As you can probably guess, I am a big fan of Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth. So it comes as no surprise that this has strongly influenced a lot of my work. As well as illustrations of the characters I've drawn in the past, I've also started a collage series reflecting some of the darker acts of the play. This first one represents the ghost of Banquo returning for the feast, as Macbeth toasts his health. For those that don't know the play, I suggest you go read it! But just as a quick overview (*Spoilers!) Banquo is Macbeth's best friend, whom he has murdered.
A few of my favourite points of reference in the piece are the three sketched profiles of women, representing the presence of the three weird sisters, the multitude of dogs scattered around which are of course 'man's best friend' and very loyal creatures, and the stag below the doe, which shows Macbeth's place in his marriage.
There's a lot of other symbolism dotted around, but I'll let you make your own minds up about those...
This month the North Vancouver Community Arts Council has a great exhibit opening called "Homesick" and will be featuring my collage work in their lineup. It's a great topic, with a wide range of art styles and creative minds showing some of their most inner feelings and emotions.
For me the concept of home has changed so much over the last 10 years, and I've traveled a long, winding journey in deeper understanding and appreciating what it is to feel that yearning. I think it's going to be an amazing showcase of truly emotional and vulnerable pieces, well worth a trip over the water to check out.
For more info, click here to be directed to their website, or if you don't know your way around North Vancouver click here for a map to the gallery.
As far as writing projects go, I've been a bit preoccupied lately. I have been trying to encourage myself to work on a specific story that has been around 15 years in the making - in my opinion, way too long. But for some reason it's just not flowing as well as some other tales that have really snapped my attention. Like a cat to a laser pointer, I have been drawn away to the bright lure of intrigue and fun...
I still remain hopeful that all the stories and such rattling around in my head will see daylight eventually, but for now I'm stuck on the one main theme, which is ghosts, ghoulies and all things macarbe.
This week - Her Darkest Deed
As you'll remember from my last #writingfriday post, I've been working on some material for a little collection of online comics I want to create. Right now I'm fleshing out the pages for a short story called "Her Darkest Deed" - about hauntings, guilt, and a rotten apple on the family tree...
I don't want to give too much away before I post the final piece, but I have gotten about ten pages into the rough sketches. For me sticking with any one project for that amount of time is pretty special, so I figured I'd celebrate by sharing a few sneak peeks.
This story was inspired by an urban legend I heard surrounding the Lady Bangor, and the mysterious disappearance of Audley's Town in Northern Ireland.
Lady Harriet Bangor, widowed with six children, lived in the stately home of Castleward overlooking the town. When she remarried, the legend goes that she and her new husband were stern and ruthless landlords. 250 people lived beside Castleward in the town; 25 families living in poor and dismal conditions. Not the best neighbours for a fancy Lady with a new husband.
One night, all the villagers were suddenly and mysteriously put on a ship to America called 'The Rose'. The reason for such a mass exodus of an entire population? Well, the legend goes that once they were evicted, the Lady had all the homes torn down because it was effecting the quality of her view.
Unfortunately, there is no record of such a ship ever leaving the port, or arriving at its destination. Was the name of the boat changed? Did it head to another part of the world? It seems that no one knows. Which leaves a lot of room for speculation, and plots of selfish scheming, evil deeds, and despicable landscaping...
These are just a few pages from the rough plotting stage, so they're not going to make a lot of sense right now. But I'm pleased with the progress, and excited to share the journey so far. Plus it's good to spread a little intrigue, get a bit of buzz before I launch the first finished page.
So stick around, follow the growth, and hopefully soon get to enjoy the full story, in all its creepy, ghostly glory! And don't forget to sign up to the newsletter to get all the updates straight to your inbox.
If there was ever a top prize awarded for guilty pleasures, I would have to award mine to making lists. Although dipping Rolos in sea salt and listening to Sean Paul both come close, when it comes to making lists, there is nothing better. I. LOVE. Lists.
I think we all have that love inside of us – there’s a fascination and allure to list making that has created something of an art form. In fact, there are books that we can purchase that help us create the perfect list; the Listography series by Lisa Nola is a great example of this. We can also read lists made by others, like in Shaun Usher’s ‘Lists of Note’ – a collection of 125 lists spanning from Ancient Egypt to F. Scott Fitzgerald.
We create lists for everything; things to do, possessions we own, schedules to keep, life goals to achieve, instructions to follow, recipes to make… the list of lists goes on!
But why do we love them so? What is it about making a list that is not only helps us to remember and achieve our goals, but also makes us feel more at peace, more secure, and better able to achieve?
The illusion of order in chaos
When I write a list it’s mainly because my memory is awful, and I need a helping hand keeping all my thoughts at the forefront of my mind. It’s a mess in there, cluttered up with tasks for the day, funny things I saw on the internet, groceries to pick up, projects to get started, new ideas, old ideas, things to tell my Mum etc etc. Chaotic.
By creating a list, we are essentially emptying all of that out, and clearing our mind of the chaos and noise so that we can think more clearly, and calm a storm of thousands of thoughts rushing through our heads. Yes it helps us remember, but that sense of calm and release of stress when we write things down comes from our brains not feeling the pressure to hold so many things right there and then. Instead of wasting brain power trying to keep these thoughts somewhere we’ll remember them, a list helps us to take that stress off our minds, and helps to work through the thoughts and questions we have.
Categorize and focus
So now our minds are quieter thanks to our handy scrap of paper we poured our brain onto. But if you have a lot of wild and crazy thoughts, or a lot to do in a day, it can seem overwhelming to have a till receipt of things to accomplish as long as your arm sitting on the desk.
By writing tasks down, we can hand select the most important things to do first, prioritize what we need to get done, and achieve our goals more efficiently, and with less stress. It also helps us break down bigger, scarier tasks into bite-size, manageable chunks that are more likely to get done. For example, you can write “destroy vampires” to get it out of your head. Then, when you break that down, you have a selection of more manageable tasks that don’t seem quite so daunting, and you can tick them off one at a time – “whittle steaks” / “patrol graveyard” / “engage in combat.”
If you’ve got a long list of things you want to do or goals you want to achieve in your head, then that’s usually where they stay. They get lost in the mix and never really turn into action. Putting a name to a thing makes it easier for us to process, and less likely to block it out – you know that annoying feeling when you’re sick, but you don’t know what’s wrong? Then the doctor says “it’s strep throat” and you say “I’m relieved I know what it is now!” – same thing.
Combat avoidance by having it written there in front of you, so you can’t shy away. Whatever the task, it stops being a dream, or a thought, and becomes an actual event to tick off. This reminds me of an awesome Zen Pencils comic that really rang true with me. Make some time to read it, and their other work!
See it, do it, achieve it
Writing a list of things to do around the house, goals in life, people to call, anything at all, gives us a visual target that we can see and adhere to. There is someone there in paper form to hold us accountable for our actions or inaction, and make sure we are aware of the things that aren’t getting completed or achieved.
Pete always tells me to do 3 things a day. My lists are endless, and sometimes I look at them and despair. Because even if I tick off 7 things, if the list is 10 things long, I feel like I’ve failed. This is not true. Achieving even one cross-off on a list means you’re heading in the right direction. If you set a sensible and easily manageable goal for the day – 3 things will be ticked off the list – not only will you feel great to accomplish your goal, but anything after that is extra credit.
More than a feeling
What a rush it is to grab that marker and pull a thick, heavy line through a completed task! I don’t know what it feels like to give birth to a child, or win an Olympic medal, but I gotta tell you, I think crossing off something on your to-do list comes pretty close.
The cross-off is our reward. It’s visible proof that we have accomplished something we set out to do, and that feels amazing. Even the little things feel good, because combining pleasure and duty makes us want to work more, because we feel good when we visibly achieve.
If you’re new to the power of lists, and have so far only used them to remember to get milk, bread and three tins of tuna, here are a few things to help you get started on loving the world of listing –
Make time for your lists, and as you get into the swing of it you'll be able to see just how much more you can get done, and how good if feels to do it.
A while ago back in the summer, my Ripper Street illustration got quite a bit of attention on Twitter. A lot of people asked me for a similar picture of all the ladies, including the actresses that played them. As gleefully exciting as that was, unfortunately deadlines and business have kept my hands exceptionally busy - until now!
I present to you, the ladies of Ripper Street; Rose Erskine, Long Susan, and Jane Cobden...
****Now available to buy in the shop! Click here to get yours!****
Once again, the new year seems to have crept up on me without warning. It seems the older I get, the easier it is for time to slip by unnoticed, until one day I turn around mid-sip into my morning brew and BAM! There it is. Three years have gone by and I didn't even see... Ok, three years is quite the exaggeration, but you get my point.
I read a small quote by someone recently, I don't even know who said it originally, but it really blew me away - "How we live each day is how we live our lives". What an outstanding thought. That those days we let quietly slip by while we wait for something better is actually what life is made of. And as we all pull our purse strings a little tighter, it got me thinking about what it really costs when we spend our time.
I've been an over-subscriber of the "one day" school of thought for most of my life. One day, things will be clearer. One day, all of my dreams will come true. One day, Chris Evans is gonna sit on the bar stool right next to mine... But in the meantime, here I am sat around waiting for one day to get here, letting day after perfectly good day slip right by without a second thought. Until I just happen to look behind me and see a great pile of them stacked up high like expired tickets. That's all spent my friend, no returns and no store credit. And you have to ask yourself, with all this spending, what is it I actually got in return?
I went through all my old family photos this Christmas, as I unexpectedly found myself back in the UK for the holidays. It seems an odd and very human process to capture moments of life, then move swiftly on and forget how cherished they are until they find themselves out of the bottom drawer and spread all over the living room. Even more so these days, where capturing a moment seems to have gone so far that you miss the moment entirely. Capturing and preserving seems so significant, yet in the process the moment is never enjoyed, and so did it ever even exist? Yes I'm looking at you, guy with his iPhone up and at 'em for the entire concert...
One of the first things I did this new year was spend time at my Grandad's hospital bedside. I lamented all the time I had frivolously spent, waiting for my "one day" to get here, trying to wait out that perceived rain cloud that was a bad time in my life. All those days I wished away because something better was just around the corner. The age old thought we all play with when we lose someone we love - 'what would I give to get that time back?' - The hard truth of it is you will never get it back. It's gone. You're gone. A version of yourself from a time and place that you'll never be again. And so we lament, and carry on with our flippant spending habits until the next time we actually stop to check our balance a few years down the line.
It's the thing we feel most poor of, and yet the thing we have in abundance. It seems a foolish thing to continually underestimate the true value of time well spent.
Now I've never really been one of these "seize the day" sorts, where every morning has to bring a new adventure, and if you're not planet-hopping or throwing yourself out of planes your not really living - Geez, it's exhausting to even think about. But this year I have discovered a new-found appreciation for the day to day. Because really, that's what makes up a life.
Getting to "one day" does take work. Those dreams I have, that life I want. It's there and it's waiting for me. Some days that means work. Hard work, and lots of it. Some days it means taking a chance or being brave, and some days it means darkly sobbing into a tall, fat glass with a foamy rim and cool, honey bubbles. There will even be days when I just stay still, and do nothing. Sit and watch the Captain America films. Again. Or wash the dishes, scrub under the toilet, rearrange the bookshelf, argue with the radio and so on and so forth...
Some will be big. Some will be quite small. But each and every day that passes is an opportunity for me to be the best version of myself, and revel in all the thousands of big and little things that make up my existence on this planet.
And maybe my "one day" is tomorrow. Maybe it's not. Maybe it'll never come. But I know for certain that no matter what it brings, each day in-between is worth it's weight in gold.
Happy New Year guys. Whatever you end up doing, make it count.
Photo credit: Andrew Montgomery, Michael Quinn, and Tim Marshall
I can't even remember the last time I posted an entry. I mean, I can always check the date and find out how long it's been, but I can't actually recall sitting and writing those words. I can't remember what mind set I was in, what I was feeling, what I was doing with my life. Isn't that awful? This, my business and my passion and I can't even remember the last time I invested in it.
I got trapped in a big mess of tangled ideas, thoughts, and negative energy around things, and truth be told I've been hiding. So scared that I might not be the best, that people might not like my work or that everything won't be perfect. It's frozen me with terror. The fear of rejection and of getting it wrong has led me to abandon what truly makes me happy. And that is the most ridiculous notion I think we as humans can come up with. To fear failure so much that we don't even try. So dumb.
After finally taking that last step and quitting my job to pursue my illustration, writing and art full time I thought to myself, "this is it!" I thought there would be this enormous spiritual fanfare where my soul was free and everything would just fall in to place. But of course that wasn't the case, this is not some montage in a Lifetime movie. The next day was just the same as the day before. Only I was unemployed. No fanfare, no universal clarity, nothing. Just another day.
And so I struggled internally, like we all do, with what I was doing with my life. Questioning my own happiness like I was conducting an interview for employment in my life - where are you coming from, happiness? Where do you see yourself in three years? What are your credentials, are you real? Are you worth it?
Have we all been in a situation like this where we put the struggle of finding happiness ahead of happiness itself? I think we have, and we try and fob it of as 'life.'
Thank the mother of Zeus I met the most incredible woman at a business networking meeting. Her name is Anne, and I have never been inspired by someone more. I'll let you read her blog here and discover for yourself how wonderful she is. For me, she finally made me be totally honest with myself, and taught me a thing or two about my blustering ego and the importance of self care.
She made me turn a corner. She made me realize things about myself that I had always known, right down in the dark depths of myself that my ego blocked me from exploring. She started a reaction within me to start moving those self-made blockades in the way of me becoming everything I ever wanted to. All it takes is giving yourself a chance. Something that I have to give credit to Pete also for saying to me maybe about 21,000 times, but it's so different when it's a partner, isn't it? Somehow, it doesn't count. Sorry Pete...
Meeting her and talking to her made me start to think about things differently. And try to stop listening to those negative voices in my head, that imaginary audience that constantly tells me I will fail. But what's so bad about failing? Better to try and fail, than to never try at all? I ask myself, where is this pressure coming from? This pressure every day when I arrive in my studio to perform, to be out there, to be a success, to work hard, to pave my own way and earn my keep - where is that coming from? Is there a mob of people with pitch forks and a copy of my bank statements outside my window?
No. It's coming from within. It's coming from me.
I am, as of right now, the last thing standing in my way of achieving great things. This fear of not impressing everyone on the planet with what I can create has a rope around my neck and its pulling me back. I'm pulling me back.
I realized that quitting my job wasn't the last step to being a full time artist - it was the first. There is a lot of work ahead. Hard work, long hours, and unconventional methods. And that's a hard enough journey in itself. I don't need the extra weight of self loathing, guilt, fear, and all the rest on my back like some demonic backpack.
So what can I do?
I just do. There are a thousand reasons and excuses why I shouldn't do this, why it might not be the best idea, why it might not work out, why I might fail. But strip all of that away and ask that simple question, away from money, away from reputation, away from success, other people's opinions, away from all of that noise!
Are you happy?
That 'yes' needs to be the loudest noise in my head right now, but even if it gets drowned out from time to time, I need to just crack on and do what I love to do. For me. And for my happiness, who it turns out is the best life candidate.
This sexy lady is going to be for sale as a print at the Car Free Day fair on Main Street Vancouver this month! If you can't wait until then, click here to head over to my Society6 page where you can get her as an art print, an iPhone cover or a pillow to cuddle up to...
So recently I've been drawing a lot of cute little foxes and wolves in some pretty classy outfits, after I received so many compliments for my vintage fox cards at christmas. I wanted to do some in a more modern style and attire, and in all honesty got completely addicted. They are freakin' adorable, and so much fun to draw that I find myself surrounded by the little buggers.
And for the longest time now I've wanted to draw something that reflected my love of those smoulderingly attractive avengers, but wasn't sure what the best way was to capture both them and my style. I mean there are thousands of illustrations of the avengers all over the place, and in classic seth style, I didn't want to be like the rest of them, darling.
That's when it hit me - somewhere between the foxes, the fashion, and the fabulous body of Chris Evans... wait, I got distracted there for a second... ah, yes. I decided it would be amazingly brilliant and fun to combine my love of the foxes and the love of the... well, foxes. Those sexy avengers were almost crying out to become fashionable and furry!
There are loads of cool little details in each one that relates to the character, which was one of my favourite parts of designing and drawing them - take a look and see if you can spot them, and when you fall in love with your favourite one head over to my Society6 page and get them on a mug!
I actually drew Black Widow twice, the first time I went a little too black and ended up with this freaky, kinky vampire looking thing, which didn't feel right. So once I get done with the boys I went back to her, and gave her a more casual outfit with a touch of blue and polkadot tights to tone down the black. I love that she has a spider-man shirt on, y'know, 'cos she's black widow... too cute.
With Hawkeye it's easy to get too arrow-heavy in his theme, so I just went for a simple shirt design, biker-look jacket and boots, and the Target bag as a (in my opinion) hilarious nod to his character.
More of a wolf really, but I didn't want to split hairs. This guy had to be super cool, and because of his mask I wanted to cover up his face a little, hence shades. I love his letterman jacket, with his colour scheme it seemed like the only sensible option. His arc reactor tshirt underneath, and converse all stars, obviously, because he's so hip and cool.
I wanted to steer clear of the classic american flag tshirt here and go for something more subtle - it would have been easy to put stars and stripes on everything he was wearing, like the 4th of July threw up on him... but that wouldn't have been very in keeping with his character, so I found this adorable shirt and paired it with big red stompers as a nod to his original design.
The newspaper was a happy accident too, I wanted them all to be doing everyday things, and it wasn't until I wrote the caption underneath that I realized how on point that was for Captain America...
The hulk is only one side of this character's personality, and as Bruce doesn't have a very iconic wardrobe, I thought this was the best way to combine the two - keeping it casual with his harem yoga pants and buddha beads, and yet intellectual with those slick bifocals.
Obviously Thor would be mega metal in his look, and the sleeveless tank was a good way to incorporate the cape into his outfit without, y'know, an actual cape. The tattoos were great fun, I put subtle references to his family, Loki, Viking culture and Jane in there, and then Mjölnir is there on his other arm too. For some reason I didn't like him with a tail, maybe it's not metal enough to have a tail.
So I've been wanting to create some fun social media icons for a while, I've noticed that a lot of the ones available are a little bland and samey. I appreciate that a lot of bloggers want to have nice, clean professional icons for their sites, but if you like my work and wanted to add something with a bit more character to your site I have just the thing for you.
If you're like me and love a good cup of tea in your special took-me-ages-to-find-the-right-one mug, then you'll love these icons. Inspired by that love, I give you the tea icons: six social media icons shaped like your favourite drinking receptacle.
Each mug follows the colour scheme of it's specified media channel, and has the first initial across the front too. As you can see by my own twitter and bloglovin' icons to the right, I love the flavour of something different, and something awesome that people visiting your site will remember. I want to spread some fun and interesting visuals as far as I can!
You can right click the images and hit 'save as' to save them to your computer or click here to download the whole set as a zipped file.
Please remember that these are all my own artwork, and are not allowed to be sold or claimed as yours. They're for personal use only. Share with your friends and don't forget to leave a comment with your URL if you use them.
If you really like them and want more or you'd like your own set of personalized icons, get in touch!