The release of my book is creeping closer! It’s less than a month before Alley Cat Rally is published in the UK, and over the past few weeks I have been nervously trying to think of things I can do to promote the book myself.
I’ve started by making a mini-site that gives a good overview of the book, the characters, and the places you can preorder it, alongside some other fun graphics and odds-and-ends.
That’s table stakes though, so I’ve done a couple more interesting projects that I’ve also made videos about.
The first mini-project is the ballad of the little washer. I’ve had this on my shelves for years, but a desire to open it up and add some ballast to it became a mission to connect it to the internet, programming it so it will spin whenever anyone visits the short link I set up to preorder the book:
The second project is a bit less technical, but only slightly: I made a plush version of Asta, the star of the book. She wears a great pair of goggles in Alley Cat Rally, so I had to figure out how to make them, and ended up rigging up my own vacuum-forming setup, on a home kitchen scale:
I am pleased with both of these projects, and also with the videos themselves! I think I am slowly getting more natural at using my voice, which I’m hoping will come in handy as I try to join my publisher in promoting the book!
I can’t wait to write more about this in the coming months, but I’m really excited to announce that I made a real, honest-to-goodness book, and it is being published internationally this spring!
‘Alley Cat Rally’ is a children’s picture book about a cat who makes a racing car out of her washing machine, and makes some friends in the process. It’s being published by Flying Eye books, and is available to pre-order now: Preorder link for the UK (releases April 2021), Preorder link for USA (releases July 2021).
If anyone has been dedicated enough to follow the depths of my work, you may have seen some earlier iterations of this in their various forms, and that might give an idea of how long this has been in the process (many years!). I’m really looking forward to receiving my own finished copies of this, and for seeing it on sale in real shops too!
It feels a little silly to paint a picture I already painted a few years ago, but the Waschmann caught my attention again recently. I was thinking about how my attempt at contrasting a matte space sky with a glossy robot body didn’t really work on the canvas surface. I decided I’d give it another go on a harder surface, and it would be a good excuse to have another go with Stuart Semple’s Black 2.0 paint (and by funny coincidence I then heard it featured on 99 Percent Invisible recently too). I’ve got to say – the Black 2.0 paint is super disappointing. The best thing about it is how it photographs, as it’s very easy to blow it out to 100% black when post-processing, but in person it’s laughably not-black. Even regular old System 3 process black is dramatically darker to the human eye, even with a gloss glaze over it. I hope Semple’s Black 3.0 paint is an improvement, but I’m less inclined to try it considering how disappointed I am by the 2.0.
My painting is a little better anyway – it’s a lot more subtle without the thick black outlines.
If the title of this post didn’t make it clear enough, I was really pleased with the hyper-detailed looping animated gif of a robot factory I made earlier this year. So much so I have decided to make another one. This time they’re making – you guessed it – washing machines!
It took a lot of energy, but for a 1.1 second loop, you can spent a whole lot longer than that looking at it to follow what’s going on.
My favourite bit is the robot who stretches the drive belt over the drum. It feels nice when things come out of my brain in the way I imagined them!
I was digging through my archives last week and got completely distracted by this six-piece post-it drawing I did a year ago. After staring at it for a moment, I had the idea of turning it into an animated gif, so this weekend instead of watching it rain, I got to work.
I think it has to be the best damn animated gif I’ve ever made. It loops so perfectly, and it’s full of robots and washing machines. It’s a pretty good representation of what goes on in my mind too.
You can click it to load a huge version of the drawing if you want to check out some of the detail in it!
This year’s Christmas card was another mini-adventure. Lilly and I were kicking around several ideas before we arrived at the final design. The front-running idea we had I called Fat Santa Monkey Bauble:
He was cute, but Lilly was struggling with his sack and we realised a three-colour job (one of the colours white) would’ve been a bit ambitious for our tiny press. We sat there trying to think up some other ideas, and because our flat is littered with my washing-machine-based artwork, Lilly suggested we did some kind of festive washing machine.
It might be me with the washer obsession, but this card was Lilly’s idea. I’ve taught her well!
The post-it notes came out, and this scrawl met Lilly’s approval…
…Then with a bit of reworking (Lilly said he should be smiling proudly at his washer, not frowning at its extravagant spin as I had imagined the scene), we had our design finished. We thought it looked like it should be a New Yorker cartoon.
We sat on the design for a couple of days to make sure we were happy with it, then as soon as I sent the artwork off to the plate manufacturers to print, Lilly had an attack of second thoughts, worrying it was too weird. It was too late though, and after a couple of days’ wait, the plates arrived and we were in print.
Once they were all made, Lilly became a believer again, so into the postbox they went!
Merry Christmas to everyone, whatever your faith or washing machine brand!
Hey Internet! Here’s something cool I did recently – one of a few new T-shirt designs for Hospital. Maybe you know that most graphic output at Hospital is my work anyway, but this design feels a lot more Ricky Trickartt than most things I do for them, which is why (like George Forman) I put my name on it!
There are robots on it. Lots of robots. And a lot of other electronics, both modern and obsolete too. And best of all, they’re all unique! Tall robots, short robots, robots on wheels, vacuum cleaners, telescopic robots, dancing robots, and it wouldn’t be right without a washing machine or two as well.
So what’s with the hair emergency? The phone menu style comes from the robots, the emergency is because it’s Hospital, and the hair problems are all me.
Confused yet? Here’s what you need to do: Go to the Hospital Shop and buy a Robots T-shirt, in blue or white, wear it and love it. Alright!
Aside from having to say goodbye to my old Vespa, one of the projects I worked on this Autumn was that of Enei’s debut album, Machines, on Critical Music. When I was given the heads-up, the first thing that struck me about the project was just what a great title Machines is!
I immediately thought ‘I like machines!’ and began dreaming up all the ridiculous things I could draw for the artwork: Washing machines, sewing machines, vending machines, washing machines, fax machines, robots, washing machines, salami-slicing machines and so on. Did I mention I wanted to put a load of washing machines on his album cover?
The daydreams didn’t last long, and from the giddy highs of domestic machines, I fell to the low of realising that all of my typical inclinations would be way too kitsch for the album, and my usual tact of just-getting-on-with-it wasn’t getting me very far either. Continue reading “Inside the Machine”
Hello Internetters and welcome to another four-weekly roundup of my Something Creative Every Day project! This month has felt like hard work, but it has proven to be worth it as there are some nice ideas to have leaked out of my mind over the past few weeks. I’m particularly pleased with a couple of stopmotion experiments – the Melting Chocolate was a little pointless but somehow turned out exactly as I had envisioned it, and The Raw and The Cooked pleased me immensely, but then I don’t think there are many people out there who share my two fascinations with how microwaves and televisions once looked the same and how roast chickens are always used as generic foodstuffs to cook in a microwave.
Aside from the animations, I also really like two pictures I drew this month: Rhonda the diplodocus is the best drawing I have done on an iPad to date, and I can’t really explain why, but Domestimatic 2032 really pleases me too. It can’t just be because it has a washing machine in it – so much of my work does anyway – but I do like it!
And don’t forget, if you’re big into Tumblr, then you can now follow Something Creative Every Day on Tumblr too!
After the fold are all the old direct links, for posterity’s sake. Continue reading “The Daily Creativities of April”
I should probably write about the things that influence me more often. A couple of weeks ago, I rediscovered The Secret Life of Machines, a Channel 4 TV series from the late eighties / early ninties. I used to watch this with my Dad when I was really small- it was on TV when I was between the ages of 2-7 apparently (!) – and despite being so young, it clearly made an impression on my tiny mind!
Here is a clip from the show, where Tim Hunkin describes what the concrete ballast in a washing machine is for, with the assistance of Rex Garrod:
Genius. They picked such an expressive washing machine for the demonstration too! It’s great watching this stuff again as the longstanding lines of influence are pretty apparent. For example, here’s a series of post-it notes from 2007 that bear a subtle resemblance to the above clip:
Which is a concept I revisited last week:
Now there’s an idea that is going somewhere!
Anyway! If you like washing machines, you can see more of my washing-machine-related daily artwork by clicking here, or if you just like machines in general, you can find links to watch more of the secret life of machines on Tim Hunkin’s website.
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