Thursday 9 September 2010


While the streetfront of Kilkenny was mostly re-modeled in the 19th century, a walk down the backlanes where you can see the rear of the commercial buildings, often reveals the medieval character of the city. This is just off John Street in the centre of town.

Friday 20 August 2010

A short while ago myself and some friends spent the weekend in Istanbul.
What a beautiful city. I've always had an interest in it from a historical perspective and it didn't disappoint.
So much of the city that was extant during the siege of 1453 still stands, though some by a thread. One night about 3 am I was woken by a tremendous roar. I rushed outside to see that the adjoining building - made of wood and rubble- had collapsed into the street. Luckily no-one was hurt. Go see sometime soon.

The Galata tower. It now has a swanky restaurant on top.

View from the Galata bridge. A great place to watch the sun set over your mojito.

Between the Hagia Sophia and the walls of the Topkapi Palace

Tram across the Bosphorus.

Traffic on the Bosphorus

Friday 30 April 2010


Traditional musicians at the Rivercourt

Around town

As an excuse for faffing about and skiving off work, sketching takes some beating.
It's work, but it's not work, as if you needed a reason for lounging about coffee shops on the few sunny days we get in this benighted isle of ours

The people that you meet in your neighbourhood

Tuesday 23 February 2010


Heuston Station is the point of arrival or departure for rail routes west or south of Ireland's capital. I did a couple of quick sketches around the concourse and beside the platforms. Unfortunately ink was running low in my brushpen by the second sketch in the station and the only replacement I could find was calligraphic ink (I usually use watered-down liquid acrylic ). The result is a watery dense blackness with little or no subtlety. I'll have to clean out the brush and get back to the original mix.

Tuesday 9 February 2010

2010 Greetings Stamps

An Post have released their 2010 greetings booklet featuring 2 stamps I designed and illustrated. For you philatelists out there, first day covers are now available from An Post’s website. I was first asked to submit some ideas exploring different directions for greetings stamps. The stamps are regarded as not being occasion-specific, but as Valentines day is the second biggest post date after Christmas, it’s bound to appear.
On the initial submission, I decided to take two approaches. The first was a sketch like direction, much like the Kilkenny 400 stamps I had produced for An Post last summer and the second was a little more whimsical (and an opportunity to get my kids featured on stamps if I worked it right!)
For the first day cover an image was also needed for the envelope to tie in with the theme. It was one of those rare occasions where the first idea I had seemed to exactly what everyone was looking for. The post floating to your door with a starry sky background and the rocket floating by. Finally I had to do some stickers and a card to be included in the pack.
A bit of tweaking, a few re-drafts and the job was done. Son and eldest daughter on the stamps, younger daughter on the accompanying card. Mission accomplished!

Monday 8 February 2010

Smithfield Market, Dublin
Very early on a cold misty morning, I tried to capture some of the activity around this flower and vegetable market. The freezing weather soon had me retreating to the warm fug of the local greasy spoon to defrost my fingers.

Friday 29 January 2010

Short Story Illustrations

Here's a couple of illustrations I did for the Irish Daily Mail. They were part of a series I did for seven short stories published over the Christmas period.

Anyone got a date for the reckoning?

With the launch of the i-pad comes a whole new wave of predictions of the demise of the printed page. A little premature methinks. Probably by about 100 years.
It's funny how all the designers of e-readers seem determined to mimic books as much as possible. Perhaps in a few years they'll have gotten around to designing one where you can turn the pages and write notes in the margins. Somehow, I don't see myself sitting up at three in the morning staring at a screen going "I'll just read one more chapter and then go to sleep".
Magazines. Now that's a different ballgame. The e-reader (colour version!) is ideal for that. 2000 word articles, illustration and photography are the perfect content for this technology. Even ads can be retained much as they are currently, with the added appeal of interactiveness. Editors, however will have to rethink how the information is laid out and how the content is to be consumed. Endless links for instance, are likely to be counter-productive to the easy digestion of the mag despite the temptation to throw everything at the reader.
Here's an interesting clip exploring some of the ways the publications might be presented:

Still on the topic of reckonings to come:
When are investors going to ask to see some moolah back for their investments in:
and the countless other free services out there.
Yeah, yeah I keep hearing the old chestnut about the hard pressed advertising world paying for everything, but ad revenues are way down in the real world never mind the fairy world of internet forums. Look at any of the above and tell me how you or I are paying for them. Flickr for instance will host gigabytes of my photos, so I can show them to whoever and how much do they charge? You-tube lets me look up clips they've retained of virtually anything ...and the cost? Even the mighty Google. What's the story there? Ads? almost non-existent. The paid entries? Who looks at them when you're searching for a cheap camera? Even if we did, the revenue from those sort of ads are in the local news-rag rates category.
Someday soon shareholders are going to start asking where all their money is and the streets are going to be buzzing with buck naked emperors diving for cover.
It'll be interesting to see how a generation that has got used to all this interactivity for free will react when they're suddenly asked to stump up.