Dblog is the interwebositry for all things creative, inspirational and elegant from D's world of art, design, cinema, T.V., comics, toys and pop culture. Drop me line or an interesting link any time...


Penguin Top 100 Novels

Penguin has just released it's top 100 novels of all time with simple beautiful covers by Coralie Bickford-Smith

Short: Mr. Foley

A fucking brilliant short: Mr. Foley about a man who wakes to find his life being dictated by sound artists...

D's Wild West Party Invite

My wife and I were famous (or infamous) for our dress up parties; Come as your favourite Dead Person (my favourite), letters, Heroes, Castaways, Halloween, cyberpunk, NYC... We would spend each year coming up with the next theme; weeks sourcing thrift and discount stores for costume components and props; days making the costume and decorating the house. It was an exhausting but rewarding process.

One of the last such parties was my 30th. 

The theme was The Wild West, one of my favourite subjects from pop culture and history. It is also a great example of a theme, that is easy, yet with enough scope to allow the more creative to run wild (west). It was a great night with some amazing costumes...
The invitation for such an event, is the front line of a battlefront that involves coaxing your possibly less than enthusiastic friends to dress up in crazy costumes (luckily most of our friends didn't need much help!). The invitation has to show that you care, that you are putting up the same ante you expect of your guests and most importantly, it has to set the tone. Not just communicate the theme but engage the invitee with the theme and trigger ideas for both the lazy and over achiever and challenge the bold while convincing the meek to can join in the fun.

The invitation, funnily enough began with a few incidental doodles of a few western themed characters. I basically I fell in love with them and decided to do more for the invite. As described above, I wanted to create an involved and generous palette of classic western characters that would inspire and hopefully remind guests of the possibilities of the theme.

I decided to incorporate the characters into a public notice board of wanted posters, 'disguising' the invite details at a first look,  distributing them throughout the poster text.  

These are the original drawings, sketched with a Staedtler clutch pencil and HB lead. I can still picture the nights hunched over the dining table with these, they were a lot of fun to draw; the hardest thing was to stop creating new characters and get on with the invite! I do almost all my drawing now with a Cintiq but seeing these sketches reminds me to occasionally return to old tools ...

The final product above... Okay, maybe not worthy of Pentagram but a damned fine piece (IMHO) still, almost ten years later... It's been a while since we had such a party, but with my 40th next year, friends should beware...

Design Studio: Atipus

A solid design studio: Atipus

Alternative Paygrounds by Monstrum

A fantastic company producing amazing playgrounds.

Fashion Photography: Linn Flammier

Fashion and style: Linn Flammier

Movie Trailers

 Area 407 (love or hate em, a visceral 'shaky cam' pho real horror flick)

Ruby Sparks (from the creators of Little Miss Sunshine)
Lawless Brave

Board Gaming Amongst Friends

A rather interesting and charming short doco, revolving around a singular (but familiar to me) incident that paints a rather amusing portrait of a regular board gaming night...


Wow... I'm just in love with Shoomlah's work...

Katie Turner's blog

Ben Kirchner on Flickr

Kippery's blog or gallery on Deviant Art.


Don't Invite Batman to the Kids Party

Be very careful to read the fine print when you hire 'Batman' for your next kids' party...


Kickstarter: Reading with Pictures.

As a long time fan and creator of comics, I'm pretty excited by this kickstarter projectReading with Pictures. To quote the would be creators:

The Graphic Textbook unites the finest creative talents in the comics industry with the nation's leading experts in visual literacy to create a gamechanging educational tool... The goal is to create an awesomeness-filled book of the highest artistic quality and literary merit that also meets all the criteria necessary to be accepted as classroom curriculum.

Aimed at grades 3-6, The Graphic Textbook features a dozen short stories (both fiction and non-fiction) that address topics in a variety of disciplines (Social Studies, Math, Language Arts, Science) drawn from the list of Common Core Standards used in classrooms countrywide...

Typographer & Letterer: James T Edmondson

Typographer & Letterer: James T Edmondson

Jack and the Marketing Giant

A great article on Co.Design making the analogy between the fable Jack and the Beanstalk and Marketing opportunities.

Valve Employee Manual

Assuming this is actually real, this is a very interesting read; even for those not interested in video games. Valve is one of the worlds leading video game developers (Half Life, Team Fortress, Portal & Steam) and if their employee manual is to be believed, it owes it's success in part to a very different staff structure than the average business. It's scary, ambitious, innovative and bold stuff, presented in a beautifully retro  package... and it must work, if you get the formula right!

GOT Drinking Game

I hope you're enjoying season 2 of Game of Thrones, which continues in the same amazing faithful style as the first. If you want to spice it up further, enjoy the GOT drinking game above...


D's Weekly Draw

While working as a lead artist at Infinite Interactive (with a pretty awesome team!) I was looking for a way to keep us on our toes during those laborious crunch times and give everyone a chance to flex dormant creative muscle.

Thus The Weekly Draw was conceived...

Each week I'd assign my art team a mock brief.
I would try and devise a technically simple but conceptually challenging (and hopefully fun) task; something broad enough for all tastes and talents but also something that might encourage taking a few risks. I tried to make each task both different from those previous and from our daily work.

In order to foster the importance of creating original, interesting concepts over finessed final artwork I also imposed a time limit of two hours. We were forced to work fast; pick an idea and explore it... As an additional incentive I also scheduled two hours of work time for the task.

The results were fantastic! I think it was a great team building exercise that helped us get through a few hard weeks. It was always exciting to receive the entries and interesting to see how each individual interpreted the brief. Sometimes we succeeded, sometimes we failed but the idea was to have a go, and everyone did!

Below was our first task: I wanted to keep it simple; vaguely related to the project we were working on and something we could put together as a team.
Each artist was assigned a character from the The Usual Suspects movie poster with the task of recreating that character as an unusual Fantasy Archetype (or at least unusual from the usual fantasy trope).

Keep your eye out for further Weekly Draws!

Movie Trailers

I Know That Voice (Doco about voice acting)

Looper (So that's where all that 90's Sci Fi went...)


Happy Birthday David

A perfect new viral video for Prometheus featuring the talented Michael Fassbender- Hopes... rising... must... lower... expectations... GRRR!

Designer/Illustrator: Alex Perez

Honed illustration skills and a strong sense of retroactive design: Alex Perez.


Designer/Illustrator Mike McQuade

Chicago designer and illustrator Mike McQuade

Cosplay Photography: Michelle Monique

Stunning photographic Cosplay inspired set pieces by Michelle Monique

Steal Like An Artist 'Tour Sketch Book'

 More sketchbook inspiration from Austin Kleon (of Steal Like an Artist fame) with his 'tour diary'.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me Exhibition

My wife and I are long time fans of the seminal Twin Peaks (Okay, maybe not all those scenes of James pensively riding his motorcycle around the hills) so I was naturally interested in the Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me group art exhibition at the Copro Gallery, Santa Monica.

Sorted Books

I love these simple, creative ideas... The Sorted Book Project.
"The Sorted Books project began in 1993 years ago and is ongoing... The process is the same in every case: culling through a collection of books, pulling particular titles, and eventually grouping the books into clusters so that the titles can be read in sequence, from top to bottom."


Photography: Night Clubs By Day

I love looking at the stunning interiors of nightclubs and bars and wondering at the vision of designers who can see that space as a night environment, and wondering again at how it actually looks in the light of day.

So does Andre Giesemann I guess who takes photography of night clubs the day after...


Death for the (Booker Prize) WIN!

A great article and infographic illustrating how many characters you have to kill to write a Booker award winning novel... Quite a few apparently...

Freelance Designer: Paul Currah

 Freelance Designer: Paul Currah

Illustrator: : Robert Hunter

A fantastic U.K. illustrator with a command of duelling negative space, pattern and conceptual illusion: Robert Hunter

Short Film: Blow Out Sale

Two furniture salesman compete in a short film: Blow Out Sale

Japanese Pop Surrealist:Kimiaki Yaegashi

Japanese Pop Surrealist:Kimiaki Yaegashi

The Races of Mankind

A wonderful book from 1946 (now public domain and available on the Internet Archive) shares a charmingly illustrated, scientific reasoning as to why racism is wrong: The Races of Mankind. See an animated adaptation above.


D at the National Portrait Gallery

I spent the weekend in Canberra with the family and was lucky enough to visit the National Portrait Gallery.
The National Portrait Gallery aims to increase the understanding of the Australian people – their identity, history, creativity and culture – through portraiture... displays some 400 portraits of people who have shaped Australia and who continue to shape our nation.
It's a stunning and fantastically diverse collection that I highly recommended you visit if you get the chance, and great to get away from the computer screen to create and enjoy art. Our departure was only triggered when my wife, a practising artist and herself a talented portrait painter, started getting that crazy 'inspiration overload' look in her eyes...
"... must... get... out... and ... paint... before... I... EXPLODE!"
An interesting highlight of the visit, was that they provided some live music in the foyer and a selection of drawing tools and media for you to create some portraiture of your own. Check out what my daughter, her friend and myself got up to...

My efforts to depict the 'talent' in the foyer...

 The girls; My daughter (left) and friend, both who had a great time!

Shadowrun Kickstarter

If 'Shadowrun' is nothing more than a weird word to you, please move on to the next article...

Jordan Weisman is broadly experienced game designer who created Shadowrun the tabletop RPG and has bought his own license back to create a new version for Apple, Android PC: Shadowrun Returns. He has used Kickstarter to successfully fund his project through startup company Harebrained Schemes.
Shadowrun is the unlikely genre mash-up of cyberpunk and contemporary fantasy with a mixed history of digital application. The new game is a 2D turn-based single player game.


Map Of The Dead

So... I only partly believe in the possibility of a Zombie apocalypse, but here's a great Google Maps overlay to help you through when the time comes. Map Of the Dead can show you all the locations of interest to the wayward Zombie survivalist. Let's hope the internet stays up... And the power...

Text From Dog

Text From Dog

Illustrator: Mike Mitchell

Prints by Mike Mitchell. Check out his Tumblr!

Boba and the Sarlac

If the Giving Tree was about Boba Fett...

Illustrator: Iban Barrenetxea

Breathtaking compositions and very traditional storybook technique by Spanish illustrator iban barrenetxea