14 December 2010

Smile, Darn Ya, Smile

Birdie Bowers always had the sunniest outlook, even when it was decidedly not sunny.

Okay, to be fair, the letter he wrote home about the storm that nearly sank the Terra Nova was more frank in its appraisal of their circumstances (proving how dire they really were) but he still ended it with "Under its worst conditions this earth is a good place to live in."

21 November 2010

Gorgeous Lautrecian Creatures

In my continuing mission to consume all possible information on the Scott expedition, I have recently read Sara Wheeler's biography of Cherry. It was sad in unexpected ways, but interesting ... One point of interest was that during the second winter, when it was 'morally certain' that the polar party was not going to return, Cherry's sketchbook hosted some special guests.

If I had approached this correctly and referred to my research before I started drawing, the bunks would be the right distance apart ... ah well. That's not really the point.

13 November 2010

Toronto, Part 1

After New York, I took the train to Toronto. Hooray Toronto! I had a wonderful (if short) time there, and the first place I got to sit and sketch for an extended period was Casa Loma. It's like, this totally awesome castle?


Later research identified the woodpecker as a female Hairy, in case you were in suspense.

01 November 2010

Race to the End of the Earth

The American Museum of Natural History has an exhibition on, relating to Scott and Amundsen's race* to the South Pole in 1911. As you may have noticed in previous entries, the Scott expedition is an ... interest ... of mine, and Disney insists on letting me walk away with a comfortable disposable income, so I went.

They didn't allow cameras, but they didn't take my sketchbook away. Who wants a load of sketches? You want a load of sketches? You got it!


*Captain Scott says: 'It's not a race! Stop calling it a race! Geez!'

23 October 2010

Messin' wit the Shadow Man

I did all sorts of odd jobs animating on Frog, from slight expression changes on a mask to the Disneyest cheering bayou animals. But if I was working on a character, there was one character it was likely to be, and I came to a very important conclusion about the nature of existence about a year ago, which is illustrated here.

I only did eleven scenes of him (and two of those were hand scenes) but I was so enormously, tremendously, gigantically lucky to be a part of that crew, I can hardly express the depths of my gratitude to the powers that be. Most animators never get to work on a character that awesome in their whole careers, never mind on their first feature. Bruce Smith, of course, as supervising animator, is responsible for a huge amount of that awesomeness, because Bruce Smith IS AWESOME. That's all there is to it.

10 October 2010

Viva la Revolucion

Reg Shoe, Ankh-Morpork's own communist agitator. He would pay the ultimate price for his ideals.

... well, sort of ...

27 September 2010

The Man Who Was Sunday

Continuing last week's Chesterton theme, here is the leader of the Central Anarchist Council, codename Sunday:

The description of him as an enormous grey elephantine man was quite striking; I must admit my own personal mental image was tainted a bit by Watson in Action Sherlock Brain Theatre.

20 September 2010

The Men Who Weren't Thursday

BBC7 recently had a reading of G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday, which I surprised myself by enjoying quite a lot (though on reflection, 'eccentric Edwardian intellectuals go on a wacky romp/mystery' is hard not to love). Unfortunately, getting half an hour of audiobook a day makes it hard to hang onto physical descriptions, but that didn't stop me – here's a collection of doodles of the Central Anarchist Council, more or less independent of accuracy. The Secretary (top left), for example, ought to have dark hair and a beard. Pah! I like mine better.

12 September 2010

The 6th Inniskilling Dragoon's Lament

On this, my 'professional' blog, I usually try to avoid posting the frivolous self-gratifying fan art which fills up most of my sketchbook. But the thing of which I have been most proud, recently, is the most frivolous and self-gratifying of them all, and deeply dorky besides.

The song is to the tune of The Legionnaire's Lament by The Decemberists.

If the ghost of Titus Oates comes and burns a spectral blubber stove in my living room, it's no more than I deserve.

05 September 2010

Yet Another Doctor

Every time I think I've grown out of being able to listen to a song on infinite repeat, something comes along that compels me to do just that. Most recently it was Clockwork Quartet, a band with a surfeit of style and talent to match. Unfortunately they've only put out two songs so far, but what songs! This drawing is of the Doctor in (obviously) 'The Doctor's Wife.' I've tried drawing the watchmaker's apprentice but he always comes out looking like someone at work.

29 August 2010


The BBC dramatization of Robert Harris' Fatherland is one of the best radio plays I've ever heard. I'm afraid my drawing does it little justice – as usual I forsake the epic drama and get caught on an insignificant detail, in this case the way characters always seem to be bumming smokes off Inspector March.

I don't know why the incessant rain is part of the story but it gives an appropriate atmosphere. They do the sound of it very well, to the point I have fooled myself more than once into believing it was actually a rainy day outside.

I miss the rain.

24 August 2010

Shooting On Location

The part of Inception that was supposed to be downtown LA was definitely shot there. How can you tell? The architecture? The street names? No: Famima!!

You can't frame a shot in downtown LA without a Famima!! in it. Bless those bachelor businessmen and their need for cheap and easy lunches ...

16 August 2010

Summer Sketchbook

It seems that having friends or family in town is the only way I get out of my routine, so I took advantage of this weekend's visit to get back in the sketching groove.

09 August 2010

Santa Barbara

Poor forsaken blog ... have a drawing from lovely Santa Barbara:

For how close it is and how much I enjoy it, I really ought to go more often, but it always seems to slip my mind ...

13 March 2010


Until a couple years ago, when a collection of sympathetic villains hit me like a ton of bricks, I did not think of myself as a 'villains' person. But there was one, a decade before, who stood out as appealing in some indiscernible way...

It wasn't even in the proper play that I was struck by Iago – it was in a production of Good Night, Desdemona (Good Morning, Juliet), a play about a Shakespeare scholar who finds herself inserted into Othello and Romeo and Juliet, respectively. Iago doesn't even have that big of a role, but he made an impression. I thought it was down to the actor: he had a very distinctive look and played the part with such twisted glee it was hard not to get on his side. But last week, Radio 4 aired a fantastic production of Othello, and Iago was fascinating in that as well. So there must be something to it...

Anyway, I drew this as a tribute to 'my' Iago ... various internet searches have not uncovered who he was, alas. I raise my glass to you, twisted conniving bastards of literature. As long as you don't come after me.

13 February 2010

A Correspondence Between Gentlemen of Adventure

The second thing everyone knows* about the Scott Expedition is that Amundsen Got There First. What I didn't know until I read The Worst Journey in the World is that Amundsen left, for Scott, a letter to send to the king of Norway to corroborate his antecedence. This was so bemusing to me, a child of the late twentieth century, that a man could realistically expect his defeated rival to voluntarily go through the hassle of proclaiming his loss, and that said rival would actually do so rather than mutter a bitter 'screw you' and take no action at all.
*assuming one knows anything at all; the first thing is They All Died.

So of course I had to make a comic about it. Click for make biggar!