Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ray Harryhausen Exhibition @ National Museum of Photography

Emma, Evie and I drove over to Bradford yesterday to visit the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television for the first time. I'd wanted to visit for ages as had heard so many good things about the place, with it being the largest archive of film, animation and television memorobilia in the UK. I wasn't disappointed.

There's a terrific Animation Gallery there, a whole floor dedicated to it complete with an Animator In Residence much like the Museum of Moving Image used to run in London. Didn't know until visiting but my old mate Chris Shepherd from Slinky Pictures, director of "Dad's Dead", was the resident animator there a while back. There are even some of my original Bob the Builder design sheets framed there, donated to the gallery by HOT Animation some time ago. Plus there's everything to do with British Animation from Dangermouse, Wind In The Willows, extensive Aardman features, Monkey Dust, Animal Farm, the list goes on.

Highlight for me was a wonderful extensive Harryhausen exhibition entitled Myths & Visions If you can I heartily recommend you check it out (I know RH fans like Justin P will be kicking their heels at this).

It's no secret that Mr H is "The Guv'nor" to me, indeed Jason & The Argonauts contains my favourite ever special effects scene, namely the skeleton attack. Can't think of anything that fired my imagination as a kid as much as that, not even the first appearance of the Star Destroyer in Star Wars. What differed about this exhibition to mostt other RH ones was the extensive amount of his original drawings, as well as Willis O'Brien ones too. Tons of good stuff including the skeleton sketches pictured here, from Jason as well as Seventh Voyage of Sinbad.

Go see!

Bada Bling!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Writing again / The Deadheads

Been a very busy week crunching deadlines, hence the absence of posts since the weekend. That said, it's no bad thing as it gives folk a chance to post, comment and generally have a bit of banter on a subject. For that reason I'll try and keep to about two posts a week from now on, with intermittent pointers to Wyrdwood along the way.

Wyrdwood was written a couple of years ago now and I'll be the first to say I haven't aggressively promoted/marketed it anywhere, especially not with a publishing house. For me the whole process of writing that first story was an extremely steep and perilous learning curve. Especially when I thought I was done with it and my literary agent Laura told me it was 3o,ooo words too long. That's right, YOU try cutting 30,000 words out of your opus (as I thought it was when I'd first written it!) But cut it I did, and through that I realised I have a lot to learn about novel writing.

I've been putting off working on my next book for a while now, to be fair, pretty much since Evie was born. Spare time when you have children is pretty fleeting. As a friend of mine would say, "it's as rare as rocking horse poop" (edited for reasons of good taste). This week I've knuckled down though, and am getting a few pages written a night; ten one night, one and a half the next, three the following, and so on. I'm enjoying it immensely. Telling stories has always been my first love. Hopefully with the one I'm currently writing I won't need to have such a dramatic hack at it when it comes to editing. Indeed, I shan't be in a hurry at all to show it to anyone once I've finished my 1st draft, as I want to let it simmer a while as I look over it.

The journey is a heck of a lot of fun.

And for those who want purdy pictures in the posts....


These characters, Larry and Lulu, were originally developed for FLYING CAT toys, and the images here are dummy maquettes that were made for one of the New York Toy Fairs. I'll level with you when I say I don't know WHAT's become of them, as there's a breakdown of communication when dealing with the other side of the world sometime! :-D

As with (too) many of my projects, my preoccupation with all things zombie rears it's ugly, stitched-up head once more. I wanted the Deadheads range to be a series of Playmobil-esque toytown preschool skits, where all manner of "normal" citizen was turned into a ghoulie...

Bada Bling!

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Too weird.

As mentioned in the Yorkshire Post article post below, I found out this weekend that my "story" regarding moving home has now made the national press, namely The Guardian. WHY??? I don't get it, can only assume that Friday was a slow news day. The most worrying thing though is the fact that once one article is printed that names you (incorrectly) as "creator" of a sh0w like BOB THE BUILDER, everyone else does without checking the facts. I don't credit myself as the creator of said yellow helmeted builder, only as the "designer" and therefore member of the creative team. Can only hope there's no fall-out from this as it's totally out of my stumpy fat hands.

Most amusing though is that I should appear in the column anyway, alongside such celebrity notaries as Rio Ferdinand and Jade "Mingin'" Goody! :-D

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Monster Mob Sketchbook

Although the Mob characters are now part of the BITENECK BEATNIKS world, they started out life as just a bunch of doodles in one of my sketchbooks, some years ago. Indeed, as these sketches show, I originally envisaged that each beastie would be based upon it's own fear/sin, that kind of thing. These are really scribbly thumbs but I thought it'd be fun to put up some more sketchbook work.

There's also one of the Monsters shifting genre into "THE GOBBLEDEEGEE!", a monster tale inspired by my dad's bedtime stories when I was a kid.

"The Gobbledeegee, came out of the sea, it ate all the people, but it didn't eat me......."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Zombies: Return of the Disco Dead!!!

Further to the fact that the previous ZOMBIES post got so much interest, these are the first two pages of artwork I did for the BITENECK BEATNIKS: DAWN OF THE DISCO DEAD comic I was working on. By the time I'd got to that 3rd page I was beginning to find my feet, albeit still a way off from "match fitness". All new to me, the comics genre, in so much as being an artist- I've been a comics fan for years but this was my first stab at actually doing one. As such, it's probably a little naive but was great fun to work on.

Almost tempted to take a fresh run at it, but there aren't currently the hours in the day. If you have any thoughts on what should be going in the caption bubbles do dive in! :-)

Bada Bling!

House for sale!

Been a busy weekend, as it was Evie's first birthday and Andrew lost his first tooth (cue mixture of excitement and horror from small boy!) We also had an article featuring my big visage in the Saturday Yorkshire Post, probably the biggest selling regional newspaper in the UK outside of London's Evening Standard. It ended up on Page 3 (I know, Jobling on page 3, it's a dream come true)...

Yorkshire Post Article

Normal bloggy service to resume with some pictorial goodness by the end of the day :-)

Bada Bling!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Would just like to direct anyone who hasn't yet been to take a look-see towards Nik Holmes' rather groovy "Zombiedollar$" website. If you're a love of all things zombtastic like myself (and I know you are) then have a ganders at said site. Nik is a great illustrator/graphic artist and the site is simply a showcase for likeminded zombologists artwork. Hope it grows. Or is that decays?

Pictured here is one of the black and white pages from my "BOOGIEMAN - Dawn of the Disco Dead" Biteneck Beatniks comic I was working on, before other work committments scuppered my schedule. Still want to try and get this comic done, but with possibly Ian Culbard on board with the inkpen duties. Or Wacom as the case is for him nowadays.

This is one of the early pieces of artwork from the comic, when our benign gravedigger is caught unawares by one of his ghoulish old buddies......

Monday, July 10, 2006

Frankenstein's Cat / Alan Gilbey workshop

Alan Gilbey's writers workshops was, as mentioned previously, a tremendous success. Just pulled these images off his website As Alan's write-up says:

I’ve just got back from running a devising workshop with the writers, creators and producers of the newly commissioned BBC show FRANKENSTEINS CAT - which I’m story and script editing. A fine and fab group of people spent two intensive days in an old Transylvanian castle ( near Liverpool ) letting me lead them through an intensive timetable of devising games, brainstorm sessions and embarrassing drama games on the grass outside. Still they forgave me and everyone went away buzzing about this great new show.

Top chap and hugely funny writer in his own right. Plus BILKO is his favourite TV show, too! GOOD MAN!

Pictured in the foreground left to right is Ian Carney (wordsmith), Ian Culbard (blacksmith), Lee Pressman (another writer on board) and Jackie Edwards, our producer. Then there's a picture of the Cat itself, let loose in the grass outside the castle...

Saturday, July 08, 2006


And these are the remaining MONSTER MOB trio, Derek, Bob and Norm. The prints are about 12"-14" square as I recall, although I might be wrong on that, don't quote me. There's clearly a discrepency there! :-D I can find out for sure if anyone really needs to know.

The lithographs sell at my art shows in the UK as well as from pop art galleries in the US such as Orbit Gallery in New Jersey. The other thing that was a (kind of) prompt for my love of colours such as in these six paintings was the film SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS. Yes yes, I know, something of a "classic" in "certain circles", but I'm a sucker for a bunch of burly ginger fellas leaping about in flamboyant coloured blouses while juggling axes, skipping over logs, building barns and enjoying a bout of fisticuffs with a gaggle of townies!!!

One thing to remember if you're considering a limited edition print run of your own - try and keep the edition below 100. Anything above that, in my opinion, really isn't what one could describe as "limited edition"...

Friday, July 07, 2006

WYRDWOOD - and another chapter rolls out...

Those following the story can find the next installment of The Skinny Twig Man, entitled "... and the fair had come to town" on the WYRDWOOD site.

Cheers all, hope you enjoy!

Thursday, July 06, 2006


From the depths of the BADA BLING back catalogue!!!

A while back I did a series of six paintings of silhoutetted monsters with vibrant coloured backgrounds, in direct response to folk asking if they could buy my artwork. The MONSTER MOB paintings as featured above were inspired by my love of colour and by my uncles, the first three here being Uncles Tony, Harry and Dave. They existed in their own little world for quite some time, although they've elbowed their way into the periphary of BITENECK BEATNIKS.

For those who are interested they're available as a series of limited edition (of 66) lithograph prints. Prices available upon request. Lordy, I sound like a bloomin' estate agent now, don't I???!!!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Stinky Cat shenanigans

Just got home from a couple of days spent in the seaside idyll that is Wallasey, near Liverpool, where a bunch of producers, writers and creatives got together at a castle to hold writers workshops for FRANKENSTEIN'S CAT. And tremendously successful I think the whole affair was. We had broadcaster presence in the form of Chris Rose and Nikki Chaplin from the BBC, writers included Ian Carney, Dave Ingham, Lee Pressman and Myles McLeod, producers included Sara Mullock and Jackie Edwards from Mackinnon & Saunders and Thierry Rivard from France's Kayenta, director/animator Ian Culbard and Script Editor Alan Gilbey, who was ringmaster of the whole affair.

We even did roleplaying, albeit without dice, dungeons, dragons or pointy eared elves. Lots of idea riffing and character play, all hugely beneficial to the actual show I'd hope.