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Friday, 18 December 2009

Coffee time!

Coffee time's always like this at my place - isn't it at yours?
Have just submitted this to Threadless so if any of you would like to vote for it to be turned into a T-shirt (& win me $2500) then please register & vote high!

Thursday, 17 December 2009


Charlie Git & his living hair

Sketchbook ruminations on extreme afraid, be very afraid!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Smoking aminals...

Download & print for smoking infused children's wallpaper!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Guardian All Ears 12th December

Note to self...for reference purposes, in shared studio very unwise to Google 'nurses uniform' with 'Safe Search' option switched off!

(Article by Michael Holden)
I took my place in a hospital queue and a scene of two halves began to
unfold. To my left a woman yelled Apprentice-level business drivel
into her telephone, while to my right three nurses assembled a plastic
Christmas tree.
Woman (indignant) “You haven’t spoken to them about it, you’ve just
talked to me about it, and I’m not the cog that needs to make that
process turn around!”
Nurse 1 (straightening out collapsible branches) “How old is this thing?”
Nurse 2 “At least as old as me, and I’ve been here five years.”

Woman “The message is Ian’s just back from holiday, and if there are
35,000 emails in his inbox then we’re all in trouble… what I said to
you was there are four more files, which are big, messy, nasty ones,
by the way. So you can’t just ignore them.”

Nurse 3 “Where does this bit go?”

Nurse 1 “Stick it in the middle”

Woman (almost screaming) “Well you make a start and then
I will finish it off…I understand that…exactly…anyway. We
can’t do that until we know the value of all the pieces…it’s not a
good idea, Andrew’s not into delegation… I don’t know. I’ve been here
for four hours… I imagine he will go berserk. I shouldn’t have to be
pointing this out!”
Nurse 1 (standing back) “What do we think of that then?”

Woman “Well, as I say, I thought you would have done something
already, but we’ll try and sort it out when I get back. Yes, I got
that. I’m getting the fact that you’re unhappy.”

Nurse 2 (laughing) “Look at the state of it!”

Woman “Ok then, thanks.”
She hung up and noticed the pitiful tree. It would take more than that
to make things better.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


Impromptu creation for recent basement party in sunny Bethnal Green - it's an E2 thing - you dig? (click on it to see it BIG!)

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Guardian All Ears 5th December

(Article by Michael Holden)
I could see the man at the next table was having a hard time from the way he held his drinks-for dear life, it seemed. He stared into the middle distance with an air of furious sorrow and swallowed beer in great mouthfuls, around a third of a pint each time. At the end of his second something like relief came to his face and then he was joined by a friend who bought another drink to his table.

Man 1 (upbeat) “How are we.”

Man 2 (morose) “In fucking bits.”

Man 1 “You haven't slept at all?”

He shook his head

Man 1 “I don't know how you get away with it.”

Man 2 “I don't though, do I? That's why I'm in here.”
Man1 “It could be worse.”

Man 2 “How? How feasibly could it be worse?”

Man 1 “Look, if I’d known you were gonna do the whole self pity thing I wouldn’t have come.”
Man 2 “No, I’m sorry. I do appreciate it. Or I will do when I get myself together.”

Man 1 “Well be sure and give me a ring when that happens.”
Man 2 (finishing his pint) “I’m feeling better already.”

Man 1 “Good, well, one step at a time eh?”

Man 2 “Yeah.”

Then he got up and walked to the toilet and was sick so loudly you could hear him through the door and over the jukebox, which was playing Christmas tunes.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Nice pear...

there's a theme developing here (I seem to remember all computers were named after fruit & vegetables in the '80s - there was definitely an Acorn & an Apricot?)

Mac reaper?

...or for the more morbid computer user


What with all these Snow Leopards etc. anyone else thinking Apple have missed a trick?

Monday, 30 November 2009


Front cover for Communicators magazine on internet security (& a great excuse for PROPER robbers!) Things would be sooo much simpler if people dressed to type & animals ate what they're supposed to eat (bears - honey, elephants - buns etc.)

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Guardian All Ears 28th November

During the drawing of this picture my computer crashed forcing me to have to draw those creepy twins from the X Factor twice - I can categorically state that I have never watched the wretched thing - horrible easy listening mush for all the family - but you can't escape seeing them everywhere - rant! rant! rant!

(Article by Michael Holden)
Years of satanic number crunching at my local train company appear to have finally yielded a system that enables them to deploy the absolute minimum of carriages no matter what time of day it is. So, off-peak travel – once one of the great perks of self employment – is now just a grotesque and scaled-down, Fisher-Price rush hour. The torment of others, which might ordinarily have been confined to an avoidable area, now closes in from every side.

Woman 1 (to my right, "waking up" having feigned sleep to stop people trying to sit next to her) "Give us that mag."

Woman 2 (opposite her, defending her own space with a bottle of partially drunk cola and a crescent of low-rent magazines, one of which she passed over) "That had me laughing out loud."

Woman 3 (directly opposite-reading from a paper to a husband who made faces but never replied) "That zero-carbon housing development is going ahead."

Man 1 (behind me - talking into his phone) "Theo! Theo! It's Mark. I've been in Sweden … and Hamburg … I'm on the train … I think the problem is with the gearboxes … yeah, it's a bad signal …"

Woman 2 "Did I tell you what happened at work? I only had the key for the top lock, and I asked her for the key to the bottom lock and she give me a load of grief."

Woman 1 (ignoring her, staring at her mobile) "I can't do that predictive text."

Man 1 "Theo … Theo can you hear me? Theo? Can you hear me?"

I put on some music before any of these crucial issues were resolved.

Thursday, 26 November 2009


more fishy sketchbook nonsense

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Monday, 23 November 2009

Guardian All Ears 21st November

I've always wanted to include Pocari Sweat* in an illustration (* Japanese isotonic drink with amusing name) - figured a bottle of Metaxa for the Greek reference might be slightly over-egging things perhaps...

(article by Michael Holden)
You might think there are places you can eat in the world where the couple on the next table won’t turn out to be English. And you might think a Japanese restaurant, in Athens might be among them. And you’d be wrong. The man looked like he could have been in Right Said Fred, the woman looked like Naomi Campbell disguised as Casey Jones.

Woman (looking at the man as he sat down): “You look bigger in your photographs.”

Man: (not joking) “Yes. I am bigger.”

Woman (sitting) “Busy day?”

Man “Not really. Lots have people have to wear a suit to work but not me, not today. I was going to wear a tie, but my big meeting got changed till Monday morning.

Woman (looking dubiously at the menu, and then around the restaurant) “I'm not really sure about the meat…”

Man “They have chicken…you know what chicken is?”

Woman “Yes I like chicken. Maybe I can try salmon?”

Man “Have what you like. Eat what you feel…”

Woman “I have to go to the toilet, will you order for me?”

Man “Sure.”

Woman (back-after less than a minute) “It’s busy. I don't like waiting in toilets. You never know what germs are there. I'd rather wait in here.”

Eventually some food arrived.

Man “You’ve seen chopsticks before?”

Woman “Yes, once. In Leeds.”

Man (demonstrating) “These will be the same. You can do it the Japanese way or the Chinese way…”

Woman (regarding the tempura he was holding-which to be fair-did look quite phallic) “What’s that about then?”

They burst out laughing. Then she opened her mouth and he steered the crooked lump of batter between her lips while I prayed for the bill.

Thursday, 19 November 2009


No reason for this (but I must admit to rather enjoying watching kids continually fall off at the Southbank - does this make me a bad person?)


Armchair Sinister Bird Theatre

I wish this completely fictitious made-up TV programme had existed for real, but alas...
I often think TV would be so much better if there were more made-up programmes


Creationism made simple

Ahh! So THAT explains it! Why let scientific evidence get in the way?

Monday, 16 November 2009

Rabbit sketches

Some sketchbook nonsense based around my 'Rabbits' short

Guardian All Ears 14th November

For me medical waiting rooms always beg a kid with a chamber pot stuck on it's head but I had to resist the temptation this week...might just go & draw a random one now!

(article by Micheal Holden)
I was stuck on a plane for an hour recently while the airport authorities searched for a bus to take us to the terminal. As codas to already unpleasant journeys go, it sucked. I did however get to find out all about my fellow traveller’s toenail.

Man 1 “I literally hobbled in there. You could see it was the foot place-there were a lot of people in sandals. Lot’s of toes in big white cocoons of bandages-the sort of thing you might see a silk moth fly out of.”

Man 2 “Like a sort of Carry On bandage?”

Man 1 “Exactly. So they ask me what’s up and I tell them it’s an ingrown toenail. I can’t walk, and in the end it’s got so bad I can hardly sleep. So they sit me down in this massive queue.

Man 2 (eager for details of institutional inefficiency) “And how long did that take?”

Man 1 “Maybe half an hour.”

Man 2 (disappointed) “Oh.”

Man 1 “In the end this bloke turns up-quite serious looking, like a sort of gangster almost, He takes a look and says, ‘that is bad, mate.’ He says, ‘we’ll operate on Tuesday. We’ll take that bit off, we’ll destroy the root with chemicals and it’ll never grow again.”

Man 2 “Pretty brutal.”

Man 1 “ Apparently it’s that or a vicious circle of antibiotics. Anyway I’ve asked him if there’s anything they can do now and he sort of looked about to see if anyone was looking. Asked me if I was squeamish-I said no. Made me promise not to kick him-I said fine. And he just dug half the nail out with a scalpel there and then. I felt like screaming but I tell you what I walked out of there better than I walked in!”

Man 2 “And you still had the operation?”

Man 1 “Yeah, but they seemed a bit put out that the other guy had sorted me out first. One doctor said, ‘we don’t do that field hospital stuff here anymore-did he put a bit of wood in your mouth?’ I said, ‘No, but it was a bit Medieval.’ And then the other doctor says, ‘Well, he is West Ham.’ I said I don’t care who he is, it worked.”

Monday, 9 November 2009

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Guardian All Ears 7th November

(Thought I'd put the original rough up because I'm not so happy with the colours on this one)

(Article by Michael Holden)
Outside a café I sat near a set of identical twins, women in their mid sixties, dressed alike and gearing themselves up for a duet of synchronized complaining that, had it been a piece of music, might have been eligible for some sort of prize.
Twin 1 (surveying the mild autumn sky) “This is my kind of weather…”
Twin 2 (staring moodily at the waiting staff) “What’s wrong with these people?”
Twin 1 “Did you ask for more jam?”
Twin 2 “Yes but she didn’t understand me.”
I looked at their table. They were eating scones and had what seemed to me to be an adequate amount of jam to be going on with.
Twin 1 (stopping a waitress) “We need more jam!”
The waitress smiled and walked inside.
Twin 2 “She won’t speak English. It’s the same in Waitrose.”
Another waitress appeared and gave them more jam.
Twin 1 (looking angrily at the tiny jars) “These have the lids on!”
Twin 2 “The others had the lids off!”
Twin 1 “It’s the inconsistency…”
She stopped a waitress and held out a jar.
Twin 2 “Can you open this?”
Twin 1 “It’s no good. They can’t understand you.”
The waitress took the jam and opened it.
Twin 2 “This is different jam altogether.”
Twin 1 “It’s the wrong jam!”
They now had no scones and a surplus of jam. A problem they surmounted by spooning it directly into the mouths while looking beadily about for trouble, like human wasps.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Marks & Spencers Halloween

Designed these for Halloween 2007 but they're using them again this year to fill people's kids up with weird crisps & sweets - here's a selection of some of them - will put some packaging photos up if I can get my feeble ill arse out of the house to take some

Guardian All Ears 31st October

I love the comic poignancy of those collars they make cats & dogs wear, one shouldn't laugh but...
Also a little Harry Potter reference (for Halloween) - no, I've never read, watched, eaten any of the wretched franchise so have no reason beyond pure unreasoning prejudice to dislike it (hmm shades of a certain Mr Griffin there ugh!)

(Article by Michael Holden)
I was in the collective reception are where several new age businesses collide when I noticed the woman sat opposite me was sporting inordinately powerful biceps, in the Madonna style. She kept looking sideways at them and flexing subtly, as though she couldn’t quite believe what she’d achieved. She had her son with her who must have been about 14 and had his head in a book.

Woman: (without taking her eyes of her arms) “You should start to think about which books you’ll take in holiday.”

Boy: (without looking up) “Yeah.”

Woman: “You’ll need to be quite selective. Remember you’ll have to carry them.”

Boy: (After thinking for a moment) “I think I’ll take The Guinness Book Of Records.”

Woman: (outraged by this apparent lack of practicality) “I don’t think you will! Why would you take that? Why don’t you take those Horrible Histories books? Danny loved them. He read them all twice.”

Boy: (like his time was money) “I don’t read anything twice. What will happen to the cat?”

Woman: “She’ll be fine. She can’t go outside anyway. The vet said.”

The boy looked deeper into his book and his mother retaliated by picking up a paper from which she began to read out loud.

Woman: “Fantastic Mr Fox. Six thirty.”

Boy “I want to see ‘Up.’”

Woman “Well that’s two things we can do at half term.”

Boy: (still reading) “It’s in 3D”

Woman: (determined) “I’m really looking forward to the holiday.”

Boy: (deadpan, still reading) “Yes.”

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Guardian All Ears 24th October

Funnily enough I have an unread copy of Plato's Republic sitting on my shelves but my burgeoning lapdancing career seriously impinges on my reading time...

(Article by Michael Holden)
The ethics of professional nudity are one of the great default arguments that daytime television, talk radio, columnists and occasionally frontline politics will elect to shine their dubious lights upon when there’s nothing else to talk about. It came as no big surprise then to find myself adjacent to two drinkers discussing the art of what Tina Turner called “Private Dancing,” albeit from a somewhat subjective point of view.

Man 1 “She made eight hundred quid in her first week.”

Man 2 “Christ, so that’s her now then. No going back…how she’s getting on?”

Man 1 “Well she does get on with things-I admire that about her. She says the blokes are just-well you can imagine…”

Man 2 “What?”

Man 1 “Well, you know. They’ll show her a picture of a Ferrari on their iPhone and say, ‘That’s my car, I can take you away from all this, you’re too good for it.’ But, there they are…”

Man 2 “What does she say to all that?”

Man 1 “You have to play up to it. They told her, you can’t crack on that you’re clever. You have to act the part. You can read books if it’s quiet but you have to wrap up them up inside a copy of Heat or something.”

Man 2 “Yeah, I can see that.”

Man 1 “She had one lot of blokes come in that she said were alright. They said it was the first time they’d been and she told them it was her first night-which was true. They said they’d give her all the money she had, which was plenty, if, when she got on the stage, half way through the routine she started doing robotics.”

Man 2 (laughing) “Did she do it?”

Man 1 (laughing too) “No, she bottled it.”

Man 2 “I’d pay good money to see that.”

Man 1 “I’ll let her know.”

Monday, 19 October 2009

Guardian All Ears 17th October

Gratuitous use of cock imagery ahoy!

I’d like to stop smoking but since the ban, the eavesdropping opportunities it creates are just to good to give up. Cast out into the air cold air it as though the bonds of addiction allow us to speak outside the conventions of the world indoors. Why else would a group of men taking part in some kind of reunion dinner furnish me with the details of their friend’s cardiac-genital humiliation as we stood together outside a restaurant? It’s not like I ask people to tell me this stuff. It just happens.

Man 1 “I’m surprised Alan’s not here.”

Man 2 “You know he had a heart attack?”

Man 3 (as though this were worse) “He lives in France”

Man 4(sensing he might be the only one in possession of the full facts-and determined to capitalise) “Well he (+I)did(-I) live in France, until he had the heart attack…”

Man 1 “What happened then?”

Man 3 (not to be outdone) “They had to airlift him out-in a helicopter.”

Man 2 “Jesus-I never knew that.”

Man 1 “Wow. I wonder how felt?”

Man 4 (reclaiming the high ground) “He said the worst thing was when he was lying on the stretcher and the helicopter came down and blew all the blankets off him-so he was naked…”

Man 3 “He’s lucky he wasn’t in England, someone would have filmed you over here. You’d have been on Youtube, or that Michael Buerke programme. Half dead in the down draft, naked, with your penis pixelated out…”

Man 1 “I thought he lived in Belgium?”

Man 4 “Don’t be daft.”

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Guardian All Ears 10th October

...with a little nod to my favourite estate agents this week ...grrr!

(Article by Michael Holden)
It’s a sign of the times but twice in a month I’ve ended up within earshot of a man berating a woman over the phone about selling a house. While the first tirade took place in a public toilet, this one went down in the lobby of an expensive hotel. The man was small, sitting on sofa much larger than he was and spoke with a New York accent.
Man “This guy’s a doctor right? But this is phony. This is a fraudulent transaction, and there’s nothing you can do about it?
He listened to the response and pulled faces of exasperation
Man “You got all your linens in there! How you gonna show the house? You need to put all the linens into the basement…I’ll move my desk down there, I’ll see if I can get someone to help me…that desk is very, very heavy-and that’s the least of our problems… We’re not gonna move the chandelier back to your house, that’s idiotic!
Then something got said that sent him up a gear.
Man “ What? I wouldn’t count it! I would get the house on the market and market it aggressively. How aggressively? Very aggressively, go for four twenty and put a note on there saying only pre-approved buyers, people with normal mortgages or nothing, if someone comes in with cash, take less…Screw these people!”
He chewed a pen and tried to take in her response but it was all too much.
Man “Don’t use Jeremy anymore! He’s incompetent, and these morons, these idiots over there, tell ‘em they couldn’t run a convenience store…Tell them! Open up your mouth or I’ll come down and tell them. The whole thing is idiotic! Oh Jesus Christ, they’re fucking novices. You spent all this money, for what?”
He gave a giant sigh and applied himself to less vexing matters
Man “Dress very warm, it’s raining and it’s cold out…just get me a chicken sandwich, something like that.”

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Guardian All Ears 3rd October

You just KNOW the guy's going to smell of Country Born hair gel, Hard Rock hair spray & Lynx! Sorry, but the mid '80s were can stuff your rosy tinted revisionism & your crappy Big Country albums where the sun don't shine...

(Article by Michael Holden)

I was hiding my face in a newspaper on a train when I heard a woman’s voice say, “I remember when you were conceived.” I looked up to see who was poised to deliver this revelation and saw a woman sat opposite her daughter who it transpired was around 25 years old.
Mother (visualizing) “ It was bloody freezing. Me and your dad had been to the cinema. He had to walk me home.”
Daughter (visualizing also-but presumably with some caution) “What film did you see?”
Mother (making claw shapes with her hand)“Oh God. That thing when his hands are like knives …”
The daughter shook her head.
Mother (annoyed with herself) “The Freddy thing…you know…”
She didn’t.
Mother (like she’d won a quiz) “Nightmare on Elm Street!”
Daughter “Never seen it.”
Mother “I hated it. Scared me. That’s why he had to take me home. Not ‘cos of the weather. I was jumpy.”
Daughter (smiling) “With good reason”
Mother (like 1984 was another era entirely) “That was why you went to the cinema back then.”
Daughter (laughing, incredulous) “To get pregnant?”
Mother “You know what I mean. We didn’t go as much when you was born. I know that.”
Daughter “Do you remember much about it?”
Mother “What do you mean?”
Daughter “Like, what you were wearing?”
Mother “I had a big coat.”
Daughter “What about dad?”
Mother “Well he would have had a coat as well.”
Daughter “That’s all you remember?”
Mother “The bloke in the film, he’s got a red and black jumper..”
Daughter (looking anxious to wrap things up) “Thanks for that.”

Monday, 28 September 2009

Guardian - All Ears 26th September

Exploring the art of rodent contraception this week...

(Article by Michael Holden)
I was having dinner in my local Chinese when a couple sat down. They seemed cheerful but uncommonly convivial and eager to please. I pinned them as a first date till the man said, “you’ve seen the floorboards in my bedroom?” and the woman clearly had. Oh well.
Man “There are big spaces between them. I think this is where the mice get in. Sometimes I’m lying there at night and I can hear, like, mouse sounds, getting louder. And then they stop and I think, well perhaps they’ve gone. But then it starts again.”
Woman “Don’t put your heating on. They’ll go next door, where it’s warmer. They don’t care.”
Man (reassessing his fellow diner in light of this new nonsense) “Actually, they are quite selective about…”
Woman (not listening) “I put down traps. ‘The Little Nipper,’ one was called. It breaks their spines.”
Man : “I find all that a bit…”
Woman: “ In the end it’s less mice and rats on the planet and that’s what it’s all about. That’s the objective.”
Man (losing it somewhat) “It’s not though, is it? Mice are highly organized. They’re just seeking food and shelter. If you were a farmer-storing grain then you might have a point. Anyway, you’ve got a cat, that’s why cats are domesticated. We fed them to kill mice. So without the mouse there is no cat. Rodents are real survivors, we should admire them. Spontaneous ovulation, short gestation, large litters. We can’t manage any of that.”
She looked at him with clear contempt now. In a world where opinion is valued over knowledge he had just talked himself and his seed out of the evolutionary process, at least with this woman. She wouldn’t be looking at the hole in his floorboards again, that much was clear.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Guardian All Ears 19th September

Possibly the fastest All Ears I've ever done - completed in record time while desperately attempting to make the 14.30 to Portsmouth Harbour en route to the Isle of Wight - talk about skin of the teeth - you can almost seee the sweat!

(article by Michael Holden)
Not for the first time I was stuck in a queue marvelling at how the preparation of a mild stimulant-coffee-takes far more time than one could possibly hope to save through the sensation it eventually delivers. If you’re not even buying coffee and you’re stuck behind people who are then a further irony is that the frustration you feel is like taking some some kind of cheap hit in its own right. The women in front of me, one of whom was pregnant-the other with a child of about 4,-were hesitating over what type of coffee they might eventually buy when the little girl interrupted them
Girl “Can I have an orange juice?”
Mother “No, because they’re very expensive here. You can only get the big ones.”
Girl “Oh.”
Woman (finally deciding) “I’d like a decaff latte please. I’ll get her an orange juice.”
Mother “Oh no.”
Woman “I don’t mind.”
Mother “Really?”
Woman “Yes, unless she’s not allowed.”
Mother “No, it’s fine.”
Woman “What are you having?”
Mother “Latte. But I’ll pay for that seperately”
Woman (seizing a snack) “I might have one of these.”
Mother (prenatally alarmed) “You’re eating peanuts?”
Woman “I read some new research. It says they’re ok.”
Mother (offering change) “Let me get the orange juice…”
Woman “No. Because then that wouldn’t be a present from me, and want it to be a present.”
And so it went on, as they tied themselves ever deeper into an aimless knot of protocol, wound at my expense.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Sure plays a mean pinball

New bit of work destined for this year's artbook with an affectionate nod to trash movies, pinball & Camden goths

Jiggy McCue covers

Cover illustration for the 'Jiggy McCue' series by Michael Lawrence for Orchard books has allowed me to commune with my inner 9 year old i.e. books about pants, toilets & snot. I had to endure some very pitying looks from fellow tube travellers while I was skim reading these. They've got some nice little flick books inside too - should be out very soon - will post a link so you can buy them & stroke the embossed covers over your eager little faces you lucky people!