Bank Holiday and Magic Box

Had a lovely long weekend camping in Wales for the bank holiday. The goal was to hike up the Brecon Beacons and do the Beacons Circuit, but the weather was spectacularly harsh. My partner and I were well equipped, but by the time we got to Pen-y-Fan it was clear our pooch was having a horrible time in the strong winds and sideways rain. So we're getting her a nice rain coat and returning soon to try again.


And here's a bit of WIP art. I joined Chris Oatley's Magic Box a couple of months ago and am almost finished with the second assignment (take a classic portrait and change the subject into an animal - I'm basing mine off Jean Francois Kaufmann's The Toast ).

What to listen to while working

So after telling myself I was going to try and update this blog more often, at least once a week, I've gone and taken a month to sit down and do this. In my defence, the combination of Christmas & New Years and the start of a new bit of work which has needed a bit of commuting to London hasn't helped.
I'm going to try and do better, but I'm afraid it might just be doodles, sketches, and half finished studies for the next couple of months. (^_^;)

My recent travelling resulted in me burning through a lot of music and podcasts, and as someone who doesn't work well to music (I always fall into the trap of trying to find the right song), I thought it would be worth sharing podcasts I regularly play to fill the silence. 


Christ Oatley's Artcast 
There are a lot of art-based podcasts out there, but I generally prefer non-art subjects to listen to. However I always enjoy Chris's podcasts and there have been times when they've been a great help, either bringing up new ideas or providing comforting insight into how things work for other artists and that maybe you aren't doing it all wrong.

Level Up 
OK. Not a podcast, but a Youtube channel where some amazing artists discuss working practice and do paintovers to show technique. The episodes are little long, and they aren't something you can get the benefit of by playing them in the background, but if you're bored and want to watch something more useful than a tv sitcom, these are great.


Answer Me This
Podcast where people write in questions and these clever Londoners try and answer them. 

Complete Guide to Everything
New Yorkers Tim and Tom pick a topic and discuss it, usually in a very tangental fashion. It took me a couple of episodes to get into their humour, but once you do its great. 

Throwing Shade
Humour of the more irreverent, sometimes crude and vulgar, vein. 


This American Life
A gold standard for radio shows that's been running in the US since 1995.

Radio Lab
Similar to  TAL, but with a focus on science and philosophy. Also a bit more experimental in their approach to aduio production.

A new podcast under the NPR banner. Quite similar to TAL and Radio Lab

Stuff You Should Know
A weekly podcast that covers an immense list of topics, from how to start your own country, dreadlocks, and LEGOs.

Stuff You Missed In History Class
Similar in style to SYSN, but focused on events in history.


Writer and climber Chris Kalous gets some amazing climbers to sit down and talk with him about climbing (obviously), life, and overcoming obstacles of all kinds. 

Dirtbag Diaries
More in the style of This American Life, but with a focus on outdoor life.

True Crime

A 12 episode podcast that follows a reporter as she looks into a case from the early 2000s. It went viral late last year, but if you haven't had a chance to listen to it you should definitely check it out.

Sword & Scale
A smaller, independent podcast venture primarily covering cases of murder. Not your lighter fare podcast.

A fairly new podcast, with an NPR feel. Covers various forms of criminality such as hacking, con jobs, and the PMS murder defence.

Thinking Sideways
Three hosts cover a variety of mysteries, many related to crime. Can border on conspiracy theory territory, but the topics are always interesting.

Phew! That took longer than expected! I hope this list helps some of you pass the time while doodling away. 

Thanks for reading.

Office Party

Yesterday was the office Christmas party which, due to the fact I'm a freelancer working from home, mean the only attendees were myself and the dog. The upside was baking fresh food - nothing beats piping hot pigs in blankets. 

Christmas decorations, complete with a roaring fire.

Christmas decorations, complete with a roaring fire.

Somebody had too many mince pies...

Somebody had too many mince pies...


Nearly 2 months since the last update! Oops!

But I haven't been sitting on my hands, a lot's been getting done, quietly, behind the scenes.

I've joined a collaborative project with a good friend of mine and if you're a big fan of cycling I think it will really interest you. Check out Vicious Circles for some amazing cycling themed prints. There's a broad range of styles covering graphic design to illustration. And hopefully the range will soon expand to include some other sports.


And in my free time I've gotten to do a fair amount of travelling and climbing. At the beginning of August my best friend and I met up in Brussels and had a great weekend exploring the city, enjoying the great beer, beautiful architecture, and I was finally able to see Mannekin Pis which has been on my to-do list for years.

After returning from Brussels there was an unexpected trip back to America to see family in Texas and then Colorado. Every time I go back to CO I find myself wishing more and more than I lived there. You just can't beat that pine tree smell!

And over the August bank holiday had a beautiful camping and trad climbing trip in the Peak District. It was my first time climbing trad, but it was great fun and the local gritstone was such a nice change from the horrible, slippy limestone in the Gloucestershire area.