Slap-da-Bass!

I didn’t technically say I was going to do another one of these but it was heavily implied, so here it is. I’ve got two more I’d like to get around to doing as part of this series, that being a drummer and a singer, but don’t hold me to that! This character took quite a few roughs to get the look I wanted, which is made all the more difficult because I’m trying to use as few brush strokes/pencil lines as possible (a bit like some of Picasso’s work). Those of you that have watched the film “I Love You, Man” will know that’s where the title for the piece has come from, for those of you that haven’t watched the film… what the hell is wrong with you?! It’s a classic! Go watch it! Slap-da-bass, man!

Cheers

Matt

All Leeds Aren’t We

This took an age to get right. I went back and forth on the design, layout, style and colour countless times and ultimately it was the introduction of the text that forced the final design. The text set me a constraint that I had to work around, quite literally in this case, and it was a job in itself arranging the players (and manager) appropriately. The text also helps to break up and distinguish between players as the colours could quite easily blend into one another without this. There’s not a lot else to say about this one, except maybe Leeds, Leeds, Leeds!

Cheers

Matt

Everyone likes Sax

This was a fun one to illustrate, mostly because I kept making saxophone noises while drawing it. I don’t want to say “I might do a series of these” because I’ve said that before and not followed through… however…

This’ll be up on the shop tomorrow.

Cheers

Matt

Outcomes

The images above demonstrate the vast differences in outcomes that can arise from the same idea. It was pissing it down yesterday and it made me realise that summer is well and truly behind us. I think we’ve all at some point been caught huddling under a broken umbrella in the meagre hope that it will give us some form of protection from the elements, while inwardly cursing the fact that we should have replaced it the last time this happened.

The image on the right is best at illustrating this feeling, I think. We’ve all been there and seen this a thousand times – or at least you have if you live in the UK – it’s the drudgery of heading home after a long day, made infinity more intolerable by the monsoon levels of rain you are about to brave. Of course the forecast was for “light showers in the afternoon, but mostly sunny”, so no need to wear your sturdy shoes or don on the waterproof jacket, at worst it’ll be a bit grey by the time you leave the office. Those wretches at the BBC should be stood in front of a firing squad for dolling out such negligent information. If everybody else was as bad at their job as those cretins at the Met Office we’d still be huddled in caves rubbing sticks together.

Ahem…

The illustration on the left is more in keeping with editorial type work and wouldn’t look out of place accompanying an article about mental health or changing careers.

Cheers

Matt

Spot Illustration

I thought I’d reign things in a little bit since the last two illustrations have been rather time consuming and I would class them less as illustrations and more as landscapes anyway. Above is more illustration based – and by this I mean there’s more focus on an individual idea, and said idea is more thoroughly considered. More thought is put into colours and composition in order for the image to be more striking. Detail is sacrificed in favour of simple easy to read shapes that are universally recognised. I’m also really enjoying drawing trees like this. These types of illustration would be super simple to execute traditionally and I may well start putting stuff like this up on my shop. Stay tuned!

Wensleydale

Another one of these. This one took a bit longer than the previous one because I got caught up adding more detail. I’m not entirely sure I like the two closest characters, I feel like they could have… well, more character. I like the rest of it though. I may move on to some places outside of Yorkshire for the next one or perhaps attempt a snow scene given that the C-word is around the corner…

Cheers

Matt

Visit Yorkshire! You’ll Like Our… Stile.

I’ve been meaning to do an ode to Yorkshire for a while now, and since I’ve been getting in contact with some local businesses in lieu of collaboration, I figured this was the perfect time to show off. This is a view of Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales, check out this link for more details on the place https://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/places/swaledale/.

I approached this piece as though it was a brief set by a group like Lonely Planet or a British Airways in-flight magazine for tourists visiting the UK. The idea was to make it as vibrant as possible while showing off what is quintessentially the Yorkshire Dales, that being; rolling hills, farms divided by drystone walls, picturesque villages, and long, rambling walks. Of course I intentionally avoided all the rain, wind, fog, and stepping in cow and sheep shit. Honestly though, it really is a wonderful place any time of the year.

This took about a day (8 hours-ish) to complete and is one of the largest and most time consuming illustrations I’ve done in a while. I’m thinking of doing a few like this to show off more of the north of England, so stay tuned.

Cheers

Matt

A Mountain of Books

I’ve struggled to read this year. I’m not entirely sure why this is the case but it seems to have been a trend for the last couple of years. I love reading and would class myself (as those fond of labels tend to do) as “a reader”, which I know sounds a bit elitist and pretentious, but it’s a moniker I wear proudly. I’m also one of those frustrating people who frequently says, “the book is better” when talking about the film (however the exception to this would be ‘Fight Club’ and at a push ‘Moneyball’, and even those books are still excellent).

I read somewhere recently, probably on Reddit, that the pandemic has affected some peoples ability to concentrate and thus has impacted many readers. I don’t know how true this is, and if I’m honest I wouldn’t blame the worlds current situation as the reason for my not reading so much. I think social media and sites like YouTube – where information is ever changing and given to you in bite sized portions – are more to blame for my decline in devoured books.

There was also a time when I didn’t have a TV in my room and I would read before bed, which was a routine I had for years, but now it just seems so much easier to switch on Netflix and watch some dross to help me drop off to sleep. I’m going to try and break this habit, because it really is a massive waste of time.

Anyway, the books above are well worth a read. Emergency (Neil Strauss) and Spillover (David Quammen) were read as a response to the whole Covid fiasco. Spillover, a non-fiction book about zoonotic infections and “The next human pandemic”, was written in 2012 and is scarily prophetic. Emergency, another non-fiction, is about Strauss’s journey to become ready for “when shit hits the fan” and chronicles Strauss learning everything from escaping and evading capture in an urban environment to extreme wilderness survival and earthquake response.

Patrick Ness and Joe Abercrombie are, well, doing Patrick Ness and Joe Abercrombie things. ‘Nuff said.

Paper Lion is about journalist George Plimpton experiencing a preseason training camp as a “last-string quarterback” for the Detroit Lions in the 1960’s – this is before the game became really serious and could afford such frivolities, and even then it was only the Lions that would allow it.

Into Thin Air details Krakauer’s experience in the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, in which eight climbers were killed and several others were stranded by a storm. It also goes on to give the history of the mountain and it’s subsequent overuse.

This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone was my most recent read and is unlike any science-fiction book I’ve ever read. More like a romance novel, where the two main protagonists (both deep cover secret agents of opposing sides) move backward and forward through the strands of time, leaving covert letters for one another while evading detection from their respective factions. The writing is amazing and almost poetic at times and actually poetic at others.

That was a rare long blog post, wasn’t it?

Cheers

Don’t Overwater Your Plants

I was watering the one plant that I have in my room today and I may have overdone it a tad. The most difficult part of this piece was working out the colours – I tried a few different approaches with this one which included using different shades of blue for everything as well as going heavy on the line work. Ultimately I settled for something in between. I feel like I’m gaining confidence with this style but it still takes a lot of playing around to get it right, however I don’t mind this because it means I’m pushing myself.