They really would make great presents for the kitten or parasite lover in your life. You can see a few examples what you'd find within the book here and I'm selling it for £10 inc P&P in the UK. £15 if you're wanting it sent abroad.
Drop me a line here and I'll sort you out with the only collection of parasite infested kittens you'll ever need (unless you're a vet or some kind of scientist or something).
It's often been said that I'm the king of patterns. No, of course that never has been said. Anyway seeing as it's almost Christmas, here's a festive gingerbread pattern I made.
If you want you can download this and use it to tile backgrounds and such on your computer.
Here's a comic I illustrated a couple of years ago. The characters and the words aren't mine but I think it's nice to show you loyal readers something different as regular blog fans must be getting tired of the same old stuff I churn out.
I really liked the story and pictures of little, lost Darwin, the monkey in a sheepskin jacket that was found in a Canadian Ikea. At the time of typing, he's currently banged up in an animal sanctuary as I think he might be an illegal pet.
I loved his little confused expression. Poor little thing.
Today sees the last ever print edition of the Dandy hitting the shelves. I tried all the newsagents and supermarkets in Kenilworth this morning and none of them had even got it in. Some shop keepers told me that a few people had asked for it and had heard on the news that today's was the last issue. So there it ends, not with a bang but with a-hard-to-find-in-the-shops whimper.
It was an honour doing Korky the Cat for these last few years and I think I got to do him in the last issue, haven't seen it yet as I had to order it on-line. There were some super talented artists involved and you can check out the thoughts of Lew Stringer, Jamie Smart and Andy Fanton on their blogs about the end of this noble institution.
Despite having done loads of work for Mind Candy on Moshi Monsters in the past - I designed a few of the original trophies when they first started, they asked me to do an art test, for free of course, for any extra work they might have. I admire their sticking to their guns stance, despite my past form with them and when I mentioned this they told me I'd have to do the test anyway. We can all afford a week to do this can't we? Of course we can. What's the problem?
I suggested I'd meet them half way and do a bit of the test - I do have other real work to do after all. They told me to sling my hook - which was apposite as the test was to design a fishing game for them.
Visitors to my blog and website may have noticed that I do love to draw cute little animals although my work can be quite macabre and unsavoury. Well yesterday I took it to another level by attending a taxidermy taster class. It was held in an amazing venue: The Last Tuesday Society in East London. Seriously you need to see their shop/museum/experience. If you like stuffed animals, Victorian anatomy models, skeletons or just dead things in jars then this is the place for you.
The course was run by the completely lovely Sue Jeivin who was totally covered in amazing tattoos which isn't surprising as she's a fantastic tattoo artist as well as a taxidermist. I implore you, if you're going to get inked make sure it's one like she'd do or anyone else who works with her at the East River Tattoo Parlour in Brooklyn would create. The style they've got going there is something an American whaler back in the days of old would have, they're gorgeous, have a peek now.
Here's a close up of my taxidermical triumph. I think it turned out alright. Let me run through how the day went.
Like a bizarre twist on Harry Potter's sorting hat she picked out a suitable mouse for each of us, making sure we all had one that reminded her a bit of how we looked. The dead rodent was chilled, not relaxed just slightly defrosted and the first task was to warm them up in our hands. Sue went to great pains to make sure the mice were ethically sourced and had good lives before they were humanely killed for pet food. It took her hours to find these ones and took her right out of London so you know she really cares for their mousey well being.
I was contemplating showing pics of the skinning and de-braining processes - but they weren't nice. The worse part for me was removing the eyes, but it was all pretty easy and clean. If you've ever prepared meat for cooking, this will be a breeze. Plus, the upside is that, come the apocalypse I'll be able to skin a mouse so I'll be ok for meat and clothes.
Once that was all done the stuffing, stitching and mounting was all plain sailing. Sue had brought props so we could put our tiny corpses into little Walter Potter style tableaux (don't let me whinge on about that collection being split up and sold after the V&A turned it down again) that she'd brought with her from American thrift stores. Everyone there created something really good and there was a great cross section of amateur taxidermists getting involved too. It was a really fun day and I urge you all to go and get stuffed.
Here's an example of the kind of thing you can see at The Last Tuesday Society too. Go and have a look there as soon as you can.
This image doesn't really make sense out of context but it's not really worth trying to explain so just enjoy it for what it is - an alien bunny eating breakfast. Yes, thanks for noticing, I did make model the bowl and cereals in 3D myself.
Rumours are rife about the closure of the Dandy. I've just heard it mentioned on 6 Music news, so it must be serious. Looks like it's about to come to an end just shy of it's 75th birthday. This is such as shame but, to be honest something that doesn't really surprise me. It's been an honour to write and draw their original flagship character, Korky the Cat for the last 10 years.
The latest Dandy incarnation has been around since October 2010 where it had relaunched as a more traditional comic rather than the magazine it had become. It was a great read but you really had to want it if you were going to find it. It seemed to suffer from distribution issues and terrible marketing and PR, relying on nostalgic readers rather than pushing the new comic. I love comics but even I draw the line of reading/buying vintage comic strips. They were good at the time but reading them now as an adult they seem a little lack lustre and very much of their time.
I dread to think of the future of the Dandy as just a bunch of licensed images on trite merchandise appealing to the retro giftware world. I fear that's it's future though. How can it hope to compete against TV and merchandised brand comics when it won't help itself. Many times I've offered to help with the Dandy's minimal website and help with marketing ideas only to be told that the Dandy editorial team didn't want to treat on the toes of the DC Thomson marketing team. They've obviously done a stirling job. When I mentioned to anyone they instantly about this British institution but were amazed to know it was still going.
So I suppose it's down to you to hunt down the comic and buy every issue you can and prove there is a place for it. Where's that Team GB spirit? We have the oldest continually published comic in the world here in the UK, beating even America (quite probably). Embrace the spirit of the innovative opening ceremony that represented the originality and brilliance of this country rather than the Pop Idol, CD on repeat closing party. Although, now I've written that it's suddenly become clear why the place for a free thinking, funny for the sake of it comic could struggle finding a place in the homogenised high street. Ugh, how depressing.
Anyway, I've gone on enough. Desperate Dan artist Jamie Smart's thoughts are always good to hear. Read what he has to say and I urge you to get the Dandy while you still can. At best we can save it, at worse you'll have a rare collectors edition for the future.
I finally finished a canvas that had been lying around the lounge for weeks. I'm never sure about my paintings. I worry about the brush stokes and the bits where you can see the white of the canvas underneath but I think this one turned out OK. I may even do another one.
This was a rejected idea for a company working on a brilliant device. I'll explain more when it's out and I'm NDA free but it could have been so amazing. I'll be following it's progress with interest when it's out and see how their route goes. After presenting this I received the best email of my career (since the Greedy Ghost incident) :
"We asked for cute pets but instead you've sent over a load of dead animals." It's like they hadn't seen my oeuvre at all.
We've come to the end of my little stroll down Rat Attack Memory Lane. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have and have been inspired to seek out a copy of your own on Ebay or in your local charity shop. Here's a few images I found Googling 'Rat Attack' to save you having to do it your self. The image above is the cover of the PlayStation game version instructions. The game was really nicely packaged. Not many games feature different box art for different console releases. They didn't bother with this in the USA and just went with a badly rendered CGI cover as market research told the publishers that American gamers wouldn't understand a 2D rendered cover on a 3D game. You can decide for yourself below. We had to change the logo for American eyes too. Thus began my lifelong love of the homogenised world of market research - the biggest stumbling block creativity has to overcome.
Here is some of my early Scratch Cat concept work.
Here are some enemy concepts. I found a lot of these images on the IGN game site. Good to see they're still going strong in the modern age.
This is one of my attempts at using 3D Studio Max. Don't laugh, this was in the proposal that sold the game. Load of these original elements made it through to the actual finished game.
Another one of my fantastic models. King Scarab was the boss at the end of the museum level.
King Scarab looked a lot better in the actual game when a real artist had a go at it.
And here's a screen of Rat Attack in action. This the pinball level from the funhouse.
Yippy Yappy was the first Rat Attack boss. And the amazing twist was that he was tiny. He was just a little chihuahua. See how we played with the players perception of the gaming format? I'm always ahead of the game, me.
Fans of this blog will notice I draw loads of chihuahuas, I love them. But I hardly ever draw cyan ones.
In the original Rat Attack Sparky was the witch's cat. I remember we had to change the pentagram on his chest to a crescent moon in case we upset any Satanists. Originally I'd mistakenly drawn a Star of David there. I (or no one else) spotted that for ages.
I think I'd ramp up the magic, Diablo style if I was designing this character now. Runic patterns and glowing effects are what magic is all about these days.
Atomicat was another unlockable Rat Attack character. I can never remember seeing it in the game as it was an N64 exclusive but I'm sure it had an amazing effect on its textures as befits a radioactive moggy.
One of the hidden extra playable characters in the original Rat Attack was Pearl. Her thing was that she was the fastest character thanks to her roller blades. Roller blades are still cool aren't they?
P.U.5.5.Y was never a playable character, he was just Professor Julius's robot sidekick. I only think he appeared on the Rat Attack title sequence just floating around. Back then, he didn't even have a body but I think it would have been good if he did and you could choose to play as him.
I met up with my old chums from my days at Pure Entertainment the other day. It was fun to talk about the genius that was the Playstation cult smash, Rat Attack and that made me look up the game.
This chap has but a complete walkthrough on Youtube if you have no idea what I'm talking about. and want to see how PlayStations looked at the turn of the millennium. I also discovered the original Sony website from back in 2001. Check out the animations from the early days of Flash.
I'm sure the time is right for a remake but we have no idea who owns the rights. It all got messy after the first dot com bubble burst. Anyway, it got me thinking so I thought I'd see how I'd design the characters now, twelve years down the line. I already had a go at Muffy DuPont a couple of weeks back. It's interesting to see how my aesthetics have changed over the years.
Here's Professor Rex Julius, leader of the Scratch Cats. Watch this space for more possible copyright infringing updates over the following days. I can always use the fan art defence can't I....?
Can it really be a month since I updated this blog? Where does the time go? It's been such a busy few weeks, although thanks to NDAs I can't prove it, you'll just have to believe me. Oh well, here's a picture of a kelpie. Hopefully I'll post more than one image during July.
It's Jubilee weekend here in Blighty. 60 years of the Queen reigning over us. I like this and I was fascinated by the amount of products in the supermarket that were packaged in Union Jacks (I know it's Union Flags unless it's hoisted at sea but Jack is a much better term for it). I was thinking of just trying to survive for a month on items that were just packaged in Union Jacks and blogging the results but obviously I couldn't be bothered in the end.
I did however start on a masthead for the blog and here, is the essence of it.
The sad thing about all this is that slapping a Union Jack on your product is considered a bold move by marketing companies. Product packaging has reached an all time low. What happened to the exciting crisp and cereal packagings of my youth.
I was talking to a marketing person at Walkers about this when I was whinging about how the company could do so much more with the Monster Munch monsters. I was appalled at the packing of their new Baked Stars. Have a look at the branding of this product, it looks like Walkers has just given up but the lady I was talking to was sure it was the cutting edge.
It was very exasperating conversation as she seemed to think it was the pinnacle of branding. Too me it seems like a cheap use of clipart and looks like a generic rip off product from the pound shop rather than the national institution that is Walkers. Who does this appeal to? It's to bland for kids yet skewed to young looking (albeit terribly executed) for the slimming lady crowd that Special K (which I love) always goes for. I don't understand their thinking at all.
Check out the website too - it's just like a selection of images from a company power point presentation. I don't think that future generations will hold as much affection for the childhood brands of their youth as there just isn't anything there to catch their attention or to appeal to them anymore. You can't even get stickers or toys in the bags anymore. Oh Walkers what has happened to you?
Being the illustrator extraordinaire and wondrous wordsmith that I am, I will endeavor to entertain you through the pages of this blog. I am still not sure if there will be any point to my ramblings but I feel that it has to be done so I am doing it. May God have mercy on all our adorable souls.