It's taken me maybe 6 months to put this thing together, then it's been with my printer a further month in order to knock it into shape, proofread (over and over again!) then there's the the small matter of getting this thing printed and bound.
At the moment of writing this, 50 have been printed and are now on their way out to clients, we are printing these in batches, and I expect another batch of 75-100 to be ready next week, and so on until we meet my order of close to 300 books in total.
It's been a tiring and slightly epic experience, but I am really happy with the final product, here's the vital stats; the book is on silk paper with silk card cover, it weighs in with a hefty 140 pages and is perfect bound.
This book showcases the drawing work i've been producing for many of the UK's biggest magazines over the past 5 years, these include pretty much everything that's on this blog and a lot more besides.
While it concentrates on my drawing work, there is also a pretty comprehensive biography that tells my tale from childhood illustration fanboy to practicing professional, and all the trials and tribulations of trying to earn a crust in this profession for over a decade.
Any Art Directors that reads this blog (and I know there are quite a few) who would like a complimentary copy should get in touch, for any fans of my artwork, copies may be made available in future for a small fee (covering shipping, etc) on request (email me)
This book has almost got the better of me at times, with me being really quite ill and stressed throughout periods of getting this thing together, but now we are I think on the home stretch with it (I hope!)
Special mention should go here to my printer, Darren at Carter & Jackson printing that have worked extremely hard to create an item that I think we can both be proud of... check out the link for the best printers in Yorkshire, if not the north of England!
Ha, I think it's been a learning experience for the both of us, what with collating and binding this mammoth tome!
Okay onto some pictures, that's why people check out this blog in the first place! I thought one of the things I could do in my book, is along with all the published stuff is to put a special section in, where i've experimented with different techniques and processes.
When I look on the newsstands today there seems to be an inordinate amount of people that.. well i'm not going to say copy me... but stylistically speaking have kind of jumped on the bandwagon.
Now imitation is one of those things that is part of the profession, when I started out my own work was a poor man's version of that slightly ethereal dark photoshop stuff that Dave Mckean was producing mid 90's to early Noughties.
Even the drawing stuff I do now, came about from trying to capture that comic book influence from my childhood, and when traveling the US coming across illustrators that use line like Tomer Hanuka, etc
When I started drawing my work instead of collaging/digitally painting like I had in the past, I know for a fact that at least two illustrators in this country were already creating work along the same lines, and could creditably lay claim like myself to being originators of this style of work, both are great artists that work on various top titles.
Still the whole thing reminds me of super design/illustration outfit Vault 49, who mid noughties almost single-handedly created an entirely new more decorative aesthetic to illustration, which for a couple of years kind of swamped the market, and this happened because everyone jumped on board that "look".
My agents at the time, must have hired about 30 other people that imitated their work. Of course fashions are a fad, and slowly that work became less and less popular, leaving many of the imitators scratching around for work, but not Vault 49 with them kind of being the original source, they were always in the position to innovate and adapt.
Their work takes on all kinds of aesthetics and continues to be amazing.
So over the years I expect my work to adapt and change; the images below perhaps showcase the direction my work may take... also for me, this is playtime, an artist should always experiment and play with materials, technique and subject matter in order to grow.
I've collected paper ephemera for years with a mind to start producing collages, these are the first few images that look to utilize this material.
At the top Sherlock Holmes, middle an illustration of Dustin Hoffman from the TV show Luck (you can tell i've been practicing a while, as that show is no longer on!) and the bottom one is a portrait of the late, great Stanley Kubrick.
I feel I'm just at the precipice with this work, and providing I proceed (they are fun to make!) that I could make some extraordinary images.
A case of stripping back with these three images, there's one side of me that wants to make the most ridiculously detailed images ever (like the He-Man print) and the other side, that wants to make images that simplify and essentially be distillations of a subject, to be more direct.
The three portraits above, of William H Macy, Jack Nicholson and Johnny Depp were created with charcoal pencil and lino block ink, scanned, cleaned and put together in Photoshop.
I'd love to do a series of these portraits or images for a lovely high-end magazine, utilizing this technique, with them maybe running full page.
These next two portraits use many of the techniques above, but concentrate perhaps further on line, the desired effect was to make these slightly more quirky than the above three to represent these actors indie credentials (a lot can be said with the line you use)
Portraits are of Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ryan Gosling, I think Maggie's been high up on my list of people I want to draw for a long time, I think she has a beautiful face, but not one that's overly "Hollywood".
Same technique as with the Ryan and Maggie drawings on these two, but again used to illicit a different result, stripping back to just black and grey, these actors exude gravitas, there's no need for "fireworks" with these drawings, no fancy line weight, colors. Just honesty.
Think something like these would look stunning in something like GQ, Esquire, Vogue, Intelligent Life, The Guardian, etc
Okay final two, blimey this blog's been pretty grande, These are two of a planned series of miniature GoT miniature prints.
On a previous blog posting with a Breaking Bad image I started playing with a technique that kind of had an etched feel to it, along with collecting old ephemera for collage for years, I have really fallen in love with the look of old money, engravings, stamps, match boxes and generally old printing techniques.
The above two images of Tyrion and Daenarys look to recreate something of an engraved look, with a bit of luck and if they prove popular I may look to create a huge series of these based on the main show characters in this style, creating something of a huge tapestry of miniature etchings.
This style is just a sideline, that I dare say may come in useful for commercial purposes should a client ever want an oldie world look, like a map of Middle Earth, or portraits from a fantasy series LOTR, for instance... Ha, Chris and Adam at Empire i'm looking in your direction as I write this!
So that's it for now!
Just a quick mention here, one of my regular print buyers from across the pond in America, who has been a real champion of my work for a while now, has very kindly set up a facebook fanpage in my honor, which is lovely.. especially as I haven't got a clue about FB,Twitter and all that stuff.
Here's the link, check it out: https://www.facebook.com/thebillmcconkeyfanpage