Reflections & Expectations

So, 2017 huh? That sure was a…uh…a year. But let’s ignore the world stage for a bit and focus on me, because I’m a narcissist. Things actually went relatively well, I made some art, learned some stuff, had some fun. Let’s have a look back, shall we?

Year In Art Summary

I made more progress between May and December of this year than I did in the whole of 2016 and I entirely put it down to quitting retail and working on my improvement full-time. I still have a lot of things I want to work on and get better at, which is what 2018 is all about, baby.

And since everyone does it at this time of year, here’s  my 2018 art goals:

  • Finish one painting a month
  • Complete the next 2 chapters of Wyrdhope
  • Add daily sketching into my routine
  • Spend more quality time with projects, rather than getting caught up with quantity
  • Promote myself more
  • Work the things I need to improve on into sketching and projects, rather than keeping studying seperate from actual work

I try to keep my New Years goals fairly broad and allow room for interpretation and modification as the year goes on (apart from like, finishing more of Wyrdhope. That’s non-negotiable at this point). In line with one of them – focusing on quality time rather than quantity – I may end up posting less to the blog. There’ll still be at least one post a month, I can guarantee that, and there will likely be more happening on my sketch blog – in line with the ‘sketch daily’ goal. But towards the end of 2017 I found I was worrying more about completing enough work to fill out a blog schedule than actually concentrating on just making the best work that I could which is…not a way to live your life.

Aside from art goals I also have a bunch of other personal goals I’m working towards and, hyper-organised list-maker that I am, I’m super pumped to get started. Bring it on, 2018. I’m so ready.


Obligatory New Years Post!

And so another year is done, and a new one has begun. I’ve officially been A Graduate for over a year now, and I am  possibly more tired than I ever was while I was at uni but there we go. I just wanted to write a quick post summing up my past year, and giving you guys a look at what my plans are for 2017 – which will hopefully be less of a global trainwreck than 2016 has been.

I’ve made a lot of work this year. I’ve done so many doodles and filled so many sketchbooks, but I still feel like I haven’t progressed my actual body of work enough. It was only towards the end of this year that I got more organised and driven about pushing to get projects done, even with my full time hours at work. Free time is for other people, after all.

So this year I’ve planned out far more projects in advance, and some of my long term ideas should come to fruition at the end of 2017. I’ve spent too long thinking about projects I want to do ‘when I have the time’ and not enough time actually making time to do them. Well, now I’m making the time. I want to make these things happen and, for the time being at least, I’m the only one I have to answer to about making them. And I don’t put up with excuses from anyone else, so why should I from myself?

2017 might end with me very tired and covered in ink, passed out over my own keyboard. Honestly, I’m looking forward to it. So keep watching, friends, because I promise you there will be Content on This Blog over the next year.

And if it doesn’t, I give at least ten of you permission to hunt me down with spears.

Happy New Year!

Pop My Mind First Birthday Exhibition

Last year, after I graduated, I was approached by someone to become part of a new, online creative platform that was, essentially, artistic chinese whispers.

This year I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of that platforms first birthday exhibition, and it was a wonderful experience. Two of my own works were on display among many other fantastic works, and I also took part in my first ever live art performance. In collaboration with James Todino, we made improvised music and art together, with both of us responding to the others creations in real time.

Photo credit: Karis Lambert

Photo credit: Karis Lambert

I have never performed with my art before, the closest thing being a Skype collaboration I did – also with Pop My Mind, and another great experience – so I was pretty nervous. But once it got going it was an incredible thing, vaguely sensing people watching around me, while trying to get into my creative headspace enough to make work fast. The speed was another tricky aspect, as anyone who follows this blog will know. I like to work more slowly and methodically usually, researching and planning before I put brush to paper. So doing this was a liberating experience, to see what I could make with my usual self-imposed restrictions removed.

I have to say despite my nerves and the stress of getting back home – missed the train I wanted by a minute and ended up with a 3-hour long train ride home through London in the middle of the night. Not fun! – I’m really glad I pushed myself and went for this experience. It’s the kind of thing you regret not doing, more than you’re afraid of doing it.

To all the people involved in the exhibition, both in setting it up and participating, a big congratulations to you all, and thank you for letting me be involved in this amazing creative experience.

Prints Now Available! (And a website update)

I am The Worst at doing things in a timely manner, but I finally have some print shops set up on both Society6 and Inprnt! There’s a variety of work up there, mostly Sten things for now, but Gormenghast stuff will be being added soon, as well as a few other things that I like. It’s all my black and white work for the time being as well, though once I finish more of various other series’ of things, they will be added too. I just want to wait until I have more than one or two of the things in the series before adding them.

So if you like this piece:

Sten Vs Thoreson

or this one:

Demons Down

or even this one:

Sten creating his knife

You can now get beautiful art prints of them! Though if you live somewhere that isn’t the US, just watch out for the shipping, as it can be a bit pricey. Society6 often has days of free shipping though, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for those kinds of offers.

And just to finish off, you may or may not have noticed that my official website has had a bit of a spring clean, and is now looking much nicer and easier to navigate! So feel free to take a look!

Return of the Blog

After almost a month of moving house and getting everything set up here, I’m finally in a position stable and organised enough to start making lots of work and posting again! This post is just an update, and a shameless showing off of my new house and my new working set-up, but there’ll be another post going up next week with actual work in it, and then after that I’ll be trying to update every two weeks with something new.

At any rate, I took a bunch of photos of us moving into our new house, so here’s some of them to show off, because I really love this place. It’s so nice, and so quiet, which makes a change from where I had been living for the past two years.

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As I said, there’ll be new work up next week, and then every two weeks. I apologise in advance if I miss weeks, but I also just got a promotion at work that goes into full effect at the end of August, so I don’t know how tired I’ll end up being. I’m not going to stop making things though! And there should always be stuff going up at random times on my sketchblog, if you like seeing doodles and warm-ups and stuff like that.

New Designers and Some News!

Sorry for the lack of posting, everyone, but things have been very busy and very stressful! Not least because I was attending New Designers along with a bunch of other super awesome people from my course. I’ll share some of the (slightly blurry) photos I got from the event here, and then after that I’ll share with you some awesome news about myself. Here we go!

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And now for the news. As you know, I recently finished my degree at the Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University. While results were published a while ago, the degree classifications were only just released. I am happy and very pleased to announce that I will be graduating with a First Class Honours Degree!

Posts will be slow for a while, as I am currently in the process of moving house. Bear with me and we’ll be up and running regularly again in no time.

Interview With….Myself?

So, to kind of round off this interviews project (though there may be more in the future, I’m not ruling anything out), I am interviewing…myself. I wasn’t going to, bu tafter having several people tell me that I absolutely have to, I am absolutely going to. So, without further ado….me! But, I don’t really have any work that I haven’t already shared on this blog, so this edition of the interviews series is going to be image-less. If you want to see my work, you already know where to find it; it’s all over the place on this blog, with more sketches and things on my tumblr.

1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? 
My name is Sam, I just finished up at the Cambridge School of Art and I’m equal parts enthusiastic and terrified of what comes next. I like drawing things that are fantastical, dark or just a bit weird.

2. You’ve been studying at the CSA in Anglia Ruskin for almost three years now, what has it been like for you?
Being at the CSA has been an exciting but bumpy ride for me. Parts have been really great and I’ve loved it, and other parts have been super hard and made me want to just break all my pencils and become a hermit forever. That’s art, though, I guess. Overall I’m glad I went, as being at university gave me a bunch more confidence as a person and in my work regardless of how much I may dislike said work at times, and I’ve met so many cool people here.

3. What do you like the most about being an illustrator? 
I love the freedom to just create stuff, and that I can make whole new worlds and characters and ideas if I want to. It’s a massive challenge but I enjoy solving the problems that it presents. Also with my drawing powers I can make the weirdest things come to life, like if I want to draw a dragon driving a space-skateboard into the sun then I totally have that power.

4. What do you like the least? 
The least cool thing about being an illustrator is the ever-present feeling of doubt that comes with being in a creative field. I always struggled with feeling like everyone else knows what they’re doing and I’m just flailing along, pretending I’m a real artist. It’s also scary thinking about how the heck to get jobs now that university is finished, but I guess I just have to work at it.

5. How would you describe your work and what you do?
I have no idea how to sum up my work, really, as all of it seems to be so different. I paint things and I draw things and I just make stuff. The main themes would be fantasy and science fiction, as well as horror and monster and dark humour. I also really enjoy playing with juxtaposition, and mashing up things, especially with modern twists.

6. What are some of your hopes for the future after you graduate? Do you have any specific goals in mind? 
After I graduated I really just want to get any work that I can. Anything that pays, hah! But really, the pipe-dream is to make work for someone like Wizards of the Coast, to maybe someday have a painting on a Magic the Gathering card or in a new edition of the D&D rulebooks. That or work somewhere in the games industry, making art concepts for something cool. Mostly I just want to get my art to people who like it, and be able to keep telling stories and creating new things.

7. Is there any advice or words of wisdom you’d give to your first year self, or to anyone just starting their own degree?
The best advice I could give to my first year self would be: talk to people. I know it’s scary and everyone seems like they’re these complete people who have no time for someone like you but I promise they aren’t. They’re mostly as confused, excited and nervous as you are! Talk to people, and keep enjoying yourself! Also, make time for drawing fun stuff. It’s hard, with all the work you already have to do, but if you can spare just half an hour a day or a week to draw something for yourself, then do it. It’ll make you feel TONS better. Also don’t forget that university isn’t the place where you go and end up a fully complete person/artist. It’s not the place where you finish your artistic growth – it’s the place where you start it.