It’s Not Always A Success…

I have had a few successes, working with/for artists and musicians that most would consider famous or have achieved the right amount of respectable attention, though it’s not always been pure sailing. For the small amount of projects I could brag about and get your attention, there have also been a multitude of designs that haven’t gone exactly as planned. I thought I should feature some of these below, to show you that you should never give up. You will be ignored and rejected a lot (well… I am), but sometimes you’ll get it just right and art is all about the little wins.

Above is a never used cover for the indie band ‘Language of Flowers‘. I spent a long time creating the right feel. The root system lettering alone took around three days, though Shelf Life Records ended up going with this atrocity. A lot of the time, good designs will be pushed out just to feature a picture of the artist, it’s always a safe move for the record company, but it’s incredibly boring. Below you’ll see a completely rejected redesign of Vic Rattlehead for Megadeth. It was developed for a competition ran on Deviant Art, getting into the shortlisted stage I was able to get a comment from Dave Mustaine (singer, lead guitarist) stating that ‘it was incredibly cute but way off for the branding of the band’ [paraphrased, I can’t remember the exact comment, but that’s the jist of it].

The cover below was for Fiona Apple‘s 2005 comeback album. She had been incredibly big, especially with her single ‘Fast as you can’, then took some time out to re-invent herself. Her ‘Extraordinary Machine’ album was very quirky, slightly Tom Waits, very unusual. I thought this modern cover would have been a great addition to her lyrical intention. Focusing on computers, analog machines, humanity and her. I worked hard to get an image of Fiona onto the cover and then Epic Records went all left field and chose this?

I really liked the logo below for the band ‘armaeda‘. I decided that it would be interesting to make a typeface out of the exact same character. If you look closely, all the letters are the same character, rotated and faded. Unfortunately for me, the band quit before they had even begun and the logo was never used. The same thing happened to ‘Son of Shrimp‘ below. I am usually quite proud of the work I pass on, so it’s a shame to never see it getting used.

The NIN (Nine Inch Nails) cover below was for the album ‘With Teeth’. There had been a call out on 99designs and I thought I’d give it a go. I don’t really like this cover at all, though I feel it is very NIN. They ended up going with this idea, which is a lot better than mine…

I am a huge fan of Karl Pilkington and have followed him since the first podcast with Gervais and Merchant.  I had emailed them a few times and got some replies, so when I heard that he was getting a book together I thought I’d try my luck at sending them this idea (not finished, it’s just a low res. thumbnail) for the book cover. I never got a reply and they ended up going with some photo of Karl sitting down… so safe, so boring.

So there you go. Just some of the tries and fails that I have experienced in my long and torturous career. I’m slightly depressed now… What was my point again? Oh yeah… Don’t give up… Get frustrated and go demented over rejections and endless workloads… like me.


Kent Williams is an amazing figurative painter. I first came across his work through comic books such as ‘Wolverine & Havok’ or ‘Tell Me Dark’ way back in the early nineties. He quickly removed himself from that ‘graphic artist’ pigeonholing and started releasing life drawing / fine art sketchbooks.

His work can be adult orientated as he does feature a lot of life drawing, though his technique with oils is absolutely beautiful and he was an absolute inspiration for me moving from Secondary School into University.

Williams’ style has moved from stylistic and representative, to a surrealist one. Now often resembling Dali, his figures remain photographic, almost frozen in a dance-like pose among a collage of incredibly delicate shapes.

Familiar Guy

Jamie J (S4, OLSP) has been working on drawings for an animation. He started with drawings that looked a lot like Family Guy and Simpsons characters, but he is quickly finding his own style  (a nice amalgamation of the two), an example of which, you’ll see above. I helped Jamie colour the drawing to make it look more professional, I can’t wait to see more of his ideas and maybe even try and animate them.

Ask Jacqueline Wilson

Lucy, Erin and Monica (S1, OLSP) participated, with the help of Ms Clarkin, in asking Jacqueline Wilson a question for the Big Issue. In return, the Big Issue has kindly awarded each of the girls with a brand new copy of Jacqueline Wilson’s most recent book (actually just released today! not released until the 29th Sept?!), ‘Sapphire Battersea’.

Homies Collection 2

Continuing on with my rather large accumulated collection of work that pupils do at home, Susan M (S1, OLSP) shows us two fantastical colour pieces. Her mermaid above and elephant below. I really enjoy the colours and simplicity of the elephant. It reminds me a little of ‘Emer the Elephant’ made famous through the childrens’ book. She also makes hand-made bracelets, the cute piggy bracelet being an example (below). Lovely work, a bit of fine tuning and I could see her stuff for sale on Etsy.

Sammy C (S2, OLSP) shows us her self proclaimed ‘A+’ doodle. I really like the bold chunky type, it screams confidence.

Cara Jane B (S1, OLSP) draws a sketch of a ragged fairy above, while below Tessa F (S2, OLSP) has customised her own alternative Hello Kitty.

Mrs Hull’s Young Apprentices

I’ve been posting some submissions from my school’s Art Department to TESS (Teaching Supplement), to feature in their Art Section. I couldn’t give up the chance of letting you see some of the pupil work my colleague, Mrs Hull (OLSP), has been supervising across the corridor. These submissions were pre-lim examples for the S4 Standard Grade expressive exam last year. Pupils usually sit the exam with objects in front of them, or a photo along with a pre-trial version of their exam composition. This gives them the biggest chance to succeed, as it is asking a lot for a pupil to be at their artistic best on the day. Lots of things can go wrong and the pupil could have artistic block or an ‘off day’.

At the very top Emma H and Patrick McC (S4, OLSP) show off their painting skills with beautiful studies of fruit, bottles and a basket. Mrs Hull’s still life resources are very luxurious, it makes the pupils’ work look a lot more mature, even professional. Her teaching methods help the pupils focus on capturing pockets of colour in an expressive, yet controlled manner. If you can observe and record the right reflections and perfect your eclipses in your work, like Holly McP‘s (S4, OLSP) pastel study below, you can produce impressive work, though this would be a lot easier if you have a great mentor like Mrs Hull.

Homies Collection 1

I have a nice varied selection of work to show you today, below is a great paint by numbers example by Megan P (S1, OLSP). I wouldn’t normally feature a paint by numbers as I prefer originally drawn work, though Megan has painted the canvas board really well, she’s also included glitter (which you can’t really see in the photo) and I’m a real sucker for glitter.

Nicole C (S1, OLSP) has provided the fun example of her name below. I really like the style of the lettering and the colours used. You can never have enough hearts or flames.

Murdo D (S2, OLSP) provides an insight into what he thinks school is like. Looks like a place filled with brain dead zombies, unable to talk, imprisoned in their own bodies. You should become a teacher Murdo… you don’t know the half of it… hehe

And finally for this set Alison C (S1,OLSP) has drawn these disturbing staring eyes. I’m not too sure if I should be freaked out as they seem to stare into my soul, or to be very upset as they look very sad, on the verge of crying.