Tag Archives: The Grey Earl

Picture Hooks – launch

Picture Hooks: Getting the Hang of Illustrating Children’s Picture Books.

I have been working on a series of illustrations for a children’s picture book idea, with the support and guidance of the amazing Debi Gliori. The launch was on Friday 30th October at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh and runs until the end of February.

The Picture Hooks programme, funded by Creative Scotland, provides an opportunity for emerging Scottish illustrators to develop their practice under the guidance of established professional illustrators.

Here’s a few snaps from the night (photography courtesy of Picture Hooks):

Looking surprised with the Picture Hook’s mentees: Tracey, Catherine, me, Maisie and Hannah

Debi and me having a blether

The exhibition is located in the IT Gallery of the Scottish National Gallery (Princes Street Gardens entrance) until the 26th of February 2016. If you get a chance to visit, it would be great to get your thoughts on the whole show. There’s some amazing and diverse work featured and I feel really honoured to have been given the opportunity to show my work alongside such a great troop of illustrators.

Huge thanks to the whole Picture Hooks team, the staff at The National Gallery and Debi Gliori for her amazing guidance.

Museum Mouse

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Museum mouse has been scampering about for a couple of months now, so I’m a little late in the day with this blog post. However I thought it might be a nice opportunity to share some of the prep work that went into mouses development.

This was a great project to work on for Glasgow Museums, and I was chuffed to get the gig, with mice popping up in other creative projects Grandad and Me this year too (more on that in the next post).

This mouse however, features in the ’25 Things To Do In Glasgow Museums Before You’re 5′ booklet and can be picked up from any of Glasgow’s museums. Here’s a bit of blurb from the Evening Times explaining it a little more….

The booklet follows a furry friend, Museum Mouse, around Glasgow’s nine museums.

As he goes, he suggests fun things to see and do in each free museum.

Children have been set a challenge – can they visit all nine museums, and complete the things listed, before they turn five?

Chairman of Glasgow Life, Archie Graham, said: “Visitors continue to flock to all nine Glasgow Museums, with over 3 million attendances recorded last year alone.

“A huge number of these are by families with small children.

“When you look at the incredible objects on display it is easy to see how with a little imagination and explanation the city’s museums can open up a whole new world to even the youngest of visitors.

“I know that if parents can spare a little time to help them enjoy the many adventures detailed in this new booklet, they could give their child a lifelong love of exploring, investigating and enjoying arts and culture.

“And I think that is a truly wonderful gift to give the next generation.”

Youngsters are encouraged to go on a dragon hunt at the Burrell, visit the peephole in GoMA inspired by the inside of a whale or dress up as characters from Sleeping Beauty at Kelvingrove Museum.

What’s not to love?

Here’s some of the prep work that went into finding the right mouse….

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….and here’s a wee snap from the Daily Record, featuring Cameron, Molly and Eva, all taking part in the challenge.

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and here’s one of the drawings of our mouse, doing a bit of exploration of his own.

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For those interested, here’s a little more information on how to get your under 5 year olds started:

The booklets are available from any one of our nine venues and are free of charge. Just ask for one at the Enquiries Desk during your visit. Once your child has completed the activities for that venue, head back to the Enquiries Desk to get a sticker to put in your booklet.

Why not take on our challenge and try to visit all nine museums and complete ​the 25 activities listed?
Once you have finished all 25 things, download the certificate from the link at the side.

Links:

http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/about-glasgow-museums/Pages/25-Things.aspx

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/13306405.25_Things_To_Do_in_Glasgow____before_you_turn_FIVE/

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/forget-things-before-you-die-5559482

Red Door Gallery – Window display

It’s been an interesting week or two at Grey Earl Towers (affectionate name for my 2nd floor workroom). I am delighted to report that Red Door Gallery, (superb little shop/exhibition space in Edinburgh) asked me a little while ago to make up a window display to promote my new range of cards/prints, Stars are Braw. Excitedly, I jumped at the chance and so decided to try something a little different to add to the display.

Needless to say I’ve been going craft daft, revisiting old school papier mache  techniques and making more stuff out of bog rolls than a whole Blue Peter team could muster. I thought I’d keep a little log of the building process, incase I ever wanted to start the toilet roll toy building empire. First up, the old boy, DV.

And here’s a couple of snaps of the illustrated wares that old D pants here will be featured on, in the window display and to purchase in store.

And here’s the rest of the motley crew in all their toilet roll glory….

The very talented Helen Gallogly (the better half) offered her costume making services and gave little Darth his very own cape too! Delighted with the results, cheers pet.

You’ll be able to check these little chaps out on Monday 4th May, (May the Fourth…..) near the Grassmarket at Red Door Gallery on Victoria Street, Edinburgh. I’ll be in the window, painting and sticking and hanging, do pop by for a looksy and a blether.

Thanks to Red Door for the opportunity, looking forward to seeing how it all comes together.

new year, new pencils

And so dusk settles in and the sun dips down on another year and I bravely set my alarm clock for the coming dawn. Well it’s already arrived actually, I should have written that a whole blinkin four days ago, but you see what I’m getting at….

2014 was a rather splendid year in a lot of ways and like everyone else, it was also a year of some pretty stinky downers. Thats the way this whole life system thingy works though isn’t it, the ebbs and flow, the tips, dips and doons, the peaks and troughs, the bottom and the…..I’ll stop there. Rather than focus on the bleak, black moments (or possibly even the ‘grey’ hue that I’m accustomed to), I shall shed a little info on the multicoloured rainbow moments of my 2014…..I can hear the bloggers yawning already.

Don’t worry though, I’m going to do it in trusty heartfelt bullet point format to keep it snappy….

  1. Co-created and performed in ‘Grandad and Me’, my first outing into children’s theatre
  2. Toured Scotland, (in a musical performance capacity, not just a self funded megabus excursion) and visited some delightful new places, the Isle of Eigg being one.
  3. Moved in to a super flat with the better half and bought all manner of grown up things, like my first roasting tin and potato masher.
  4. Extended the Grey Earl product range and invested in 1000 mugs (If it doesn’t work out, then I’ll never have to worry about finding a clean vessel for a brew again)
  5. Applied and got picked to be part of the Picture Hooks project for 2015 (more on this soon….I’m quite excited!
  6. Created a new set of cards (Party Animals) and learnt how to ‘animate’ (sort of/not really) in After Effects…..Watch the ‘animations’ here.

All in all, a very productive and creative year and somehow I managed to get through it all with paying all my bills and rent! Showaddywaddy wow wow.

To anyone who helped me out or supported the creative cause, investing in any of my work or just lending me a pencil sharpener in a time of need, I thank you. From the bottom of my little, pumping, ventrical laden heart, I thank you. I feel very blessed to be working creatively, enjoying it and able to make an honest crust.

And so onto 2015, what surprises will it have in store? what new drawings will I create? and which kitchen appliance will I next purchase in my attempts to be a proper, real life grown up….I’m hoping it’s going to be either an egg slicer or a toast rack.

Here’s a cheeky preview of a new set of cards and prints I’ll be launching in the very near future…..

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The range is called ‘Stars are Braw’ (for legal purposes), and is a celebration of all things geeky and science fictiony….All chucked in the mix with a bit of my homegrown version of the Scottish dialect (sorry to anyone native to the fair country).

All the best for your 2015’s, may they be creative in all sorts of ways and filled with more peaks and tips and good bits than those troughs and dips and not so pleasant (but equally inevitable) segments.

Thanks for the support,

Jon

 

 

Red Shoes

For those of you who are signed up to Tramways info in Glasgow, you may have seen some visuals not too disimilar to this recently. My good friend Judey (two shoes) Williams is putting on the Tramways first ever winter show and I got the gig of designing the promotional material for it, whoopy!!! This is the illustration that I provided…..

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…..and down here is the first drawing, to give you an idea of the loose, sketchy way I work when putting ideas together. 

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The final render of the image is going to be a digital version, which you can see here but I’m hoping that the hand drawn aesthetic will appear in some context during the run of the show starting at the very end of November.

It will undoubtably be a beautiful show so I encourage you all, young, old and anywhere in between to get yourselves a ticket and head along.

Click this link to get booked in! 

http://www.tramway.org/events/Pages/Red-Shoes.aspx

been a while

Hello there, I’m sorry it’s been so long, I did write something specifically for you, a little while ago, but the dog ate it. Fear not, I found that dog and using a multi pack of pedigree chum and a feather duster, managed to retain the chewed, half digested article. Thank the Lordy, I hear you say!

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….and so, to you, the reader, I bestow these words, rescued from his slobbery chummy chops.

‘I’ve been meaning to write a little post for a while now as a lot has been happening. Time for such musings seems a little hard to find these days, but that is no bad thing, and so I am grabbing the opportune moment just now, on a train to Edinburgh, to write some things down and hopefully catch up with myself….and you, how are you old bean!? How rude of me not to ask first! Please forgive me. You’re looking very well……I’ll continue,

Where to begin…..Let’s start with the biggy, myself and good friends, dear pals and creative comrades, Miss Judith Williams, Miss Ruth Janssen and Mr Andy McGeoch have successfully been granted support from Creative Scotland to create ‘Grandad and Me’ (That’s a lot of creating!). For those of you who have no clue as to what Grandad and Me indeed is, where have you been! You should probably click here, like the page and find out more right away!

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In brief, it is a piece of children’s theatre, which will be unleashing on the weans in 2014. We’re totally over the moon and it has signalled a new direction in my work on several levels.

Things are shifting and I’m making some good breakthroughs in terms of my creative output and my productivity with regards The Grey Earl in a business sense (I made an excel sheet with digits and names and prices and everything and even saved it into a shiny, organised, colour-coded folder on a thing called a hard drive!).

Some new shops have come onboard the Batboy train and I’m chuff chuffed (see what I did there?) that he’s now being sold as far South as tropical Exeter (Good Golly Miss Molly) and as far north as Inverness (Ginger Pickle).

I’ve been working on a new Christmas range of giftcards featuring mr batboy, which I’m happy to announce, is now on sale through Made From Scotland, another joint venture. Some of you may be a little disappointed to hear that the new range does not contain the full frontal nudity of Santa, back in the first batch in 2012, but there are some rather tasty Christmas puns still, as well as a couple of new characters for Batboy to deal with.

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I’m having a big reshuffle at the moment, my creative time ‘working’ has needed a little bit more of a focus and I’m trying to find the right balance with it all. In the past (i.e. as recent as yesterday!) I have felt that my endeavours are all being kept up in the air in a sort of juggling motion, and although I do own three juggling balls, I am pretty rubbish at said activity. Life outwith of drawing has also needed a little attention and I feel that I am taking some good steps forward in dealing with a few ways of thinking which haven’t always served me well in the past. Don’t worry folks, nothing too drastic, but glad to be asking questions and finding some resolution or clarity on them. I’d give it a week and I reckon I’ll be levitating from enlightenment….might be a cheaper means of travel n’awl, the no.6 bus is getting a touch pricey and the seats can be awfy grubby.

The last few months there has been a flurry of activity musically, which I have enjoyed and feel very grateful for. I played a set recently at my favourite venue in Glasgow, The Glad Café (mon the soof!). It was a real treat, with Cat Calton helping me out on strings; and thankfully the nerves which once existed are now proving to be more manageable. I am finding ways of settling on stage and realising that there is a process for me to follow which helps. Breathing and not drinking four pints of high percentage beer before I play are two of those steps.

Ere’s a wee foty of me adopting my usual hunched over and stare at the floor routine and miss Calton, playing at a living room gig with Sofar, twas right nice.

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I’m hoping to record some new songs with Andy McGeoch from The Letter J, which I’m excited about and will broadcast those soon as they’re done.

Lot’s of posts to come from all the visuals I’ve been knocking up for various projects, so I’ll stop waffling and get the illustration gorge fest on the go….get yer forks n’ knives ready, there’s a whopper load on the way!

Lots of love to you, you lovely thing you,

From the electronic writing keypad device of,

The Grey Earl

Grandma and her wee dug

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Hello there, been a bit on the quiet side the last few months, sorry about that….but I’m back with a few new doodles to show. First up is Granny! This is a bit of concept work for a children’s picture book story that I am hoping to develop over the summer. It’s been great to start thinking about new characters and stories and I have a little idea that is shaping up nicely. I’ll put a bit more info up about it all soon, so keep an eye (or both) on those social media thingymabobbys. 

 

Introducing….Derek!

This is Derek. I first drew up this little chap about five years ago whilst living in Melbourne. I’ve decided to revisit some of my older creations and work them up into some new illustrations and story ideas. I’m hoping in a month or two to have some work to show from all this, but for now heres an introduction to Derek and the idea!

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