Friday, 31 December 2010



Play hard, play safe. Have an awesome New Year and see you in 2011. Because that's tomorrow. So, you know, fingers crossed we'll all still be here.


Click on the drawing for a closer look.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Monday, 27 December 2010

Friday, 24 December 2010



Wishing those of you who celebrate such things at this time of year a Merry Christmas. Thank you for supporting SAD FACE this year, it's been wonderful to receive your emails and hear your kind words about the project.

I hope to continue to bring SAD FACE to your screens and into your lives in 2011.

Be kind to each other, and think happy thoughts.


Tuesday, 21 December 2010


RETURNSPUBLISHED: Wednesday 8th September 2010, Thursday 9th September 2010, and Wednesday 29th September 2010.

THE STORY: 'RETURNS' (aka 'REFUND') remains one of my favourite SAD FACE illustrations. In the drawing, SAD FACE is mostly obscured by a large package. The front of the package is addressed to 'LIVES-R-US, RETURNS DEPT', and the text of the illustration reveals that SAD FACE is returning his life because it isn't the one he ordered. I seriously wish it was that easy to exchange a difficult life for one that isn't so hard.

The address on the box is in code, a reference to one of my favourite films, 'Logan's Run' (which was a book first). Set in the year 2274, to manage the population and resources, humans are sent to the Carrousel (sic) for 'regeneration' at the age of 30. Logan 5 is a 'Sandman', a kind of police man, who is tasked to investigate the rumour of a placed called 'Sanctuary'.
I ran a small competition in conjunction with this illustration, with the first person to correctly guess what the code meant receiving a signed print of the illustration. The competition was won by someone very nice.

Thursday, 16 December 2010


BOXPUBLISHED: Thursday 2nd September 2010, Wednesday 8th September 2010, and Wednesday 29th September 2010.

THE STORY: All cats love boxes. All of them. The look on a cats face when it is in a box is one of my most favourite things in the world. Even SAD FACE loves a box. In this illustration SAD FACE has a box, and regardless of the look on his face, you can be guaranteed that he is delighted with this.

One of my real life cats Monkey is especially fond of boxes, and loves to sit in them, looking out on the world. Just watching. Smiling. Sometimes she falls asleep in them. It doesn't even matter if the box is too small. In fact, she rather likes small boxes.

The 'BOX' illustration was drawn on brilliant white 135gsm sketching paper, with Faber Castle Pitt Artist Pens, and finished in Photoshop.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010



PUBLISHED: Tuesday 31st August 2010, Thursday 9th September 2010, and Wednesday 29th September 2010.

THE STORY: Drawn from personal experience, 'COOKIE' came about at a time when I was trying really, really hard to lose some weight. I think it's called dieting. To try and achieve my weight loss goal, I cut out all treats. All of them. It was an effective way to lose weight, and I did manage to lose some, however it was hard. All I could think about was food. Specifically, my favourite foods. My favourite foods are cake, chocolate and cookies, to name three.

Not allowing myself treat foods was hard, and I spent a lot of time lying around feeling sorry for myself. It was a miserable time, and I do not recommend it.

'COOKIE' was drawn on A5 brilliant white sketching paper with Faber Castle Pitt Artist Pens, and finished in Photoshop.

Thursday, 9 December 2010


ACHIEVEMENTS PUBLISHED: Friday 27th August 2010, Wednesday 8th September 2010, and Wednesday 29th September 2010.

THE STORY: This SAD FACE illustration was inspired by a certain someone, and made it's d├ębut on my personal blog site. In the blog piece I wrote about how I was raised 'not to get above myself', and how that ingrained attitude has held me back over the years.

The drawing itself came about one day after hanging out with Monkey. Although she is ten years old, she still loves to play, and enjoys toys. The plastic mouse depicted in this illustration exists, and is the favoured toy of the household. However, I can never find it, because they insist on keeping it under things. I'll fish it out, and ten minutes later it's under something again. You might imagine I tire of this faster than they do.

The look on Monkey's face when she plays with this toy is ridiculous. You'd think for all the world that the plastic mouse is real and she's ever so bravely killed it with her bare paws, no doubt after an epic battle. She sits there smugly, her chest puffed out, so pleased with herself. I appreciate the simplicity of her life, and understand that killing a plastic mouse really is a grand achievement in her mind, and that we should all be awfully proud of her.

This is the first SAD FACE illustration to be drawn on A5 brilliant white 135gsm sketching paper, which is how the majority of SAD FACE illustrations are now created. I'm afraid I can't remember if this was when I started using Faber Castle Pitt Artist Pens (at the advice of a fellow artist). I suspect it was, though, as I went shopping for the paper, and would have bought the pens at the same time. The logic is infallible.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


NOT GETTING OUT OF BEDPUBLISHED: Tuesday 24th August 2010, Wednesday 29th September 2010, and Thursday 9th September 2010.

THE STORY: The second ever SAD FACE illustration came at a time when I wasn't feeling so great personally. 2009-2010 have been tough years for me and for a lot of 2010 I haven't really been functioning that well. 'NOT GETTING OUT OF BED' pretty much sums up how I feel every single morning. The fact of the matter is that I do get out of bed, every day, but some days are harder than others.

'Not GETTING OUT OF BED' is a reflection of what I really want to do, though, and creating the illustration made me feel good. If I couldn't stay in bed, then I would let SAD FACE. He got to do what I really wanted to do. Talk about projection.

The simplicity of this line drawing is part of the reason I feel it works so well. When teamed with the text, the viewer immediately understands what is happening in the illustration.

'NOT GETTING OUT OF BED' is also drawn on 6 x 4 gloss photo paper with a black edding 1800 profipen 0.5 like the first illustration 'DAMN HARD', scanned, and finished in Photoshop.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Twitter Joke Trial Fund: An auction to aid Paul Chambers **UPDATED**

EDIT 04/12/10: The auction ended yesterday at 5pm GMT, with the highest bid being £400 from a silent bidder. The silent bidder has chosen the 1/50 'SPARTACUS' print. 'SPARTACUS' print 2/50 has been gifted to @crazycolours, and 3/50 gifted to @TwJokeTrialFund. 'SPARTACUS' prints 4/50 and 5/50 have been bought for £250 and £150 respectively. Print 1/50 'BOAT' has been purchased for £125.

All the proceeds from the auction and sale of these prints are going directly to/have gone directly to the Twitter Joke Fund Appeal.

When I entered into the idea of running an auction for Paul, I could not possibly foresee this amazing outcome, and I am humbled by the generosity of the online community. Thank you to absolutely everyone who took part, and to @nickparkhouse for having the idea in the first place. I piggy-backed on his coat tails, and unexpectedly stole his thunder. He's being very good about it, though, and I bought him some scones yesterday to make up for it.

EDIT 29/11/10: For the duration of the auction, new SAD FACE illustrations will appear below this post.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, we lived in a time when we could be sarcastic without fear of retribution. Where we could say or write dumb things, and people knew we were saying something dumb, and the worst that might happen is that someone might shout at you in a really loud voice, and perhaps call you a 'nob'. Or maybe even a 'wanker'. And then it would be all over and the dust would settle and we would all be friends again.

Recently, something happened that has changed all that. In the UK, a man named Paul Chambers wrote something dumb on the social networking site Twitter, and he got into a great deal of trouble. He was prosecuted and found guilty. He was fined and given a criminal record. It's all a bit unbelievable, really, but affects all of us very deeply. It has set a precedent against which all other similar cases can be measured.

If you were to write something threatening and dumb on Twitter, or Facebook, or your Tumblr, or anywhere, and the person or people you write it about decide to prosecute you, they could win, and your life could be destroyed. As it stands, Paul Chambers can't become an accountant now. Not unless he wins his appeal. That might not seem like a big deal to you, but think about it. What if something dumb you once wrote in jest meant you could not follow the career path of your choice? What if it meant you could not travel to some fantastic foreign countries? It's all possible now, thanks to this bizarre ruling.

Paul Chambers is appealing his conviction. To do so is going to cost him in excess of £10,000. A whole bunch of people, Stephen Fry included, want to help Paul. And so do I, because I understand that this could have happened to anyone, and can happen again if Paul doesn't appeal like he is, which freaks me the hell out. We need Paul to appeal. And we need Paul to win.

To help in my own small way, I would like to auction a signed and numbered limited edition A4 size SAD FACE print. It will be print number 1 of 50. I've chosen a special illustration for the auction, one that reflects perhaps how poor Paul might be feeling.

All proceeds will be going to the Twitter Joke Trial Fund, set up on behalf of Paul, and given his approval.

To bid on the auction, please leave a bid in the comments. The auction will end at 5pm GMT, Friday 3rd December, 2010. The highest bidder at that time will be the winner. I will post the print anywhere in the world as required.

Many thanks, and all the best to Paul.


UPDATE: So I went up the loft after I started the auction. And while I was up there I was struck by some inspiration, whereupon I came down from the loft and drew this.


If the winner of the auction prefers this illustration above the other, then they are most welcome to have a signed limited edition A4 print of this one as their bounty instead. Again, it will be numbered 1 of 50.

Also, I failed to mention it before, but yes, the auction is in GBP.

As you were.



Thursday, 2 December 2010


DAMN HARD 640 x 960

THE STORY: SAD FACE was created on Saturday 21st August 2010. The inspiration for this illustration came simply to my minds eye one night at bed time the week previous. I was literally in bed and I saw SAD FACE's face in my minds eye. That is how it happened. At the time I thought to myself 'What a sad face'. Immediately I knew I wanted to draw him, and I also immediately understood what SAD FACE was. Or is. His name came with him, and is written all in capitals, because that is how my friend Jenni and I write it on Twitter when we are expressing profound disappointment with the hurdles life puts in front of us, and it seemed very right to do the same for SAD FACE.

A few days later I sat down with some paper, pencils and pens, and drew this very fist SAD FACE. That day I used a single black fine-liner (edding 1800 profipen 0.5) on some 6 x 4 gloss photo paper, which is why it looks a bit different to all the later SAD FACE illustrations (drawn on A5 brilliant white 135gsm sketching paper). When I first imagined him, SAD FACE was in colour; dark grey on light grey as we see him now. Wanting to reproduce him as faithfully as possible, I looked to my scanner and Photoshop for help, making SAD FACE a mixed media production. I have since tried to reproduce SAD FACE with both coloured pencils and marker pens, but have thus far been very disappointed with the results. I do continue to experiment with various media, and maybe one day I will find something I am happy with.

The sentiment behind this first illustration, DAMN HARD, sets the scene for many SAD FACE illustrations that follow. SAD FACE does not find life very easy, something I think all of us can relate to in some way. The decision to include text in the illustration was something that I gave some thought to, though the exact wording for this illustration was simple enough to decide upon. Not all SAD FACE illustrations have text, but the ones that do can require quite a bit of mulling over, and can keep me awake at night.  Seriously.