recently read Nina Simone's Gum by Warren Ellis. I enjoyed it profoundly. Like the best books, it told me as many things about myself as it told of the teller and the tale. As I learnt about Warren and his journey with the chewed gum he rescued from Nina Simone's post-concert piano, it provoked me to think deeply about all sorts of past experiences, people and feelings. 

I felt my life-long internal conflict between collecting and possessional anti-sentimentality, that not rages but peters perpetually, stoked.

My daughter is a born collector. Of everything, every scrap of nothing. I love it. This book made me realise that the value is never the object, it's in it being chosen by her. The intangible emotions now stored in an unremarkable pebble that can only really be unlocked and felt by me. The pebble, the scrap, becomes a conduit for the emotional bond between us. And this, of course, is how Nina's gum works, too.
The book also seemed to validate a lifetime of following the shadows of serendipity, of trusting whims enough to be guided by them. Of seeing the connections in our lives, with other people and the things we use and create. And the beauty of these connections and how items, collaboration and individual expertise and knowledge combine with imagination to foster bonds and increase the emotional, even spiritual, resonance in all directions.
I don't hold many, if any, in higher regard to Nina Simone and her work, but although I knew some of Warren Ellis' work with Nick Cave, this book led me to listen to his band The Dirty Three. I'm now immersed in their LP Horse Stories, and it somehow feels right that I've only just found these songs, despite the album being over twenty years old. And so here is sketch of Warren Ellis. I wanted his hands to somehow be prominent. They felt important in the story, of the gum and also his life. Read the book and consider what is precious and why.



Logo design is for me very occasional work, but I thought I'd share a few examples in one place.
I love simple, minimal logos, although some of the above examples don't adhere to this because obviously the client has wanted a more detailed image. This can be a challenge but satisfying when the little elements fit together in a pleasing way. I think an illustrated logo can add an extra little bit of individuality and friendliness compared to more slick, corporate, vector-style logos (that are best left to a graphic designer), especially with the hand drawn imperfections. 



I recently produced this website header for the furniture shop Orange Otter, for whom I also did the logo some time ago.

They do lots of amazing work on reclaimed furniture, using lots of bold colours, geometric shapes and retro patterns. Just my cup of tea. 

Saved from the scrapyard before being given a whole new lease of life, the cinema seats they refurbish are a marvel. Orange Otter make them ship-shape, comfortable and looking sharp and swish in a range of colourful patterned fabrics. Well worth looking into if you have some space, they really finish off a home cinema.  

The reason I'm sharing this here, is that you can now buy some of my prints in their shop.  So when you're having a little look around their shop, make you check out the art section.


My daughter finally started school last week, leaving me to draw all alone. Since the start of lockdown life pretty much all my drawing - well, everything - has been done with Echo and I'll miss this a lot.

Drawing urgently, often to her precise instruction and added 'advice', sometimes with odd materials (wax crayons, cheap brushes and poster paint), all at the same time as dealing with the usual random demands of a three year old, was surprisingly liberating. 

She is better at picking a subject to draw and just going for it. Often we would draw the same thing, like the portrait/self-portrait above, but her pictures are always more joyful and fun. 

Picasso once said he spent a lifetime trying to draw like a child, and I know what he meant; it is impossible to capture that purity that just flows from their pencil. It isn't just innocence or naivety, I think it's more that thoughts of who will view the picture, it's purpose or final destination, are absent, as is any pre-conceived idea of how it should look. Drawing just for the hell of it. 

I learnt quite a bit from these sessions so I'm planning on reviving my stagnant Instagram with our drawings. To chart Echo's development and as a reminder for me to continue this re-discovered habit of quick doodles, without worrying about the quality, maintaining the spirit of Echo and drawing purely for it's own sake.