Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Print textures now available to buy...


ROLL UP, ROLL UP!! Print textures now available on Nanamee...

I'm uploading as fast as I can... I'm hoping to get 50 or so textures (screenprints, woodcuts, etching & relief prints) up over the next couple of days, some of which will be FREE.

Check it out!! 

The great thing about Nanamee is that I'm able to upload A4 600dpi images, and you get the choice to download a small file, medium, large Xlarge or XXlarge file, all at suitably low cost. Nanamee is part of You Work For Them, a fantastic font library and resource for graphic designers.

I'm still building my own library site, but with everything else I have going on at the moment, it's a bit of a slow process.

If there's anything you particularly want, but don't see here or on Nanamee, drop me a line. I can probably help...

screen print texture
screen print texture available on Nanamee

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Website progress

I'm not dead! I'm still here, working away on a million things at once. The website has been slow, as I've been involved in some very demanding projects over the past couple of months, including a major restructuring of St Barnabas press (where I have a studio). It IS coming though - don't panic!!!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Shooting Bruce Pearson!

Bruce with a painting made on a yacht in choppy South Georgia seas!
  I spent the morning with venerable wildlife artist Mr Bruce Pearson, shooting the large format images for his incredibly beautiful, upcoming book on Albatrosses. I've been scanning the small and medium sized work on my Heidelberg and Microtek machines for Bruces' publisher, Langford Press. However, there were a handful of paintings too large to fit on any scanner (even our A1 Cruse flat-bed scanner) but which required the best possible level of capture. I have an extensive range of high-end facilities and expertise at my disposal, and can capture ANY type of artwork with an exceedingly high degree of sophistication.

Les Goodey LRPS
We shot Bruce's images using a medium format camera with a 60 megapixel digital back.
Phase One 60 megapixel single-shot camera
 This is around £25,000 worth of camera and lens. It's patched directly to a Mac-Pro and a calibrated monitor so that the images can be instantly checked as we shoot. We can also fire the camera from the Mac (or a cable release), to eliminate camera movement. The resulting digital file is an 11"x17" 600dpi Tiff. Everything is shot with a colour separation guide in the frame so I can carry out any colour balancing back at the press if necessary. The resolution of these digital files far exceeds that required for publishing purposes (commercial offset lithography is 300dpi), but it resolves the very finest colour and tone balance. It also gives Bruce the option to make full size digital prints (giclee) on our 24", 44" and 60" ink-jet printers.

Book jacket oil painting
 We shot 9 images today - 7 large watercolours and 2 oil paintings, most of which exceeded A0 (849mmx1189mm). We have the capacity to shoot artwork of virtually any size, and can shoot on location if necessary. With the camera set up in this instance we can easily shoot work as large as the cream backing board you can see on the blue cabinets.

Bruce mounting a small oil painting

Les setting up the capture software
The lighting rig is as impressive as the camera, resulting in the most wonderful balance of colour and tone.

Medium format rig with 45 megapixel camera
 In addition the photographic equipment at the studio, we have an A1 Cruse scanner - a truly phenomenal piece of equipment which will capture the most incredible level of detail in any piece of artwork - even with a heavy gloss varnish or in a glazed frame, without any glare (what else would you expect from a German high-end machine costing £200,000?). We also have an A2 Zeutschel overhead scanner which makes neat work to 600dpi of virtually anything you put under it.

I'll be back in the studio next Monday to shoot a further 10 pieces of work by a well known Chinese artist which is going to be turned into a series of elaborate editioned woodcuts by James Hill at St Barnabas Press.

If you're interested in finding out more about high-end digital capture, please do drop me a line.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

website progress

scored steel relief print
The website for the print texture bank is coming along slowly but surely... Thank you SO much to those of you who've provided such valuable feedback so far. You'll all be receiving a free selection of high res digital textures for your efforts. Please feel free to drop me a line if there's anything you'd like to see on the site, or have any ideas at all that you think might be relevant  - comment below, or email me...

New Heidelberg scanner

I've just installed a new Heidelberg Nexscan f4200 scanner.... It's a BEAST!!! I have a Microtek 9800xl which is a fantastic machine with an optical resolution of 1600dpi, but this is a different kettle of fish all together! It's as big as a washing machine and weighs about the same too. It has a max optical resolution of 5080dpi and has no mirrors inside to distort the image. These babies are widely regarded as being among the very best flat bed scanners in the world...

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Woodgrain, Perspex and zinc print textures for the digital bank

I've been relief printing from oak woodcut panels, fibreboard, etched perspex, etched zinc, and scored zinc today. Simple black intaglio ink applied by roller and printed in our glorious Columbian press, onto heavy cartridge paper. At the point where there was hardly any ink left on the plates, I switched to Bristol board - very smooth paper, which really allowed every remaining mark to show. We also have a fine Albion press, but the Columbian was set up ready to go today - perfect, given my mega busy week. So some 40-50 fine textures will be added to the library over the next week or two. If I'd remembered to add drier to the ink, I'd be able to scan them tomorrow, but alas - my brain is a little overloaded this week! Still.... A very productive morning!


Print textures now available to buy at Nanamee...


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Ryan Air

It's a fine airline service. Quality service. I'm sure it's as safe as houses.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Digital print texture bank - working on a new website

Due to the unprecedented global interest I've received over the past few months with regard to an online print texture bank, I've decided to go ahead and set up a website to make these textures available (It's a no brainer, really!)

The bank will exclusively contain print based textures hand made and digitized at St Barnabas press, and will include Silk-Screen (Serigraph), Etching, Aquatint, Carborundum, Woodblock, Stone Lithography, and a host of more esoteric processes.

Low resolution (72dpi), mid resolution (150 dpi) and high resolution (300dpi) file versions will be available, as well as native 600dpi 48bit RGB Tiffs, for those who require even greater resolution and flexibility. The original printed material will also be archived, so even higher resolution options will remain available.

I'm hoping to have the site ready to go live by the end of summer. I'd be able to make it available sooner, if I weren't already very busy with other projects. In the mean time - if you need a texture of some sort - an A3 screenprinted panel, or an etching texture for example - you can email me and make a request, no problemo!

Thanks to everyone who's emailed me feedback to the original post on this subject. Please let me know if there's anything specific you'd like to see on the new site, or if you have any opinions and ideas as to pricing or file formats, etc. I'd also like to know specifically how you might use such textures, the techniques and applications you'd use to employ them, and what sort of textures you'd like to see... Comment on this post, or email me, please.

Watch this space for updates.


Print textures now available to buy at Nanamee...


Wednesday, 7 March 2012



Sketchbook drawing of Hardsuit1200. I want one of these - for anyone who happens to have a spare $500,000 and wants to get me a present...

Friday, 17 February 2012

Digital print texture bank - for illustrators & designers

One of the advantages of having a studio in a large printmaking workshop, is that I have access to everybody's rubbish!!

Over the years, I've struggled to find a consistent source of high quality print textures, for use in digital illustration and design. There are bits and bobs on the web, as you'd expect, but apart from the low resolution required to compress most internet images, there's also the issue of moral rights. Sure - maybe not a burning issue for many as a texture may only be an enhancement to an image, rather than the focus, but it's not good practice really - is it?

Over the past 8 months, I've been scavenging, rifling through bins and drawers (in typical Sim fashion), and generally pestering the artists at the press to donate what largely constitutes rubbish in most print processes, but which to me is texture GOLD!!

I've been collecting, preparing and scanning this material, and I now have a significant digital library of textures which to all intents and purposes would be impossible to recreate digitally. I've also been screen printing colour blocks, blotting and thinning the ink as I produce a run, to get as much texture variation as possible. I use these colour blocks as image backgrounds, frequently overlaid with textures form other processes, such as etching.

It's occurred to me recently that, as it's such a valuable resource to me, it may well be to other illustrators, digital artists, graphic designers, compositors, 3D & CGI artists, animators, etc. Before I just go ahead and make all this stuff available though, I'd be very interested to get as much feedback as possible on the matter. Please feel free to comment on this post, or email me.

I use a Microtek 9800XL pre-press scanner. It produces VERY high quality scans. It will scan at resolutions up to 1600dpi, but as a rule I tend to scan everything at 600dpi, 48 bit RGB TIFF's. Unless there's a requirement for dramatic enlargement (for large format digital print, for example), 600dpi is more than enough. Most high quality publications are printed at 300dpi, so there's plenty of margin there.

Above is an example of a prized find... a test print from an etching plate onto stiff proofing paper.

Another great find - a piece of newsprint which an artist had used to rest a roller loaded with oil-based relief ink.

These are great... I have very many, many variations. It's tissue paper used to protect etching press blankets from ink smeared plates. They take a fair bit of preparation prior to scanning, as the tissue wrinkles substantially due to the pressure and the softness of the blankets.

This is an example of a bespoke screen printed colour block. The first few prints in the run tend to result in solid blocks of colour - although at reasonably high resolutions, they still contain lots of textural depth and variation. As the run progresses, the prints become more varied. I purposefully introduce mistakes, and allow errors to happen, as they make for very interesting broken edges and marks. I only stop the run when the ink is gone, and the images become so feint and broken, as to render them pointless. This makes for a huge bandwidth of useable textures. This particular example has been re-coloured in Photoshop. I also have all manner of marks, from drips and splashes to smudges, thinned ink rubbed by cloth onto newsprint, hand & finger marks, brush strokes, screen filler (translucent blue) on acetate, scanned using a transparency adapter which makes for a very striking effect, scratched perspex, and all manner of dots, splodges and marks - too numerous to mention!!

I currently have around 300-400 scans, which I'm adding to all the time.

If you've stumbled across this post in a hunt for such textures - please do post your feedback below. If you're struggling to find something that you need now, do email me... I may have exactly what you're looking for!!


Print textures now available to buy at Nanamee (part of You Work For Them)


My website's on the way, but I'm too busy to make it happen soon, Nanamee are great though, and the images are all available as large 600dpi files. You get to choose between small, medium, large, Xlarge, and XXlarge files at great prices - So we're all happy!!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

No Escape

No Escape
A piece I made last year after refreshing my screenprinting skills at the press. I just love those NY fire escapes.... I'm thinking about animating this sometime...

Wednesday, 15 February 2012



This is another image from my book about Bluefin Tuna. The text is temporarily set in Populaire, but the finished thing will be hand written...

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

X-Ray Spex

Mike Oughton

This is Mr Mike Oughton, Punmeister General at McCann Erickson in London Taaaaaaaan. A little portrait wot I dun last year...

Slapstick Manifesto

Slapstick Manifesto

If only there were more strategically positioned pianos teetering dangerously on the parapets of high buildings, the world might be a better place? I'd like to think so.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Mellieha Birdman

For a country with so many hunters prepared to shoot anything out of the sky, it's somewhat surprising that there are also so many pigeon fanciers on the Island as well. It comes as no surprise, however, to learn that the two groups frequently collide...

Maltese Hunter

Oh, how the Maltese love to hunt!! This is a drawing I made the summer before last following an upclose & personal encounter with a group of hunters in a designated picnic area near Mellieha. 4 guys, dressed to kill, swept through our peaceful lunch spot randomly blasting stuff as they went! There are hunting 'shacks' dotted all over the island in the most unlikely places - 50 yards from Childrens play areas, right next to a bird reserve, inside picnic spots...

Malta is a natural refuge for many migratory birds, but for significant numbers, it becomes their last resting place. Herons, Owls, Raptors, Warblers, Sea birds of all descriptions... Nothing is sacred - That is all except the hunters traditional and seemingly divine right to annihilate...

Monday, 6 February 2012

Le Chasseral, Jura Mountains, Switzerland

This is a drawing I made last year, of a communication tower on the highest peak in the Jura Mountains in Switzerland.

Everybody's Sukkiri

Something non-Tuna related! This is a drawing I did a couple of years ago (from a photo, as there aren't too many Japanese garbage trucks around in Malta!). If only all utilitarian vehicles and appliances were this cheerful looking!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Knights of the Brine

This is one of the first images I produced for the book, whilst living in Switzerland. I had an opportunity to dive with these magnificent animals whilst in Malta the previous summer. Tuna are stiff bodied, muscular fish and they struck me as being somewhat robotic. It was a surreal and unforgettable experience. 1000 fish around 250+kg each. Just a shame they were in a pen, destined for the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo to be sliced up for sushi...

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Courting Disaster

'Courting Disaster' - This image is for a section of the book about the mismanagement of the Tuna fishery in the Atlantic & the Mediterranean. 

Monday, 30 January 2012

Tuna Book

This is a raw painting (i.e. It hasn't had any digital jiggery-pokery done to it yet) for 'The Tuna Book' that I've been working on for the past 18 months or so...

Sunday, 29 January 2012

New Studio...

This is my first blog post in more than two years, and I have rather a lot of news and developments to share. So I thought I'd keep things simple and start by sharing some photos of St Barnabas Press in Cambridge, where I now have a small studio. I've been here for the past 8 months. I'm fully settled in and LOVING every minute of it! No more working from home for me...

St Barnabas Press is a rare and magnificent fine art printmaking workshop on the edge of the City, owned and run by the rather special Mr James Hill - Master Printer, and his artist wife Aimin. They're ably assisted by Mrs Fiona Thomas - silkscreen & etching genius, and an artist in her own right.

The workshop is crammed full of presses, ancient & modern for most kinds of printmaking including Etching, Stone Lithography, Relief and silkscreen. There's also a digital suite with large format Epson and Canon printers. There's also a very busy framing dept run by Mr George Hill, Cambridge's finest picture framer & jungle / reggae DJ!!

There are about 14 artists (including me) who rent studio space at the Press. It's also an open access facility which makes it a bustling hive of creative goings on most of the time. Most of the resident artists integrate some form of printmaking in their work, but there are also sculptors, ceramicists, painters, illustrators and such like. There are also frequent courses in printmaking and other creative disciplines running, so there's often a very bustling atmosphere. Very refreshing after almost 10 years of solitary confinement in my home studio!!

Aimin also runs an initiative called Art China, which specializes in creating and maintaining links with printmakers and other artists in China. There are frequent exhibitions in the gallery upstairs at St Barnabas, and visiting artists often give demonstrations and run workshops.

Apart from teaching, managing the place, hanging shows, mending stuff, tidying up, fixing network issues, being perpetually asked technical questions by everyone, and running around like a headless chicken... James' specialist area of expertise is in editioning prints for other professional artists. So when does he find any time at all to produce his own work? Well, it wouldn't be unusual for the lights to be on in the press at 4am, James up to his elbows in sticky ink and levitating an inch above the ground due to the powerful coffee which fuels him. To say he's 'driven' would be an understatement!

If you happen to be in the Cambridge area, please feel free to drop by and see what's going on. Alternatively check out the website for more info...

St Barnabas Press, Belfast Yard, Coldhams Rd, Cambridge CB1 3EW           tel. 01223 413792