Identity crisis.

February 24, 2017

So what is it that makes us who we are? Well, according to my mum and her’s before that it is your choice of friends. “Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are” is almost a family motto now. Other’s choose who they like by the type of music they are into, I find that a bit arbitrary personally, same with fashion and books. You might have common ground but that is about all. We are a combination of our history’s, our friends, how we chose to perceive events and indeed people. The Internet, however, is geared to define us by what we buy and by what we want to buy and so much that we regard as free, search engines, messaging platforms, social media sites, is paid for by skimming our data that is then used to sell us stuff. 

Our choices of what we desire are unique, almost as unique as a fingerprint, mine would be a very strange combination of Japanese model kits and artists, dystopian fiction, 18th century art books, utilitarian and repurposed military clothing and very specific art and craft materials. If you put my watch list on eBay in a line up, anyone who knows me could pick mine out instantly. 

Last week I used the uniqueness of someone’s wants to pin down the identity of a naughty young woman giving me grief. They slipped up rather badly by trying to attack me through a selling site, not realising that they had failed to clear all their day to day desires from their profile before giving it a spiteful and targeted name. It narrowed the list of suspects down to just one person in seconds. Fascinating really…

It’s such an odd world we live in now, so niche… It’s great for people like me who make weird idiosyncratic stuff, as I can sell the world over, but conversely, whole industries have been irrevocably altered. Music has become so intangible that a renaissance in vinyl has been kick started in order to prop it up before it collapses through file sharing, it’s so hard finding new, decent, authors amidst the sea of self published dross, everything is so commodified that the concept of subculture is as meaningful as a choice between coke or pepsi.

 I do wonder whether we are in the last generation of the tangible right now, as 3D printing becomes more affordable, how will that change our perception of stuff? While I would like to think that it’s our intelects that define us I suspect it is really stuff right now and without that, who and what are we? I guess time will tell.

Modern life is (partly) rubbish.

February 13, 2017

I’m getting to the point where I have to face facts. I’ve been trying to hide it, trying to avoid it but I just can’t cope anymore…..

I need to make a trip to Asda… There! I said it. Phew! It feels like such a weight off my mind.

Life can be such hard work when you suffer from panic attacks and the like. When you have that and something neurological like dyspraxia to deal with, everything becomes a trade off.

There is this thing called spoon theory. It’s used to explain the problems of having invisible illnesses to anyone lucky enough not to have one. It originated with a lady by the name of Christine Miserandino in 2003 who, whilst trying to explain her illness to a friend in a cafe, picked up a handful of plastic spoons.

Imagine you have ten spoons to last you a day….

One spoon summons you the strength to crawl out of bed. Another to make breakfast. And another to get dressed. So that’s three gone before you have even left the house. A stressful phone call can be three on its own, an argument five or more. Some days you can get to midday and all ten have all gone and it’s back under the duvet and start again. It can be possible to use more than ten but you will pay for it in the future. When I was in hospital last year for a week I think it cost a few thousand and I wasn’t anywhere near right for months. 

A solo visit to a large supermarket is around a six spoon event so it bloody well has to be worth the bother. You can survive off quick trips to local little shops and the small supermarket that does the basics for about six weeks or so but eventually you hit a tipping point , weirdly this time it was microwave popcorn that sent me over the edge.  There is always something, a little luxury or a desperate necessity that outways the strain of the trip. 

It’s hard finding an explanation as to how it feels, deep sea diving, a decent into hell. The further you get from the entrance, the deeper you get in the building, the more the pressure builds up. Every shopper blocking an aisle with a trolley, every item moved since your last visit, every tannoy, every flickering fluorescent light is another spoon gone and then at the end of it all the person on the checkout will insisted on asking you about your day. What I want to say is “Well, I’ve mostly been going barking mad thanks for asking.” But I just reply with something vague and chatty and there goes another spoon. 

The modern world is making us sick, the noise, the crowds, the lights, the inhuman scaled architecture, the computers, the constant barrage of information and white noise, the impinged privacy. Then again, without all this crap we wouldn’t have microwave popcorn, quorn or whatever drew me there in the first place. 

I like to hope that we are in the middle of something, that there will be a tipping point to a world of friendly flying drones and where money is some quaint notion from a bygone age. Until that day comes though, I will count my spoons and guard them carefully and get through another shopping trip in one piece .

None more black.

November 24, 2016

What the fuck is Black Friday all about? I thought that was something to do with Easter?  Oh no! That’s good Friday isn’t it?

Well, according to Wikipedia a bargain shopping day on the Friday after thanksgiving. Thanks to the amphorphous blob that is the Internet and the dubious pleasure of shopping upon it, the notion of this American tradition has started to creep over to the uk. 

I’ve been pondering the notion of it, and in particular the ability of certain retailers to be able to heavily drop their prices for massive sales prior to Christmas, supposedly the most profitable shopping season of the year. Many questions spring to mind in regards to this, mostly  variations on the theme of, how can they afford to do it? What must the manufacturing costs be and what is their normal profit margin? What with also having to cover premises, staff and everything else. 

I take a special interest in all this by virtue of being a maker and producer of stuff and I know that with everything i do, people look at it and balk at the prices I charge. The annoying thing is that, compared to what I should charge, they are getting a bargain. The hours spent on making a bear, for example, I should be charging at least £120 for the smallest of them, at least four time what I charge. The same with everything else, I need to keep the profits to a minimum, a to compete with mass produced crap and the economies of scale large manufactures sell them for, and b the mark ups of various stockists. With small retailers, they struggle too and you have to factor in their running costs and mostly I would not begrudge them a penny, but occasionally you get the odd shopkeeper who is plain fucking rude and insulting. I try not to deal with the worst of them but sometimes you have no choice.

Anyway, the genius idea I had was rather than Buy Nothing day, which only makes things harder for poor sods like myself just trying to put something positive out into the world or Black Friday, that promotes the worse excesses of capitalism, how about Fair Prices day? Where penniless schulbs like myself actually get the right price for what they do, what they sacrifice and the constant effort and worry that goes on behind the scenes. Basically, I quadruple the price of everything I do for the day?

How about that? What is that I hear? The sound of tumbleweed rolling through the empty streets as everyone scatters. Oh well, you can’t blame me for trying. 

Oh! You can buy my stuff here……

The small and secret show

August 20, 2016

Ooh I do like to do the odd thing on the hush hush.  Last year I did something quite spectacularly covert and bonkers around this time. I’m not putting down in writing what it was but it clearly had a few positive effects and did exactly what I intended it to do, but to quote the wonderful film Spinal Tap “there is a fine line between stupid and clever” so fine sometimes that I’m not actually sure where it is and what side of it I am. I am in that position right now on a number of levels. 

One particular example of me trying to be clever that turned out to be stupid was  my genius idea of doing tea towels instead of t shirts as printed merchandise this year for coastal currents arts festival. I love t shirts (we will come back to that later) but the problem with printing them is the size issue. You can’t just order one, you have to order a full spread of sizes from extra small if you want to deal with Asia through to xxxl. Plus there are women’s cut t shirts and children’s, and then a range of colourways to consider. Things suddenly get into serious outlay and organisation territory. So I thought I’d do tea towels. I mean, everyone does the washing up, or almost everyone. So no issues with sizing or any of that, just one thing to print. Sorted! 

Erm, wrong! There definitely was a size issue, a glaringly obvious one. Although I didn’t realise it until I got a seemingly innocuous  email back from my screen printer, “this is to size right?” It took my woolly head a few minutes to work out what exactly he was getting at. I design my t shirt images on a3 paper, I may clean them up slightly later in Photoshop but I love things to retain that hand drawn feeling rather than something cold and sterile that could have been bashed out in an hour or so. So the design I sent him was done to this size. I scratched my head for a moment and then went rooting about for a tea towel from the kitchen draw and held it up to myself…. Oh! It was a lot bigger about twice the size in fact. So up goes the screen making costs and up goes the cost per unit. Whoops!

I was particularly pissed off with myself because I thought I was being doubly sorted because I even checked that the cafe where I shall be displaying this work, and the now Terry Gilliam level over budget tea towels, because they would have the phrase “pure poison” plastered all over them and their cafe in return. Fortunately they got the joke and even suggested that we hang them up on clothes lines across the ceiling. Now this is where my next genius idea came in. “I will need to buy some clothes pegs” I thought to myself. “clothes pegs, hmm? Old fashioned wooden ones… I know what! I can paint little people on them! No! Wait! I can paint little me’s on each one. Yes! Little versions of me, each with a different outfit on. Brilliant!” Except… Well, have you ever tried doing a hundred of a thing and make each one different? No? Well neither have I. 

The logistics of getting everything to dry without sticking to each other was hard enough to figure out on its own but the real problem came with the t shirts (see! I told you!) you see I do have rather a lot of t shirts, if Emelda Marcos were into t shirts instead of shoes I would be her. It all seemed simple at first, just work through the dolly pegs, ten at a time, adding designs from my extensive wardrobe. After a while though they all start to blur in to one and once you get past the fifty mark it’s a question of constantly referring back through the shirts that I had already painted so as to not duplicate anything . The nicest aspect for me was the ability to recreate some of my old t shirts, including some of the cyberpunk stuff from my twenties that I can’t carry off any more and all the Westwood ones that went on eBay in the end as I was too fat to wear them anymore. 

I finally finished the last batch yesterday and I must admit that I’m not sorry. So now I effectively have an exhibition of one hundred little me’s that I will use to hang up my tea towels. They will be on sale for a few quid each but  I won’t be making a song and dance about what I have done. I like leaving little surprises for the observant as so few people are nowadays. So many people seem to drift through life in a haze, doing what they are told to do, liking what they are told to like and buying what they are told to buy. Whilst it’s true that I shall never get rich doing the things I do at least it rewards the quietly observant, so much of the world is tailored to the brash, the egotistical, the controlling and the show offs. It’s nice to give something back to the quiet people. 

The secret peg portrait show can be seen at the love cafe, Norman road, st leonards on sea, throughout September. 

The unbearable shiteness of shopping.

December 31, 2015

shoppingApparently, it is both illegal and socially unacceptable to drop complete strangers with a cattle prod for getting in your way, or for anything else for that matter. I very rarely go into town and even more rarely go in any of the chain stores but seeing as today I thought I would try and buy something in an actual psychical shop. I had a few set missions and I failed in all of them. New pyjamas from Marks and Spencer’s , failed! None in my size. New underpants in same, failed! They were all really boring. The next thing I wanted to do was to compare kindles. I failed in that too. Am I going mad or did Waterstones used to have a kindle section? I never could get it to make sense myself but I’m sure they did. A bookstore selling digital e readers? Definitely  in the turkeys campaigning for Christmas category. Anyway, they don’t anymore and what they do sell is either far more expensive than I could get it for online or… THERE WERE PEOPLE IN THE WAY!!! As someone who gets panick attacks in crowds and when I feel trapped, I try and minimise the time I have to spend in shops and other people just get in the way. They pick things up, stand in front of things, get in front of you in queues and generally make a bloody nuisance of themselves. The only thing I did see in there that I did want was so overhandled that it might as well have been second hand and it certainly wasn’t priced that way. I had a similar situation in HMV, people, overpriced stuff, grrr! In all three chain stores a had the same thought, “what is the point in you?” My whole reason in wanting and e reader, kindle whatever is much the same. As far as I can see it, the publishing industry, as with chain stores, is making itself a total irrelevance. I recently read the, self published, autobiography of maveric author Robert Rankin, in which he talks about the way that the publishing companies are starting to disappear up their own backsides. Requesting their authors to produce works that ape those of other bestsellers, responding to market trends rather than going where their imagination takes them. Consequently, the more interesting writings are starting to appear in electronically published formats that circumvent the market lead publishing industry. Hence the sudden need for a kindle. It’s a situation that hasn’t been helped by the deaths of Iain Banks and Terry Pratchett, there are so few new books to look forward to. It’s such a shame as I adore books, the smell, the weight of words in one’s hands the feel of paper… I find it such a strange irony, I create things, colouring books, t shirts, teddy bears, paintings, all sorts of things, all of which require the thing I find so hard to cope with, people. It is strange, I am a person who looks at films like “I am legend” (although I prefer the “omega man” on which is was based) or dystopian fiction like “the drowned world” and find them strangely comforting. The notion of a deserted world really does have something that is rather appealing. And yet there are people I love, people I like and people I need. I am painfully aware that some of those people who block my path to a swift exit of a shop, want the same things as I do and so put the prices of said things up, people who have booked up the cinemas so I can’t watch  the new Star Wars yet. Even some of the people who may make a nuisance of themselves tonight, being New Year’s Eve, are the same people who buy my stuff, staff the hospital I need to go to, create medicine, make food… The truth is, although I hate to admit, I need people. There! I said it! It doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it though.

Sympathy for the Devil

September 15, 2015

b&wscreen_edited-1Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of… Well I’m certainly not wealthy but as to whether I have taste or not, I guess that is quite a subjective question. I’m going to be plugging my new t-shirt design somewhere in this article, so you can decide for yourself.

There are something about elephants in the room that I find irresistible, I don’t know what it is but I just seem to have some form of Tourette’s syndrome where I have to talk about the thing no one dares say. Whether that be a truly talentless guy proclaiming himself as a polymath, a bunch of sad middle aged attention seekers kidding themselves that they are still cool by draping themselves in fairy lights and riding  drunk up and down the prom or by mentioning the unmentionable, that Aleister Crowley, great beast 666 grew up, grew old and died in Hastings.11 Oh and there is also the little matter of this government systematically undermining the lives of the disabled and vulnerable. I’ll be poking that particular elephant good and hard until the rspca make me stop. There is this fantastic  thing that the Japanese do where they casually bat away an invisible fly with their hand. This means, “I know what you are talking about, you know what I am talking about, but neither of us are going to say a word about it.” We don’t have that in the UK. There is a wonderful quote about the band Pink Floyd in the 1970’s before Roger Walters finally left. No one was talking to each other, they had separate management teams and the size of their egos  grew to match their huge bank account. “Things got so bad that someone almost said something”. I think this sums up the British perfectly. We mutter, mumble, scowl and  silently  judge until we hit a point where we implode and by then it’s usually far too late to do anything about it. Heaven forbid the thought that we may not be liked, accepted or be seen to have a strong opinion that we’ve formulated for ourself.

crowley paintingWhen I first visited Hastings,  in the days of dial up Internet one of the first things I wanted to do was visit Aleister Crowley’s grave. I imagined that it would be a Mecca for visiting weirdos of all persuasions akin to that of Jim Morrison’s in Paris. What I discovered was nothing, he had been cremated, quite a rarity for the late 1940’s. I then noticed that he was conspicuously absent from all the town’s tourist guides. As far as officialdom was concerned Crowley didn’t exist. I must admit, I found it hard to fathom, even someone  as horrible as Jack The Ripper is a “celebrated” figure in his stalking ground, if eviserating women is something to be proud of ???  So what is it? Too soon? The truth is, I’ve never got to the bottom of the why but I felt at the time and have ever since that someone needed to acknowledge the Crowley connection, that someone  has turned out to be me.

So Aleister Crowley, the great beast 666, was he truly evil? It’s a tricky question. Did bad things happen because of his actions? Certainly. But evil? If you read the likes of Nietzsche, evil is a point of view, nothing more, but then again he became a poster boy for the Nazis which isn’t the best of validations. I can think of a handful of people who hate me off the top of my head, does that make me evil? It may make me an arsehole, but evil? No. But then again if the people who hate you are universally regarded as arseholes themelves then being hated is a sign that you are on the right track. The problem with calling anybody anything is perspective, if you surround yourself with people who support your point of view then anything can be right. Casual racism was the norm in Britain up to the seventies and our Tory government was supporting the South African apartheid movement up until the early nineties. It’s important to get Crowley into perspective too, he was born into a wealthy family of Plymouth Brethren, an extreme branch of Christianity that is regarded by many as a cult. Being brought up in a repressive, controlling and technologically backward culture amidst the time of great wonder that was Victorian Britain he eventually began to rebel and kept rebelling for pretty much his whole life. He explored sex, drugs and the occult and then did them all at once. But then, so did the likes of Oscar Wilde, William Yeats and Arthur Machen. There wasn’t anything that remarkable in any of that at the edges of Victorian society. What was remarkable was Aleister’s gift for self promotion. If he was born into this age, he would have been a Bowie, a Kanye West or, dread the thought, a Tony Blair. Like many Victorians, Crowley was an adventurer and a famed climber, noted, amongst other things, for being one of the few people to climb up the treacherous sandy cliff face of Beachy Head, a few miles up the road from Hastings. There was an incident that got him barred from the European climbing community  where he refused to go to the aid of some stranded climbers who scaled a mountain against his advice and they all died. Does that make him evil? Or just logical? Crowley didn’t play by the rules in a society full of them and what’s more he didn’t care. This isn’t intended to be a biography on Crowley, you can find plenty of those on YouTube and they have far more detail than I can remember. I just feel that in a world of arms dealers, warmongering politicians, coked up bankers  and sex pest celebrities, dear old Crowley probably wasn’t that bad and at least he wasn’t a hypocrite.Photo 15-09-2015 16 56 33 (1)

So as far as Hastings goes, he went to prep school here, he visited the place often and when, as an impoverished, jaded and  drug addicted, old man he returned to England he washed up in the faded old seaside town and spent the last of his days in, the now demolished, Netherwood House. So in terms of connection there is enough for a blue plaque at least, a postcard, a few souvenirs?  Obviously not. So this is where  I came in with my big hand on a stick for elephant pointing out purpose, first a poster, then a painting, a card, a badge and now a t-shirt.  There are lots of hidden details in the  image I’ve created but the thing that made me chuckle more than anything was the thought of the most evil man who ever lived sat in a deckchair as an old man, a tartan blanket across his knees trying to eat an ice cream as it melted down his fingers. So in celebration of this rather cosy, comforting and all too human thought I stuck an ice cream cone on his magical hat.

Photo 16-09-2015 17 09 17 (1)The frustrating thing about getting anything done that involves other people is that achieving anything  changes from an endless string of ‘nows’ to an constant string of ‘whens?’. It’s that helpless, frustrating week or so you end up crawling up the walls waiting to see your idea become reality. I won’t use the word boredom as I don’t have to have anything boring in my life, more tedious, I guess. It’s in these moments that things can get weird. After having so much fun making the promotional video for my Clockwork Orange t-shirt I decided to make one for this too. I wanted  something akin to the Blair Witch Project, jarring, edgy and scary as hell. Perfect for promoting a seemingly cute t shirt. Erm…….. Yes……… Well………… Anyway, I did the soundtrack first, learning from the copyright issues from my last attempt at being an auteur. This involved screeching, hissing, the singing in my best Micky Mouse and Barry White voices before heavily processing the results with effects and mixing down the resultant cacophony that was once “Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside” into something really nasty. Next I spent a jolly evening burning copies of the image used in positive and negative formats whilst trying not to set off the fire alarm or cause such a stench that the neighbours complained. After this the fiddly task of editing seemed like pure joy.

Photo 09-09-2015 15 08 13Now here is where things started getting really weird and complicated. I was talking to my stockist, Clive, at St Leonard’s Central and he jokingly suggested that I put the shirts I was making up for sale at the price of £16.66 as a a sly nod to Crowley’s nick name. Whilst the idea greatly amused me my, pea sized, business brain thought “hang on, I’m doing myself out of £1.44 here” and cogs slowly started whirring. My first thought was to find a vastly over inflated currency so that the exchange rate would mean that we could price up the t-shirts at 666 of whatever but the fluctating nature of the world’s financial markets made that a logistical nightmare for all involved. The next logical step was to create my own currency with a fixed exchange rate of 37 of whatever to the pound. This is how the unit of currency I called the Dweeble was created. I like the fact that I can pin down what happened next to one fixed moment because Clive’s comment led me to spend and entire week establishing the Bank of Dweebling and it’s, not exactly, legal tender. I had an amusing couple of days doing the “engraving” or more accurately cross hatching the drawings with a biro so that, when shrunk down they resemble etching followed by the usual soul crushing day of adding all the typography with photoshop before trotting off to the printers. Photo 10-09-2015 12 40 34The next problem was getting the paper to sound and feel right, the commercial printers that I use are starting to get used to my eccentric requests but I think wanting to listen to their paper was slightly pushing it even for me but it really did have to feel and sound just right. Once that task was dealt with I had a pleasant few days of “telly jobs”, I do love a telly job! The sort of semi-menial task that requires a little bit of effort but not my full concentration. There were two days spent hand tinting each note with watercolour paint , and an afternoon spent adding the pen details, an evening inventing individual names for each and every bank chairperson as each has a different signature, a nervy afternoon cutting each note to size with a scalpel and an afternoon stamping the security “foil” with a rubber stamp and silver ink. I stopped calculating the cost of materials at the thirty pound mark and the hours spent at a similar figure. Suffice to say, my wheeze to save £1.44 per t shirt has cost me somewhat more. Then again it makes the whole act of buying one of these shirts a work of art in itself, which is why I do them in the first place. You get to keep your note once you have spent it as their  unique nature makes each one effectively a gift token that can be voided without damaging them. This also means I won’t get thrown into prison for forgery, treason and a number of other rather serious crimes. After all, I wouldn’t want to be doing something evil would I?

You can buy my T shirts in the legally dubious currency of the Dweeble here  and on line in hard cash, floaty pay pal and insidious credit on etsy here.

Photo 15-09-2015 16 56 28 (1)

It’s ok to colour outside the lines.

March 19, 2015

page16I love children’s drawings. I love the scrawlyness. I love the complete lack of scale. I love the way that tiny little drawings inhabit great big pieces of paper. Then comes the day when some clever dick comes along and tries to teach children to draw properly. And that’s when it all goes wrong. In my experience there was always a couple of children (whose parents were usually art teachers or creatives themselves) who could draw in a way that would meet the teacher’s approval and the rest… Well… they would often end up drifting into the “I can’t draw” category via years of trying to reproduce some proscribed view of the world. I think the childhood Chris hit the reality of the world with a bump in nursery school where my overly long drawing of a person was thwarted by the lady in charge refusing to add an extra sheet of paper to the bottom of my picture so that I could complete it. I would like to think things have changed now, and that creativity and individual thinking is encouraged on all levels in modern teaching but the cynic in me doesn’t see anything to prove that view.  The idea of doing colouring-in books was not really mine. In fact, it seems that I had already made one and no one had told me.pig It turned out that my booklet of pen and ink illustrations from Alice in Wonderland were being bought to colour in. I must admit, that when I first heard this I was a little bit miffed, it took me rather a long time and a lot of work to produce those images and the prima donna in me stamped it’s little feet for a few moments before thinking “I can do something better with this” jingly14To be fair, I had set a precedence for this already with the coloured in prints of St Leonards local, the jingly bell stick man prints which painted, cross hatched and overdrew into original artworks. So who was I to complain when other people did the same? I figured I’d start locally with some scenes from St Leonards, reworking a few elements from my paintings plus adding plenty of new stuff. I have been meaning to return to doing something about St Leonards to document a rather depressing trend that I have noticed regarding here and Hastings. I had already touched on the disparity between the underclass of St Leonards and the new wave of ultra trendy down from londoners who lived alongside them, each seemingly oblivious of the other’s existence. In the two years since those paintings, the situation has become even more polarised. Before I carry on I have to make a disclaimer, I am myself a D.F.L (down from Londoner) I was drawn here by the sea, the presence of which does me more good on a daily basis than the antidepressants I have to take, and by (what were at the time) relatively low living costs. The fact that most creative types are poorly valued and subsequently paid means that by necessity this part of the coast has become a haven for musicians, artists and writers over the years and because of that there is always something interesting going on.  P1020494Sadly, this perceived ‘coolness’, for want of a better word, has started to change the area for the worse. Junk shops are now antique shops, quaint little businesses that have been here since forever are shutting shop and are being replaced by a plethora of estate agents and shops selling vintage good and architectural salvage that is either falling apart or is straight out of a factory on the other side of the world and every cafe that used to be somewhere you could have a catch up and a gossip is now at weekends a no go area posey hang out for people with weekend homes, forcing the prices up and forcing out the very people who made this place what so attracts them in the first place.Asterix The Mansions of the Gods I am reminded of an old Asterix the Gaul book from my childhood called Asterix and the Mansion of the Gods where the Romans seek to invade via gentrification rather than the usual legions of soldiers. Whilst I will be the first to acknowledge the hypocrisy of what I’m saying as a dfl( technically via Doncaster (DFLVD?)), I would like to think that I have added to the weird and wonderful nature of the town as it was rather than trying to turn it into Shoreditch by the sea as seems to be happening right now. O.K rant over. Anyway, I wanted to capture a little of this in my first proper colouring in book but also made something that was really good fun. Plus I wanted to make sure that it was printed on really good quality paper so that it wasn’t just something you could do with a pencil, I wanted it to withstand paint and felt tip pens to a certain degree so that it frees up whoever is using it as much as possible. I have so many frustrating memories as a child of cheap yellow paper that a sharp pencil or a damp felt tip would go straight through. So once I did the St Leonards book and that started selling, I instantly started on a Hastings one. There is something really satisfying about making a colouring book and I feel that making something locally themed will be engaging for anyone using it, particularly children. I have just produced a third book with scenes of Brighton, that was a bit trickier as having only a passing knowledge of the city I had to rely on friends to inform me of the more obscure landmarks. I am currently putting the finishing touches on an Eastbourne book. If they keep selling them maybe I’ll keep going and do the rest of the south east. Who knows where it will stop? If you want one, you can buy them here, just remember, It’s o.k to colour outside the lines.P1020553

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