Those of you who regularly read my blog posts will know that I have a little quirk about same double-digit numbers, such as 11, 33 and especially 88. This is very much an ‘88 blog post’, as this is in fact my 88th blog post on this WordPress site and the topic is one of my teddy bear illustrations, which happened to be my 88th teddy bear illustration. As if that wasn’t sufficient amount of 88’s, this (for you who are into dates) is the 88th day of the year. So, it’s 88.88.88!This illustration, which is one of my very favourite illustrations that I created, was partly inspired by one of my friends and former work colleague, John W. Hall, who sadly passed away a number of years ago. John was a ‘pigeon man’ and loved his racing pigeons, one of which ‘Jeff’ is proudly displayed in the picture. I always remember he would ask me weeks in advance if the calendars were ready to purchase and he was ALWAYS the first person to buy several when they were available, closely followed by our friend Dawn Logan. John was very proud of my work and I remember that fact with a glowing pride. The very talented South African bear artist, Ingrid Els, kindly allowed me use of one of her furry creations to depict in the picture and he is ideally suited to the theme wearing his cloth cap and dungarees… The backdrop of the illustration was sketched in the gardens of the miners’ cottages at Beamish Museum, which is a living museum, based in Stanley, County Durham.
So, as you can see, the young bear in this picture is a local lad to the North East in more ways that one. With his pigeon cree and his flight of pigeons and his copy of The Evening Chronicle this teddy bear is set for a good day… The pigeon clock belonged to John and much to my surprise had been made almost to the day of my birth! That was such a surprising find, when I pondered over it whilst doing the sketches for the illustration. If you look closely you can see that his pigeon has even featured on the front page of the newspaper. And, if you look even more closely (as one of my readers noticed just recently), you can see that the number 88 is featured on the front page too!
People often ask me if I enjoyed colouring all the bricks, the honest answer is yes, as I like doing repetitive tasks, but this does not include drawing thousands of blades of grass! Oh, dear me, no…
The ‘Birds of a Feather’ illustration took a few weeks to complete and was finished on the 29th September 2007. It is dedicated to John W. Hall. He was a good friend, a loving husband to his wife Jasmin, a loving father to his two daughters Debbie and Nicola and a loving grandfather to his grandchildren, of whom he was so proud. The original illustration now belongs to them…
Earlier this year, I was asked if I would do a watercolour or pencil illustration of a church in Spain that was to be the theme for some wedding stationery. Joanne Rogan, the client and bride-to-be was brilliant in providing me with a range of church illustrations that she had seen and liked, so that I could get ‘the feel’ of what she was looking for. A better start and brief could not be had, as most clients know what they want, but are not very good at explaining it, leaving the artist or designer ‘in the dark’.
Joanne also provided me with some photographs of El Salvador’s Church in Nerja, Spain where she was marrying her fiancé, Gary Cooper. The photographs were beautiful, showing a white stately church against an azure sky. There was a tree in the photographs that I had to ‘remove’ but that didn’t prove to be a problem.
It took me a couple of days (in the bleakness of early February) to produce the coloured pencil illustration of the church bedecked in sunshine, which was then sent for Joanne and Gary’s approval. Thankfully, they loved it and it was then sent to the printers to be incorporated into their wedding stationery. As you can see below, Joanne and Gary did a great job of it and the stationery looks unique and amazing! Having said that, so do the happy couple in the photographs, as you can see. I would like to offer my congratulations to Joanne and Gary for their marriage day and also for doing such sterling work on their wedding stationery!
Every best wish to you both for many happy years to come…
Joanne and Gary were married on the 21st September 2018.
The photographs feature on this blog post with their approval and permission. Thank you.
I was asked a few month’s ago to create a birth illustration for a new arrival in Hull, called Zain, who was born this February. Having done a birth illustration for his older brother, Lucas, it was great to be asked if I could do one for ‘Son Number 2’.
I had done a birth illustration on a dinosaur theme a number of years ago and the client asked if Zain’s design could be similar (I never do exactly the same designs). So, I sketched out a few dinosaurs, the great ponderous Brontosaurus ‘the thunder lizard’ no doubt referring to the sound its great feet made it as it slowly pounded the earth, as well as Stegosaurus ‘roof/covered lizard’ with its kite-shaped bone plates on its back and Rhamphorhynchus – a flying bird dinosaur, rather like the Pterodactyl. It’s always interesting to work from ‘real’ dinosaurs even if they don’t look exactly like their prehistoric creations. I even included the ‘tyrant king lizard’ Tyrannosaurus Rex, with a much-softened and more friendly persona, as anything like the real thing would surely produce nightmares in one viewing it at a tender age!
I am hoping that Zain will like his birth illustration, which includes all his personal birth details upon it (you cannot see this on the photograph for security reasons). His family should receive it in August or September when the family have a gathering in York. Perhaps Zain will still appreciate and own this birth illustration long after I have also, like the dinosaurs, become extinct!