Mr Von Beach At Work :

Gin Rummy

Numbness of the fingers—as any illustrator of your acquaintance who has spent more than a few years frozen in the ice will tell you—can result in a certain stiffness of line. Fortunately, after a lengthy and intensive period of experimentation with a range of liquified plant extracts, Mr Von Beach has found that Gin, taken early, often, and in medicinal quantities, provides just the right degree of digital réchauffement required to ensure that his artistry improves or—failing this—that he no longer cares.

So the reader will appreciate the eagerness with which Mr Von Beach undertook this latest commission for the City of London Distillery. The brief, for illustrations to adorn both the label and distillery walls, was not overly taxing, but—ever the professional—he still devoted several very long nights to close interrogation of the brand in order to get things just so.

C.O.L.D. Gin Still

Fig. 1. Be Still, my beating heart

C.O.L.D. St Paul's

Fig. 2. “Juniper berries, up again !”
—Being the 18th June, a wearisome day.

Performance Art

Regular visitors, writes Mr Von Beach, will know that there are certain commissions I find it impossible to turn away. Chief amongst these being depictions of the following subjects :

—Cats wearing costumes, or amusing hats
—Horses in cravats
—Man-eating Robots
—Robot-eating Men
—Shipping Magnates
—Fridge Magnates
—Impressionable Heiresses with a Keen Interest in the Arts

And to this select list I must add now a new category :

—Scottish 12th Century Buddhist Paper-Theatre productions of Viennese Opera (touring)

An art form I urge you all to embrace with wilful abandon.

The works presented below are scenes from a Paper Theatre, or Kamishibai production entitled “A Little Bit of the Magic Flute”, to be presented to the great unwashed by the dedicated musical artistes of Scottish Opera.

As each of the twelve illustrated panels is revealed in turn, a storyteller narrates the principal events of the Opera, accompanied by a small group of instrumentalists and a dazzling soprano.

Fig. 1. Enter our hero, Tamino, pursued by a serpent

Fig. 2. The Queen of the Night makes her Entrance

Fig. 3. Monostatos torments Pamina

Fig. 4. The Lovers Lament

Fig. 5. Tamino bears his Magic Flute before him

Fig. 6. The Happy-Ever-After

Musical arrangement by Derek Clark ; Writing & Storytelling by Allan Dunn ; Direction of Art by Richard Dill.

—Thursday the 11th October, 2012

A Gingerly Approach

Portraiture, writes Mr Von Beach, can be a delicate affair. It is often said that the artist is a seeker after truth, but when that truth involves a lady-moustache or unsightly facial warts, relations with one’s subject can quickly become a little testy.

Knowing that my last formal sitting—a portrait in oils of Lady Botox-Smythe—had ended in an impromptu tour of the Rutland countryside with the Pytchley hunt in close pursuit, you will perhaps forgive my initial reticence in accepting a commission from the descendants of John Crabbie, Victorian brewer, distiller and patron of Hibernian Football Club.

Happily, any momentary feelings of trepidation I may have had were to prove unfounded. Mr Crabbie was a man of unimpeachable character and even peachier skin, and the risk of causing offence to his successors (football-spectating or otherwise) would be slight indeed.

Fig 1. Portrait of John Crabbie in pen and ink for use on labels, bottling &c. to assist in the promotion of his most excellent Ginger Beer
—Monday, 6th August 2012

Hotel Egilsen

Your illustrious host—Mr Von Beach—is delighted to herald the forthcoming opening of the Hótel Egilsen, a fashionable residence nestling on the shores of Stykkishólmur in Iceland. Mr Von Beach was commissioned to draw a portrait of the hotel in a style commensurate with its noble façade and rich Victorian heritage (shown here above).

Preferring, as ever, to work from life rather than from daguerrotype, Mr Von Beach undertook the arduous voyage to Iceland by tramp steamer in March of this year. On arrival the artist executed his duties to the satisfaction of all concerned and was rewarded for his efforts by the proprietors agents, Messrs Jónsson & Le’Macks, with a year’s supply of salted cod and a gentleman’s corset made from the finest herringbone.

—This day, the 6th of June 2012
Other Jottings : Work, Rest, Play, & Blowing His Own Trumpet.