Feeding the Squirrels

I often see this bloke sitting in the middle of the woodland bit of my local park.

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You I and the Sky

This is the artwork I created for You I and the Sky, the debut album from Clark and Zuppardi, a foot-stomping UK bluegrass duo of which my esteemed brother forms one half.

I love collaborating with him and, given my musical ability is sorely lacking, it was exciting to have this chance to be involved in the project in a way that did not require me to play an instrument.

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We wanted the artwork to capture something of the distinctively sky-dominated Norfolk landscape that is the duo’s home whilst also evoking a sense of the open-road American bluegrass tradition from which their music draws its inspiration.

The album is out very soon, you can watch them performing an exclusive track here, and it can already be purchased in digital form here. happy listening!

 

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More about the album:

Blending original compositions infused with a passion for bluegrass and old time music with traditional songs and tunes the debut release from this acoustic duo showcases a uniquely transatlantic take on the American traditions of bluegrass and Appalachian mountain music respectively, strongly influenced by their own British origins. The album features an original repertoire of tunes and songs of their own composition, alongside a selection of tracks from the likes of The Carter Family, old time instrumentals, and a rendition of a shape note piece from the Sacred Harp songbook.

Both seasoned instrumentalists in their own right, the duo have developed their own unique sound with clawhammer banjo, tenor guitar, mandolin and guitar. Nic Zuppardi regularly performs with BBC-folk award nominee Dan Walsh, and is a third of the Georgia Shackleton Trio. Adam Clark is also one half of Nobodaddy, and has worked with a huge range of artists from Mobo award-winner Zara McFarlane to West African ‘Griot’ Sefo Kanuteh.

 

 

Sketches from the beach

Here are a few sketches of people on the beach at Robin Hood’s Bay, where I’ve been staying. The weather across the week was changeable so the beach-goers ranged from sunbathers to determined British holidaymakers braving elements with ice-cream stubbornly in hand. The couple in deckchairs had even come equipped with umbrellas, which came out a couple of times. I really enjoyed sketching from life, trying to capture people before they moved on. There’s nothing like it for getting you to take notice of you surroundings.

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York Literature Festival programme launch

York Literature Festival kicks off in March and the programme launch party was this weekend. I was invited along to do some free-style sketching throughout an evening of poetry and music from a host of local talent. It was a great, varied night, with the poems being performed providing plenty of inspiration for off-the-cuff cartoons. Below are some of my sketches from the evening, you can see my pen progressively running out as the night progressed. Apologies to anyone whose names I’ve spelt wrong (or missed altogether), thank you for sharing your poems!

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Another Rapunzel

Regular readers of this blog may remember my trip to the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh, and the doll room there. This week’s picture comes from a photo I took there and recently rediscovered. Rapunzel has appeared on this blog before, in a different guise, and I’m always intrigued by the infinite different ways there are of interpreting the same character. I liked these dolls especially for the parallel drawn between Rapunzel and the old witch through the composition – like they were different sides of the same coin. The version of the story I remember from childhood didn’t do this, so this link suggested all kinds of interesting new depths and dynamics to the tale. I also really liked the delicate hands on the dolls, and Rapunzel’s hair – wound round and round her head in tight braids.

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All Aboard – Darlington Civic Theatre

I was recently asked to design a feedback board for Darlington Civic Theatre. The idea was to create a space where theatre-goers – children especially – could respond to the things they saw.

It needed to incorporate a white, wipe-clean section where theatre staff could write up regular questions, and a large blank area which would be magnetic, allowing theatre visitors to stick their answers to the question – written on luggage labels – to the board.

As well as this the board was to feature a train-station theme drawn from the theatre’s fascinating history, which saw the actors who played at the theatre in its early days brought into town on the same train that delivered the fish. Inside, the train was to carry important characters from the theatre’s history – including its Victorian founder, Signor Rino Pepi, a flamboyant Italian quick-change artist, famed for a 15-minute sketch in which he played all 7 characters – both male and female.

Also round the edge of the board there was to be an illustration representing families visiting the theatre and the stage props and luggage of the actors arriving for the latest production. Here are some of those details from the board…

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And here’s the final design, which also incorporates an art-deco style frame reminiscent of the classic styling of some of the theatre’s own vintage production posters.

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Finally, here is the board itself proudly in position, and kindly modelled by a mystery member of the theatre staff…

Full-steam ahead!

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