Monday, January 30, 2012

Miscellaneous details


Friday, January 27, 2012

Back on the beach

Why is it some people are so organised with equipment when they go to the beach? I was born into a family where we simply turned up with a swimming costume and maybe a towel (which you had to dry yourself with after covering it in sand lying on the beach). And I used to wonder why I wasn't in a family with windbreaks, parasols, chairs, inflatables and goodness knows what else. Now I’m married to one of those people who has a piece of equipment for every eventuality, but as we lug it all down to the beach I’m not so sure that having all this stuff is preferable.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Another holiday sketch

Every time I go camping I swear I'll never do it again. Even a boat (which is little more than camping at sea) is more comfortable than this. So I pray this is my last sketch ever from inside a tent.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On Porthmeor beach


Notice the matching tattoos !

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lunch with my Dad yesterday

My dear father focused on looking at his grandson while I recorded him for posterity – or five minutes of fame on my blog. He treated us to a very nice lunch at a rather strange establishment that seemed to be desperately trying to be several different kinds of businesses at once. It was a pub-hotel-restaurant-delicatessan-duck and chicken farm, in a desolate location near a flyover. As we could see the poultry happily scratching away in the back garden, we thought it would be a good place to stock up on eggs, dry-cured bacon and home-made black pudding for our evening meal. And very good they were too.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

St Ives in the summer

I still have summer holiday sketches to scan! Xavier and I sat on the pavement waiting for Barbara Hepworth’s house to be opened and I sketched while we waited.

Friday, January 13, 2012

E-pub and Kindle woes

I recently did a crash course on producing e-publications for the iPad and the Kindle. However in an ever-moving field it can be really difficult to get up-to-date information on formatting e-publications. I had perfected my publication for the epub format but had one remaining problem which even two of the best known e-publication gurus were unable to solve for me. On the Kindle, no matter how I rewrote the code, my publication kept opening on the last page, rather than the first. And then I despairingly wrote about my problem on a forum and another book designer, Fiona Raven came to my rescue. She’d also battled with the same issue and having taken several weeks to solve the problem, very generously shared her solution with me. So if I have too much on to design a book for you myself I’d definitely recommend the generous talented Fiona, whose work can be seen here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Unhappy St Albans commuters

We have the most complicated train fares in the UK since the de-nationalisation of British Rail – fares can range from 20 pence a mile to 80 pence a mile dependent on the route, time of day, advance booking, discount cards and whether or not you’re wearing a pink hat. And St Albans to London happens to be the most expensive commuter route per mile in the country. So all these people I sketched on the train today while visiting clients in London have good reason to look so miserable.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Wonderful Christmas present

My son Tom treated me to a visit to the Post-modernism exhibition at the V&A for my Christmas present. It was a fascinating exhibition. It really took me back to being an art student in the early eighties. There was a display of the kitsch exuberant furniture produced by the Memphis design group which I had seen previously at the V&A in the eighties. There were costumes and videos of iconic pop musicians who provided the sound track of my youth. There were displays of graphic design – including some early editions of i-D magazine. I recall a fellow student working on the magazine when it was a tiny A5 landscape magazine consisting of illegible pasted up typewriter text and photos of street fashion. Little did I think that I would be seeing her work exhibited in the V&A thirty years later.

The finishing touch to a great outing was to have a late lunch at Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurant in Islington, where I sketched as we waited for a table. I discovered Ottolenghi’s wonderful vegetarian recipes through the Guardian newspaper, so if you love vegetable recipes, I’d recommend just about any of his recipes, which you can find on their website.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Elizabethan Jubilee graphics

Royalty-free images of Queen Elizabeth II were not an option when I was asked to produce the promotional material for the Elizabethan Jubilee concert (with music from the reigns of both Queen Elizabeths). However, I was lucky enough as a student to meet graphic designer Abram Games. So the Festival of Britain graphics produced by Games just before Elizabeth II became queen, served as an inspiration for my design.
To book tickets for this concert by the St Albans Chamber Choir, visit the St Albans Chamber Choir website and follow the links.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


Doesn’t everyone love a maze? At Glendurgan gardens – a sub-tropical Cornish garden spread over three small valleys – the maze is the most beautiful one I’ve seen. It’s set on a sloping bank so that you can see the shapes from the facing slope. Unfortunately I only managed a scribble so do take a look at this photo to see how lovely it is. The lush garden stretches down to the Durgan river – where I was able to take a little more time to sketch.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Painting in minutes

A quick watercolour illustration of the view from the café at the top of the Tate, St Ives.

Monday, January 02, 2012

The downside to English holidays

Of course when promoting Cornwall the one thing that I can’t promise is sea warm enough to swim in. At  this beach, like so many we went to in Cornwall, the children rushed into the freezing water while the adults cowered on the beach. Which is why, however lovely England is, so many of us rush off to the mediterranean when we can afford to.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Thinking about holidays

Undoubtedly television this evening, like every New Year’s day, will be peppered with advertisements for sales and package holidays. So as I have yet to scan and post all my holiday sketches I’m going to add these to my blog to do my bit to promote beautiful Cornwall. On a sunny day the sea at St Ives really is this beautiful tropical island turquoise and with the vagaries of our weather all the more precious when it’s like this.