This is a blast from the past. An ink and wash illustration commissioned by Commodore Format magazine in the early 1990s.
I illustrated many “Roger Frames buys Budjit Games” for the magazine involving the penny-pinching antics of Roger, who acted out his computer game role-play with disastrous consequences.
Working with Ollie Alderton, the art editor of Commodore Format, on Roger Frames has to be one of the most fun things I ever did.
Salisbury Plain (from memory), ink and watercolour
August Bank Holiday I spent some time playing with ink and watercolours in my sketchbook. Doodles really. Playing with the medium. Simply enjoying myself. But the first time for absolutely ages.
I had to take advantage of a clear desk space in my wife’s studio – well away from my tiny home office which is dominated by the computer.
Some of the resultant pieces I’ve scanned from the sketchbook and a couple are uploaded to Flickr.
Looking at the Flickr set of my artworks I was struck by two pieces that I created with a computer art application (ArtRage). It’s a clever piece of software, similar to Painter but cheaper.
Midnight in Badalamenti, created in ArtRage
But those ArtRage pieces have no soul. Nothing feeds back to me from them. They are empty images. If only ‘Midnight in Badalamenti’ existed as a real acrylic or oil painting! It’s just an jpeg image in a world flooded with jpegs. There isn’t a real version I can hold.
I feel the same way about a lot of the work that I’ve done since the mid 90s using Adobe Illustrator. At first I used inked line work that I scanned and converted to vector. Pressures of lower and lower fees meant short-cutting this stage by using ‘brushes’ built into the software.
Nothing comes close to real ink, paint, colour on real paper, board, canvas.
I must find more time away from the computer. Computers have provided me with employment for the past 15 years but are now stopping me doing the very thing that gives me most enjoyment and creative nourishment.
Last night I spent a couple of nostalgic hours scanning in old transparencies taken in the 60s in Liverpool. That’s where (and when) I spent my student days at the College of Art, studying Pre-Diploma (now called Foundation) and Diploma in Art & Design [Graphic Design].
My group tutor in my first year was the late Adrian Henri, artist and Liverpool poet*. Adjusting to life at art college with Adrian Henri was a major shock to the system after A level art in the sixth form of a Grammar School but it was fabulous to have been there at that time.
The photo of Adrian Henri (above) was taken a couple years later in April 1967 during a student collaborative film/audio/visual project. I wish I’d taken lots more. Seen from this distance it’s as precious as gold.
‘Death in the Suburbs’, Adrian Henri (audio)
* Poet Roger McGough was my ‘Liberal Studies’ tutor in that first year at the college: his classes sometimes involved improvised plays based on newspaper headlines. It was ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ 40 years ago.