Biscuits (assorted) is my first graphic novel, published soon (hopefully October 2020) by Myriad Editions.
It is the culmination of a lot of overlapping ideas over several years, begun with my illustration project #3point52billion. It is also a sort of love letter to London, and to its women, and their courage.
It features the overlapping stories of a number of characters including Hana – a perpetually optimistic supermarket employee, Sarah – who is spending the summer doing a data project on playgrounds with her young daughter, and keeping a secret from her, Clara – who has been thrust backwards into a bisexual love triangle and has to help the love of her life plan her wedding, Maya, Susan, Keerthika, Marissa, Jess, Almas, Samarah, Lucy, and more besides.
My aim is always to provide elegant and intelligent images that can communicate quite complex ideas, but also create a mood of pleasantly tongue in cheek fun, whether creating a complex narrative scene or a simple piece of editorial or branding work.
Hand drawn text is the only way to get truly unique typography you know. Text design, with or without background imagery is a speciality that has grown in sophistication in my work in recent years with increased use of digital layering to create more adaptable designs. Clients include Computer Arts Magazine, One Beat Zines, Little Carousel, Teatime Vintage, many private clients and text t-shirt designs for Topman.
When I was proper young, like many tweens of the 90s, I used to make mix tapes. In keeping with the punk DIY aesthetic of the chop and change and take and keep nature of these tapes my cover designs were surreal collages, made from pictures and words found in magazines (how this all translates into the digital era is a whole other topic for another time).
When I grew up and moved to London (2008), I started making alternative valentines cards using the same technique, and the same tongue in cheek surreal juxtaposition made for some love messages that were by turns hilariously obscene, and strangely touching. I’ve been making them ever since and the best of the alternative valentines have been curated into 2 mini zines. The found text look has in recent years crept into other parts of my practice, mainly as a design technique.
My wedding invitations in 2013 took the found text angle to its pinnacle, or so I thought, but more recently I have been commissioned to make text collage pieces for The New Tabloids album design, a 4 page comic story for Soaring Penguin Press, and a sinister found text poem for Amelia Gregory’s new book That Which We Do Not Understand.
I’m excited to see where this technique will take me next, I never get bored of collecting interesting words and combining them with exciting colours and shapes.
Here is a really long love poem written using only found lyrics.
Birds, birds, birds, my words fly like birds, my birds fly like words.
I always seem to be drawing birds.
This is a little more the fine art arm of my work, as I’ve exhibited my bird paintings as an artist (at Webbs Gallery, Northcote Road, The Common Ground coffee shop, The Mill House, Windsor, Fragments) and also sell bird themed paintings at Artfinder, but my avian obsession of course spills over into my illustration work, both personal and commercial. Three of my illustrated books have been themed in part on birds. The original Magpies book of short stories being one, and a compilation of the ongoing series recently recommissioned What Birds are Really Thinking being another. When I designed the illustrated guide to using the internet for art teachers for the Institute of Education (Whose Afraid of The Big Bad Web), I used bird headed anthropomorphic characters. When I doodle in margins I tend to draw birds as well, often seagulls.
So, an obsession? Perhaps. A speciality? Definitely.