'Jean in the Jar' illustration from 'Five Wounds.

The illustration brief was as follows:

Crow’s workshop? Should be broadly consistent in feel with the depiction on the stand-alone pic of the same name, but here a view of eyeless Jean and dead cats and dogs floating in jar, decomposed?
Following the brief, the image therefore shows the decomposin
g body of Jean sealed in a jar in the workshop of Crow, the alchemist. Jean is accompanied by several
cats and dogs.

I drew a brick floor as I imagined the workshop being hidden in a cellar. In general I give a lot of attention to brick work in my drawings, being the son of a bricklayer.
In fact you could even interpret Jean representing the figure of 'Melancolia'- pensive and immobilised- in a workshop filled with unused instruments and tools, the bricks being evidence of manual labour. This, however, did not pass my mind whilst working on the illustration.
Below is a video of Alan Moore, who is probably most famous at the moment for writing the 'Watchmen' graphic novel. Here he is talking about the alchemical theory of 'Solve et Coagula': analysis and synthesis, which I thought was relevant for this particular post:

'In Sin' was the original running head for this page, which was later changed to 'Various Bodies'. There is an annotation to tilt the eye-line to give the feeling of floating, as Jean is also floating.

For the objects in the lab, I used my drawings of medical equipment and specimens sketched from the Hunterian Museum in London, which I visited in 2006 on Jon's recommendation. Jon posted me the book 'Old Medical and Dental Instruments' by David J. Warren, which also came in handy for reference.

This is 'Melancolia I', surely Albercht Dürer's most interpreted engraving about theory and practice. I took from this the sand timer & the bell which appear above the head of Jean. The sand timer represents the passing of time for the decomposing body of Jean; a living man who was trapped inside the jar.
The bell is a more vaguely interpreted symbol in Dürer's engraving, which is partly why I chose it. Some interpretations suggest that it represents the heavens because of its dome shape, also that it symbolises a connection/communication between the heavens & the earth because of its hanging pendulum. This then would represent the 'expiring soul' of Jean, which Crow wishes to trap inside the jar with Jean's body. I also chose a bell because sound and music are the least considered practices of alchemy.



First years in Spain.

After finishing studying illustration at the Cambridge School of Art I worked for a stint in a comics shop, after deferring for a year my M.A. at St.Martin's as I was already skint after studying a degree. I then deferred the M.A. for a second year and emigrated to Spain, originally intending to stay for six months.

For the first couple of years I lived in a rural area of Tarragona, before moving closer to Barcelona to work in textiles. During this time time I painted and sketched subjects inspired by the flora and fauna of the area, which was new to me.


This is a seed pod from a magnolia tree which are planted along the roadside in the village where I lived. I painted and sketched a few of these at various stages of their development; changing from lime to dark brown, in which time the bright red seeds are expelled, suspended on thin silky threads.


This was painted from life. A Gecko lizard that I found under the sink. I painted two small canvases, one of which I sold in a local exhibition.


This painting was based upon drawings made in my sketchbook of the grasses and plants.



Above are examples of the more surreal paintings I created at the time, both of these are about a meter high. These types of paintings were based upon doodles from my sketch book. Below is a 'doodle' from this period- the theme was sex, so it's not just the result of my dirty subconscious; I drew it to submit to a art zine/magazine.



One of my postcard designs from 2003. I printed these with my printer on fancy paper, hand cut them & sold them for €1 each at exhibitions and in shops.

A page from one of my first strips for Decadence.

Below are some sketches from the area:




This last sketch is from the village of Miravet; probably my favorite village in that area. The photo below the sketch is the view from the castle of Miravet. I sold the sketches locally.