Looking Forward and Backward: Scooterissimo Retro Modernist Poster Prints

I’ve been doing a lot of studying about vector art lately. It requires a shift in thinking, as it’s not about lathering paint but more defining areas and filling them with colour. Perhaps a good analogy is the difference between an painter and an airbrush artist who has to mask off areas before committing to colour. It’s a perfect way of creating neat illustrations very quickly. With the added advantage that it’s easy to make amendments even after you think you’ve finished. I’m working in Affinity Designer, which has burst onto the vector graphics scene and has become a serious contender to Adobe’s Illustrator program. Especially since Adobe made the move to a subscription-based business model.
Retro poster prints for the Scooterissimo modernist fashion and scooter-lovers brand. Includes lovingly rendered vintage Vespas and Lambrettas
Retro poster prints for the Scooterissimo modernist fashion and scooter-lovers brand.

These images are part of a collection I’m creating about stylish women -mostly from the twentieth century, although probably not exclusively, as I’ll venture into any epoch. I’m depicting the various clothes fashions but also trying to evoke the design styles of the time.  By the way, isn’t it hard to discern much sartorial elegance around, in this age of ‘anti-fit’ jeans, skinny trousers, sportswear and hoodies? Most clothes seem to be shapeless. Take young men, for example, there has been a recent fashion for perfectly groomed hair and beards. Good idea. But the elegance never seems to extend below the neck.

Retro poster prints for the Scooterissimo modernist fashion and scooter-lovers brand. Includes lovingly rendered vintage Vespas and Lambrettas
Retro poster prints for the Scooterissimo modernist fashion and scooter-lovers brand.

So it’s always an enjoyable pastime to look back at women. And I do that a lot. If you live sixties fashion, vespas, lambrettas and all things mod; have a look at all the stylish and beautiful posters on offer at Scooterissimo.

Fish Bytes. A Digital Vector Illustration

A digital vector illustration of a big fish about to devour a little fish. Survival of the Fishest!
A digital vector illustration of a big fish about to devour a little fish. Survival of the Fishest!

I’ve been fishing though my archives of old illustrations to re-work as Vector artworks. This work, which was obviously about business -hostile takeovers, engulf and devour scenarios, etc,- stood out as a likely candidate.

Apart from the speed at which it’s possible to compose illustrations in comparison to using actual paint on paper, is the way I can reach into the image at any point to modify it. Including after completion. I’m using Serif’s Affinity Designer, by the way -the only illustration software I’ve found that can challenge the behemoth that is Adobe Illustrator.

I hope you like it. I am trying to reel you in. Do get in contact if you have a project that requires an imaginative, and colourful imagery that gets your point across.

Happy fishing.

A Popular Mechanic. A Presentation Portrait Artwork.

A presentation artwork in acrylics on paper, framed and presented to M. Philippe Milloux, director of the Alliance française, Dublin
A presentation artwork in acrylics on paper, framed and presented to M. Philippe Milloux, director of the Alliance française, Dublin

A very satisfying and enjoyable project reached its conclusion last Friday. The Director of the Alliance Française, Philippe Milloux, has just completed his term at the Alliance and is moving on to an even more exalted position in Paris. I think it’s very useful to show you something of the planning, care and attention to that what went into it from me and the group of his colleagues who clubbed together to commission this art.

As usual, in preparation for the composition, I interviewed his colleagues and tried to get a picture of how he could be best represented. Part of the work that Philippe carried out over the last few years was to restructure the Alliance and make sure it remains a healthy and vibrant institution into the future. Happily, I also discovered that he has always had an interest in car mechanics and has been fixing them since he was ten years old, since his father was a car mechanic.

My objective with these artworks is to make a gift that is unique, imaginative and personal. There is only ONE of these in the world; unlike a gold watches; golf clubs; crystal vases or any other repetitious and unimaginative bauble. This image says something about his time at Dublin AF (he fixed it) and Ireland, it also reaches into his family history. He told me that his dad wore the blue mechanic’s boiler suit every day to work. Philippe is a natty dresser, too and always looked to me as if he’d just stepped out of a jazz club (niiiice!). He’s seldom seen out and about without his cool hat and of course, that went into the painting too.

In short; This gift is a portrait. It’s inextricably linked to its subject, it will keep renewing itself as Philippe progresses through his career. It will always remind him of his happy time in Ireland, his dear colleagues and reflect his own interests and family history. The whole project took about 3 weeks to complete, which takes into account meetings, sketching, amendments, painting and framing. What more could you ask of a parting gift? You can see more examples of these projects at this link.  Phone me on +353 (0)86 247 0737

A letter from Philippe to his colleagues:

I did not really have time last Friday to tell you how much this surprise -and what a surprise as you all noticed. I was so touched.

I was very happy to be able to spend this moment with you all, I look back on all that we have accomplished in the Alliance and I treasured my chance to have you by my side throughout these five years. From the moment I arrived in Ireland, and even in the most difficult moments, I came to work every morning with the desire to strive for and accomplish everything that we started almost as soon as I arrived.

Kevin’s painting which I’ll adore, will be in place in my office on the 6th floor of the Foundation in Paris, so I’ll always think of you and Dublin .

With my best memory,



Philippe


And now some images of the project as it progressed:

Initial pencil sketch to show idea for the presentation artwork in acrylics on paper.
Initial sketch to show idea for the presentation artwork in acrylics on paper.
Sketch worked up to client’s amendments

presentation artwork in acrylics on paper.
Painting underway on Arches watercolour paper stretched on board.

presentation artwork in acrylics on paper.
Back from the framer.

M. Philippe Milloux at the presentation lunch with his portrait artwork.
M. Philippe Milloux at the presentation lunch with his portrait artwork. 

Guinness Storehouse Gravity Bar Painting Project

A window-painting project i undertook in 2015, to support the bid by the Guinness Storehouse to become the European Tourist Attraction of the year. This had to be painted overnight in order not to disturb the use of the venue, so I experienced the wonderful view over Dublin as the sun set and rose again. Beautiful.

A project like this requires that the artist must know their materials: There was a tight deadline for completion so no room for error. I planned the entire project out beforehand, onscreen and selected the materials that would both suit the application AND not cause any damage to property. Using the wrong materials could cause big problems. There was also a date that the windows would have to be cleared of the art too, so removal needed to be taken into consideration.

I’ve been commissioned to paint on a variety of materials, from perspex to a child’s blackboard -all through Advertising agencies, so an expert knowledge of the best material to use is vital and shouldn’t be left to amateurs.

Call 086 247 0737 to discuss your creative project and illustration.

Digital Speed Painting

A painting/illustration made entirely in Affinity Designer and a Wacom drawing tablet, off the top of my head. I wanted to complete a digital image without first drawing a sketch and scanning it into the PC.

OPIUM. Portraiture Presentation Artworks in Acrylics on Paper

Vintage Roadster portrait: An imaginative and artistic way to create portraiture for execs who are moving on. Original; Personal; Imaginative; Unique and Memorable
Vintage Roadster portrait in acrylics: An imaginative and artistic way to create portraiture for execs who are moving on. Original; Personal; Imaginative; Unique and Memorable

In response to all that’s GUBU here on the Emerald Isle (to those outside of Ireland, GUBU is an acronym first used during a late 1980s political scandal: Grotesque; Unprecedented; Bizarre and Unbelievable – and it never seems to stop), I have my own newly-coined acronym for these hand-painted gift artworks: OPIUM: Original; Personal; Imaginative; Unique; Memorable.

I should add; addictive but that quality is inherent in the word and it would mess up my lovely new acronym.

Let me explain: I create these unique artworks to order, usually for retiring or otherwise departing executives. These projects are fun -with all the secret meetings and development, sketches and the growing feelings of expectation -and the party at the end where the presentation of the framed art is made.

 L'Eschappé Belle portrait in acrylics: An imaginative and artistic way to create portraiture for execs who are moving on. Original; Personal; Imaginative; Unique and Memorable
L’Eschappé Belle portrait in acrylics: An imaginative and artistic way to create portraiture for execs who are moving on. Original; Personal; Imaginative; Unique and Memorable

So, I’m after all the PAs I can get my hands on (so to speak). That’s my goal. PAs are the ‘go-to’ people when an unusual project comes up within a company: Something like procuring a retirement or departing gift for an executive, for example. The HR department is another source, since most companies don’t have an art or design department. The ‘finding a present’ brief doesn’t really fit the remit of any particular section of a company.

The difficulty is always what to get for this person who has most  things already. A nice pen? A gold watch? A bunch of flowers? A crystal vase? These items are all very lovely but they either don’t last or they’re very unoriginal. Or both.

Hot Water Review portrait in acrylics: An imaginative and artistic way to create portraiture for execs who are moving on. Original; Personal; Imaginative; Unique and Memorable
Hot Water Review portrait in acrylics: An imaginative and artistic way to create portraiture for execs who are moving on. Original; Personal; Imaginative; Unique and Memorable

So how about a present of OPIUM? Each original painting is tailored exactly to fit the individual: it’s personal and includes elements that refer to the person’s character, wishes and achievements. Unlike a gold watch, this is imaginative; it places the person in the context of their interests -a relevant (though invented) magazine or book cover: Don’t we all want to make the front cover of  a book? Each artwork is unique; there is only one of these in the entire world which can’t be said of a crystal vase, set of golf clubs or a gold watch…
Which brings us to Memorable. This is a memento -a thoughtful gift from colleagues to a valued member of the team which will be cherished for ever.

So if you’re a PA or an HR type who’s been charged with coming up with a gift, give me a call on 086 247 0737 and we can talk. Even if you know someone who is in that position, do pass on my name and number: +353 (0)86 247 0737 or email: kevin@mcsherry.ie I’d love to talk to you…

So; please share…

Digital Vector Illustration: Moggles – Ready for Takeoff!

A digital vector illustration artwork for a book cover. Moggles & The Ninth Life. Made in Affinity Designer.
A digital vector illustration artwork for a book cover. Moggles & The Ninth Life. 

Yes, yes, I know. I’m late for my flight.  There are a couple of reasons why I’ve taken so long to enter the world of digital illustration. For one thing, I love to paint and get my hands dirty and smell the paint and feel the brush in my hand. I became an illustrator to be a painter who gets paid properly from time to time.

Another thing is, I did already try some years ago. For a while I used a program called Painter which promised to give painterly results but I struggled with it before giving up on it as I just couldn’t get the results I wanted.

Then, Adobe introduced their subscription by the month, which is fair enough but it banjaxed my chances of using it.  That’s when I discovered the Affinity suite of products: The software company, Serif, obviously saw an opportunity provided by Adobe’s move to subscription and the resultant flight of irritated users. They’ve introduced two extremely comprehensive and professional applications that are developing apace. It’s true that neither of the programs have the complete set of bells and whistles provided by the standard-setting Adobe products but if you know what you want to achieve in your work, there’s almost nothing that a photographer or illustrator can’t do. Add to that, Serif’s Affinity Publisher, which is due for release in about a year’s time to compete with Adobe’s InDesign, and it will be possible to move away from Adobe and still produce industry-standard results.

A digital vector illustration artwork for a book cover. Moggles & The Ninth Life. Made in Affinity Designer.
A digital vector illustration artwork for a book cover in Outline Mode. Moggles & The Ninth Life.

So, illustrating this little ode to Affinity, is a cover illustration I did for a non-existent (as yet) children’s book. It’s made entirely in Affinity Designer and is a vector image. You can see something of how a vector image is made up in the above screenshot. I won’t go into the details of what that means  except that I can reach into any part of this image and refine it, change it or remove it at will. Imagine trying to do that with a hand-painted illustration! This is the way things work with today’s illustration clients who have become used to making ‘after the fact’ changes, and I must change my way of working accordingly. Over and out.

Illustrators Guild of Ireland Show at Luan Gallery. Press Release


The Luan Gallery is delighted to announce its winter exhibition for 2016 entitled Without the Words. Celebrating the art of illustration, Without the Words is a group exhibition selected especially for Luan Gallery which showcases the brightest talents of Irish Illustration today.
Showing works by a variety of artists, Without the Words includes samples by both established and high profile illustrators as well as emerging creative talents and forms a celebration of visual storytelling and the imagination.

Without the Words
 is an exhibition inspired by a line from Emily Dickinson’s well loved poem: ‘Hope is the Thing with Feathers’.
Margaret Anne Suggs, Illustrators Ireland Promotions Officer says:

‘In most circumstances an illustrator will respond to a brief which is communicated either through written or spoken word. As supporters of visual literacy, Illustrators Ireland propose to tell our visual stories, putting the pictures first- without the words. Here we tell our stories; visually stimulating the imagination to respond by creating an individual narrative, not a prescribed story’.


Illustrators Ireland is a community of professional illustrators working together to actively promote the craft and art form that is illustration. Members offer a wealth of combined experience and amongst those exhibiting include Kate Greenaway Medalist and current Laureate na nÓg PJ Lynch, former Laureate na nÓg Niamh Sharkey, and 2016 CBI Book of the Year Nominee Lauren O’Neill. With over 40 members’ work on exhibition, visitors are invited to find their own narratives within the original works.

The show combines computer generated imagery with traditionally executed drawings to present an assortment of colourful scenes and images to ignite imagination and discussion.

Aedín McGinn, Luan Gallery says:

‘We are thrilled to present this exhibition and showcase the wonderful variety of works by Illustrators Ireland. Throughout the course of the exhibition, Luan Gallery is offering up its River Gallery space to a participatory project entitled ‘The Big Picture’ in conjunction with Laureate na nÓg PJ Lynch. Here, visitors to the exhibition will be invited to add their own illustrations directly to the wall, responding to the works on show and resulting in one large evolving time based mural. So come one, come all and draw on the gallery wall!’


Speakers at the official exhibition launch include: Aoife Murry from Children’s Books Ireland, Margaret Anne Suggs from Illustrators Ireland and PJ Lynch, current Laureate na nÓg.

The exhibition will open on November 5th at 6pm with a wine reception to which all are welcome and continues until 27th January 2017.