Tag Archive for: blackboards

santa feat

Get ready for Xmas design

The nights are turning darker, the shops are selling Xmas stuff, is your business ready for Xmas? A Xmas illustration, a little snow on your logo, a little bit of the magic of Xmas… In the words of Slade’s Noddy Holder, “It’s Christmas!” (in a few weeks).

I draw a mean Santa, and a mean Rudolph.

santa pub xmas blackboards

This scene really reflects the spirit of Xmas for me. I was working all day in this pub in Harringay in North London. It was a Wetherspoons (a quick search online says it is now shut). Unusual for a Wetherspoons in that it was a nice pub, not the Airport hanger factory feel of their modern outlets. Hyggelig they aint!

These two fellas were characters. During the full day I was in the pub painting the blackboards these two were commenting on everything and everyone. Very likeable guys, I don’t think a positive word was said about anyone or anything at any point. The contrast between Santa and Rudolph’s happy faces, I thought was just lovely.

This was one of my favourite aspects of working in pubs and restaurants, merging into the background and hearing all sorts of conversations and dramas unfolding throughout the day. It was like an episode of Eastenders, but with good acting and writing. In one pub I was working near Oxford Street, the actress Wendy Richard (Pauline in Eastenders) was drinking… doof, doof, doof (Eastenders theme). I wrote a lot more on my celebrity experiences in this article.

afc santa super cup

This is a developed illustration for my then client Aberdeen Football Club. The Aberdeen FC mascot Angus the Bull is in the centre. Aberdeen play in red, but when they won the European Super Cup, beating European Cup holders SV Hamburg in December 1983 they wore their away strip which was white.





Blackboards for Copenhagen restaurant Storehouse

As much as I love digital design, my Macs and creative software, it’s great now and again to go back to basics and create some hand-made design. I received an invite from The Storehouse restaurant, part of Adina Apartment Hotel, Amerika Plads, Nordhavn, Copenhagen to paint their blackboards.

When I made my living doing this in London in the nineties working on a brand new refurbishment was always special. Brand new blackboards, to go with a brilliantly designed restaurant with a modern Danish theme. It was great to add some ‘pixie dust’ to the final touches of the interior design. Others may prefer to refer to it as just ‘chalk dust’.


The joy of a blank canvas, ready to paint.


Bottom left-hand corner, I added a subtle detail from Édouard Manet’s The Absinthe Drinker, (see below) which can be found at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen. This was a reference to the restaurant’s Danish style.


The original Manet painting the bottle was copied from. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Absinthe_Drinker

You can see examples of my blackboard art from London in the nineties which also includes Manet.
Blackboard art.