A few months ago, I mentioned that one day I would put some old drawings and stuff up here for you to see. Well, today is that day, because I finally bought myself a scanner last night. Dunno why it’s taken me so long to get one, I guess I always thought they were more expensive than they actually are.
So I got it all set up and randomly grabbed an old sketchbook. The sketchbook I grabbed is one that I made myself, as it happens. Quite proud of my work I am too. It’s got a cloth-covered card cover, and decent proper-book-style binding.
Plus, when I used this sketchbook, I followed the art student’s golden rule: the thicker the sketchbook, the better the grade. You could be Picasso, but if the front and back covers of your sketchbooks are still parallel when they’re full, you’re buggered. What you need at art school is a good angle, with stuff stuck in there to make it thicker. Basically, anything that looks like it’d be a challenge to cycle up, were it a hill, equals good grades. That’s my art school tip for thee.
Anyway, this sketchbook is from the late 1994/early 1995. A weird time in my life. I’d had six months doing virtually nothing, cos my HND course had finished, but I was due to do a kinda catch-up course from January ’til June so that I could jump onto the final year of a BA course. (Plus, having just had glandular fever, my doctor gave me a sick note for the whole period, allowing me to sponge off the state. Yay!) Anyway, I lasted ’til April on the catch-up course. Things happened… I wasn’t particularly happy with life and I got kicked out for non-attendance. I hope my mum’s not reading this, cos she still thinks that I chose to leave the course. If you are reading this, mother: oops, sorry!
That non-attendance wasn’t slacking off, I’d like to add. I was constantly busy during that time. I took to sketchbooks with a frenzy that was slightly startling. I was obsessed with making little books. Any type of paper would get lashed together with thread and scribbled on. And more than anything, that period was really the beginnings of what became Flip Flop Flyin’. It was the first time my mind wandered of its own accord, rather than using it for school, art school, or university assignments. I was drawing for my enjoyment, not for anyone else’s.
I miss those sketchbook times, really. Much as I love doing FFF, I do it knowing that other people will see it. I’d quite like to go back to keeping sketchbooks that contain stuff for myself, rather than the sketchbooks I keep now, which are just places to work out stories and character drawings and stuff. Maybe one day I’ll scan some of those too…
Anyway (again), here’s some stuff from that sketchbook. First up, Subbuteo Angel. Not sure how this came about. But it’s something I still think about. I’d still like to see Subbuteo figures with wings on them. I was very into Tipp-Ex and Dymo tape at the time, both of which are employed here.
Next is a photo masking-taped into the book. This is the kind of thing I was making at university at the time. I was, partly cos of the attractive costs of such things, using a lot of reclaimed materials. Wood I found on the street, metal from junkyards, etc. One day I’ll find the photos of more of this kinda stuff and show you them.
This particular thing was something I made for my then-girlfriend. I stole a loose grate of a drain in the gutter from a street in Derby, built the simple rectangular box, whacked a lightbulb in there and sprayed the plug and cable bright pink. That was something I was into, too: making the least interesting part of a light or piece of furniture the brightest, most eye-catching bit. The best thing about this light was the shadows it flung on the ceiling when in use, like a big geometric spider’s web.
Thirdly, something from that era that eventually evolved into an FFF thing. Specifically, it evolved into a Fun Fun Fun thing.
(An aside: has anyone actually seen the Fun Fun Fun book in a shop? I’ve been told it’s in some shops, I keep being told it’s gonna be on Amazon any day now; yet I’ve not seen it in shops, on Amazon, or heard of anyone who has found it. If you have seen it or bought it anywhere, could you let me know, please? I’m getting a bit frustrated with the people who are supposed to organise these things…)
So, yes: what you will see in a few scrolling-down seconds eventually became this:
Maybe you’ve wondered what the hell it’s about. Well, in the back of the book, I explain everything. But that’s no use to you right now, so I’ll explain here. The idea of a monkey rubbing a grapefruit came from hearing a sound on a record, I can’t remember which record, but that sound is also on the Beastie Boys’ Shake your Rump. It’s this sound, behind the drums, the one that sounds like, well, a monkey rubbing a grapefruit.
Aaaaaanyway, I was asking someone if they knew what the instrument was called, (I’ve since found out that instrument is called a cuíca), and when trying to describe it, those words just popped out of my mouth. I made a note of it, then did this drawing:
It’s drawn with Tipp-Ex correction paper (the precursor to those Tipp-Ex mouse things that disappear from office stationery cupboards quicker than you can say “Bing Crosby”) on a stretched out piece of pink balloon rubber, wrapped tight around, and glued to, cardboard.
That, dear reader, is nearly the end of today’s show-and-tell. So let’s come back to the modern world for the last thing: the Berlin-y advent picture. It’s a photo taken in my local supermarket of some festive toilet paper. The Winterduft (winter fragrance), by the way, smells horrible. It’s kinda like a fake gingerbread-y smell which does very little to disguise the oh-so-real fact that you’re doing a poo.