Monday, November 29, 2010

Baetulona Exhibition

Eric Van Den Boom  is currently participating in the Baetulona Exhibition and travelled over to Barcalona/Badalona to be at the opening. The project depicts the 100 most important moments in the history of the Spanish city of Badalona with images from 100 designers/studios from all over the world who have each produced a 1m x 1.5m image. The result is a stunning 100-metre-long timeline on canvas. Eric's piece is about actors Margarita Xirgú and Enric Borrás.  More info: or

FRAME X FRAME Skoda Lovely or Mean

Cube have created interactive animations for Skoda's website, launched to link with Skoda's new VRS TV ad. See whether you're 'lovely' or 'mean' here.

The Wonder Fairy Dolls

Bee Willey has recently enjoyed the most playful of commissions. Working internationally through our New York office Bee was selected by toy manufacturing giant ‘ Mattel’.
e, Kindlee and Lenara are the Wonder Fairy Dolls.Back in the Enchanted meadow, a festive party is beginning. The fairies, sprites and pixies danceunder a bright full moon."

Art director: Jill Ruby and Sue Davis, for Mattel. Artist: Bee Willey.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Pact Between Men

Make a pact with yourself to view Jonathan Allardyce's intoxicating illustrations for Johnnie Walker's latest campaign. The images form part of "The Pact Between Men", an inspirational story aimed at the Chinese market. The Pact which follows the story of four friends walking the path of greatness together is set to attract over 7 million visitors to Johnnie Walker's Asia Pacific site, to see Jonathan's illustrations in context click here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gray Jolliffe's Article on "Chloe & Co"

Wonderful Gray Jolliffe, creator of Wicked Willie, has recently won the Cartoon Art Trust Award for comic strip of the year for his long standing cartoon strip in the Daily Mail "Chloe & Co". Here he has written an article on the origins of this amusing character:

MY FRIEND CHLOE - the girl inside the cartoon strip.

Chloe Nicholson was the last thing I was expecting when she shimmied into my office one sunny morning in 1984. Photographer's agents were not supposed to be sexy blondes with lissome figures, wearing bright orange mini suits - with acid green stilettoes. But who's complaining I thought. She is an agent, she's lovely, and she's here. She'd made an appointment to show us her folio of some of London's hottest photographers. At the ad agency where I worked as creative director, the art buyer had assembled the usual suspects - mostly surly, cynical, impatient, mean, critical art directors and copywriters. They'd seen it all. Madmen, only twenty years on. Chloe certainly made an impressive entrance. A moment after she came through the door she managed to trip, probably over one of our tongues that were hanging out. The bulging folio she was carrying flew from her grasp and dozens of large laminated photos cascaded onto the polished floor, which made them skitter all over the place. We shouldn't really have collapsed with uncontrollable giggles - it was her expression of anguish mixed with disbelief that did it. As we bent to help her pick everything up, she said, "What a nightmare!" In a posh accent that was sort of a squeaky Leslie Phillips with breathless Lumleyesque overtones. A fine wine of a voice.  "Well," she continued, "Now you've seen all the photos, will you be giving me any work?"  Well it would have seemed churlish not to. Silly accidents like that tend to bond people. Times were good in those days and bank managers were kindly old codgers who only wanted a good lunch. So there was plenty of work around and a lot was pushed in Chloe's direction. She organised great photo shoots and her boys produced some excellent pics. Chloe was bright. She was fluent in French and Spanish. She had a cute nose, blue eyes and a dazzling smile. And she was fun. And funny. She couldn't open her mouth without saying something wacky. The kind of thing even a professional comic wouldn't think of. It came from her eccentricity and her innocence, borne out by the fact that she had no idea why you'd be laughing. Chloe soon became a good friend and often came over to the house with one or other of her train of admirers. She was stunningly attractive, but thin, and because I only like curvy girls I didn't fancy her - and I'm pretty sure it was mutual. My family liked her too so that was cool.

One day after work, propping up the The Zanzibar in Covent Garden she told me she was off to spend the weekend in the country with her new boyfriend, Serge. " He has a tennis court," she said. So I asked her if she played tennis. " No, I've never had to", she said.

Chloe's flat in Fulham was chaos. She had wonderful taste, wore wonderful clothes ranging from business smart to hippie chic, but her flat contained too much of everything. The polar opposite of minimal. Once she called in a panic to tell me that she thought her sofa had been stolen. A couple of hours later she phoned back to say that she'd found it under 'some other stuff', so I could stop worrying.

In the seventies when she was a fashion model, Chloe spent most of her time in France and Spain. Her father was a high ranking army officer who was stationed in Europe so her parents sent her off to a toffs boarding school in England. Not Roedean but something like that. That's how she got her accent, because aside from school she never really lived in England till the eighties. She lived in Ibiza for a while and once shared a house with Kate Hudson's famously kooky mother, Goldie Hawn. They were really close friends and were so similar in the way they looked and acted that people couldn't tell them apart. As one of Chloe's other Ibiza friends, Patsy, put it, "They were always trying to out-ditz each other".

Soon after the 1986 Chenobyl nuclear disaster Chloe informed a crowd of us at lunch that her mother had got the 'flu'. " It's the Russians you know - my mother never gets flu, and it would be too much of a coincidence". We said the cloud never reached western Europe and anyway, radiation doesn't cause flu. But she wouldn't have it. So then someone started on about radiation sickness when they dropped the bombs on Japan in 1945 killing hundreds of thousands. Chloe was wide eyed with horror. "What a nightmare," she said. " Haven't you ever heard of Hiroshima?" We asked. "No", she said - then added, "But you see, I've lived abroad most of my life".

Soho was Chloe's kind of manor. It was very different in those days and she wanted to live there because of the dangerous sleazy aura that only sexy Soho could provide. She loved the existentialism of the Colony club and the raffish scruffiness of the French house, although they were seriously at odds with her stiletto - chic outfits. One day she told me how she'd been to see a flat to rent in Romilly street. 'It was disgusting' she said. "The kitchen was was full of those awful MI5 units". "Was there a spy in every cupboard"? I asked. " No, silly, they were all empty", she said, " But there was a horrid dead mouse in the bedroom. If I was prime minister I'd round up all the mice and send them to the coalmines". "Why? What coalmines?" I said. " Oh, didn't you know", said Chloe, " In the mines they use mice as human guinea pigs". Later that week she admitted she'd got it wrong. She said, "I think it must have been something I heard at school about canaries."

So I started to collect Chloe-isms knowing for sure I'd find a good use for them one day. Whenever we met or talked on the phone I was waiting for her to say something utterly daft. She never disappointed. And it wasn't only me she tickled. One evening I strolled past a restaurant , looked through the window, and could see people jack-knifing around, knocking over tables and rolling on the floor, and I knew Chloe was in there. Once, at Kettner's, she came out with something so absurd that we had to rush outside and hang on to parked cars, tears streaming, gasping for breath, in physical pain. And what was even funnier was the way she'd crack up too, without really knowing why.

There was a short period when she flirted with Buddhism. "Its such a nightmare! I didn't get a wink of sleep cos I was up all night chanting". "Chanting?" " I'm a Buddhist you know, and you can get anything you want if you chant for it. And I want a yellow Volkswagwagen like the one I used to have in Ibiza". "I had no long have you been a Buddhist?" "Since Thursday", she said. "I went to this meeting". I said I doubted you could get your heart's desire simply by chanting for it. "Well, that's what it it says in the BROCHURE," she insisted. When after a week the yellow Volkswagen didn't show up, poor Buddha got dumped. She could be fickle. But she loved to dabble in alternative stuff. When my buddy Al Cluer broke his finger she promised the only cure was acupuncture. "It's the world's oldest form of medicine", she said. "It goes back to the beginning of time. Maybe even before that. They're not sure".

So when my friend Shack suggested a cartoon strip about a couple of girls sharing a flat, there was my lovely Chloe waiting to be picked off the tree.

That was fifteen years ago, which is how long she's been living in the Daily Mail, being daft on a daily basis. And as I write this, blow me if she hasn't gone and won us the Cartoon Art Trust Award for comic strip of the year! The real Chloe is now living in Thailand, chirpy as ever and married to big John, a kind of dangerous looking American, but actually a very nice guy. We've always stayed in touch because I need the gags for one thing. Chloe admits she's no spring chicken now. "But thirty is the new sixty," she says. "Or is it the other way round?" The last Skype conversation I had with her a week ago she complained that her eye was hurting because of a cup of coffee she'd just had. " Coffee doesn't give you eye trouble", I said. " No, I forgot to take the spoon out", she said.

Gray's book Chloe and Co is out now.

Michael Frith: Open Studio Exhibition

See Michael Frith's full portfolio here.

Studio Visit with Sarah Beetson

Our very own Sarah Beetson is featured on The Vine blog, where she is interviewed and her passion for her occupation revealed.

Sarah Beetson is an artist-slash-illustrator with a lot going on. She counts '60s American literature, John Waters, cult film, Japan, rock music, decaying urban typography, and Coney Island as her inspirations, and divides her time between a picturesque farm in Queensland and a Motor Torpedo boat on The Thames.

In the lead up to a long hot summer preparing for her forthcoming exhibition on the Goldcoast, Sarah took us on a studio tour of her working space.
How would you describe your art practice?I live for it, 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. Where is your studio and how did you come to work there?My studio is in my house - a converted dairy shed on my boyfriend's family farm at the foot of Mt Tamborine, South East Queensland. It is idyllic, surrounded by rolling hills, creeks, rainforest, cows, chickens, wallabees, exotic birds and organic fruit - avocados, macadamias and custard apples are the main crops. I made the move up here from Melbourne last year and it has truly enabled me to immerse myself fully in my work without distraction. We are still close to Brisbane and The Gold Coast, plus I travel to Melbourne and Sydney every few months and I spend most Northern Hemisphere summers in London onboard a friend's Motor Torpedo boat on The Thames. I get my city fix when I need to but it seems I am a country girl at heart!
What happens in your studio from week to week besides art-making?I also work as a part-time artist's consultant for Illustration Ltd in London - I am very lucky to be able to do this from my home studio, as well working on illustration commissions and personal work for my own exhibitions.What is important when setting up a space like this?Good storage solutions, technology and internet, and space, space, space, and maximised usage of what you have. Then covering the walls with colour in the form of artwork, cutouts, inspiration material, etc. I like them to be literally dripping with colour.

Do you always carry a sketchbook?

No - I generally work at my studio, then gather my inspiration via other means whilst I am away from it. I very often work in a sketchbook though - it is the best way to see the progression and development within a series of works. Occasionally I will work in transit - for example, when I was working on my last exhibition I got stuck in snow drifted Norway waiting for a flight to Heathrow - and I ended up starting a series of aeroplane sick bags - drawing on them as I flew different airlines back to Australia. I also created two large canvas works on the boat in London, which was fun negotiating The Thames Tides and finding my sea legs!

What are these Pollies? How long have you had them?

They began life as a pair of pyjama cases which a family friend created for me when I was born. They were apparently pinned to the wall above my cot, but I pulled them down as soon as I could stand. They have endured numerous outfit changes and still bear the remnants of some appalling childhood sewing moments. One has a missing foot which I rediscovered a few years ago and reattached with a safety pin. I hadn't seen them in 10 years, but once rediscovered in a box in my parents garage - I wondered if they were the subconscious inspiration for the pink cheeks I often give the subjects in my paintings?

What's the mood of your mood wall? Did you take all these photos yourself?
These particular photos are all my own and were all gathered on a 2008 US Road Trip. They mainly originate from signage in Santa Cruz, Coney Island and The Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas, as well as from the Pinball Hall of Fame. I originally put them up for font inspiration for my BMI Badges and Wordsearches in my last solo exhibition "YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU EAT", but I left them up as I use so much typography within much of my work.
What are you listening to at the moment?

I am loving the "We Are Only Riders" Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions compilation record. Jeffrey Lee fronted 80s band The Gun Club, who were highly influential but not greatly commercially successful. Jeffrey Lee died in 1996, and a box of his unrecorded demos was later discovered, to be re-recorded in the format of this album by his contemporaries and bands he inspired including Nick Cave, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, Lydia Lunch, Mick Harvey, 16 Horsepower and The Ravonettes.  I just painted Jeffrey Lee's portrait as part of my Unsung Heroes series.

What fuels your day?

Coffee in the morning and a boiled egg courtesy of my hens. A glass of Lindauer Fraise can often help if I am working late into the night.

What is great about gouache? How much do you love it?

The best thing about Acryl gouache particularly is its permanence (as it is a mixture of gouache and acrylic), it's incredible quality, and the massive colour range available. I particularly love Japanese brand Turner Acryl Gouache and Holbein Acryla Gouache. Unfortunately I have to ship them in from The States and the UK as their are no stockists in Australia!

What do you think about laws that restrict the sale of spraypaints?
I understand why there are restrictions. But I think school kids probably need access to spraypaints if they are interested in developing their art. I once bought a friend's kid a bunch of spraypaints for his 12th birthday, as he was really interested in making murals in his backyard and could not get hold of the paints. Plus - the basic brands can be a lot cheaper than many of the materials found in an art shop. In terms of graffiti laws - I always thought they were pretty appalling. In London there was an anti graffiti campaign that offered cash rewards to anyone tipping off police to graffiti artists' identity. I think any kind of public are should be encouraged and how hard would it really be to provide designated areas for these kids to have an outlet? But I guess the massive success of Banksy, Blek Le Rat and the Melbourne Street Artists has already changed the path of graffiti culture going forward.

How does an artwork evolve? Chance or planning?

I begin by conceiving an idea or a theme for a painting or series. I will then spend time researching that theme via books, internet, film, museums, etc, and further clarify the direction of the work. I will then source photographic reference, either by setting up my own small photoshoots or using found reference. I greatly admire those gifted with a photographic memory who are able to draw from the pictures in their mind – but that is not me. I like to surround myself with as much information as possible about the subjects before I begin. Then, halfway through the process, the painting begins. By this time I have planned out much of the composition and materials I will incorporate. But I never have a preconceived idea set in stone of how the piece will look when finished, and I always surprise myself with the outcome.

Does your desk feel like "home"?

It feels like a perfect combination of production and madness.

How do you balance creativity and chaos?

I don't - I just work through it! But time out with my hens, yoga and swimming often help.

You have chicken and cow friends to keep you company!

The cows don't have names as they often leave us for market - so I try not to get attached. Although there have been several generations of white-faced Santa Gertrudis calfs that have been named 'Baby White Face I, II, III' etc. Our last Bull, named Dave, made an appearance on a canvas bag I painted and embroidered with a Richard Brautigan poem for an LMFF show at The Australian Poetry Centre. 

My chickens are adopted ex-battery hens and are named as follows: Lee Mellon, Sal Paradise, Angelina, Ignatius J.Reilly, Joanie, Sunny and Isabella Blow. 

A Billy Idol quote that inspires you!

OK, I narrowed it down to three:

Russian roulette no fun / I don't need a gun / I just need someone
If I had the chance / I'd ask the world to dance / And not be dancing with myself

It's a nice day to start again / WOW! / There is nothing fair in this world / There is nothing safe in this world / And there's nothing sure in this world / And there's nothing pure in this world / Look for something left in this world / ohooooooooooooh / Start Again!

Sarah Beetson is represented by 19 Karen in Queensland. Look out for her solo exhibition there in 2011.

See Sarah Beetson's full portfolio here.

Bad Tuesdays

Things go from strength to strength for Chris King who has now completed his 4th cover for book series The Bad Tuesdays by Benjamin J Myers.  he series is published by Orion Children's Books and designed by Art Director James Jones. Book 3 is out now, it's cover has also been featured in the latest edition of Sci-Fi Now magazine!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Becker's Private Project

Hush, hush everyone, you didn't hear this from us!  Greg Becker recently completed a private and rather unusual commission from a couple wishing to commemorate their relationship. It was a very secretive project which involved illustrating a book of poems. Greg's dreamy and enchanting style is perfect for such a romantic gesture.

Jason Hawkins's Scrapbook

Equally comfortable creating in paint, pencils or via computer, without these tools Jason Hawkins would even be happy to draw in the sand. Jason Hawkins's Scrapbook.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Daniel O'Leary Gets Political

Take a look at this small selection of Daniel O'Leary's super portraits of some interesting figures, both in US and Middle East politics. He says of his paintings: "...The image of the nurse is of Nancy Pelosi (American Political figure), the second one is the president of Iran in a compromising position, betraying his statements that there are no homosexuals in his country and the third shows American political figure Sarah Palin, known for being .....less than a genius..."

The Return Of The Young Prince

Sarah Beetson wows us this month with this gorgeous illustration, part of a pitch commissioned by Marc Catala Rodas of Mucho. For the new follow-up book to The Little Prince, Sarah introduces her take on line and wash style, using a gouche wash to preserve her bright colour palette, we are all thrilled with the outcome. She says: "I really enjoyed doing them and hope they will open up more doors in the children's publishing world for me".

Monday, November 22, 2010

You Don't Know ...Jack Schitt

Published by Prion Books last month "You Don't Know...Jack Schitt"'s front cover is happily illustrated by Pete Pachoumis. As for the brief, Pete just focused on doing it quickly, it had a tight turnaround! See the book here.

Hello Beto

New to the stage this month, and an illustrator we welcome with a round of applause is Beto Campos from Brazil. Beto brings with him a portfolio full of lively and bold illustrations. He began his career as a traditional artist, hosting his first solo exhibition when he was only 14 years old, now with over 12 years of experience under his belt in advertising, design and concept art, his impressive portfolio of clients includes Disney, Stephen King and Adobe.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Karpushina and Armada


Masha Karpushina has delivered an outstanding project for Armada. The US based mega brand commissioned Masha to fulfill the design needs for their latest must have winter 10/11 product; the Men's AR7 skis. So good was the output that the design was then modified to suit Men's Apparel Jackets, the designs also appear on their website.

What's Up with Bec Winnel?

Bec Winnel has been keeping herself busy as usual. The beautiful portrait here was created for Cleo South Africa, she's been involved in Just Another Agency Group Show at 1000£Gallery in Melbourne, she was featured on Artist a Day, a very popular iGoogle widget, she was a finalist in the Illustration and Type category at the 2010 Quantm DesktopCreateAwards, and somehow Bec has also found the time to have some fun creating animated gifs, showing her drawing process!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

VW Fairground

This fantastic image is part of Natalie Kilany's latest delivery, a campaign visual for VW via DDB London. Focusing on two of their family cars the Sharan and Touran, Natalie greatly enjoyed the brief which was to create two visually enticing lenticular posters; a forest scene and a fairground scene. In addition the brief requested designs for other collateral including a goodie bag with stickers for the brochure and a bingo car game. The posters and goodie bag can be seen in all local UK and Ireland Volkswagen dealerships.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Talented Robert Carter

Here is the latest from prolific painter Robert Carter, a cover illustration completed for Briarpatch magazine on the topic of Capitalism and the impact on full-time, life long work.

Chris King's Scrapbook

Chris King shares the love of drawing in his sketchbook every day & how this process often proves an inspirational source for future ideas. Chris King's Scrapbook.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

This stunning piece of paper sculpture is fresh from the fingertips of in demand paper artist Gail Armstrong.
Commissioned by Macy's for their 84th Thanksgiving Day Parade, this complex image is being used for posters with elements of it featuring on their website. It was an incredibly complicated job which saw Gail working to please both Macy's and the big balloon clients. If anyone can do it, Gail can!

Michael Frith at The Chris Beetles Gallery

Our very own Michael Frith is going to be part of an illustrators' exhibition at The Chris Beetles Gallery.
'The Illustrators' will exhibit British Illustration 1870-2010.

This extraordinary exhibition covers the remarkable history of British illustration, from the witty sketchbook observations of Charles Doyle, through centuries of commissions for Punchmagazine to Quentin Blake’s distinctive illustrations for Roald Dahl’s The BFG.

Many of the artists included in this show are household names, and a particular highlight are two delightful Beatrix Potter sketches of Jeremy Fisher and Tom Kitten, characters from the tales which defined Potter’s career as an illustrator.
E H Shepard’s Winnie the Pooh makes a star appearance in a sketch entitled ‘Pooh and Piglet meet Mr Punch’. Another key feature of the show is Shepard’s pen and ink drawing depicting the moment when ‘Ratty and Mole call on Badger’ in Kenneth Grahame’s delightful 
The Wind in the Willows (1931). 

Works from the innovative 1890s illustrator Aubrey Beardsley constitute an exciting addition. They illustrate the 1893-94 edition of Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur and demonstrate Beardsley’s liberation from his Victorian artistic peers.

We celebrate the most popular living cartoonist Ronald Searle with a range of artistic genius from his formidable career. Over forty of Searle’s works will be on display in the gallery, including his delightful contributions to the advertisements for
 Lemon Hart Rum, work for Punch and The New Yorker magazines, as well as his more recent humorous studies of cats.

This unique exhibition has the best of contemporary artists such as Quentin Blake, Paul Cox, Emma Chichester Clark, Oliver Jeffers and Nick Butterworth, creator of ‘Percy the Park-keeper’. Also featured in the exhibition are the lively watercolours of Michael Foreman, including illustrations for Michael Morpurgo’s 
Not Bad for a Bad Lad (2010) and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (2009).

To satisfy more humorous tastes, there is 
The Times’s renowned political cartoonist Peter Brookes and pocket cartoonist Matt, whose drawings have enriched the pages of the Daily Telegraph since 1988.

It will be held from 20th November 2010 - 8th January 2010 (Monday - Saturday 10am - 5.30pm)

View Michael Frith's portfolio here.

Tiger Translate

An exciting piece of news from Dennis Juan Ma recently involves his entry for ‘Tiger Translate’ this year, part of his artwork will be used for the visual of next year's event in the theme of ‘Growth’.
Dennis says: "...Tiger Translate is Tiger Beer’s cross-cultural creative platform. It highlights Asia’s brightest creatives and facilitates collaboration with Western visionaries through a series of events, exhibitions and publications. We’ve scoured Asia’s visual art, design, music and photography scenes to find those who are pushing the limits in their respective fields...."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Paul Holland's Scrapbook

This week leading illustrator Paul Holland takes us behind the scenes to reveal what inspires him to create his amazingly popular work. Paul Holland's Scrapbook

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hannah Davies on iphone

The talented Hannah Davies has recently been approached by Izozzi; an iphone and ipad cover company in the US to use her fantastic imagery for the products. Hannah as you can imagine is very excited! Her designs are just one more reason to purchase the popular gadgets. See Hannah's designs.

Matthew Hollings's Scrapbook

This week leading illustrator Matthew Hollings takes us behind the scenes to reveal what inspires him to create his amazingly popular work. Matthew Hollings's Scrapbook

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nuno Da Costa's Scrapbook

This week leading illustrator Nuno DaCosta takes us behind the scenes to reveal what inspires him to create his amazingly popular work.Nuno Da Costa's Scrapbook.

The Memories Project

Ben Tallon has just completed an illustration for the 'Memories' project which is a book of fully illustrated stories by either cancer survivors or people who have lost loved ones to cancer. The book will be sold in order to raise money for Maggies cancer charity.
Ben's story was about Antony Kitson, a designer who responded positively to the loss of his father and set up his own design company which has been doing well since. Ben says: ".... Lovely project to be involved with...."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quick Video overview of Le Book Connections on Tuesday 10.11.10

Harry spot reporting from Le Book Connections

Claire Rollet in Glamour Magazine

Claire Rollet appears in December's Glamour magazine, which is out now. Claire created  a perfume ad for DKNY done as a City guide for Greenwich Village New York - what you can find there from shops to celebrities. Claire says"...It was a really fun project to work on. Layla Kamlani's art direction was precise, she was a real pleasure to work with..."