Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Year That Was 2011

I'll be honest, 2011 has been one of, if not the crappiest year of my life.

I'm not kidding, I mean I've had some low points in my short existance but this past year really has taken me to my limit. I've had my heart broken (in more ways then one), I've had to sit back and watch helplessly as some of my closest people in my life breakdown infront of me. I've lost friends, family and some of my heroes have passed on, my confidence has taken a battering (as has my wallet), I've had nothing close to a proper break, been working non-stop at a job I really cannot stand anymore and my general health has just deteriorated. In the last month I been sick practically everyday and you know it's bad when my friends who are always badgering me to stay out with them are saying go home you look like death. My body has feels like it's breaking down from all the sh*t that's happen and to be honest I've been tempted to let it. I have been on the verge of throwing in the towel, flipping the bird to the world and just giving up. 

The thing about me is, I got a trait that's been built into me that's preventing me from giving up.I have had a lot of crap thrown at me this year, and I'm sure it ain't finished yet, but I will not give in. I need to keep on going, need to keep fighting. I've been taking on crap like this head on my whole life and I'm not letting a particularly bad year be the thing that beats me. But with all the bitterness, loathing and self pity I have in my heart at the momment, how do I move on do you ask? Simple really. With the good I do have in my life.

Although most of this year I would rather forget, I have had a few things that I am thankful for. I've got back in contact with a close friend who I thought I lost years ago, my doodles and illustrations are getting better with each new piece, work has become more bearable, the friends and family I still have in my life are bloody marvelous and have done their best to lift my spirits, one of my commissions has been printed (book cover for Nik Dendera's 'Love Is Suicide' avaliable now on Amazon, go now beat the rush!) and I got teasers of stuff to look forward to next year... Alright it's 'The Dark Knight Rises' but it's something good at least.

There's a lot of cliché when it comes to the New Year, with stuff like 'new year, new beginning' and out with the old, in with the new' but this year I'm going to take them to heart. This year has been terrible, but I'm still here and I'm still breathing (just). I'm gonna take all the good I still got in my life and use it to make 2012 a hell of a lot better then 2011. I can make it better, I will make it better and I will keep on going. I mean, in the immortal words of Jeremy Clarkson, "How hard can it be?"

Monday, 12 December 2011

Psycho Snowman

I put a poll up on Facebook about a month ago asking what kind of design I should do for my Christmas cards. The options were traditional, funny, some of my characters or dark. Guess which one got the most votes?
I didn't want to make this look completely psychotic and disturbing, so I tried to give it a 'Nightmare Before Christmas' feel to it. You think I succeeded?

Monday, 21 November 2011

Power of Making

"Making is the most powerful way we solve problems, express ideas and shape our world. What and how we make defines who we are, and communicates who we want to be. Power Of Making is a cabinet of curiosities showing works by both amateurs and leading makers from around the world to present a snapshot of making in our time."

That's how my bro Fuad described the 'Power of Making' exhibition we went to see yesterday at the V&A. This very unique exhibition has over 100 different items ranging from a life size crochet bear, a ceramic eye patch, a fine metal flute and a dry stone walling.


The exhibition is still on until 2 January 2012 and I do recommend you go check it. The pictures I got here really don't do it justice, plus the V&A is worth a look anyway.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Top 10: Games

As I really haven't done or got anything new I'd like to show you peeps I thought I'd share a bit about myself as far as my interests and tastes. Now I been a gamer my whole life and have play a fair amount over the years, from RPG's, shooters, fighting, MMO's and adventure games. I do have a fair amount of favourates and I'm interested in seeing what people think of my top 10. So we'll kick things off with:

No.10: Portal (PC)
This is a first person/puzzle game that Valve added as basically a stocking filler to the 'Orange Box' set to pad it out along with 'Team Fortress 2' and 'Half Life 2'. It wasn't suppose to get anyones attention but turn out to be one of the best games/franchises Valve ever produced. My mindset going into it was a variety of puzzles that I could play on a rainy day when I'd gone through everything else and that's exactly what I got. What I didn't expect was not only the most interesting and challenging puzzles I've done but some of the funniest pitch black humour I have ever heard in a game. My only issue would be that it's only two to three hours long (depending how much trouble the puzzles give you) but I can live with it. It doesn't mean it drags out and you don't wait that long for the brilliant climax that puts most mainstream games to shame.

No.9: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (X-Box 360)
I have never been one for army shooters, mainly because series like 'Call of Duty' and 'Medal of Honor' are samey shooters with no concept of realism, always set between 1941 and 1945 depicting America's only soul momment of glory in living memory by shooting an endless string on Nazis. The fact that 'Call of Duty 4' was set in the present day was enough to get me interested and after playing I was hooked. The story is based around the thief of some nuclear weapons in Iraq and the Americain marines are sent in to sort it out but end up making things worse so the British S.A.S. have to fix it, who you spend most of the game playing as. You shift between the two factions allowing you to experience various enviroments and combat styles which means boredom never happen and the controls are intuitive enough to be effective however you have to apply them. And if more justification is needed I'll just say this; since this came out how many army shooters have been set in World War II?

No.8: Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (N64)
Now I'm a massive Star Wars fan and I've played most of the games LucasArts has released over the years. Lets be honest, most of them were crap. There are a few exceptions (Force Unleashed, Rogue Squadron, Dark Forces) but the one I had the most fun with would be this game. It is based on a comic set between 'Empire Strikes Back' and 'Return of the Jedi', the plot involving crime organisations, murder, kidnap & a lizard-man with a grudge against Darth Vader. You play as mercenary Dash Rendar who is basically Han Solo but half as likeable, traveling to a variety of planets and locations in the Star Wars universe including tattooine, a junkyard planet and starting things off on Hoth. What I love in this game is not only the variety of locations but also in gameplay. You can be flying around on Hoth in a snow speeder then next be running around the sewers of Coruscant battling giant one eyed tenicle monsters, from pitch space battles in astoriod fields to battling Boba Fett on a jet pack. This classic N64 game is a must have for any gamer in my opinion.

No.7: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2)
If you've never heard of 'Grand Theft Auto' then I'd like to know what rock you been hiding under, as this was the franchise that practically invented sandbox gameplay. Each game in this series allows players to take on the role of a criminal or a wannabe in a big city trying to get to the top of the crime world up a pile of stolen cars, bodies and escort missions. You can steal more or less any vehicle in sight including cars, bikes, boats and even tanks in some of them. Beat up, shoot or run over anyone you see plus the language, violent levels and gore are enough to make Freddy Krueger whince. But then again thats why it's so popular and thats why I love it. There have been 15 of the games over the years but Vice City is by far the most fun. This was when the series starting to show signs of gritty & realism but still was very whacky, exaggerated and colourful enough to have a lightness of tone dispite all the blood and drugs. The variety of weapons is staggering the characters you meet are very well rounded and keep you interested. I could keep going but all you need to know is the story is tight, the humour and piss taking will put a big grin on your face and the gameplay is as solid as you can get. You won't find much better.

No.6: WWF No Mercy (N64)
Those of you that know me well know I'm a big wrestling fan, ever since I was little. There have been many wrestling games over the years from different organisations but my favourate has to be 'No Mercy' from WWF and THQ. This was always fun to play, fun to watch and just... Well fun. The game mechanics are sound being very intuitive allowing to use varied of styles depending on the match type and what character you want to play as. This was the first game to have a 'Ladder Match' game mode and has a very in-depth story championship mode with each WWF title featuring a unique story. The story mode's depth is due in part to its branching storylines that develop based on the outcomes of the player's matches, which you don't really see in future games. Also the amount of wrestlers you get to play as is unbelievable, with a 65+ roster to choose from including The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Micheals. This is a must have for any wrestling fan in my books. 

No.5: Mass Effect 2 (X-Box 360)
I'm going to get a lot of stick for what I'm about to say but I never the first 'Mass Effect'. I tried playing it once but couldn't get into it and left it at that. When the second game came out two of my close friends practically forced me to play it and I can say truthfully say I'm glad they did. You play as Commander Shepard (whose gener seems to be unrecorded by history), legendary space captain in his campaign to save the galaxy from the Reapers. The story behind this game has to be one of the very best in gaming history. It's a deep, compelling tale that keeps you wanting to know what happens next to you and your comrades, each with their own stories that you explore in great detail and has a brilliant climax that has me longing for the third installment to come out already. The cover based shooting gameplay is solid, with a variety of weapons and powers to play with depending on the class you pick. The first game never really sold me the franchise, but the second has made me a fan for life.

No.4: Batman: Arkham City (PS3)
A couple of months ago 'Arkham Asylum' would of been here, but then DC released the sequel and made what I thought was impossible and made the game better. Batman is one of my favourate comic book characters and apart from 'The Dark Knight' movie this has to be the best representation of him outside the comic book world. The story is very good and able to fit a lot of the major villians and don't make it feel like they were put in there for the sake of it (apart from Bane) and the actual fights with them don't consist of fighting legions of henchmen while they taunt you. It's also one of the rare games that balances stealth and action and still keep it fun. Fighting controls are simple and flow seamlessly and the stealth elements when your hiding in the raffters picking off a group of thugs one by one puts most steal games (Metal Gear, Splinter Cell) to shame. The City itself isn't that big compared to most sandbox games but considering that you can only really get around by gliding it's probably for the best. I have yet to meet someone who has played it that hasn't had fun with it and even after completing Batman's and Catwoman's story lines I'm still playing it. That in itself is rare.

No.3: GoldenEye (N64)
When I got my N64 this was the first game I got and it was also the first shooter I ever played. It's based on the James Bond movie of the same name and I couldn't put it down. This was the first FPS for consoles and introduced new innovations not seen in roaming shooter before including a zoomable sniper rifle, stealth elements and a multiplayer deathmatch mode. You play as 007 himself and have to make your way throght each stage completeing a certain amout of objectives (depending on what diificulty you have it on) and exiting the stage. Shooting is exciting and having to stealth it up in some levels doesn't let you go completely all out and get bored of samey shooting, but there are levels when you can go nuts like the one where you run through downtown Moscow in a tank! The variety of weapons and gadgets you are given for each stage is actually quite impressive and means that you can replay stages over and over again and not get bored. This game changed the standard of shooters and got me into them. 

No.2: Final Fantasy X (PS2)
This was the first 'Final Fantasy' I had ever played and is still my favourate (yes I've played and completed FF7 but I still prefer this one). It was given to me by a friend years ago. I started playing it about 9 at night out of boredom and only put it down because I realised the sun was coming up and I had college in two hours. This is a J-RPG about a boy named Titus transported to the strange world of Spira and begins a quest to get home and help summoner Yuna to rid Spira of the force that brought Titus there in the first place, Sin. What I love most about this game is the story. The journey through Spira with Titus and his companions is fall of laughter, action, betrayal and tears and I key at it just to see what would happen next. The characters are well rounded and each having a lot more to them then it appears at first, each with a back story that is actually quite interesting. This was the first FF game with speech and a full 3D world that doesn't feel like you're running around on a gaint piece of cardboard with adds to the immersion. The action gameplay consists of random encounters that become turn based combat (standard for most J-RPGs) with three of your team taking on a group of enemies taking it in turns to attack, defend or preform other actions. It does sound boring there is stategy to each fight and trying to get through it with as few hits as possible is quite entertaining. Apart from my next choice this is the only game I could happily pick up and play again without argument, I mean if you look at how long I played my first attempt it was in the 300 hour mark. Not many games can claim I've spent that long playing it.

No.1: Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
This was the second game from developers Team ICO and I have never played anything like it before or since. The plot of the game is a young warrior goes to a forbiddon land to seek the help of an imprisoned demon to bring the love of his life back from the dead. The demons agrees but his terms are that you kill 16 giant monsters with nothing more the a sword and a bow. The game is split between roaming a vast and beautiful setting (even with todays graphics it's still jaw-dropping) and pitch battles with 30ft high monsters. The roaming is very peaceful with the only real thing to do is find your way to the next colossus and the battles are niosy and intense which creates an effective contrast. Contrast is important in games as I get very bored very quick shooting the same three guys 500 times and you can't get a bigger contrast then in this game. The monster fights themselves are equal parts boss fights and puzzle platformers, each of them unique in their own way but the key point really is to jump on them, find the weak spot and stab at it til it fades. Now if jumping from your horse onto a flying snake, crawling up his body while you're flying 50mph 100ft in the sky trying not to fall off as the grip gage dwindles away doesn't make for exciting gameplay then I think it's time to reaccess your standards. One of my favourate things about this game is the colossi themselves. They actually feel colossal, moving slowly around making the ground shake with each step, each richly detailed with dirt and plant life. They make you feel like they are something that has been sleeping in the ground for so long that they have become a part of the landscape and that you have rudely awaken them. It wants you to keep playing just to see what the next monster will look like which few games can claim. There is nothing else like it and is the most fun I've ever had on a console.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Inspirations: Star Wars

Darth Vader logo.
The original trilogy that is not the new Clone Wars Saga crap (Darth Maul is the exception). My dad was/is a proper fanatic when I was a kid & it passed on to me. I've seen 'Empire Strikes Back' and 'Return of the Jedi' so many times I can qoute it word for word. I know that really isn't a good thing but I'm just pointing out how much I like it.

Darth Vader is the best villian in the history of any media, the soundtrack by John Williams is inspiring, the settings, props and Jim Henson's puppets are brilliant and the revelation at the end is one of the most iconic in cinema history. Even people I know who haven't seen it know of that scene and I know a fair few of them. Ok I'll stop now.

The logo repeated.
If Darth Vader & R2-D2 had a baby. 'Darth2-D2'.
Hooded figure that resembles a Sith Lord.
Wicket & C3PO.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Love Is Suicide

'Love Is Suicide' is a novel written by Nik Dendera, and I've designed the cover for it. I met this quite talented writer on Myspace years ago and she is one of the few people I met on there that I kept in contact with. She told me a little while ago her story was getting published and asked me if I could design the cover for her. Now how could I say no to that?

'Love Is Suicide' Front

Complete cover.
Edit: 'Love Is Suicide' is now out and availiable on Amazon so go check it out. And yes I'm fully aware this is shameless advertising but it's my blog and I like the book. This lady is very talented so go read you won't regret it.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

When Drawings Attack.

I have no idea who did these but I love it and wish I had more to share with you guys.


Thursday, 6 October 2011

A Study Of...


I actually have more examples to show then this, but my laptop and scanner are refusing to co-operate at the momment. This was the only one I was able to scan before technology commited treason on me. Incase you ae wondering, this is my foot viewed in the mirror.


Monday, 3 October 2011


I'm not sure who took these pics but two things spring to mind when I look at them. Firstly that some people have way too much time on their hands, and secondly that they are awesome!


Saturday, 24 September 2011

Graphic Design

That's what I studied at university. Graphic design.
For those of you who aren't quite sure what graphic design consists of, it actually covers a wide spectrum of skills. These include illustration, animation, web design, magazine design, advertising, layouts, typography, logos, book covers and corperate identities. Just to name a few.
My cover design for 'Love is Suicide' by Nik Dendera
Studying graphic design does teach you various skills and you get to try out different fields to find your specialised field. The problem I had with it was instead of finding my field, I became a Jack of all trades (I'm good at everything for those who don't know cockney) and can't say I'm particuarly good at a certain skill. I could pick one out, but I enjoy all of them so it's quite hard to say what I do in graphic design.
Logo for the band 'Young Influential' that I designed.
 Although it's hard for me to pick out a speciallity, it has given me a variety in my portfolio and it's always great looking at the expressions on peoples faces when they look throught it. One page could be an illustration, the next a book cover and the next a logo. You never get bored going through the stuff in my portfolio it has to be said.

Part of my 'Death and Me' series.
I can really only show so much on here what I can do and graphic design is about. But to be honest you see it everywhere you look, be it an ad on TV, that packaging of your favourate crisps or fyers for your favourate band or recording artist.

My version of Penguin's "Short Short Stories" book cover.
My 'RW' typeface I designed.
I do recommend that if anyone is interesting in venturing into graphic design then go for it. There are times when you are pulling your hair out, but you have so much fun and can get so creative with it that that it is well worth some of the stress you go through.

Typography book design I did at uni.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Ideas Make Us Human

This is a drawing I did a couple of years ago. I do pretty much believe the title. I mean ideas lead to creativity, such as paintings, music, the bluiding of structures, technology, etc. None of that would of come about if no one had an idea to create them in the first place.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


Out of all the comissions I get, the one type that I seem to get more then others is tattoo designs. I been doing them since I was at high school and got a nack for it now. Over the years I been asked to do tribal, roses, angels, crosses, words, animals and even the Playboy bunny (don't ask). I've developed quite the porfolio of designs over the years and it seems to grow on a weekly basis.
Blind as a Bat.


 I've never been into piercings or anything else you do to your body, but I've always loved tattoos. For me they symbolise what that individual is about, whether it be tribal designs showing a persons heritage or just an image of their favourate movie star. You do get some really bad ones, but most of the time you fine some truely amazing works of art. 
Venom: Meant to go on chest.

I find that you get really great pieces tattoos is because you are placing something on your body and it will be on there the rest of your life. If that's the case you want it to be perfect, so you (normally) think hard about what you want, where you want it and how much you're will to pay for it.

As of yet I haven't had one myself, but before this year is out I hopefully will have my first one started. Might even share the design I'm getting, designed it myself.

 Incidently these images are mine so no use without permission please, as it wouldn't end well.