Heart of Darkness

Updated.. My concept for Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness book -
A close-up shows a 3D textured cloth-bound jacket in-keeping with the Folio Society's book illustration competition.  It depicts the featured characters in Conrad's story together with the knackered old Paddle Steamer anchored on the treacherous Congo river as it waits for the dawn fog to lift while the expedition party sit in imminent danger of attack by Savages -

My competition entry included the flat book-cover Artwork together with these 3 illustrated pages .. Scenes of my choosing.  1st, the river-boat Captain Marlow is told about the kind of driven man the rogue Kurtz is by his returning up river immediately after dropping off a record load of Ivory -
Chapter 2, page 39
'I seemed to see Kurtz for the first time.'

2nd, Marlow's knackered Paddle Steamer under attack by godless Savages as it navigates the snags and the river's fast currents within just a few miles of their destination -
Chapter 2, page 55
'Arrows, by Jove! We were being shot at!'
3rd, At the Inner-Station, Marlow confronts the sick Kurtz while the Savages get increasingly more restless - 
Chapter 3, page 81
'I came apon him, and, if he had not heard me coming, I would have fallen over him too.'
The publisher's competition was a good opportunity for me to do traditional pencils with combined photoshop colouring - the book is perfect for illustrating in a straightforward style in-keeping with Conrad's intent, I believe.  His Novel was first published 115 years ago and came out of his own serialized short-stories of adventure appearing in magazines whose readers then were hungry for knowledge about uncharted regions of the world.  I had read his classic years before Francis Ford Coppala plundered the story for his movie Apocalypse Now, and anyway this fossil of a Ripping Yarn would be just that if it weren't still naggingly relevant.  Though it is set in what was Belgium's colonial Congo with its loose imperialist morals, it is still recognizable if you share the collective guilt over the West's liberalist expansion of democracy, its mighty military Industrial complex: Nato in cahoots with approved media outlets and off-shore multinationals looting of raw materials in other sovereign states for private profit - seems to me 'the Horror!' hinted at in his book continues to loom large like the proverbial 'Tuskless' Elephant-in-the-room.

This I have come to know about in our post-modern digital-age of publishing - It is the Ignominy of paying 25 quid entry fee for a bat at gaining any illustration commission, to then find only a tweet announcing the judges 25 longlisted candidates, then the Horror! of finding that my investment was wholly ignored set me to put up this G+Community in a knee-jerk response where fellow losers can freely show-off their own illustrated interpretations of Conrad's classic masterpiece side-by-side with mine if they so wish, while at the same time have a bit of a moan fest.

Easter beer label

We're brewing a new beer for Easter and calling it GOOD EGG said Humpty Dumpty Brewery, could I make the pump-clip and bottle label so it compliments our BAD EGG you did for us 5 years ago.  I had to drill deep into my old backups, luckily I'd kept the original illustrator file editable which I re-worked, adding in what they asked to see, such as wings with gothic lettering on blue sky with a cloud and sporting a halo.  Result? .. Cheers all round! 
 

Person Centred Planning

A Care Homes charity organization's area Manager friend asked me to create a Wall Poster depicting their 'promotional and training models' for display in team meetings etc.  He wanted a style not too cartoony that can transfer easily as separate diagrams.  He showed examples of the kind of chart graphics needed together with the info needing artwork.  I then penciled roughs and scanned them into Photoshop to make a template for use in Illustrator where I worked up the individual pieces then basically it was a simple matter of 'flower arranging' my info-graphic presentation -

I hoped my interpretation was instantly digestible, however his response was ..My marketing manager's now is seeing it differently to me and has the insight needed, I am more artistic rather than practical..  He lead me to believe he was supreme commander!  Anyway, needless to say I was suckered by an ol'friend and we both learned our lesson.

Pulped

Back in 2011 I illustrated crime pulp for a new A5 print magazine aimed at teen boy readers.  The independent publisher sent me an impressively dense brief in the post, this booklet proposed their vision for Pulp Detective it was going to be a monthly featuring 3 stories of about 14,000 words each, the setting was bootleg era 1930's America, when Mobsters, Gangsters and corrupt officials ran rife.
The Editor called for an illustrative style something like Martin Brown's Horrible Histories and Massimo Bonfatti's Leo Pulp.  A bold vision indeed I thought, there was nothing like this catering for that demographic that I could see.  My only question was - how can you be so confident in this being successful today?  We've done our research, was the Editor's matter-of-fact response.  I trusted in his vision, thinking it would look great on the shelves of WH Smith, so I naturally jumped at this chance.
Each month I was tasked with one hardboiled character, a gumshoe detective.
I did 3 stories depicting 10 or so scenes (of my choosing) for each story.  The artwork had to be oversized with backgrounds heavily detailed to allow some flexibility for chopping areas for further use elswhere in the magazine.  This, to my mind, was insensible decorative whimsy involving extra work - I suspected the onset of 'mission-creep' but went along without complaint.
Would normally expect a layout (with image-spacing) set first, then I'd know exactly what scenes (with their dimensions) needed artwork, but instead I waited with nervous anticipation for the resulting first issue's proof-copy to arrive by post.
When it duely did, my jaw thudded the mat.  Seems the Editor's publishing nous, much as I wanted to believe in it, wasn't up there with his enthusiasm for his favourite genre.  He was without doubt a bona fide amateur enthusiast.
Subsequently a second attempt with minor improvements to its 'look' was delivered.  Anyway, long story short, their backers who also being their distributors too, pulled the plug on this foolish venture so it consequently got rightly pulped.

Other pics about my Pulp Detective work (not labelled here) are at my DoodlingJim.com ..find them in the Kids section there!

Science Poster update

... to my previous posting about my idea for the Brighton Science Festival's Poster.  It's Director liked and so, with one final push over the top, here it is -
Versions of it also appear on the front cover and inside their brochure here: flick through the online brochure! - it's stuffed with all kinds of events during it's 2 week run.  Here's my artworkings gone into visualizing the theme marking the centenary of World War One -

Exhibition of Poster Art!


Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

My Poster artworks are on the walls of the Horse and Groom pub for a limited period.  They're respectably framed behind glass, except Holy Smirk which is printed onto canvass like substrate.  As usual, my Poster artworks can still be found hanging in the splendidly decadent: Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton.

More at: DoodlingJim.com in the Jim's Prints section where you can see them a little bigger with sizes and price info.  Am considering an e-commerce (another middleman taking a fee) shopping-cart for later, but for the time being, if you're thinking to purchase, go there to email me direct to arrange in the good old fashioned way. 

Shameless

Public Hanging on 13th Oct' at Horse & Groom pub, a lively venue presided over by Pat who invited me to exhibit my art posters along with 3 others, that's all I really know except i gotta prepare frames, sort out the printer and polish up some art -
Holy Smirk's first airing will hang defiant along side his disciples at least till the end of November.  Like my other rebellious ignomies, this is available as signed limited edition of 200 prints (size: A3).  I'll be clearing it with the Romans this week so if you wish to indicate your interest to order, this would clue me into how many I should print off initially.

Science Poster


Director Richard Robinson of the Brighton Science Festival asked if I would artwork for their event poster and brochure cover.  This is my rough idea presented to him which he liked -
(Look out for future posting showing finished art!)

Big subject 'Science', and very inspirational educator is Richard who saw my framed poster-works hanging in Billies cafe.  We met and discussed possible themes yet he refused to get specific, instead leaving it up to my imagination to come up with something to fascinate.  He did however, for inspiration's sake, hand me a long list of 2014 anniversaries going way back to 1414 when 'Plus and Minus' was invented.  Notable there also is the Centenary of World War One - that's going to be the biggie!.. thinking I ought to somehow work that theme into the poster but careful to avoid any sombre iconography associated.  After some furious pencil work and discarded ideas I produced this Exo-Planetoid of Poppies (using photoshop's 'Polar Coordinates' filter), then I dropped in Brighton's own Pavilion building and stuck legs on it to look like the Apollo Lunar Lander which anyway shares very similar appearance to a microscopic Bacteriophage as it infects or, shall we say, 'Fracking' a blood cell.  Anyway, more to do ..!

Zombie art

I was persuaded by a entrepreneur of geek merchandise to come on-board with him and create packaging graphics for his edible Zombie premium confection.  But as these things often turn out, this project was dropped, so now I'm left with a bunch of tasty artwork like this Zombie Virus wrapper concept -
Made it by first mixing a small amount of black ink and dish-washing liquid in a cup of water, then blowing into this mix using a drinking straw, I spilled out bubbles onto a sheet of paper, and proppa messy I got too.  After drying off, I scanned the best results into photoshop where I played with colour, filters and layers until I got what you see!  Reckon it'll make a pretty cool desktop image for your laptop, don't you think.  The next concept wrapper Zombie Living Dead began its life from the many doodlings I did, then worked up -
This is me working (..up the sketch) -

biker t-shirt

Been catching up with my ol'mate recently, literally all up'n'around the East Sussex scenery of Devils Dyke on bikes.  You remember Charlie? he said.  I do! said I.  He's starting up a cycling holiday business venture in Shropshire (Welsh border country) and he's calling it Dream Pedallers so now looking for a logo-ident' to screenprint to t-shirts/stickers and would you do that?  I s'pose but that's not much info to get started on a design and am kind of busy anyway.  Ol'matey bought the pints and continued... I know a great Screenprinter and I'll pay you!  Will show you something in a few days, I said, but this won't be for the money so much as I'll do it for a couple of quality shirts (as I handed him my empty glass again).  8 days later I emailed these variations for him to consider -
 
I like, he said, so I then peddled this for Charlie's consideration too, but his suggestion was for something more for a cartoon of a sleeping mountain biker beside his broken bike. Now gotta do that!