York River Art Market

41554401_291273618357660_7760193450678419456_nHello again!

It’s been a long summer, and I don’t think I’ve spent any of it on the beach (except for one lovely afternoon in Aldeburgh, on a detour to a fish-smoking hut). I’ve been working, moving house, and getting some serious art done. Among this serious art-ing was my first ever art market, the York River Art Market. This was a wonderful day spent in the sun (and a fair buffeting of that unique York wind), chatting to passersby about my monster prints and medieval mashup cards – all of which I took along to the riverside in an old cardboard suitcase.

The day was something of a success. For me, the challenge has always been getting my work to a standard where I feel comfortable showing it publicly. I viewed my stand, a makeshift affair of garden string and a little blue table, as my own outdoor gallery. As people passed by, they stopped and asked me about the prints – where had the ideas come from? what was the process behind making them? This feels like its own victory.

Almost a year of work went into getting those prints and cards ready. Coming up with the idea for a print series and making the drawings has only been half of it. This year, I’ve also had to learn how to digitally edit my work, how to present and market my work in a way that will stand out, and how to fight down that little voice telling me people are going to laugh at me for doing this. (Actually, some people did laugh, but, as all my art has a joke in it somewhere, I take this to be a very good sign.)

A year of work went into finally getting to the next step with my artwork, but it’s been four years since I started this blog. This blog was the first step: showing my art to the internet. If you scroll back through all these posts, you come to the first pen and ink drawings, done at a university desk and intended to amuse friends and family. What follows are the pages of sketchbooks, hauled across Europe throughout a year of travelling, and finally the medieval-inspired monsters I worked on alongside my MA.

Now, as I stare down the last week and a bit until I start a PhD in Medieval literature, I can’t wait to see where these “doodles” will go next. I have monster zines and graphic novels brewing in the back of my mind, illustrated field journals and thought journals to accompany my research. I’m morphing this blog, once again, to suit the way I am using drawing in my life: welcome to my illustrated journal. I can’t wait to share it with you.

 

Keep an eye out.

— Drake

 

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Medieval Monsters

Around this time last year I began an MA in Medieval Literatures. Safe to say it was an incredible year, and one of the best bits was an introduction into the weird and wonderful world of medieval marginalia.

I was fascinated by the thousands of illustrations enchanting the pages of the ancient books I was reading on my course, most of which made very little sense to my modern understanding. You might have come across the mystery of snails in medieval manuscripts. At some point the consensus of our great*-grandparents seems to have been that snails were evil critters who attacked knights and sometimes rabbits for no apparent reason. The British Library have a great blog about it and some conspiracy theories of their own.

Terminator snails are not the most fearsome monster to be found in the borders of medieval books. There are also contortionist dragons, fearsome rabbits, and yoga-practicing knights, among many others. All are beautifully drawn using rich pigments and illumination – where gold leaf is applied to the picture. The Book of Kells is a great example of the finest illumination. I couldn’t resist having a go at drawing some of the images I saw, as well as trying to interpret them from a modern point of view.

A year on, I have selected my favourites of my manuscript monsters. This is what happens when you take medieval art completely out of context.

Over and out,

Drake

Doodle 02.06.17

I have some concept art to show you, from a top secret project (not that top secret). These are the character sketches for a little book called The Academics, which will be taking shape over the next few months. Each of the characters is taken from the stock of medieval academia, and will feature in an adventure with fairies, ancient artefacts, and leaky ceilings. Take a look – let me know what you think!

— Drake

Sir Reenactor


Sir Beard


Sir Buff


Sir Cold


Sir Sleep and the Fairies

Doodle 28.94.17

Good morning, my chums!

Today’s doodle is a little bit horrifying. If you have been following my posts for a while, you’ll know that I am a little bit fascinated by monsters, and also by unusually monstrous creatures in medieval manuscripts, the most terrifying of which are snails, or rabbits riding snails. This week it was Alien Day and, following the hype, I went to see Alien on the big screen. Watching that illogically amusing plastic monster scurrying about a spaceship got me thinking about how modern monsters are just as funny as medieval monsters. Therefore, I present to you the ultimate battle of the beasts: Snail versus Alien. Who do you think would win in a fight?

Pen and ink, and madness.

Sleep well.

Drake