17 September 2015

The Cockney Sparrow of London-town!...

Cor blimey me ol' china! It's only the Cockney Sparrow of London-town!

"Cockney is an area in London where criminals live." - Alan Partridge

To the unaware and for those who have never seen Dick Van Dykes hilariously awful imitation in Mary Poppins, a cockney is a true londoner born within hearing of the bow bells and a sparrow was a term used for a street urchin. So a 'cockney sparrow' is a somewhat under-nourished east london lad who's prone to bouts of cheeky banter.

This print is a nod to where I grew up in the east-end of London, Hackney to be precise. A town once full of markets, quality boozers, and jellied eels, and now... Well to be fair it still has all of that just with an infestation of bearded ****s. The inspiration comes from engravings and decorative hand-letttering found on Victorian newspapers, as well as early photos of London from a time when the tallest landmark on the skyline was St. Pauls (strangely the first time I have ever drawn the cathedral!), how times have changed... 

Prints will go on sale later today from my Etsy shop :)

14 June 2015

Stag Beetles - online for sale in a couple of days!...

So the time has come, I have finished the Stag Beetles project I have been working on. This has been the most ambitious project that I have worked on since I started screenprinting. For a long time I was unsure as to what form this project was going to take it was just a fun excuse to draw some beetles in my spare time. But eventually I had to decide upon whether it would be a small collection of postcards, one big poster or something else. I knew I wanted to do a hand-lettered centrepiece but as I lack the huge setup needed to print posters I decided upon a triptych, a format that Japanese print makers have been using for centuries because of similar constraints. It has been a lot of work, three individual prints of two colours with the centre piece containing an additional copper metallic that had to be printed twice to get the colour as rich as I wanted it, but worth every hour as it was huge fun and a continual learning curve! Here are a few shots of the details of the prints, the finished prints will be available for sale Wednesday morning, Cheers!

7 June 2015

'Puffin Tobacco' Final Print...

'Auk'ward Moment? Keep on Puffin!

So here it is, the Puffin Tobacco poster that I have been working on. It was a great project and I learnt a lot in doing it too, plus it contains the strangest sentences that I have ever had to hand-letter.

Thanks to everyone who's 'liked', shared or had something nice to say, it means a lot to me and really helps! The link to my shop is here. there may be some prints left depending on when you're reading this...



25 January 2015

Stag Beetles...

Here's a little update; I have been working on a poster recently, or a collection/series of smaller works (|I haven't really decided yet!) on the subject of stag beetles. On one of my recent trips to Japan I came across a local museum that had cases and cases of them all neatly pinned and at first almost identical to one another until you looked more carefully. I've always thought these insects are so cool - built like armoured tanks moving in a slow robotic fashion, their 'antlers' make them so iconic, plus they can fly!

Since then I have been drawing as many as physically possible so I can arrange them into a poster combined with some bespoke lettering and maybe my first try using metallic screen inks, shaping up to being a challenging project. I'll post some more wip shots when I've got more to show, or maybe once I have added my secondary colour. I fear I may have bitten off more than I can chew however as the variety in the species is huge and with the number drawn already approaching 40 I'm wondering if my screens will be large enough!

Anyway I had better get back to it, although I fear my hands may have fallen off...

10 January 2015

Puffin Tobacco - work in progress...

So what have I been working on recently? Well for quite some time I have been interested in Victorian ephemera as a source of inspiration; whether it's side-column adverts promoting strange back-ache cures and hair follicle tonics etc, with their now humorous slogans from a distant and out-dated past or super detailed bank-note style engravings on certificates or beautiful hand lettered poster art (check out the sanborn maps if you haven't already! They're amazing but have been unashamedly plagiarised by hand lettering artists recently).

 All of these aspects have had their influence on my work in the last few years. However, this week I stumbled across a book of Victorian and early Edwardian cigar advertising that was ripe for parody and so I gave it a little thought and here's the result:

It's just a preliminary sketch at the moment but I plan to put in lots of lovely details and I cannot wait to get inking! I've been looking forward for a chance to draw a puffin, they are one of my favourite birds; distinctive features, a striking colour scheme and buckets of anthropomorphic character. My plan is to do this as a single colour screen print in a deep navy blue and try my best to resist the temptation of secondary colours and metallics! I'll post some more progress shots when I have actually put pen to paper in the mean time cheers for all the 'likes' and support...

2 January 2015

ETSY shop now ONLINE!!

Just to let you know my Etsy shop is now online, from which I will be selling all of my new illustration prints! Now I guess I'd better hurry back to the drawing board to fill the shop with work! www.etsy.com/uk/shop/tobyatkins