Jonnie Common - Crumbs

This is the first of what'll be a few posts over the next month or so about to my friend and longtime collaborator, the bold Jonnie Common.

Jonnie has a new album, Trapped in Amber, coming out in November. I'll go into that properly later. For now we've got a single: Crumbs.

Crumbs is Jonnie at his best - a funny, inventive, reflective and playful piece of music that sounds bloody awesome. You can listen to it over here or on the player below.

I'm super proud to be on artwork duties for all the Trapped in Amber releases and related materials (*cough* animation *cough*). It's been a blast working on this stuff over the past wee while and I'm looking forward to seeing it out there in the real world. Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to the launch. If you're convinced already, you can pre-order Trapped in Amber today.

You can find Jonnie on Song, by Toad Records, on Twitter as @jonniecommon and on his personal Bandcamp page. He'll also be playing shows around the country to promote the record and you'll hopefully catch a tune or two on the radio. Any shares, spins and tickets bought are much appreciated.

(also, apologies if my website is being flakey - I'm in the process of redesigning it)

Ello, Is It Me You're Looking for?

Ello illustration by David Galletly

Like lots of people, I'm trying out Ello. My profile is here: ello.co/davidgalletly.

According to Ello's About page, Ello is "a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers" and, after a look, that sounds about right. Yeah it could (and probably will) all fall apart in no time but let's play with the new toy anyway, eh?

My first impressions are good. Well, good-ish. From what I can tell there's a Twitter + Tumblr + LiveJournal mash-up thing going on. It's an endless-stream-of-stuff-from-people-you-follow kinda deal but with a neat friends & noise system for managing clutter. Two thumbs up. I've never enjoyed the "here's a bunch of photos I think are cool" side of Tumblr and being able to filter that stuff out is, um, cool.

However, social networks are only as good as the people you follow and, on Ello, the (few) people I'm following are pretty quiet right now. That'll hopefully change. @garrymac (AKA ace comic artist Garry McLaughlin) has written a wee post that I agree with hoping that folk'll use Ello for talking and journaling instead of just photo sharing. The death of Google Reader killed blogging for a lot of my art / illustration friends and I'd love to see them writing more.

So until we're all sold out in a billion dollar cash grab, I'll stay optimistic. The name is a good sign - "'ello" is a hell of a way to start a conversation.

If you're signed up and if you're that way inclined, gimmie a follow. If you're not and you'd like an invite (especially if we're friends), gimmie a shout. You gotta write something though, jeez.

Edinburgh Art Festival Illustrated Map

Edinburgh Art Festival 2014 is in full swing, running from the 31st July to the 31st August in galleries, museums, art spaces and public places throughout the city. The UK's largest annual celebration of visual art is one of a billion reasons to visit Scotland's capital this summer.

Each year, a different artist, designer or illustrator draws the festival map. J. Maizlish kicked things off in 2011, Peter Arkle in 2012, Hannah Waldron in 2013 and, in 2014, me!

Drawing Edinburgh as a functional map, rather than as an anything-goes illustrated cityscape was tricky. The city is a jumble of winding streets, alleyways and bridges that can easily confuse.

My starting point was to draw a mostly* accurate street plan using Google Maps and some good ol' legwork. I then plotted the venue locations and added a few key landmarks. This outline made sure that, even if the details of my final illustration didn't exactly match reality (and they didn't), the map'd still work for navigating the city.

Edinburgh map drawing work in progress

Rather than trying to tackle the whole map at once, I broke the layout down into smaller sections using Photoshop. I made a couple of fill patterns to show the main areas ('grass' and 'buildings'), printed everything out and improvised the linework over the top. Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '99, buy a lightbox. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, a lightbox would be it.

After scanning, jigsawing the pieces back together and colouring, the job's a good 'un. You can pick up a free copy of the map from participating venues around Edinburgh. There's also an awesome social-mediarific version over at edinburghartfestivalmaps.com (cheers Andy!).

Edinburgh Art Festival merchandise

Also, also, also, in addition to the map, I've put together a range of merchandise for the festival. A natty tote bag, card wallet, exercise book, badges, a range of postcards and a alternative colour print of the map are all available from the Edinburgh Art Festival kiosk from 10am to 6pm on George St. (between Frederick Street and Castle Street) and at the City Art Centre next to Waverly Station. I've not had a chance to take proper photos of the merch yet, but I'll post them here and/or on my Instagram when I do.

Big thanks to Jessica, Helena and Andy for all their help and patience.

* A street or two got squashed a little to make room for some of the less central venues.

Brothers of The Stripe: Lo-Fi Sci-Fi

Brothers of The Stripe, Lo-Fi Sci-Fi in Glasgow

Glasgow folks - the wonderful art collective Brothers of The Stripe are having a show in Glasgow and have asked me to be a part of it. Lo-Fi Sci-Fi opens tonight (Wednesday 21st May) at The Good Spirits Co. on Bath St. (just off Buchanan St, so dead easy from the town centre).

I have a few pieces in the show - 2 drawings from Wee, my faithful old Rockets screenprint (I found 2 copies that I thought I’d lost!) and a new drawing called Walker that I’ll share here soon.

All are welcome tonight for the opening party. If you’re old enough, Auchentoshan Mixologist Cocktails will be providing free cocktails from 7 - 9pm. The show runs until 19th June 2014. Details:

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The Brothers of the Stripe - Lo-Fi Sci-Fi

A show of Sci-fi based graphic art, featuring special guest brother : David Galletly! This show will consist of prints, drawings and paintings based on the theme of lo-fi sci-fi.

Opening: Wednesday 21st May 2014, 7pm - 9pm
Drinks: Auchentoshan Mixologist Cocktails
Exhibition Runs Until: 19th June 2014

The Good Spirits Co. 23 Bath Street : Glasgow G2 1HW

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Register your attendance on the Lo-Fi Sci-Fi Facebook page. Come along if you can, it’s a lovely night for a drink. Big thanks to Ben for all his help.

Paolo Rivera's Studio

The bold Elph shared this a few days back and I've watched it a couple of times since. Part 1 and part 2 are on YouTube.

Comic books are not something I'm too clued up on, so I have to confess my ignorance - I had no idea who Paolo Rivera was before watching this video. More fool me. Dang he's an amazing artist. Seems like a good dude too.

As someone who can spend 60+ hours working on a painting, Rivera has shaped his workspace to be super efficient. His pens, pencils and erasers all stick to his drawing board with magnets, he's made a wire doodad for keeping his brushes off the table (totally stealing that one) and his one-handed brush wringer is beautiful. He also shows off a bunch of nifty tools and techniques.

Being mindful of stuff you do over-and-over when you're working, even the stupid stuff, can be useful. It took me months of awkwardly stretching for the just-out-of-reach volume dial on my radio before realising that if it was, like, right beside my computer, I wouldn't give myself a hernia every time I watch a YouTube video (and I watch a lot of YouTube videos). It didn't make me better at drawing, but it made day a little easier.

The 3-part Making of "The Twelve" Cover with Paolo Rivera series by the same folks is worth a nerd out on too. His process is fascinating. There's a surprising amount of tech going into a fairly small gouache painting, but it's all there to help him make the image he wants to make. Rivera's workflow, like his studio, has been refined by doing his job over-and-over again.

Pringle 1815 Illustrations and Animation

Pringle 1815, the Japanese wing of Pringle of Scotland asked me to draw some illustrations for them! Everything has been done and dusted since January but I had to wait a wee while before sharing the work here.

Rather than repeat everything in multiple places, I've put together a page about the project with the main images, information and links.

 

That said, I want to draw specific attention to the above. Pringle 1815 also wanted me to create an animation to accompany the ad campaign, which is nuts. Despite not being an animator, I gave it a go and, after a lot of long nights, managed to put together something I'm pretty happy with. I've given The Dancing Lion its own page if you'd like to see it a little larger.

Music and sound by the phenomenally talented Jonnie Common.

WIRED Memes: Illustration Roughs

This spot illustration appeared in the April 2012 issue of WIRED accompanying a piece about memes by Mary K. Choi. While browsing through my old files, I found a few roughs from the project and figured the process was interesting enough to post about.

galletly-memes-sketchbook-pages.jpg

I don't draw in my sketchbook as often as I should. Over the last couple of years it has mostly worked as a scratchpad that sits on my desk while working on the computer or loose paper. WIRED briefs always had a fairly short turnaround too, so sketchbook work was particularly minimal. Here it looks like I've written a couple of lists while reading the rough draft, sketched out some cats (probably while drawing the final artwork) and called it a day.

That's not to say I don't plan and develop ideas, it's just that my thinking tends to live in text files and doodles on my phone or computer. This isn't as romantic as carrying around a collection of beautiful or fascinating things, but it works for me. I don't like people to see my ugly and embarrassing sketchbook. It's not one for Pinterest.

After I've bashed together 4 or 5 ideas in my head, I'll usually grab a pen and a pile of thin white card and start scribbling down thumbnails. I use the card because it's dead easy to scan and colour.

10 minutes per rough with little or no pencil work is plenty. If a particular idea starts to come together nicely, I'll maybe take a second or third attempt. If it doesn't do much for me (like the exploding Mentos + Cola drawing above), I'll quickly throw some colour on it anyway on the chance that it'll spark the art director's imagination*.

I try to send over a variety of different ideas. I'm not precious about any of them and stress that they can be used as starting points for different approaches. Maybe they can be tweaked, added-to or combined to get something better. Maybe they need to be thrown out entirely. That's ok.

I like how this guy turned out. I want to punch him.

galletly-roughs-memes-trash.jpg

Cats? Hmm.

galletly-roughs-memes-pile.jpg

A big pile of memes? Maybe, but it's unclear what the hell they're supposed to be, even if I added a bunch more and tidied everything up in the final artwork. How about combining this idea with the cats-in-a-trashcan above...

galletly-roughs-memes-catpile.jpg

Now we're cooking.

I was fairly confident that this was the best idea when I sent everything over to WIRED. They agreed. My feedback was to stress that the character was swamped with memes (in this case Lolcats) and had given up hope.

galletly-wired-memes-linework.jpg

In the final drawing I moved the character down inside the pile and gave him a wee 'surrender' flag. After colouring, the art director asked me to add a little 'LOL' up top to hammer the message home.

The process behind the Memes illustration is fairly typical for me. Some are easier - going straight from scribble to final artwork, some are harder - endless roughs, final artwork scrapped by an editor at the last minute. Still better than having a proper job, though.

 

* Beware! This is a dumb idea. I do this because I'm not smart and want to look like I've done a whole bunch of work. Clients will often pick a rough you hate and you'll have a miserable time with the final drawing.

Goodbye, Google Notifier

Yesterday, Google announced that Google Notifier will no longer be supported. While this isn't the end of the world, it still bugs me. I love that little app. I even made a custom icon for it (above) because I can't stand that the default one looks a little blurry.

I can use my phone like they suggest, but the menu bar is still a great place for an at-a-glance email counter. There are others out there but, for me, they try to do too much. I liked the simplicity of the official app. Google are taking their sweet time about supporting Safari Push Notifications too. If anyone knows of good alternatives, please let me know.

Like many others, Google is trying my patience these days. Two products I use(d) daily (Google Notifier and Google Reader) have been killed and one product that I never, ever want to use (Google+) is always being shoved in my face. Actually, everything they've done over the last few years has been a negative to me as a user. I can't think of a single positive. I understand that Google owes me nothing, that they're creeps who only want to sell my eyeballs to advertisers and that they may be worse than Big Brother (the TV show and Orwell's moustachioed Peeping Tom), but I still like GMail and would like to keep using it.

C'mon Google, you're bumming me out and I'm a creep. I'm your people. We should be like peas and carrots.

UPDATE:Gmail Notifr by James Chen looks like it might do the trick. It's simple and even supports multiple accounts. Nice.

A 2013 Montage: 12 Photos Per Month

Happy New Year!

This is a collection of personal photos taken in 2013 arranged chronologically in a 12 x 12 grid. The top row features photos from January, the next from February and so on. I've made one of these montages every year since 2009, making this the 6th. Clicking the #montage tag will let you scroll through the full set.

A giant version is on Flickr.

The photographs serve as reminders of events from the year both big (going on holiday) and small (eating chips). I can't include everything because of the limited space but I get a nice at-a-glance overview. Days where I didn't take any pictures never happened. As always, I'll be surprised if this is of any interest to anyone but myself.

2013, Then? It Was Good. I Liked It.

What follows is a lot of words about myself broken down into sections that you can skim-read (or not-read).

Work

2013 was definitely a year of playing safe, work-wise. Being my first January - December as a full-time freelancer, my main concern was making sure I could support myself - I could! While this is tremendously satisfying, it's also left me feeling a little drained. Work was constant, but often stressful. I've been stretched thin and need to be careful to avoid my work becoming, y'know, work.

This stretched-thinness has meant that I've not shared much of what I've done in 2013, despite liking most (but not all) of it. It can be hard to be enthusiastic after-the-fact about something that reminds you of feeling exhausted.

Fortunately, the hard work has given me wiggle-room for 2014. I intend to be more picky with what work I take on and more playful with my personal projects. I have no idea whether I'll still be self-employed come 2015, but that's what I'm aiming for. Being your own boss is pretty boss.

I'll put my best 2013 work up soon. A couple of my favourite projects are still secret, so unveiling them'll be a neat way to kick off Springtime.

People

Family

My Nana died in December. She'd had a pretty amazing life and was proper funny right to the end. Cheerio Jessie Galletly.

Alex and I didn't get divorced. We don't expect to get divorced in 2014.

My dad retired! That's nuts.

Friends

It feels like I didn't see enough of my friends in 2013. Midway through the year I had a bit of a panic that I'd forgotten how to interact with people socially and I've been a bit awkward in conversation since.

Hogmanay was a good chance to catch up with lots of people all in one place. It was worth the day of puking. Almost.

I made some new friends too. Which is rare.

Internet Friends

Philip Larkin and Swatpaz got the laughs on Vine, @amatussarra is still one of Twitter's unsung heroes and Beth is killing the jewellery game.

Places

A lot of time was spent sitting at this desk. We took fewer trips than in previous years but we ate out more. I'm the unhealthiest I've ever been, but I'll fix that.

Glasgow

Glasgow is where I spent most of my days. I still like living in Shawlands. Alex and I are going to stay here for the foreseeable future, with one change - we're going to (try to) buy our first home! This is scary and incredibly boring all at once. Thinking about buying also puts lots of stuff on hold ("Should we get a new rug? This one's horrible.", "Nah, we'll wait until we have our own place.") so our flat is feeling a bit tired.

Recoat, closed their doors in July, which was sad. They'll be back, though. I hope to work with Amy, Ali and the team lots during 2014. For now, you can buy the t-shirt I designed in collaboration with Recoat and Tshirt Store.

Food-&-drink-wise, Max’s on Queen St. remains a favourite; The Glad Cafe here in Shawlands has become our local; Tinto Tapas on Battlefield Road was a tasty discovery (go on Tuesday); and I took to cycling to Mono if I had lots of emails to get through.

Paris & London

Our big summer holiday was a return to Paris. We stayed in Marais like we did in 2012 and it was a blast.

Highlights include: Deyrolle, the insane taxidermy shop, Keith Haring at MAM, which was top of the pop(shop)s!; eating pizza by the Sienne (pure sitting on the ground like a local); Dinosaur skeletons at Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (thanks Jen and Alan for the tip); and watching Midnight in Paris with like, a million other people at sunset in Montmartre thanks to Cinéma au Clair de Lune.

On the way home via the I-imagine-it's-stress-free-if-you-don't-leave-everything-to-the-last-minute Eurostar, we also spent a couple of nights in London. This was also good. London kinda frazzles my head a bit and the weather wasn't great but, yeah, getting a (potentially final) look at Southbank, goofing around Tate Modern and generally being a tourist was fun.

Stirling

Having finally finished my run as co-host of the Nicky Tams Pub Quiz in late 2012, I found myself in Stirling (my hometown) pretty infrequently in 2013. The whole Changing Room situation made me pretty fed up with the town from the get-go and, after living in Glasgow for 3-odd years now, the town centre's feeling small and a bit pokey.

That said, Alex and I watched Andy Murray's Wimbledon victory from a pub in Stirling on a sunny summer's day, which was nice; my homeboy Pictish Trail played with Seamus and James at the Tolbooth, which was niiice; and we ate out at Wilawan for my birthday, which, um, smelled nice.

Technology

iMac

I got a new computer! Jesus, did I need it. My old machine had been on on suicide watch for 18 months. I took the plunge on a 27" screen and instantly became a spoiled brat who can never imagine using anything smaller ever again.

If you use a computer for work, get the best one you can afford (I buy computers by patiently saving up small amounts over several years). It makes your life 100 times better.

Retina iPad Mini

My old iPad was feeling a bit creaky so I decided to sell it and pick up either an iPad Air or iPad Mini. I went Mini. I think it was the right choice for me. I use it way more. I chuck it in my bag. I worry about it less. A 16GB, wifi-only, lean & mean machine rather than a big, clunky, stuffed-with-music-I-never-listen to old dog.

Canon 700D

Because I turned 30, I got an extra-special birthday present. A posh camera. I love it. I'm no photographer, but between my Flickr and my (much more frequently used) Instagram, you can see what pictures I take, if you like. The most popular photo I took was of a drawing I was working on but it wasn't the best photo I took all year.

Apps

I'm going to write a full post about what apps I've been using but, as a wee taster, I've been liking Omnifocus for task management, YNAB for being good with money, Tweetbot for Twitter, Soulver for sums, Mr. Reader for reading, Ember for organising images, nvALT + Notesy for notes and Downcast for podcasts.

Games

Neither the PS4 or Xbox One grabbed me enough to buy at launch. I'll get there one day, but not yet.

I didn't keep super up-to-date on new console games in 2013 but I'm enjoying GTA Online (my name is Galletly if you'd like to shoot me. Shouldn't be hard). My go-to game, as always, remains Skate 3.

I've been pottering with Project Zomboid on the Mac.

On the ol' telephone I've played a lot of Letterpress against my dad (I'm davidgalletly on Game Center if you want to play). I know it was released in 2012 but it's probably the best iOS game. Super Hexagon, also released in 2012, still has me hooked. Alex is addicted to Drop 7.

Of the 2013 iOS releases, it was cool to see Frozen Synapse finally reach the iPad. I also thoroughly enjoyed Ridiculous Fishing.

Disappointment of the year: Plants vs. Zombies 2 left a bad taste in my mouth.

Music

I listened to BBC 6 Music all year long, mostly in the daytime while working. The lineup is solid from Shaun Keaveny through Radcliffe and Maconie in the afternoon (I have to turn off at Steve Lamacq). I'll occasionally catch Marc Riley, Jarvis Cocker, Gilles Peterson and Tom Ravenscroft too, all of whom do good stuff. I feel like I've heard a pretty broad, if 6 Music-y, range of music this year.

What did I like? I actually liked the Haim record (I can feel you judging me from here). Daft Punk didn't annoy me like they did everyone else but the album has been on approximately twice. It seemed like there was lots of African music around (the Kenya Special compilation is a good place to start). Lost Map's own Monoganon put out the stonking FAMILY LP and friend-of-the-show Jonnie Common dropped a hell of a pair of singles in Figurehead and Salty (with JMSSCT as CARBS).

My most played song was Ode to Banksy by Jesca Hoop, mostly because I listened to it for three hours straight one night at crunch-time on a deadline. The catchiness of it scratched an itch and the repetitiveness helped me get into a rhythm, I guess. Banksy himself I can take or leave.

Old stuff I've listened to: ESG and Life Without Buildings ticked my, um, moody boxes. Watching the Pixies documentary Gouge on YouTube made me dig out some old favourites (particularly U-Mass). The FFVII Soundtrack, Consciousness by DJ Food and Enter the Wu made me feel like a teenager.

2014?

Och, I dunno.

Kid Canaveral's Christmas Baubles IV

Hello December!

Kid Canaveral's Christmas Baubles returns to Edinburgh for the fourth time, bigger and better than ever. The event at Portobello Town Hall on the 14th has already sold out. With artists like The Pictish Trail, Rozi Plain and Edwyn Collins (bloody hell!) on the bill, it's no wonder. More info over at Lost Map.

I'm chuffed to have been asked to design this year's poster (I also did the first one). It's a simple affair that came together really quickly. Kinda works upside down too.

Putting Edwyn's name on a piece of work felt pretty good.

Monoganon's FAMILY Gathering at CCA, Glasgow

Monoganon's FAMILY Gathering poster

Tomorrow (Sat 9th November), Lost Map's own Monoganon will play at the CCA here in Glasgow to celebrate the launch of their brilliant album F A M I L Y. I'm very much looking forward to this.

Support comes from Eugene Tombs and my good friend The Pictish Trail. You can buy tickets from the Lost Map Ticket Shop (only £6 adv!). As you'd expect, there's a Facebook event with more info.

Don't know Monoganon? Here's a wee introduction:

Say hello if you can make it along. I'm pretty deaf so, if it's noisy, please forgive any inappropriate nods or headshakes when I play guess-a-response.

The above poster was battered together by myself using a photograph by Sebastien Marciak.