Saturday, 11 February 2012


Well, Friday comes around, and for me, Friday means Unstruck day.

For those of you who are reading this because you helped me out today, allow me to explain what Unstruck is... (And for those of you who already know, have patience...)

My friend Alex writes a daily blog. It's an exercise for him in making sure he keeps writing, because writing is something he's passionate about. In order to give him a subject to write about every day, he accepts random questions from friends and strangers, reads them first thing in the morning, and spends his first waking minutes answering the question as best he can. He limits himself to half an hour, which means the writing is free, uninihibited, sometimes successful, sometimes not. But that's all part of the fun.

Once he's done writing, he sends his text to an illustrator. Some, like me, are regulars, others occasional volunteers, or one offs. Much like for him and his writing, it's a chance for illustrators to test their skills and do some work unrelated to either the 'day job', or any other personal projects. The only rule is not to spend more than half an hour on it, although I think most of the illustrators occasionally bend that rule.

I generally find my efforts a bit hit and miss. Some weeks are dreadful and make me ashamed to call myself any sort of illustrator, but some are good, and either good or bad, they encourage me to do something a bit creative outside of work.

Anyway, this week was a particularly special one, because my friend Hannah was the one asking the questions.

A couple of weeks back, she found this adorable tutorial, and asked me if I could somehow twist my illustration for that week to include a cheeky wolf. Alex turned that around and said I could only do it if she did the questions next week, and made the Friday one about wolves.

And so... here we are.

I was interested to see what other people's interpretations of wolves were, do we still see them as evil? So I decided to ask for some extra help with today's illustration... I started by getting my senior designer, the company photographer, and my boss to draw me wolves.

It turns out that Wayne, our photographer, is really rather good at this kind of thing (no reference used)...

James insisted that he couldn't draw, and took a cunning graphic approach.

Andrew, my boss, was confused by the entire charade. I actually think this one is one of the friendliest, most adorable wolves there.

At lunchtime I asked for volunteers on facebook, and quickly the wolves came flooding in. Before I knew it I had a fairly respectable pack!

In the office, everyone made a point of not using reference photos... I'm guessing some of the people who drew them for me did, but that's fine too. It's all about how we perceive them, and the people who have drawn them in a realistic style were clearly automatically drawn to that. Perhaps other people think of them in a more fairytale like, or cartoon like way.

Once I had all the wolves, it took a while to decide how to display them. After much playing around, I decided all the wolves deserved equal prominence, and with an appropriate quote from Alex's text, I created this delight... (Click to view full size!)

So, to everyone who helped me out today, thank you! I hope it bought a bit of entertainment to your Friday morning. I really appreciate that you were willing to spend a little bit of your day indulging my creative whims.

You can view the image in context here.

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