Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Worldwide Weirdies. I've been enjoying coming across these scans of Ken Reid's full-page illustrations for Whoopee comic in the late 70's. £2 was the prize awarded to the imaginative tykes who sent in a winning title. Think my favourite here is 'Shiverpool Docks'...

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Seaside Signs. British seaside towns are suffering the blight of ugly computer signage just as much as the high street. However, if you look carefully there are usually some surviving hand-painted items to catch the eye. Here are some examples I came across at "sunny" Seaton Carew near Hartlepool. I like the way someone has added a swastika to the Traffic Warden sign. The figure reminded me of Blakey from On the Buses...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mail-order clothing catalogues. Autumn mists have been appearing and there is a new chill in the air. It must be time to begin wearing warmer clothes again. Before the advent of the internet the only alternative to high-street shopping for a warm cardy or thermal long-johns was the mail-order catalogue. Here is a scan from my own collection plus a short strip inspired by these musty old publications.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Derelict Odeon. Out of town cinema multiplexes replaced cinemas long ago in smaller towns. This sorry looking monolith in central Hartlepool was once an Odeon as you will see from the familiar '30s outline and faded ghost-sign. It seems there was an unsuccessful attempt to turn it into an 'American Bar' (see Pool/Snooker sign) and its frontage seems to have been host to a number of shops now abandoned and crumbling. One faint shop fascia which caught my eye was for the Tan Ya Hyde solarium. Not the most classy of shop names in which to top up your George Michael bronzing. The whole building is now in such a state of decrepitude that pigeons have occupied its upper storey and the damp rot is undulating into interesting underground-cavern patterns. Its a safe bet this place will be un-used for a little while longer...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Derelict Methodist Chapels. As a follow-up to my earlier Primitive Methodist post here are two empty and boarded-up Methodist Chapels within walking distance of each other in Hartlepool. I love these simple barn-like Victorian buildings. I wonder how long ago they were full of song and activity?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Disappearing Phrase. A variation on having a "loose slate" or being "a sandwich short of a picnic."

Monday, September 06, 2010

Andy Capp statue. I took a trip today to see a bronze tribute to that great northern cartoon character Andy Capp. The five foot high statue is situated outside a pub named The Harbour of Refuge in Hartlepool.

Capp's creator, Reg Smyth, lived in Hartlepool though his strips (in print since 1957) have been translated all over the world. Apparently in Germany Capp is called Willi Wakker and in France Andre Chapeau.

Some photos from todays trip above and also a classic strip and two early book collection covers for good measure.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Primitive Methodist illustration. This drawing appeared in The Sound Projector music magazine issue 10 way back in 2002. The North East has many 'Primitive Methodist' chapel buildings in its landscape, most now closed or converted into houses. I was interested to read that the Primitives were also known as 'ranters' or 'shouters' because of their noisy and often open-air hymn singing. The Primitive chapel goers were also known for acceptance of women preachers, teetotalism and a form of Christianity attuned to the needs of labouring people.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Hand Painted Sign site. TypArchive is an image library with a simple mission-statement which Bagnall's Retreat can heartily endorse: "Amidst a landscape of vapid malls and sterile (computer) signage, hand-painted lettering retains an aesthetic to be treasured..."
You can also contribute your own photos of the fading art of hand lettering. Take a look here...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dad's Eye strip. I thought I'd post all of the pages of Dad's Eye, because it hasn't been seen for a while. It originally appeared in a no longer available self-published comic called Knitting for Whitsun back in 2006. The story is partly true and the setting is based on views of Easington Lane and Horden Co.Durham, both depressed former mining villages. Included is a sketch book page in which I was working out how the two characters would look.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Get A Trade pictures. Here are the finished drawings without colour. Mechanic, Signwriter, Plumber and Bricklayer. Learn a Trade and you'll have a future!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sketch book pages. Here are some preliminary idea pages I drew for a series of four 'Get A Trade' illustrations. These were meant to be careers-advice style pictures from an earlier era, supposedly aimed at encouraging boys into manual trades such as Plumber, Mechanic, Signwriter and Bricklayer.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sketch book pages. A couple of 70s themed drawings. One was for a Christmas card, the other for a CDr compilation.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

An Old Joke #2. Another sketch book strip inspired by the 1939 Remember When article.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

An Old Joke #1. One regional magazine I often buy is Remember When, which aims to record the recent history of the North East through the memories of local people. Published by the Newcastle Evening Chronicle this mag can feature some quirky vintage photos and articles.

I drew the above strip this week in my sketch book using a joke from a reprinted Evening Chronicle article from 1939.