this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

Category: design

August blogfest – day 3

A productive day.

The tattoo commission was finished and posted off to California (not Connecticut like I said yesterday).

I worked on some logo designs for the branding project, put together a presentation and emailed that to the client.

On Twitter I ran a quick giveaway for some of my badges and stickers. Three, very quick-off-the-mark, people should have their goodies tomorrow. It was a nice, fun little thing to do. I’ll probably run something similar again soon when I get some postcards printed.

Tomorrow I’m helping Steph out on a wedding in the morning. If you don’t know, Steph (my wife) is an amazing wedding florist, and I sometimes help her setting up weddings if I’m not out working at a client’s. Once the wedding is sorted I’ll ink the sketch for the Californian client – I’m looking forward to that.


Commission ready to post


Badges and stickers giveaway


Detail of a logo design

August blogfest – day 2

Yesterday’s work went pretty well. The sketch I was working on for the company in California has been approved, so that can get drawn up a little neater and inked. The tattoo commission is coming along nicely, although I put that to one side for a while  – it’s sometimes good to take a look at your work with a fresh pair of eyes after a few hours away from it. I’ll finish the inking of that today and it can go in the mail tomorrow to Connecticut.

Once the tattoo is out of the way I’ll work on some ideas for the branding project. I’ve already jotted down some stuff in my notebook, so I’m not starting from scratch on that.

While I’m working on all those things, I’ll be trying to think about my website. Currently I don’t have one, or I do, but it’s a holding page that hasn’t been updated in six or seven years. I’m planning on designing something simple, that just links to my social media instead of having a gallery I’d have to update regularly. I’ve asked Jon, who I work on the North v South podcast with, to build it for me.

And finally, I’ve just been commissioned by a new illustration magazine to work on a step-by-step tutorial article for them. Nervous and excited about that in equal measure. It’ll probably end up being similar, visually, to this post. It’s a sci-fi themed illustration, so it’s right up my alley. I’ll probably start work on that later in the week.


Illustration sketch.

August blogfest

I might be making a rod for my own back with that title but – I’m going to try and blog every day in August. They might not be long and involved posts, and they might not always be image heavy, but I’ll try to blog each day for the month.

I’ll start with a quick post about what my day involves.

I’m working on finishing a tattoo design commission – of Sisyphus pushing his boulder up a hill, in my style. I’ve done lots of sketches, and tweaked after some feedback and I’m now in the final stages of inking.

I have some concept sketches to do for a company in California. I can’t say any more than that at the moment, other than there will be castles.

If I get those two things out of the way then I’ll start working on some designs for a branding project for a community sports project in East London.

Right now as I type, I’m listening to the latest North v South podcast. A podcast about, but not about design that I produce with my friend Jon Elliman. This week we talk about tennis balls, scrambled egg sandwiches, recycling, and we review pies as always.


Sisyphus sketches



What’s been going on…

I’ve been reasonably quiet on the blog recently, and I’m determined to post more regularly for the rest of the year.

As a bit of a catch-up post, here are some pictures – illustrations and photographs – from the last couple of months.

Of Pies and Men


My friend Jon Elliman and I have recently started a podcast – North v South. Episode 2 was recorded and released last night (thank’s to Jon’s amazingly quick edit), and it’ll be a weekly schedule from now on.

Jon and I met while working at the same design agency in St Margarets and got on very well right from the start, particularly the chat that designers enjoy (sometimes endure) across the top of an iMac. As Jon and I both freelance from home now, we realised how much we missed that aspect of working in a studio, so the podcast is an attempt to replicate that feeling. The title of the podcast, North v South is an allusion to the fact that Jon comes from the southern shires of England, and I hail from the north.

The first episode finds me chatting to Jon about how I got my start in design, after a couple of false starts, and about my move in to illustration. We discuss the merits of the iPad Pro and Pencil for drawing, which sketchbooks I use for what purposes. We also talk about pies.

In episode two I turn the tables and quiz Jon about how he went from being a scholar of medieval literature, to running his own design studio. Jon also explains the story behind his epic WWI historical project – Frank Crawshaw. We touch upon Russian prison tattoos, office pets, and we, once again, talk about pies.

Future topics of conversation in the podcast are:

Fighting Fantasy Books

Tools of the designer’s trade

Einstein’s Cross

A history of pies

Pen Talk

The U.S. Ghost Army

Blitz-stricken, London-dockland, epileptic, bipolar depressive



You can find the North v South podcast on SoundCloud and on iTunes.