Monday 30 November 2009

Double Indy.. a Dindy?

Last week was a blur of busy-ness and most of it business, hence the lack of posts, it really is a manic time of year.

So (with a small build up) here is last week's Independent image; a vision of the realities of the Iraq war being erased as a response to my brief, which was 'The Chilcott inquiry - it shouldn't be a whitewash'. My interpretation was that the Inquiry owed it to the soldiers and families of soldiers who fought, suffered or died in Iraq to be thorough (and hence not a whitewash) so I wanted to show that they shouldn't be erased from history by a politically driven Inquiry. Simple idea and a simple execution. It's rather difficult to show an image being erased without actually doing so, hence I had to keep the actual image quite flat and shape-based to help create the 'erased' textures.

I was pleased with it, especially the colour combination, but it wasn't as nice in print, which is always a shame. The article is here

However, today's image I am much happier with. It looks really atmospheric in print and is one of my recent favourites. I can't say this is because it's highly conceptual or astonishingly intelligent, rather it's nicely composed with limited colours and containing several of my favoured elements (moody urban structures, figures and a sense of foreboding) when I'm illustrating.

The brief for today's illo focused on the Conservative party and the Centre for Social Justice Think Tank (run by Iain Duncan Smith). I was asked to visualise this as an attempt by the Tories to 'go red' to reach out to the poorest parts of society and was given quite strong direction that the red of the image should focus on the Tory figure and not the background. The image below was the result and both the art director and I decided the background should be quite foreboding to suggest the Tories reaching out into unchartered, potentially dangerous (given that they could alienate the base) territory.

The article to this is here and it's an interesting (if somewhat complicated) read.

Hopefully I'll have a few non-Indy related posts soon, but at the moment everything else I have to share is still unpublishable until it goes live or the pitch is over.

Have a great start to December!

Monday 16 November 2009

Independent 16th November

Super quick update with today's Independent image, as time is something I don't have at the moment!

My brief had 3 options to it, and for this illustration I chose to work with 'How it's the UK's mission to restore peace'. I went with the idea of rebuilding Afghanistan after it had been (metaphorically) shattered into a thousand pieces. Conceptually the image isn't too complicated, but it's nice to change the pace and instead this week I spent a lot of time experimenting with the texture and feel of the visual, rather then communicating a complicated message. The full article is here and the illustration is below.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Independent 9th November

As anyone who follows me on Twitter will know this has been a manic work week. I completed some broad development roughs for a pitch piece, did the artwork for my agent's promotional 2010 calendar and created an illustration for the Independent.

I can't post the first two examples of work just yet, but I can bring you the illustration that appeared in yesterday's Independent.

The brief was related to the Fort Hood shootings and raised the issues of how to deal with being a Muslim in the West in the wake of such events and also the more specific question of what was in the mind of US army major Nidal Hasan. I did not want to speculate about the motives for such actions, given that I have no knowledge of what occurred beyond what has been reported in the press, so I kept my artwork relatively abstract. I also generated some roughs about the difficulties facing peaceful, law abiding Muslims in the West but the Art Director chose to go with the idea about the motive and this is what I created:

The image ties in quite nicely with the article's headline (about not knowing what the motives were) and similar to last week allowed the text to run around the image. Unfortunately the article doesn't seem to be online, which is odd. But I'll add a picture of the paper this evening for context.

Tuesday 3 November 2009


Hello, hello.

I have recently become a little bit of a liar, all these promises of updates 'later' and then later never seems to arrive. But despair no longer, the images I have been promising (bar one) are featured in this blog post.

First up is my image for The Ride Journal, a cycling magazine with an emphasis on storytelling and experience swapping nestling amongst beautiful design and evocative illustrations. Happily I was asked to contribute an illustration to the Journal to accompany an article called 'Pedal to Enlightenment' which told the tale of the writer's fight through the pain barrier to a zen like feeling of calm as he rode the roads of California.

So the art director asked me to do something a little more abstract then my usual work, focusing on my love of colour and strong compositions to convey the feelings referenced in the article. I had great fun doing this and was really pleased with the end result. It was nice to do something a bit more experimental and I got to play around with all of the textures that I collect on a daily basis to build up hundreds of layers which then come together to create the overall image.

This image will feature in The Ride Journal III, which is launched this week at the Pebbledash Gallery in Stoke Newington (London) on Friday at a Private View of the 116 TO SEA exhibition. To quote the site 116 TO SEA is "an exhibition of photography by Joe McGorty in collaboration with The Ride Journal. The Dunwich Dynamo, the annual 116 Mile all night bike ride from London to Suffolk coast, took place on the 4th of July 2009 the Saturdays nearest full moon. Joe McGorty's distinctive photographic style captures the spirit and fell of the unique ride."

I'm looking forward to the Private View and will report back with some pictures (promise). If you have a moment over the coming week the exhibition should be worth a look as Joe McGorty's work is really beautiful.

On a slightly different tip, the image below is my recent-ish one for The Sunday Herald about teen drinking. It talks about the contradiction between adult attitudes to teen drinking and their own vastly different actions, which set a bad example, and the lack of understanding of the serious effects of teen drinking on the still developing brain. This was more of a classic Jemillo illustration, lots of figures and a strong narrative underpinning an image of composite scenes around the same theme, all combining to convey the contradiction visually (I hope). So in a nutshell we see the adult hands appearing to toast the drunken antics of the youths on the right hand side. Colour wise it is a lot darker then a lot of my work, deliberately, to show the behaviour that tends to occur mostly in the evening and also to suggest the negative implications of such actions.

I also spent a great deal of time creating artwork about Washington for the Urban Land Institute in America, but alas I am still unable to publish this image online as the work is not yet in use given that it advertises the 2010 ULI conference and the 2009 event has not yet taken place! But the minute I get the nod I'll pop it up here. I do have roughs for two alternative ideas that I will publish when I pull them together.

Finally then I have added two of the three images that have been selected for Images 34.

These are 'PDA', the image from the 'We Have A Nice Day' project that responded to the statement:

"My life is a public spectacle.
Enjoy the show.
I’ll be here all week."

The second image is 'Storm', also from We Have A Nice Day and this image responded to:

"Close atmosphere today.
Need the rain to breakthrough.
Heady, clammy, intense air.

Storm on in."

Many thanks to Michelle Bower aka Bowerbird, regular commentator on this blog, friend and collaborator on the We Have A Nice Day project. Her clever, thought-provoking or inspirational words were an instrumental part in my selection for Images 34, as without them I would not have had the starting point to create some of my favourite pieces of work, so thanks to her.

Finally the third selected image was my Harry Patch illustration for the Independent. I was really pleased that this image was selected as again it is another of my favourites and also talks about a serious subject matter, which I think is important to recognise in Illustration awards as sometimes the serious gets overlooked for the shiny, showy or shallow and it is nice to see something less 'trendy' be recognised. Especially when it's my work, ha ha. Anyway the Harry Patch image is already on the blog, so if you wish to see it please scroll down!

That's it for today. Phew. As mentioned on yesterday's posts the website has been updated so if you want to see all my work in one place please visit

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday 2 November 2009

Today's Indy part 2

The brief I received yesterday began as the Tories v Europe, but quite clearly from the image that was published in today's paper that brief was shelved in favour of the story that broke over the weekend about Professor David Nutt's sacking from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and the subsequent resignations (and threat of resignations) from other council members.

It was a really open brief, I was asked to create something about the story that conveyed the notion that the cannabis comments had lit a blue touch paper to a wider issue within the government about advisors and policy. Originally I had the spliff in the image dropping ash onto a 'normal' Houses Of Parliament building (which is just starting to set alight, to suggest the idea that the cannabis issue is going to grow into a full inferno - which judging by today's news reports may just be the case). But at the rough stage the art director asked me to make it more druggie and create a building from cannabis plants and leaves. This took a while and required a lot of pieces in various green tones to create a depth to the shape and make it visually interesting, rather then just being one shape repeated ad infinitum.

You can see a close up of the cannabis plant based Houses of Parliament below:

As you can see in the post below I'm really happy with how the image has appeared in print. I sent the art director both an image with a background and one without, so that if the opportunity arose the illustration could be set into the text a little more and cropped to fit. He took the opportunity to do this and thus there is less dead space in the paper's version and the composition is a little more dynamic. Obviously with the nature of the grid it is not always possible for the images to appear like this so when they do it just gives my work a little extra oomph and takes it away from being a standard rectangle.

The article is online here and the picture in print can be seen below or in more detail over on twitpic

Today's Indy part 1

A brief post about today's Independent; here's a quick snapshot of the image in the paper. Loving the art director's crop and placement of the image, really makes it work as a composition.

I'll upload the full image and discuss the brief when I can...


Hmm somehow my blog title has disappeared and was (for how long I'm not sure) replaced by the word blue. Random! I will get this fixed..

Breaking news

My apologies that it has been a bit quiet on the blog front. I have an update post in draft, but it's pretty mammoth so I haven't quite got round to finishing it. However, I intend to do so later today as well as posting today's Indy image and some other recent illustrations.

But as for the breaking news I found out last night that 3 of my images have been selected for The AOI's Images 34 annual, which is great news. I'll post which ones later.

I also have some work in the new 'The Ride Journal' and there is a launch party for that this week on Friday in Stoke Newington, London. I'll also post more details about this later too.

Thanks for checking back in on the blog and normal service will be resumed shortly. Don't forget I have updated the website so do hit the link and visit to see some new work.