Monday, 11 September 2017

Friday, 9 December 2016

Playing as a creative process

Most of my recent drawing has been about exploring techniques, materials and processes. I guess all artists do this by default, but I sense that all of my work, is, at present, a work-in-progress, ideally leading to some form of thematic or technical resolution. 

I’ve always been a fan of collage and mixed media and some while ago I created to canvases made up of scraps of paper consisting of pales tones. I really liked the way they look and the warmth of the ground. I’ve been mulling over what might be a next step. Yesterday, I made up a new set of scraps stuck to paper and quite spontaneously set about drawing on it. I really like the feel of this work and I’m going to take this further, perhaps bring in some other subtle elements. 


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Thoughts on my drawing.

‘Slumber’ Pencil on paper. Dec 2016

Once again, I have to confess to neglecting my blog. I’ve been busy teaching and drawing, and, more recently tidying up and paring back this website that I felt was becoming something of a beast that needed taming.

Like I say, I have been drawing; lots and lots of drawing whenever time permits. Drawing has dominated my creative output recently. It’s trumped my lettering and collage efforts. It’s been a really useful year for me. Having neglected drawing for many years—far too many years—I find it odd that I did for so long. Anyhow, as the old saying goes, the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago; the next best time is now. Never has a truer proverb applied to me and my practice. No looking back, then. I’m just moving forward and going with the flow.

The process of drawing and the rediscovering certain tools and revisiting others has also led to my exploring new(ish) themes of that I can connect with and that have some visual potential to me. Recently, my lifelong interests in both factual history and folklore have been a point of exploration. I’ve been drawing those who keep certain ancient traditions alive, and who reinterpret them for a new age, such as Morris Dancers and their musicians. These have simply been portraits. In recent weeks I am wanting to explore themes that draw upon more imagination such a folk tales, myths and legends.  I’m having fun reading these tales and planning potential compositions and finding the process of drawing a wonderful escape from the often overwhelming speed and chaos of life. 

Wednesday, 13 July 2016


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Some of my recent creative trials and explorations, all of which can be seen via the links above.


It’s been a while since writing any posts. However, despite this, I have been busy studying, drawing, making collages, lettering and, as ever, teaching. The blog will likely take on a more visual form from now on; populated with work and work-in-progress.

The site has had something of an overhaul. Nothing particularly slick, just a fresh theme, fewer pages and links and the addition of a Tumblr link as well as the Instagram feed. I want the site to have a more pared back look, and one that focuses a little more on my creative activity rather than those of others.








Monday, 7 December 2015

E. H. Shepard. War Drawings

The E.H. Shepard exhibition at London’s House of Illustration is simply superb. Most of us will be familiar with his Winnie the Pooh drawings, but I, for one, knew little of his output beyond this. I was simply amazed at how effortless his work appeared to be in respect of creating beautifully fluid lines that captured human form, manner, and mood so accurately and so gracefully; even those sketches dashed off under the conditions of war. I was always taken by Shepard’s ability to capture so much with so little, evident of the Pooh drawings, but one can easily see how this skill was something developed early in his career. A beautiful and poignant exhibition.







Sunday, 8 November 2015

Victorian Illustrated Letter

Recently I acquired this little Victorian illustrated letter where images are used to replace words. Dated 1861, it’s addressed to one James Nood? 130 George Street, Edinburgh and is titled ‘The Picture Letter by Catherine Sinclair’. This was a letter for children to enjoy and I recall things like this being published in children’s books and magazines even in the 1970s. I’m not so sure that today’s children would agree that the bird hunting cat should be hanged for his actions nor the poor bull being shot!  My understanding is the the letter also served as its own envelope, hence the address written on it.

Scan 1a Scan 2 Scan 3


Friday, 9 October 2015

AOI World Illustration Awards, 2015 at Somerset House


© Phil Wheeler – Biodiverse
© Phil Wheeler – Biodiverse

Today’s visit to London’s Somerset House was essentially a day for thinking about all things Illustrative. On what had to be one of the most glorious of October days we went to the AOI World Illustration Awards 2015, previously known as ‘Images’.

The mission: We wanted to point out to our students that Illustration can be many things and that it comes in many forms. That might sound like a fairly obvious thing to say, but I am still slightly surprised by just how many people say that they can’t draw and therefore they’d be no good at illustration. There seems to be a preconceived notion that all illustration is based on being able to draw like an Old Master. Of course some form of ability to draw is useful—and it could easily be argued as being essential—and I would never play down the benefits of the ongoing practice of observed drawing, as this is a way to noticeably improve ways of seeing and recording; to develop a style of visual voice; seek visual themes of interest and discover what tools and materials you respond to and enjoy using. Even the benefits of casual doodling can lead to many a new idea. I could go on.

This year’s exhibition was a true smorgasbord of illustrative voices and we simply let the students explore the exhibition set with a task of writing their own review using some prompts for discussion. The feedback was great and it was interesting to see what styles of image making were attractive to individuals and the ensuing points of discussion.

I found the exhibits were excellent as was the variety of styles present. I was particularly taken by the illustrations of João Fazenda that were centered around Japanese folklore (immediately below). The echoing of traditional Japanese artistic simplicity came through and both the lively quirkiness of the images and the wonderfully  simple colour combinations worked so well as a striking collection.

© João Fazenda – Japanese Folktales
© João Fazenda – Japanese Folktales

I was also struck by the incredible paper constructions by both Gail Armstrong and Sam Pierpoint, that latter producing the most incredible skull of waves crowned with a ship. Entitled ‘El Jimador Skull’ this formed part of a contribution to celebrate The Day of the Dead. As well as the compositions I find the engineering simply fascinating.

Andy Ford’s ‘Cel-EGG-Rities’, painted eggs of celebrity faces were simply brilliant, as was the use of Twitter that helped to generate suggestions for them. (See John & Yoko below)

For both technique, message and depth of meaning many were drawn to the poignant works of Olivier Kugler whose illustrations drew attention to the plight of Syrian refugees and their ability to live through adversity. The simple style of drawing and colour, peppered with hand rendered typographic messages gave a sensitive and personal voice to the topic.

In short, I found the perfectly curated collection simply brilliant. The quality of work was incredible and as a means of introducing some of our students to the wider world of illustration it was great. To round the day off we issued each student—tutors too!—with a blank postcard and asked for the card to be illustrated with an image or text of their choice; simply something connected to their day in London. The cards came in and we posted them as the 9th October was World Post Day and perfectly timed with our illustratively themed day.

The exhibition ends  1 November 2015. Anyone with a passing interest in graphic arts should not miss this exhibition.

#sampierpoint #illustration #papercraft #skull #paper #design #somersethouse #worldillustrationawards

A photo posted by Tim Bones (@mrtimbones) on

#illustration #eggs #lennon #yokoono #johnlennon #somertsethouse #worldillustrationawards #andyward A photo posted by Tim Bones (@mrtimbones) on

#worldpostday #postcard #illustration #curiouseventsday #thegraphicdesignproject #westkentcollege

A photo posted by Sancha de Burca (@sanchagdp) on

Friday, 25 September 2015

Type Hunting

“Look!!! Typography!” #typeintheenvironment #typography #typeallaround #gravestone #graphics

A photo posted by Sancha de Burca (@sanchagdp) on


Yesterday we took our HND Graphic Design students out on a little typographic tour of their college town of Tonbridge. We wanted to stress the point that we spend our lives bombarded by messages and thousands of these are typographic. As such the purpose of the walk was to help enable students to reconnect with type at a more conscious level; thinking about its style, location, purpose, context, what it’s made of and whether or not it’s good or bad, etc.

As well as the usual high number of ugly plastic shop signage to be found in every high street we found some little gems, one of which was finding professional sign writer, Ollie Stone, at work in a local pub. It was perfect timing for us but I suspect Ollie was not expecting so much attention!

The images collected will form part of their research for a current poster project and next week we’re heading to Bexhill to gather more whilst visiting the De la Warr pavilion.



#typography #gravestone #lettering #lettercutting #m #scriptlettering

A photo posted by Tim Bones (@mrtimbones) on


Happiness is Good Handwriting!


As I have mentioned before I have something of an obsession with handwriting. As an obsessive maker of notes in an age that is witnessing a rapid decline in handwriting, I was fascinated and somewhat amused to discover T. Hill’s Manual of Social and Business Forms from 1888. Hill extolled the virtues of good penmanship, specifically with regards to one’s happiness, career and intellect! I think there still more than a grain of truth within his pearls of wisdom.

Why have good handwriting?

“Because, 1st.  Good penmanship of itself adds greatly to our happiness.  The consciousness to the lady or gentleman of being able to write a letter that shall win the admiration and praise of the friend to whom it is written is a source of unspeakable pleasure to the writer, and to possess this ability throughout our lifetime is to be proficient in an accomplishment which adds to our happiness, as does excellence in oratory, painting or music.  Good writing is a fine art, and is to the eye what good language is to the ear.”

2nd.  Good writing is of great benefit to us pecuniarily. The person who may apply for a situation as teacher, clerk, or any position where intellectual ability is required, finds a beautifully written letter the best recommendation that can be sent  when applying for that position. Hundreds of instances are on record, many doubtless within the knowledge of the reader, where lucrative situations have been obtained through good penmanship, that could never have been secured had the applicant not had a good handwriting.”

And, 3rd. A mastery of the art of writing is of great service to us intellectually. Persons who can write well, taking pleasure in the practice, will write more than they otherwise would. Every time they write a word they spell it, and thus improve in spelling. Every time a sentence is written, an application is made of grammar; and thus knowledge is obtained of  how to speak correctly. The subject they write about, they become familiar with ; and thus, in the act of writing, they are intellectually improved. The most intelligent and influential in any community are those  who can express thought most easily and correctly on paper.”

T.E. Hill
—Hill’s Manual of Social and Business Forms. (1888)

Hill's Manual.
Hill’s Manual.