The Subspace Cellist

Trying to be a good boy and posting these here on the blog more often. This is the latest cover for the Post Atomic Horror Podcast’s Supplemental episode. I don’t always use references, but I’ll often do a blind sketch keeping a picture of a subject on the screen, without actually aiming for accuracy. More […]

The Birth of Ziggy StarDax

I mentioned in a previous post about how I should be cataloging my process, if not for pure posterity & narcissism, then at least as a counter to my own spotty memory. I’ve often hesitated to put a lot of this ‘junk’ on my blog, considering starting separate blogs or repositories for such things (on […]

Post Atomic Horror Podcast Supplemental No. 6 Cover Art

Post Atomic Horror Podcast Supplemental No. 6 Cover Art featuring Arex and Dr. Pulaski from Star Trek
I’ve done a fair bit of artwork from the always-enjoyable Post Atomic Horror podcast over the years, including its logo. (

A 10-minute Business Card Design

10 minute business card design
The other day, I had literally 10 minutes to design a business card. My dad needed to go to a trade show, and with no cards on hand, and no time to get a design offset-printed, we decided to just get it done from a copy shop, five sheets (50 cards) of 300gsm paper that I hand-cut later at home. I’ve used this method before, for my own business cards. It’s mainly because I don’t usually need many cards (I give out, maybe a few dozen a year), and because I can quickly and easily change info and designs, keep it fresh.

So, coming back to this card, with 10 minutes there really isn’t a lot of time for fancy graphics or elaborate illustration. It needs to be strong, sharp and get the job done. But one needn’t stick to simply printing the name & info in a basic font against white, and being done with it. As you can see, there is a little bit of mood and identity to it, even without a logo. And judging by the very staid, sober cards I’ve seen from most Water Treatment industry types, it certainly stands out, a key factor with the identity of a consultant — and individual — as opposed to someone representing a corporation.

It’s not the greatest piece of work I’ve done, but for 10 minutes, I’m satisfied, and most importantly, it did its job: to be given out at a trade show to the kind of people who still keep stacks of cards rather than some fancy digital solution.

Already, I am told, at least one staid, sober water treatment industry type who saw this card remarked that it was ‘too bold’. I think he’s the kind that prefers plain Times New Roman on a white piece of paper.

He’s probably Patrick Bateman, too.

Kapoor Khazana!

More Bollywood badge graphics! I went a little overboard with this — no pun intended — and so it’s actually twenty-days late (eep!), but luckily @kaymatthews’s Kapoor family celebration goes on for the whole month of June!

Not executed at the level I was hoping for, but about half the figures look like the people they’re supposed to be, and the boat doesn’t look too bad, I guess. Need to work on better line quality & composition in future.

The Magic of Madhuri

This is a ‘badge graphic’ for @AlenkaofBohemia’s Madhuri Dixit appreciation week (it’s the actress’ birthday today, May 15th, so Happy Birthday!), which she’s curating on her ‘Bollywood-ish blog’.

To be honest, I’m not super-happy with this. The anatomy is fine, but the face is far from it, and I can certainly tell that it was either put together in a hurry, or that my mind and heart were elsewhere while doing it — both of which are partially true, at least.

On the one hand, being able to bang one of these out on something close to autopilot, after months of not illustrating, is a good sign for my skills — practice makes perfect. On the other, isn’t half the point of these fun side-projects that you learn something new, try something different?

Good News, Everyone!

I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts. Most of these are radio programs from the BBC that are handily delivered through RSS, but over the years I’ve found that while cooking, drawing or sitting at the computer plugging away at a design, nothing works quite as well to pass the time and alleviate work tedium than a bunch of people talking.

My go-to Bunch of People Talking podcast for years used to be Around Comics — sadly they’re semi-officially ended (though they do bring out a show every month or two), but for the past year or so I’ve been listening to the Sarcastic Voyage, a fun hour-or-so of general geeky banter. Run by two very funny hosts, SV is the kind of show that doesn’t need to be about anything to be entertaining, and before long you will be sucked into it, and will pick up its lexicon of in-jokes. That the hosts and many fellow fans are on twitter also helps, like some kind of perpetual fan convention.

I’m also a huge fan of Futurama, so when I heard that Sarcastic Voyage was doing an episode about it, I basically talked them into letting me do an illustration for the cover. That image is what you see above, but overachiever that I am, I was thinking a little bigger. How big? This big:

(Click here for a Wallpaper version at 1920×1080 resolution*),

This handy wallpaper-sized illustration isn’t quite as grand as I intended — the monster isn’t as elegantly bloodcurdling as I would have liked — but I did manage to successfully:

1) Make Futurama robot versions of the hosts (even though they’re just Bender & Hedonism Bot with wigs — er, metal hair… um…)

2) Make a bad pun on the guest’s name

3) Include one SV-specific in-joke (a very large, cupcake breathing-one, in fact)

4) Insert myself as a giant statue head. I have always wanted to do this in an illustration.

Here’s a couple of WIP shots:

Above are the pencils for the main figure set. I drew the image in stages on four separate A4 sheets — it was a relief when they all sort-of fit together in perspective (the cartoony quality of the image helped). You can also see corner right the smudgy bit where an other discarded version of the Chris Pager-bot was drawn, then hastily rubbed out to make room for this one. Also, the shape and course of the rope kept changing as figures moved around and were drawn in.

Here’s a little shot showing the pencils in-progress, as well as my initial rough sketch. A lot changed in-between; many poses were tightened up, character designs too, and the overall ambition of the piece was brought down to fit the deadline. Ideally I could have worked on the piece for days and days (this took me about 8 hours over two sessions).

Coloured in inkscape, of course, since I’m not very confident in colour theory and like mucking about with things until the very last minute.


*(I would be arsed to provide further resolutions for other aspect ratios and iPads and whatnot, but I am lazy — gimme a shout out on twitter.)

Away Team

illustration of fictional star trek away team
When in doubt, draw Star Trek. Truth be told I’m not very happy with this one. The linework is noodly (fineliner, not brush pen), the BG is horrid, and the characters aren’t very well thought out beyond the big blue guy (who actually evolved between pencil and ink stages).

Mostly, however, I’m miffed that it took me nearly four hours to churn this out.

illustration of fictional star trek away team
illustration of fictional star trek away team


Sridevipalooza graphic

I have no idea why I’ve never put this up here before. Did it last year when fellow Bollywood bloggers were doing a Sridevi-themed week. The hands are hideous (and they’re actually improved from a previous version — I love you vector) but I’m quite happy with it.

My Favourite Word

my favourite word infographic venn diagram

Cheer Up It’s Only Robot Flu

Design Doodle 0001 - Cheer Up It's Only Robot Flu

It’s been a while since I just did something for the heck of it. Designers usually like to make such work sound important by labeling it a ‘personal project’, but I like to think of it more like a sketch or drawing practice — a Design Doodle!

This piece resulted from a process that is the essence of doodling. There was no plan, no idea, no concept in my head. I simply looked through a random folder of photos I’d taken, picked one, cross-processed it in the GIMP until it looked nice, then imported it into inkscape and went from there. After about an hour of work on it there was a ‘click’ in my head that said it was done, and that was that.

It was stream-of-consciousness design!

I hope to do more of these, probably one a week, maybe more. It always helps to keep practicing, to keep the gears of your mind charged, and client work or large projects can sometimes be too serious for that. It also feels great to start and finish something in one sitting.

Go out and play, just spend and hour doing ‘nothing’ — and you may end up with something you like very much.


A Herd of Slumdogs

5 panel comic about Slumdog Millionaire, featuring two Monks.