadful illness that has rendered every adult a lurching, shambling killer with a taste for human flesh - especially that of the kids who are left in the shattered ruin of their old lives.

A great privilege to be asked to do this, and I'm thrilled that CH is pleased with the result.

More details will be available soon from the man himself regards how to get a copy.
I'll post more on my development of the piece here in the near future.
Until then, here's a second detail from the sketchbook - an early trial for the Map's 'Legend' - the box that carries the detail of what to look for.
If you click on the images they get bigger.