My Adventure With Scientists

I’m counting the days until I can engage a babysitter and rush off to the Orpheus. The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists is almost here.

I live in Bristol – once famous for its pirates and also the city where the film was made – and I’ve been following director Peter Lord’s behind-the-scenes tweets, so my anticipation has been growing for a long time.

I love pirates
, and my kids, of course, love pirates* but it’s the second part of the title, “In An Adventure with scientists” which has made me particularly anxious to see this film.

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to spend a fortnight on a ship off the Atlantic coast of South America. It was an adventure! There were scientists!

After Darwin: A Graphic Biography was published in 2009, Dutch broadcasters VPRO invited me aboard their clipper which was following the route of Darwin’s Beagle voyage, making weekly TV shows as they went.
Stad Amsterdam
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Some old faces

Until tonight I hadn’t seen these drawings for years. I’ve lost the original files, but discovered these JPEGs online, on an abandoned website.
At the time I’d only just started trying to escape from a tight, laboured style in favour of looser, more expressive marks like these. It was a bit of a turning point.
I also found some sketches of 2000AD characters on the same site, and have uploaded them.

Work in progress

Finished pencilling a page before lunch, which means an afternoon of inking to look forward to!

We are five!

17th March 2007 was the day Gurr Illustration officially started. I had been a freelance illustrator for twelve years before that, but always with my wife Julia helping me behind the scenes. Becoming a partnership was a way of formally recognising her contribution, both creatively and on the business side.
The last five years haven’t always been easy, but they have been interesting and incredibly rewarding. Below is the first Gurr Illustration illustration, followed by whatever was on the drawing table on each subsequent birthday.


2007 - Peregrine over Avon Gorge

2008 - Flash & WordPress upgrade for Joanna Quinn's website

2009 - Map for Arnos Vale Cemetery

2010 - Mini Gurrilla #2, a few weeks old.

2011 - English Language Teaching textbook illustration

2012 - Current project

A huge thank you to all the friends, clients and suppliers who have supported us over the last half a decade.

Merci au maître, Moebius

This is from a much-loved T-shirt I bought years ago in Angoulême. At first I wore it as often as I could, then reserved its use for special occasions or when luck was needed. Now, it’s full of holes and really should be thrown away. But the reason I’ve held onto it is the reason I made a pilgrimage to Angoulême in the first place: Moebius.

There is little I can add to the many tributes which have already been posted, except a short, personal note. I remember, in the 1980s, my excitement at being able to walk into a Paris department store (not a comic shop!) and buy a lavish hard-backed comic album. I chose this one.

It was the second volume of a story I was unfamiliar with, and it was in French, but Moebius’s art was all I needed. (I was later astounded by the Blueberry strips serialised in the rough newsprint pages of comics newspaper Speakeasy.)

I never consciously tried to emulate him, there was no point. He was, in the words of Leonard Cohen, ‘a hundred floors above me’. But he inspired me in another way; with work of such transcendent imagination and superhuman technical prowess in the world, I had all the proof I needed that the comics form was one of limitless potential. One I should explore.

The only time I was in the same room as Jean Giraud, he was on stage at a London comic convention. He was demonstrating, of all things, t’ai chi techniques. Somehow his flowing movements and serene concentration seemed to fit perfectly with his sublime artwork. I felt I was watching some kind of elevated human being who had everything worked out and would live to be 100.
His work will live much longer than that.

St. Vincent’s Rock

wyvernst vincents rock
2012 is the tenth anniversary of St. Vincent’s Rock, Eugene Byrne’s story of Bristol’s mythical creatures which was our first comics collaboration. I’m wondering what to do to mark this milestone.


WWi soldier in cellJust found this artwork from a First World War comic I drew a long time ago. Love drawing in soft pencil but it takes too long for comics!