Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Best of 2010 - The Records

Here are some of my favourite albums of the year in no particular order.

Special Benny - 'Toys' (Proper Songs)

And a few great compilations too.

A few other notable mentions include Sufjan Steven's 'Age of Adz' which I really struggled with initially but it's growing on me of late and Deerhunter's 'Halcyon Digest' which isn't nearly as good as 'Microcastle/Weird Era' but has my favourite song of the year on - 'He Would Have Laughed' dedicated to the late Jay Reatard.

Not sure what the fuss is with Caribou's 'Swim' - everyone's wet-tipping it and it seems to be popping up in numerous best of 2010 lists but I think it's a big dancey turd - all the more disappointing seeing as I loved the previous two albums.

I'm still reeling from the passing of Don Glen Vliet aka Captain Beefheart a fortnight ago. My friend Hugh summed it up for me with this;

"The good Captain has left us.

Our ship of fools sails on though the void a little more sadly and a little more lost."

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

I made some Christmas cards this year using this odd acid casualty take on Santa Claus I drew but given the limited time frame I've given myself to get them posted chances are only my nearest and dearest will actually see them this side of Christmas.

With that in mind I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very pleasant festive period and a right good New Year!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Dr Alimantado's 'Best Dressed Chicken in Town' lp illustration

Another day, another fantastic album trashed by my rubbish drawing skills. 'Best Dressed Chicken' was famously name-checked by John Lydon and features the engineering contributions from the likes of Lee 'Scratch' Perry and King Tubby amongst others. Highlights include 'Poison Flour' and 'I Killed the Barber'. I have a dreadful hangover so words aren't coming very easily and reggae isn't really my strong point - sorry about that.

Friday, 17 December 2010

The Return of SkyJack

This is my latest submission for Threadless - it's about a woodsmen that goes by the name of SkyJack - he ferries animals around the forest on his magical floating beard. Votes, comments and positive vibes are all welcome - click here.

Monday, 13 December 2010

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Panda

I reworked a panda sketch I did last year making it a bit more polished in the process. Behold 'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Panda'. Over a month into my punishing and occasionally snowy London Marathon training schedule I feel his pain.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Beastie Boys 'Check Your Head' lp illustration

I have loved this record probably longer than any other record I've illustrated up to this point and it still sounds as fresh (FRESHHHHH-H-H-H-H) as it did to me as a teenager. I don't tend to get misty eyed about music too much - there's always something new coming out that has me champing at the bit (H Hawkline's 'A Cup of Salt' lp since you asked) but 'Check Your Head' has everything you could want as 15 year old boy or indeed a 33 year old boy - scuzzy low slung hip hop, two minute bursts of hardcore punk and blissfully wigged out instrumentals. To be honest I could've happily drawn 'Paul's Boutique' or 'Ill Communication' as well but I think 'Check Your Head' wins on account of it coming out when I was an easily led spotty sixteen year old with a skateboard and a stupid haircut. Cowabunga.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Rotary Connection 'Songs' lp illustration

I'm gathering some momentum with these lp covers now which is encouraging. This is my take on Rotary Connections 'Songs' lp beautifully produced and arranged by Charles Stepney which is pretty much all killer and no filler - 'Respect' is worth the admission price alone. The Cadet Concept label hit a rich vein of form towards the end of the sixties releasing superb albums by the likes of Rotary Connection, Archie Whitewater and Muddy Waters - dragging the blues man rather unhappily towards a more experimental psychedelic sound. He later said 'That Electric Mud record was dogshit. But when it came out, it started selling like wild, but then they started sending them back. They said, 'This can't be Muddy Waters with all this shit going on, all this wha-wha and fuzztone.'

It's a shame he only made one dogshit fuzz album if you ask me.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Dusty Fingers

This is an illustration I did inspired by many afternoons spent trawling through charity shops in the hunt for decent records. Unfortunately I can't grow a beard due to God smiting me in a past life (true story) but the shoes are pretty similar. It brings me great pleasure foraging through scattered piles of albums and singles in the hope of finding some vinyl goodness!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Captain Beefheart 'Clear Spot' lp illustration

Another week another cack-handed version of one of my favourite lps. Captain Beefheart's 'Clear Spot' is a much loved record not least for the stonking 'Big Eyed Beans from Venus'. Click on the image for a close up although I wouldn't recommend it - I'm trying to be a bit less precious about my illustration at the moment and it shows with this.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Printing 'The Absurd Balloon'

Tired of screen-printing at some Godforsaken rat-hole, paying over the odds to be bossed around by cliquey studio nazis, whilst sharing print-bed space with feckless posh kids who can't even draw?* Time to dry those eyes kids because you too can now print from the relative comfort** of your own home! Sing hosanna! You will have mini bites this Christmas and beyond!

What follows are some process photos from last week when I printed the second colour of 'The Absurd Balloon'. It went pretty well although I think I'm in need of a new screen. The print will probably be available at some point although interest from Threadless may mean it never sees the light of day - watch this space. I'm also going to put up an easy step-by-step guide to screen-printing from home as well because it's a bit of a doddle, very cheap to do and everyone should unleash they're creative beast now and again. Ben Javens still gets mad props*** for showing me the way.

* Any resemblance to any real print studios, either living or dead, is purely coincidental.
** It's cold and damp - Annie frequently comes in from work to find me sniffing my records suspiciously.
*** Not sure what these are exactly but he's welcome to all of mine.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

United States of America 'Self Titled' lp illustration

I really enjoyed doing the Gumnaam lp cover illustration a couple of weeks back so I've done a few more - I may do a series of prints of my favourite lps depending on whether my enthusiasm for the project wains or not. Here's my interpretation of the United States of America's self titled lp cover. It's a psychedelic masterpiece. The album that is - not my illustration obviously.

My only regret is making the beautiful Dorothy Moskowitz look like some kind of transgender alien.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

'Shark!' on Threadless

Another week, another regurgitated illustration slung up on Threadless for ridicule! Vote if you want - see if I care. I'm just trying to see how the whole process works so I'm not going to be street-teaming this at all. Click here to comment. It's a little too crass for my tastes in truth...

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Record Collecting Badgers?

Every year Very Good Plus does a colossal cd swap where sixty odd record collecting fiends pick their favourite finds of the year and compile them onto a cd. I've done it in the past but this year has been a quiet one for me in terms of vinyl mostly because I'm always totally fucking brassic. Rather than miss out on all the fun I offered to do the sleeve for another long-standing member of the board. His mixture of fuzz drenched psych is a bit tasty - I can't stop listening to Nat Stuckey's cover of 'Listen To The Band' - it was always a great song but I can't resist the added banjos and country twang.

Anyway here's the cover - click on the image for a better look. I'm thinking of beefing up the badger for a t-shirt at some point too.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Fisherman print

After a bit of procrastination on my part the 'My Home is the Sea' black and white fisherman screen print is up for sale. Initially I was going to sell all three from the original series in black and white but decided the octopus was too heavily inked and upon counting up my prints discovered I only had ten sharks. Oh well - the fisherman is my favourite anyway. Head over to my shop by clicking here to grab yourself one.

First ten orders get a free shark print!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

'Animal Pile On' on Threadless

After the relative success of 'The Absurd Balloon' on Threadless (I'm told 2.87 is a good score!) I thought I'd dust down my 'Animal Pile On' illustration, give it a make-over and release it to the hordes for their disapproval. Again I'd appreciate your support with good marks and comments and as before if you cut and paste your comments into this blog I'll be sure to send you a t-shirt if it gets picked.

Here's the link - thanks!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Rich Kelly

It's been a while since I posted up any prints on here by other artists but Chicago's Rich Kelly is absolutely killing it this year. To be honest I've grown a little tired of the poster scene - certainly the big name series like the Star Wars ones have left me a little jaded so it's refreshing to see an artist putting out such beautiful and refreshingly original screen-prints. I love the way he manages to capture the pencil work in his prints so well.

Anyway enough gushing - go buy his two new prints. I just did. Dr Dog and Bonnie Prince Billy tour posters - a snip at $25 a piece.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Illusionist

If you get a chance to see The Illusionist at the cinema I implore you to go - it's absolutely stunning featuring the most beautiful animation I have ever seen in a film. Edinburgh has never looked so good. Click here to watch the trailer.

Friday, 29 October 2010

'The Music One' zine in London and Glasgow shops

'The Music One' is now being stocked in the wonderful art and design shops Lik + Neon in East London (on Sclater Street just off Brick Lane) and Welcome Home in Glasgow (on Kieth Street) so go and grab a copy without fear of postal costs or indeed thieving rob dog posties nicking your zine. It's a well known fact posties love zines almost as much as they like to whistle tunelessly and at volume in the early hours of the morning.

I'm down to the last forty copies and won't be doing a second run anytime soon due to other commitments - not least beginning 'The Film One'. Any illustrators interested in contributing should email me at mr.naga@gmail.com.

Friday, 22 October 2010

'The Absurd Balloon' on Threadless

Following on from the fantastic response I've had to 'The Absurd Balloon' I've decided to submit it to Threadless to see if I can get it printed on a t-shirt. I'm more partial to a white t-shirt than a colour one but I've included a light blue option as well.

I really need some help getting it scored well so please take a minute to score it (preferably high!) and tick the 'Buy it' box too. Comments would also be appreciated - click here to be taken to the 'Absurd Balloon' Threadless page.

If you cut and paste your comments on Threadless about the design into this blog and it gets picked I'll send you a t-shirt when it gets printed!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

My Home is the Sea black and white prints

Following the huge success of the 'My Home is the Sea' print series I put out last year which sold out in 48 hours I've managed to do a small run of larger scale black and white screen-prints. I actually did these a while back but somehow forgot about them.

I initially did the fisherman, shark and octopus but I felt the octopus was a little ink heavy in black so I've decided to leave it out of this run. I also felt that it didn't quite sit as well in the series anyway. The prints measures 42cm x 42cm each and will be up for sale in the next couple of days. Send an email to mr.naga@gmail.com if you want to reserve a set - I think there's about 25 or so. More details to follow.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Illustration Friday - Transportation

This week I developed my 'Le Ballon Absurde' early sketches for the Illustration Friday topic of the week - transportation. Click on the image for a larger view.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Gumnaam Drawing

I love Bollywood records. Trouble is a lot of them tend to be battered to fuck so you really take your chances buying them on-line. Last year I bought the Gumnaam soundtrack for the stonking surf track 'Jaan Pehechaan Ho' as featured in Ghost World but it can go for a bit of money so I opted for a battered non-sleeved version. To remedy this I did my own cack-handed version of the cover to screen print - I'll probably have a few spare prints if anyone is interested.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Zine - Samandtheplants

Here is my final zine contribution in full colour for Samandtheplants featuring Sam's home-made musical contraption. It was a tough choice (as documented on this blog previously) but 'The Eft' is easily the best record to come out since Joanna Newsom's 'Ys'. Besides Pavement are difficult to draw and don't really need another blog frothing at the mouth over them.

If you haven't bought it yet there's still a few of the Vivian Stanshall run left so hurry. Henry St Ledger is the rad.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Wolf People

Woke up early to a bright and sunny day mercifully without a hangover in tow and readied myself for best man duties with a spot of Om and some colouring in. As you do.

Wolf People are about to drop their debut lp 'Steeple' which my spies tell me is a magnificent bastard of a record. They are also about to embark on a solo tour of the UK - click here for dates. About a year ago Jack asked me if I'd like to do a poster for them - one year later here it is. Professional to a fault. Ahem.