Through The Haze Unnoticed

I’m now blogging on tumblr, where you can see stuff like this:

head over to Through The Haze Unnoticed


Wolves in the Throne Room Screenprint and Taint poster

for those that didn’t make it to the gig, here’s one of the screenprinted posters for the Wolves show. I’ll put these up for sale on my website in a sec, so go grab one!

I’ve also just designed a poster for the next fatout show (not including the one tonight, which everyone should go to), featuring the rather thundering Taint, with support from Manatees and Loss Leader.

Here’s the pencil sketch I used to make this:

Currently listening to:  Miles Davis – Aura

Water and Stone

The immaterial enters the impenetrable

This one was done as a monoprint on a zinc etching plate. It’s quite hard to capture the colour and texture on the paper but still it looks good to me.


What’s softest in the world

rushes and runs

over what’s hardest in the world.

The immaterial


the impenetrable.

So I know the good in not doing.

The wordless teaching,

the profit in not doing –

not many people understand it.

from Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, translation by Ursula K. Le Guin

Currently listening to: Scuba – Triangulation

screen-printing FATZINE Issue 3!

Take a look at these mothers!

We’ve finally finished putting together the third issue of Fatzine, which has the theme of politics, for obvious reasons. The last few days I’ve been at Hot Bed Press in Salford, screenprinting this 4 colour (3 separation) design on the front of every fresh copy… that’s 150 copies, so yeah, it took a while.

It looks so good though.

Polly wanted some graffiti done for the front cover to tie in with our interview with Manchester-based street artist kElzO, and the graffiti theme we ran with inside, so she got in touch with Nathan Thoday, one of our friends from school, who whipped up this amazing design for us:

Nathan’s always been so good at lettering and this is no exception, I love it. You should also definitely check out his new enterprise, ATD Apparel (Attention To Detail), which has a group on facebook, and I think he’s making a website soon.

we wanted to spray the front covers, so Nathan also made this intricate stencil:

unfortunately polly forgot to mention it had to be small enough to fit on the A5 front cover, and this one was more like A3 in length. We decided that it was gonna be too hard to cut out a stencil at A5 size, so I went about preparing some separations so I could screen-print it instead.

First I photocopied the stencil and reduced it..

Then I drew three separations from this on bits of tracing paper:

I wanted to use the gradient shading from the original drawing but you have to do it as little dots, which works with screen-printing.

I decided to go for red, yellow and blue, seeing as it’s the politics issue after all, but then when I was setting up the last drop shadow layer, I couldn’t resist getting some green in there, so the shadow has a green to blue gradient.

I really like the texture of it, it looks kinda rough but it’s a hand drawn design and it suits that;  it works without needing to be polished and graphic.

Here’s a little preview of what you will see in this issue:

You’ll be able to order one of these for £1 (to cover postage) or download a pdf version at

Also I’ve got a few of those Master Musicians posters left for only 7 quid at

Currently listening to: Gonjasufi – A Sufi and a Killer

Screen printed posters!

thought I’d better get a couple pictures of these up. This first one was done for the ala muerte show on april fools day, which was awesome. I managed to sell a couple of prints and swap a few for various albums and other things on the night.

This next one was a bit trickier, and it took a couple of goes to get the exposure right for the line work. The print outs I had weren’t good enough so I just drew over all the linework on the positive with a sharpie, which worked brilliantly, although it meant the lines were a little thicker than I wanted them to be. I started out printing a yellow-ish skin colour which covers the legs and snakes, then mixed the blue with more medium than usual so it was more transparent, and printed that over the background and snakes. This means the snakes come out a greenish blue colour where the blue ink has semi-covered the yellow. I started out printing the linework in black, but because the lines were slightly thicker than intended they were a bit overpowering, so I mixed it down to a softer slate grey, which works well with the blue also I think.

I apologise for the slightly poor images, it’s hard to capture colours of course, but you get a good idea. Unfortunately, although the night was amazing in musical terms, it was a Sunday and there weren’t many people there, so I only got to sell a couple of posters, but I did also manage to swap one with Bill Horist for his album Covelant Lodge, which is a beautiful collaborative chamber piece with some pretty fancy finger pickin’.

To do both these prints I’ve been going to Hot Bed Press, an open-access print studio in Salford. It’s a really friendly place and they’ve got equipment for almost any kind of printmaking, and it costs £1.50 an hour (excl. materials) which isn’t too bad.I’m really excited to start printing the wolves in the throne room posters; I think tickets are selling fast and it looks like it’s gonna be quite a night.

I’ve got a couple of the ala muerte ones left and about 8 of the master musicians ones, so I’ll be putting them up in my shop on my website soon for dirt cheap! If you’re interested, they’re printed on 300gsm Snowdon cartridge paper, and measure, at a guess, about 80 x 30cm.

Currently listening to: Bill Horist – Covalent Lodge (North Pole Records)

Remember Remember

Here’s a new poster I’ve just designed for another Fat Out show in June. Remember Remember is Graeme Ronald from Glasgow, signed to the city’s respected Rock Action label. They have this to say about him:

Remember Remember has been playing elaborately staged shows in and around the city for the past few years and has been producing some of the most epic-sounding and ambitious music we’ve heard in a long time.

If you’re a fan of the likes of Mice Parade, Animal Collective or Bjork along with artists such as Philip Glass, Brian Eno and Yann Tiersen then you really should take the time to check out his work.

Expect to hear new music from him in 2010 following on from his critically acclaimed self-titled debut album. He is one of the most talented and imaginitive artists we’ve had the pleasure to work with and are really excited at the prospect of getting new material off him.

It’s looking like a good show already, but more bands are to be confirmed soon.

It actually looks pretty sweet just with block colours as well:

Making natural ink / paint

I started thinking about making inks when I planned to apply to that Green and Away residence, because my project had to use materials from the fields and woods around the site. I planned to develop print making processes that were entirely based in the natural environment, so scratching into rocks or making woodcuts, that kinda thing, but also needed to work out how to make my own inks and paints in the same way.

Having done minimal amounts of research, I noticed that ink is basically just a pigment (coloured powder) mixed with oil. Ink can then be thickened using wax I believe. Making a pigment is fairly easy, so I started this with some soil from the garden.

Spreading the soil onto a tray, I grilled it for a while to try and remove as much moisture as I could.

I then ground some of this in a pestle and mortar, and heaped it onto a pane of glass to be mixed with a bit of vegetable oil.

Unfortunately this makes quite a gritty paste rather than a smooth ink, as you can see:

This means that the particles of soil are too big to mix properly with the oil, so that if painted on a page the oil stains the page while most of the soil separates into clumps:

the problem is not necessarily the method but the materials. The soil is much too sandy and granular, so that even after I’d put it through a seive, you could still see lots of tiny lumps of glass and rock within it if you looked very closely:

I tried mixing some spreadable butter into it, making a fairly smooth paste that could be rolled and used for simple monoprints:

Next I tried making some water based paint using some old onion skins. These were boiled in a small amount of water for 20 mins

After being boiled, they’d taken on a rich red colour, and the reduced water looked pretty awesome.

Unfortunately it doesn’t work quite like that on the page, but it still makes some nice yellow/sepia-ish washes like zis.

The darker patches on this picture also have some paprika and butter paint layered over the onion skin wash, tasty.

Next I tried grass, deciding to grind some fresh leaves with some vegetable oil.

The grass can then be clumped together and used to apply the grass oil onto the paper:

I was pretty pleased with this one

Some, like this one, had thick soil paint spread on the back and drawn into, which shows through the oily translucent paper:

Next I ordered a bottle of cold-pressed linseed oil, which is the best kind to mix oil paints.  I burned a few old envelopes to get a pile of ash, which was then ground in the pestle and mortar to form a fine, smooth grey pigment.

When mixed with the linseed oil it makes a really good syrupy paint

which can be painted on with ease. This one’s backlit by the way:

I’ve also used the ash paint for a bit of life painting with drawing over the top. The paint works really well, you can loosen it with more oil or turpentine and it dries with a really nice charcoal finish that works well with the added pencil patternation.

Currently listening to: Jah Wobble & The Chinese Dub Orchestra – Chinese Dub