8 More Birthday Sketches

The return of the birthday sketches!

Arpana’s birthday was a few days back, and to tell the truth I’ve no idea if I know her, other than a mutual friend at University.

250813 Aparna 1250813 Aparna 2

Maybe I’ll get a ping back.

Another birthday on the 22nd was Rob Davis, who most of us I think know best as the author of Nelson. I’m not sure if Rob and I have ever spoken but we’ve probably fifty mates in common and occupied twenty odd convention centres together.

Rob isn’t a new fixture on the scene, having worked previously on Dredd, Roy of the Rovers, Dr. Who and Don Quixote, as this good interview illustrates.

250813 Rob Davis

I didn’t intend to draw Rob as The Riddler.

250813 RJ Smith

Richard J. Smith was making a lot of mini-comics when I was seriously reviewing in 99-2001. I remember the title Cheronna, which I think got to six issues, about a cat who was a pop star, and a 70s spy comic called Hugh Jazz. He contributed to anthologies including Xenocrayon, Mondo and CAOF Presents. There were a few darkened pub photos of Richard on Facebook and I couldn’t resist hanging Moore-ings.

250813 Starzecki

Starzecki is best known to me as one half of The James Kochalka Puppet Theatre, with Andy Richmond. I saw these guys perform at Caption 2005. The Theatre is performance art, interpreting the songs of Kochalka through pummelling each other with painted carboard puppets. It is good. I saw Starzecki and Richmond performing to Put down the gun Kurt Cobain, Bad Astronaut and Monkey Vs Robot. Pete Ashton has a photoset.
Richard is a course tutor in media production at Swindon Art. and has a lovely profile on Freelanced.com

250813 Desmond Williams
Finally today, my attempt to draw Desmond Williams. I know Desmond’s face from somewhere and according to Facebook it’s through university. However, Book  of Faces says he only has four friends oy-eek.


Somehow I’d forgotten the lovely, lovely Dave Cullen, an impressive, practical enthusiastic bloke who I quite look forward to seeing in the future. Of course, I couldn’t draw David right the first time.

250814 Dave 2250814 Dave

Today, I’ll largely be promoting the Arts and Disability Forum’s second Bounce! festival happening in Belfast next week. There’s some quite good stuff happening.

bounce 3

You can buy a festival ticket to go to all the gigs for just £20. Do this by calling the Grand Opera House box office on 028 9024 1919 or for single event tickets by going through the website. A note that there are no tickets for the free workshops though you must book through the Arts & Disability Forum by emailing info@adf.ie or calling on 028 9023 9450.

Birthdays Today: TitanCon Showrunner, Nordie Shore actor.

Ian 1

I’ve been giving a bit of a hand to Ian Lawther, the on-the-ground showrunner of TitanCon. With three weeks to go, Ian is, I think scheduled for some fairly major surgery, so trying to organise a major Game of Thrones and pop art media festival must be a royal pain in the hole.

Ian has a good heart, so cool and mannerly that I’m fairly sure he might just be one of the Legion of Doom. He has helped me outof a few pits this year and made me feel very welcome in among a new group of friends.

Ian has a history of con-running being involved in salvaging the last few MeCon events.

TitanCon is running from Friday September 6th this year at the Wellington Park Hotel in Belfast. I’ve been invited to do a comics workshops and I’m pleased to announce here there’s a comics panel on adapting Irish myth featuring Paddy Brown, Will Simpson and special guest Rich Clements.  It’s a great programme (I’ve sneaked a peek), and features many Games of Thrones guests and crew, panels. There are a lot of progressive local authors attending too, including publisher Blackstaff House, who opened their doors across genre earlier in the year.

Give Ian and TitanCon your support and you’ll get looked after in return. 

Ian 2


Jordan Dunbar


How do I know Jordan? How do I know Jordan? A fast food coffee, a friend of a friend? Jordan plays Dean, the in-your-face, animated pox, STD-riddled, alpha male antagonist chav/spide in Nordie Shore.  Oh eck.

Northern Irish sitcoms have a track record of being badly managed, bottom-feeders. The BBC wouldn’t invest and UTV would only market the Julian Simmons ‘family uncle queen’ type. (Much as Julian does it brilliantly, it was not something to base all original programming on) Shows trying to appeal to all, but appealing to none and inspiring as much hate as they seek to soothe. Nordie Shore was a different beast. Sure, it used the reality show pleaser at it’s base, but Nordie Shore: funny.  A barrage of comic gags, mini-stories, freakshow exhibits, surrealist trips, capturing the yobbish under-class of Belfast (or any major city), relatable to as had never been related before; oddly. Nordie Shore has that Uber-Viz-like quality that’s not to everyone’s taste: at times it’s like being in a whorehouse with a flooding toilet.

Past the excessive crudeness  there’s a good work there and a hint of the grass-roots comedy resurgence springing up around the city.

Hinkin a happy birday m8.

Cooke n Beans


That’s apparently a guitar. You wouldn’t know because I drew it like a fast food totem pole and when Andrew makes his guitars he welds on stones and buttons and slashes paint everywhere. He had some of his instruments on a pick up and jam exhibition at the ADF a few months ago. He encouraged people to pick these stringed beasts up and play them, using tree sticks, lightbulbs, screwdrivers, I wrecked a Nokia2690 plectrum. Some video and photos from the ADF sessions.

I don’t know Andrew terribly well, but he seems a pleasant enough man and was quite helpful in talking about the process he goes through. You can buy the instruments or just look at the pretty pictures on Andrew-Cooke.co.uk

In a house in Oxford filled with what the English call chavs and what the Irish more sensibly call spides, I roomed next door to a guy called Mike. An incredibly funny, pleasant and charming bloke working through a scholarship with a gifted brain. It was Mike who taught me about folding oven foil to separate, who introduced me to The Philadelphia Experiment, and whom I went on marathon video watching sessions with over a nice beers.


I felt I was on the right track but as usual the first sketch looks not much like him. Mike was fond of cooking beans until they were stodgy and I called him ‘Mike Beans’. Somehow it stuck. I couldn’t find Mike Beans on Facebook, so it was nice to catch up with him under his real name today. Stuff seems to be working out.

Mike drank a fair bit more than me, and I was working at the Thresher’s off-license at the time. This was useful for discounts. One day I must have come home with a promotional sign: ‘Buy more, save more’, according to this mp3 recorded at the time. Mike wasn’t having any of it and threw it down the stairs.

8 Portraits

Before we begin, I have no ambitions as an illustrator, I’m drawing sketches of people because it’s a hobby. If you want to hire me to do something creative, I’m a hell of a writer.

From yesterday,
Martin Downey

I met Martin though Stephen. We’d begun working on Absence together and Stevie had just got engaged to Aimee. So, a wee swallie with the Downey clan, just a quick drink, turned to 4am and Martin and I smoking, dancing and laughing outside the Ramada. Martin was also doing a lot of singing. I’m sure at some point he took the nervous energies that always exist around me for some fear of stuff, but that past and we saw eye to eye and had a good time. Though I’m remembering another occassion, 4am, at Martin’s house, a Pizza order like a meeting of the U.N. in a situation comedy with James and Stephen. We were very drunk too and I don’t know which came first. Perhaps he’s always been there, craic of the party.

As a wean (wee one) I spent some weekends living with Joy Richmond, out in Ahoghill, a large village just outside Ballymena. The journey out to it is all fields, leading to me telling some friends I spent sometime living on a farm, and being hypnotised into believing that Slate (pronounced Sla’t) was a suburb of Ballymena.

Joy Richmond 1

I really wasn’t happy with that, so I tried another. I suck at drawing women more than I suck at drawing men?

Joy Richmond 2

Way back in 2005,  I suffered an overwhelming bout of claustrophobia. At the time, it seemed  I was required to live in my box room, so I took respite in webcam chat rooms. The sessions enhanced my love for music and widened my culture generally and evolved my social interaction skills. The people and relationships made there inspired a few arts such as my piece on Dierdre Ruane’s Maps project and the Camfrog Sketch Gallery. Weirdly today three people I met there share a birthday.


When I last knew Kubilay, he had a beard and was a silent, mature figure with occasional outbursts of anal sex jokes which I mistook for confectionery reviews.  He’s quite different now from how I pictured: a few years younger than I am rather than older. Getting old can include the most meaningful years of the existence of the world around us but all the same, may your energies never dull and your cognition never jam.


Sorry Megan. I’ll have another go at sketching you for tomorrow.

She’s a supremely beautiful woman. About the time we met she was setting up Just Fab Photography, away and add her on Flickr would you not?

Nicola Tweedle,


I’m still looking forward to meeting Nic one of these days.  A deeply caring, life-enriching and funny creature.

My degree at Brookes was probably the widest ranging undergrad program of the time, crossing into nine different fields. Of the two majors I took, Jenna seemed to be a recurring fixture across the years. While many ‘students’ infuriated me, Jenna was focussed, engaging and stoic, level headed, but not above indulging in some surrealism. I’ve not quite got all those qualities in the portrait, nor the full elfish cuteness, still she might like to use this for an 80s themed emoticon party. Though I can’t imagine just what that is.

And a happy birthday to Karen Wenborn.

Karen wenborn

This was my 5th attempt to draw Karen and I guess it does. Karen is a recent addition to my friends group, through her interest in the area of educational comics. Before illness took hold last year, It was a direction I’d hoped my multi-study Brookes time degree would be of some use in. From time to time Karen pops up in my FB feed with something earthy, humorous or engaging and I don’t mind that at all.

Celebrated Anniversary of Delivery Sketches

I spent the weekend going through invites for Bounce!, the Arts and Disability Forum’s three day festival packed with music song and dance. The FB page links to a page for every event, but rather than fire out indiscriminately I tried to tailor each listing to a friend. I’ve about 100 in Belfast or close by. It took all night.

Bounce! is on from 30 August to 1st September. Tickets are £20 for the full event, and there’s a handful of freebies or £7-£8 events.

Inviting one-by-one was useful, I feel more in touch with people, circumnavigating FB’s troublesome clique-machine to get closer to remote friends interests and recent lives.

Exercising my creative muscle today, I find friends with birthdays, people  I barely know more to the point. Brian has been on my FB list for a few years, united by a common obsession with Mob Wars. Happy birthday Brian. I’ve long left the organisation. I hope the games are good for you today and all of them.

11082013 brian k telfair 11082013 john moe

John Moe in black and white. I hooked up with John through Mob Wars too. Yep, that is his real name as far as I know. John have a great birthday mate and may stuff really feature better for you and yours.

One of my Facebook friends is Lourds Lane, who I discovered this morning is a thrilling underground rocker, camp broadway performer and immensely talented classical musician. She’s also very scary, energetic and amusing. Lourds and I agree about the concept of superheroes, so I put some of that into her birthday sketch.

11082013 lourds lane

Finally, someone I do know. Adam Lively, poet author of Hazy Days and also known as the cartoonist Bisson, from Hold the Phones, It’s Alex Jones. Adam is one of the lounge men I drink with every few months, and he has a big heart and an odd head. I like to tease him over his preciousness about his music: he’s a big Brian Wilson fan and in that spirit, this wishes you well pal.

11082013 lively

Happy Birthday Aneesh

aneesh 1

aneesh 2

Aneesh’s wife has some cartoons up of the two of them. I was up with a challenge.  Also, I was terrified I’d mucked both these up but they are okay.

If I’m helped by my memory Aneesh and I met through our mutual friend Hitesh in Oxford? Or was it over in Chandigarh, where we shared good company, trust,  laughs, dances and drinks… A well-loved bloke, I hope he’s having a good time today.

Birthday Sketches




I’ve been realising my limitations yesterday. Epilepsy & Hot Weather = Does not want to blog, unable to attain consciousness.


It’s very sad. Sometime in 2015 or maybe before, I’m resolved to leaving Northern Ireland. It’s not that long really.I could do with the liberation.


I’d an excellent time here last week blogging Late Night Art. 


I’m also on the look-out for a Belfast or Northern Irish artist to draw a 7 page zombie comic: back-end payment, photo reference, veteran UK editor.


Anyhoo, some friends of mine have birthdays and I thought I’d draw pictures. Yesterday:

James Downey


Mercurial comedy sneak, expressionist and socialite. Currently doing the rounds on the NI actors extras acting circuit.

Nigel Lowrey: Illustrative muscle-man responsbile (with others) for The Jock, the long-running British comic of the late 1990s about resistance DJs in a big brother state. A precursor to Phonogram I suppose. Nige was very productive, producing detailed pages, and looks to be annoyingly modest. Happy birthday chum!

Nige Lowrey


Today it’s Ashish Arora’s birthday. I’ve met Ashish a half dozen times and it was very hot. I was drunk too. He’s a fun guy.



Ashish 1

I got annoyed when I felt I hadn’t drawn him well, so I tried it again.
Ashish 3


Sketch for Paul Rainey


Paul Rainey: Highly prolific UK cartoonist, currently making a long-running easy-going comic that is both Coronation Street and Doctor Who at the same time. Please please treat yourself to some Thunder Brother Soap Division.