Withered Hand: Heart Heart EP

Of all the things I work on, I think the stuff I get to do for the Scottish music label Fence Records is my favourite. I've been a fan forever and this latest project has allowed me to be involved in something that I remember wishing I could do back in college.

Back then, Fence would release really cool little EPs on CD-R as a kind of record-club called Picket Fence. I had tons of these things. The artists had complete freedom and, because it was quite a small-scale set up, you'd get loads of odd music and weirdness that you couldn't find on 'proper' albums. Each PF release came in a neat wee cardboard sleeve with artwork by the act themselves and, if I remember correctly, a spray painted issue number. *

I loved that stuff. I remember showing them to my classmates saying how cool it would be to work on something like that.

Well, recently Johnny and Kenny asked me if I'd be interested in working on the artwork to a kind of spiritual-successor to the Picket Fences. Of course I bloomin' would! Didn't they know I'd said to my classmates how cool it would be to work on something like that 10 years ago?

So, as of last month, I'm happy to announce the launch of Chart-Ruse. The initial set in the F3NC3 R⅓CORDS’ 33s subscription-based EP series. **

Kicking things off, is Heart Heart EP by Edinburgh's mighty Withered Hand. The 7'' vinyl features 3 tracks plus a King Creosote remix which is exclusive to the record itself (as in, you can't even download it like you can the others). The title track is particularly fantastic and can be enjoyed here:

For the artwork, I gathered together dozens of ancient maps, charts and diagrams and set to work with my (digital) scissors and glue to collage together a bright green (chartreuse - get it?) fantasy-world of mountains and sea monsters. The reverse (which can be seen properly here) features a broken-heart design that I adapted from Withered Hand himself.

The end result is something I'm really happy with. I tried to keep it loose and fun and, well, Fencey, while at the same time giving the series its own particular look and feel.

Moving on from here, the artwork for the next two Chart-Ruse EPs (by Delifinger and a still-secret third artist) will feature different islands and additions to part 1. Following that, we'll change the colour, change the title and change the artwork for the next 3. And so on, and so on. Confusing? Yeah, kinda, but that's the fun of it. As time goes on, it'll start to make sense.

The Chart-Ruse subscriptions have sold out but you can buy Withered Hand's Heart Heart EP and pre-order Delifinger's Escapes EP individually. Keep an eye out for news on the third release, and subsequent sets in the series, by following Fence or myself on Twitter. The full artwork is on my site and there are more photos on my Flickr.

* The spraypaint would make the CD stick inside the sleeve in the most maddening way. It somehow added to the charm, however.

** Fence, as you may have noticed, LOVE a convoluted title and a bad pun. KC's doing, I think.

Fence's Flamin' Hott Loggz Poster

Fence's Flamin' Hott Loggz Poster

Again I am delighted to have been allowed to help out the Fence Collective with another poster design. This time it's for a Guy Fawkes shindig up at their Anstruther HQ. Johnny 'Pictish Trail' Lynch asked if I could come up with something suitably silly to illustrate his 'Gunpowder, Treason and… Plop' Bonfire Night theme.

My time was quite tight but, thankfully, the brief kinda suited something being a little rough around the edges. Taking a cue from my What I Wore Today drawings, I cranked out this pair of beardy fellows and a titular hott-logg and things just came together. This is actually my first ever fully hand-drawn poster design, which took me a little by surprise. The colouring was added digitally but apart from that, it's all pens and paper. Getting text to sit well with my drawings is something I've always struggled with.

As with all Fence events, I wholeheartedly recommend you get your arse along to the Hott Loggz party if at all possible. Fence Records consistently put out some of Scotland's finest music and their live gigs are a joy to witness. Recently I've caught a little sneak-listen to some upcoming releases and, honestly, if you follow what they do, you're in for a treat. Here are the details:

Fence's Flamin' Hott Loggz
An all-day (2pm - 1am) event of music & excitement
Saturday, 5th November
Anstruther, Fife, Scotland
Featuring a yet-to-be-announced line-up of Fence Collective members + friends.

Tickets are available here.

I'm gonna try my best to head up for the show. Despite the promise of a bonfire, a Scottish seaside in November will be damn cold, so wrap up warm.

Homegame Logo

Every year for the past, I dunno, 5, we've attended Fence's fantastic Homegame up in Anstruther. So how chuffed do you think I was when Johnny asked me to put together a logo for this year's festival? Exactly, Chuffington World of Adventures.

Now, logo design isn't something I've ever particularly had a knack for, but I gave it a go nonetheless. After a false-start or two I finally settled on the above. My Homegame logo was constructed entirely from collaging together letters and shapes from an old, old stamp collecting book of my Dad's (not the stamps, just using the book itself). All the little scraggles and wonks are genuine been-in-the-loft-for-50-years scraggles and wonks.

Also, I unconsciously managed to hark back to Kirsty Thomas' lovely cut-out design from last year, with the bunting-esque elements. A good thing!

As for the festival - get yourself there if at all possible, it's always brilliant fun. I've posted about it many times on this here blog. Head to fencerecords.com for details of acts, tickets, times, dates etc. etc. Perhaps I will see you there, dogg.

Kid Canaveral's Christmas Baubles

Here's a quick poster I've made for the fantastic Kid Canaveral and their Christmas party / gig / event type thing, Kid Canaveral's Christmas Baubles. Really chuffed to have been asked to do this - I've seen KC (and a bunch of the other bands on the lineup) a good few times over the years at various Fence things and I'm a big fan. I'd thoroughly recommend getting a copy of their recent Shouting at Wildlife record, it's top of the pops.

As far as the poster is concerned, I had a wee false start with this one and completely changed direction at the last minute. The mashed-up Radio Times Christmas listings is my, very British, nod to Art Chantry, who I'm a great fan of. I'm gathering quite a collection of really weird vintage clip-art these days.

Anyway, the gig will kick off at 2pm at The Lot in Edinburgh on Saturday 18th December. If you can make it, you definitely should. Great music, great food, great fun. Great! Thanks to Kate from Kid Canaveral for getting me on board. Here are the full details for easy reading and for the old search engines:

Kid Canaveral's Christmas Baubles
What?: A festive party with live music
Where?: The Lot, Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2JU
When?: Saturday, 18th December from 2pm
Who?: Ballboy, King Creosote (solo), Kid Canaveral, Come On Gang! Cancel the Astronauts, The Last Battle and Gummi Bako + Song, By Toad & Straight to Video DJs
How?: For tickets, visit kidcanaveral.co.uk or nip in to Avalanche Records in Edinburgh.

If this sounds like it's up your street (or up the street of people you know), give it a mention wherever you can. That would be magic. Christmas is really creeping up, eh? Jesus Christ.

Fence Hallowe'en Party

For the past, jeez, 10 or more years now I've been a big fan of Fence Records, a record label and collective of musicians based in Fife, Scotland who make some very good music and put on some very good events. This month, they're having their annual Hallowe'en party in Glasgow and I was very happy to have been asked to design the poster.

I think it turned out pretty good. The deadline was quite short on this one, so I kinda just went a bit nutty grabbing all sorts of odds & ends and mashing them into shape. Looking back at my sketchbook, the only planning I really got done was writing 'cowboys + sci-fi + vintage horror + Fence' in the corner and a couple of quick scribbled layouts. Sometimes it's better just to have fun and cross your fingers that a few ideas will jump out at you along the way.

Anyway, the party is sure to be a belter. If you can make it along, you should. Can you think of anything better to do on Hallowe'en than a full day of live music, djs, fancy dress (fency dress), drinking, dancing and general goodness? I doubt it. It's like a mini-Hallowe'en festival for Christ's sake. They've even set the great wee theme of 'wild-west 3010: space cowboys & aliens' to get your costume ideas a-flowin'. How nice not to be bombarded with a million folk kitted out as The Joker, a 'sexy' cat or the ever-hilarious Borat*.

The important details are as follows:

Fence Hallowe'en Fancy-Dress Party

On: Sunday, October 31st, 2pm - 2am
At: Stereo / The Old Hairdresser (which is the building across the lane from Stereo)
In: Glasgow
Remember: Fancy dress is mandatory, so no spoilsports
Tickets: are available at fencerecords.com, £25 for the full day.

I'll hopefully do a little reminder post shortly or perhaps write a little more about Fence for anyone who isn't familiar with who they are and what they do.

If you could, please promote/post/tweet this poster and details of the event. That would be great. There is a larger version here if you need it. They'll be up around Glasgow and beyond shortly. Hopefully there might even be a few for sale at the gig. Big thanks to Johnny Pictish for getting me on board.

* not hilarious