As things have been a little busy lately with client work and getting my new website prepped, I don’t have much in the way of new illustration work to share. So, I thought I’d revisit an old fave for this post! This is the piece I created for 2016’s ‘Secret 7’. The project invited creatives from all over the world to take part by designing a custom 7″ record sleeve. The sleeve design had to be inspired by one of seven songs chosen by the organisers and the only restriction was that it couldn’t feature the musicians name or the track title (hence the secret bit!). Successful entries were then printed along with the vinyl record and auctioned off for charity at the London exhibition.
I chose the Tame Impala track ‘The Less I know The Better’ for my piece. Though I wasn’t selected to be included in the show, I really enjoyed getting lost listening to the track and delving into my underwater theme! The song is pretty melancholy and dripping with rejection, so I liked the idea that this spurned lover was perhaps a water demon that had been banished to the watery depths, waiting ’10 years’ until they can return to their sweetheart and carving off each year on the rock as it passes. I used oil pastels, watercolour and pencil for this piece.
I still think it’s so cool that they found Endurance after all these years! Waiting, hidden under the ice, in the depths of Weddell Sea. The wreck was uncovered on the 5th of March 2022, which also happened to be the 100th anniversary of Shackleton’s funeral! Apparently she’s in pretty good nick and looking much the same as she did in the final footage taken of her by Frank Hurley in 1915, just before she sank.
I’m fascinated by Antarctic exploration. Particularly so by Shackleton’s famous expedition which inspired my work for our Drawn Chorus Exhibition ‘There and Back Again’ in 2017 (you can check it out here on my website if you missed it!). I might have to revisit the Endurance in my illustrations once more, especially now she’s home to a variety of ethereal deep sea creatures that would be awesome to draw!
As she was found in Antarctic waters, there she will remain! The wreck is now a designated monument under the Antarctic treaty and cannot be disturbed or moved. The search was carried out by the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, who used a South African Icebreaker ‘Agulhas II’ and submersible technology to discover Endurance. Her name and star are still clearly visible 107 years after she was lost. What an incredible find!
Video by ABC News shared here without permission. Illustration by Owlstation.
Let me know so I can steal your inspiration! Have you enjoyed a particularly good book? Perhaps you got sucked into a new game? Maybe you went to a really good art exhibition… I’d love to know! I’ve been finding my way back to inspiration this Autumn after a fun but hectic Summer, so would be glad to hear what, if anything has been lighting up your creative fires. By way of trade, here’s three things that I’ve been getting a kick out of lately:
1. Book: The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews, a fictional recounting of 19 year old Erin’s journey to Denali National Park, Alaska. Her inner monologues laced with feminism, self awareness, science and history are a joy to read.
2. Documentary: The Lord of The Rings ‘Making Of’, this very lo fi, behind the scenes, making of film is very entertaining. I for one can never get enough of LOTR, so a bonus dose of props, actors and New Zealand was most welcome!
3. Game: The Outer Wilds by Annapurna Interactive & Mobius Digital, is terrifying and awe inspiring in equal measure. Outer Space exploration combined with made up mythology, thrilling stuff!
So there you go, I’ve told you mine, now tell me yours…
For many years I’ve been keen to try Dungeons & Dragons. As a gamer and fantasy lover I suspected it would be something I’d get on well with and its appearances in Stranger Things and before that The IT Crowd, spurred my intrigue further. However, although I’d been invited to join a few campaigns, it wasn’t until lockdown that I was finally able to make the time to play. In March, when a friend asked if I’d like to join their new online campaign (and my calendar was suddenly devoid of all weddings, birthdays and anything that would stop me from saying yes) I decided to go for it!
We’re now several weeks into our Monday night sessions of dungeon crawling and I am completely hooked! I’ve met new friends, learned the basics of the game and been expanding my problem solving imagination. We play on Roll20, a website geared for online tabletop and role-play games. Whilst I can’t pretend I’d have had any clue how to set up our campaign or run the sessions as a Dungeon Master, I’ve been lucky to join some more experienced players who have been happy to show me the ropes.
Something I didn’t expect, is that Roll20 enables you to see the dungeon or location your exploring and allows you to move your character through the environment. Whilst it’s fairly simple in it’s graphical style, it just adds so much to the fun. Creating and getting to know my character and his abilities has also been a source of great joy.
Engelbert Bramble Tamer, my Druid Gnome is curious, at one with nature and now able to transform into a handful of animals. He was a wolf in our previous session.
…that’s him at the top of the post there, I made a quick doodle. If you’ve been thinking about trying DnD yourself and are still unsure, let me encourage you to go for it! If you don’t know people that play already, I believe you can find new campaigns to join on Roll20. There are also lots of great online resources to teach you the basics and help demystify the rules. You might find your first session a bit overwhelming, I was unprepared and quite confused – but stick with it and you’ll soon find yourself drawn in to this vast, magical world!
Screenshot from Roll20 Campaign and Stranger Things image used here without permission. Drawing of Engelbert is my own!