Wednesday 11 November 2009


Work continues apace on the new Dublin-Waterford motorway.
Down in the cutaway it must be freezing- the winter sun never seems to make it beyond the tip of the excavator's arm.

The UrbanSketchers blog had a challange for a sketch of "movement-speed".
My local Bugatti outlet was right out of Veyrons, so I sketched the dumptruck instead.

Tuesday 10 November 2009


Clogherhead harbour is a small fishing port about 70km north of Dublin and a couple of km outside Clogherhead village itself. I caught it on a still day, but like all exposed coastal harbours the winds can come through it like a juggernaut.
I love the way the house is cut into the hill to reduce the effects of the bitter eastern winds that howl through the place in winter.
The crabs were rejects. Damaged shells, claws and legs mean they won't be shipped to restaurants, but probably be used for bait by the numerous sea fishermen that cast off the harbour walls.

Monday 9 November 2009

Trinity College

Here's a brushpen sketch of Trinity College, Dublin's first quadrant as you go through the main arch.

Wednesday 9 September 2009

The Electric Picnic

I was asked to take part in a debate about comics and cartooning at this years Electric Picnic.
Hosting, was the fab BP Fallon and on the panel with me were cartoonist Tom Mathews and New York musician and comic artist Jeff Lewis. Paddy Cahill's superb short film about Tom was screened first and then the show got going. It was a bit of fun but we were competing with Orbital on the main stage so the posse weren't needed to escort us out of the tent when it was finished.
The following day, I brought along the kids to have a look around the site. Didn't catch too much music but we got a good flavour of the event in between riding on the carousel, searching for ice-cream and going on the ferris wheel

Thursday 30 July 2009

More Irish Pubs

Above are a few of the twenty five illustrations of Irish pubs I was commissioned to do for Guinness's 250th anniversary celebrations. They appear on beermats, presumably only available from the relevant pubs.
Having spent so many years doing storyboards which eventually end being used as coffee mats at various strategic meetings, it's endearing to have alcohol sloshed all over my illustrations for a change.
The pubs are from top : Morrisons of Belfast, Murphy's in Galway and Derry's Peadar O'Donnells

Thursday 23 July 2009

Waterbrush Sketches

Some sketches around Dublin And Galway done with a waterbrush loaded with diluted ink.
Left out the spire on O'Connell street - just didn't have enough paper! The others are Trinity college from Dame Street and Neactain's pub in Galway

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Lunchtime sketching
If I'm not hooking up with someone or I'm not in the middle of yet another book about the Second World War, I generally bring along my sketchbook at lunchtime and try to quickly get down an impression of fellow diners and the surroundings, between nibbles. These are from Bollard's pub, The left Bank, Esquires and some other places the names of which were as forgettable as their food.

Kilkenny Centenary Stamp

I recently illustrated the new 55c stamp celebrating Kilkenny's 400th centenary of the granting of the city's charter.
The initial sketches explored a completely different direction, a more abstract and composite route, but eventually the Stamps Advisory committee prefered a more representative approach.

Two illustrations were completed for the final job; the illustration of Kilkenny castle for the stamp itself and a view of the tholsel or town hall for the first day cover.

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Irish Pubs (in Ireland)
As an antidote to all those sketches of double-latte arrivistas in Starbucks, here's a couple from the inside of pubs - and not a laptop in sight!. All done in Galway city - Neachtain's and Tig Coili. Slainte!

Wednesday 1 April 2009

Belfast Sketches

I was in Belfast on an illustration assignment recently and took the opportunity to do a little sketching.
Kelly's pub off Royal Avenue is the real deal. No music, one armed bandits or TV to disturb the ancient arts of conversation and reading. There's an unwritten law in Ireland that if a customer is reading the paper or a novel, they shouldn't be engaged in conversation further than the niceties of small talk .. "lovely weather today", "great result for the team at the weekend" etc. Other than that the printed word remains king and must be left undisturbed. For some reason most readers gravitate towards the counter rather than the tables.

While I was in town I took a trip on the ferris wheel outside City Hall. You get a great view over the city at the top, from Cave hill out to Belfast lough and the Harland and Woolf shipyards in the distance. The wheel stopped at the top for quite a while and gave me the opportunity to quickly sketch City Hall from a height.

Thursday 19 March 2009

Tell me if you've seen this one before.
Here's a little trick I discovered when my daughter was impatiently pestering me to make a custom sketchbook for her drawings of fairies, castles and the like. Despite years of working in the creative business, I'de always attempted to put together bound brochures and booklets by punching holes though the spine with a needle and the inserting the staples through and then pressing them closed. Not an easy thing to do unless you have fairy fingers. And the result was always that the staple bind would be loose or off register. Shazam! Pester power and Mother, Invention and Necessity not necessarily in that order. Works a treat every time.

Friday 27 February 2009

I had to dash over to London recently and flew the redeye from Waterford Regional Airport to Luton with Aer Arann.
It's the way flying used to be. You park right outside the airport, wander into a concourse about the size of a convenience store, grab a coffee and board with the minimum of fuss. Total commute time from my door: 2 and a half hours to the taxi rank at Luton.
On the night-time return I did some quick sketches on the way.

Outside Luton terminal.

At the check-in. Mine had no queue thankfully. This was a little way up the departures floor.

Boarding in Luton. The plane is an Aer Arann Atr 72500 twin prop. It's got about 80 seats. Maybe it's because of the props, but its landing speed is scarily fast. Nice and comfortable though... and quiet. This was sketched in a bit of a rush and finished on the plane so I'm pretty sure the wheels and arches are all wrong.

Back in Waterford