Hicks

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DuckDuckGo Stories

Some more of my work for DuckDuckGo went live this week. This is a series of illustrations to tell the story of why you should use this alternative search engine. Working with the design team, we developed some quirky takes on the concepts; a lab creature burning documents (they don’t store personal information), a ghost chasing a runner (they don’t follow you around with ads) and someone’s private bath time being watched (they don’t track in or out of private browsing).

The workflow for these was sketching ideas on the iPad Pro with Pencil, and then taking the sketch into Illustrator for the final render. Sketching on the iPad makes it quick to try different versions of a sketch, but also helps refine the ideas. I just keep drawing, erasing, tracing, refining in a way that would be much harder to do on paper.

I also dabbled with some simple SVG/CSS animation on the periscope illustration. It was great fun working for DuckDuckGo, and I’m particularly pleased with how these ones came out!

Recent Work: DuckDuckGo

Hicksdesign has been working with the alternative search engine DuckDuckGo recently, on a series of illustrations for their site. The first of these, the ‘private balloonist’, is live on their homepage :

I’m particularly pleased with the series we did after this one – the style is even more improved and I feel is some of my best work to date. Can’t wait for that to go live so that I can share it!

Troika #26: Windermere

Troika #26: Windermere

Its been a fair few weeks since the last Troika as its all got so busy recently, but here we go!

I studied Natural History Illustration at College in Blackpool, but it wasn’t my favourite place in the world to be. I met some great people there, but I never felt at home. However, in my second year I was given the opportunity to have a work placement for the Lake District National Park for a year and I loved it. Not only was it a great job, the Lakes in autumn is a beautiful place to be. The colour is gorgeous and it became one of my favourite places in the world.

Here’s where I worked, Brockhole Visitor Centre on the shores of Lake Windermere (the design studio was in the attic)…

And this me at my swanky hydraulic drawing board…

I learned the basics of graphic design while I was working here, and painted many illustrations for them. Some of the work I did back then (1992–93) is actually still in use on interpretation boards around Bassenthwaite Lake, which cheers me up no end. All in all, it was a great time!

So I’ve chosen three songs that are intrinsically linked the Lake District for me:

  1. ‘The New Physics’ by The Lost Dogs
    Taken from ‘Scenic Routes’ the debut release by the US band The Lost Dogs, a supergroup made from various Christian alternative artists.
  2. ‘Virgin and Child’ by Iona
    Iona’s second album was a concept record, based on the Book of Kells. This track in particular was always in my head as I sat by Windermere in my lunch hour.
  3. ‘Animal Nitrate’ by Suede
    Sadly, I had to go back to college for my third year, and this single came out near the end of my time in the Lakes.

How to get this episode

Listen using the player above, download Troika #26: Windermere as an mp3, Subscribe to Troika with an RSS reader or via iTunes.

All music featured is the copyright of the respective artists.

Star Trek Alternate Opening Titles

This animation is an homage to one of the most groundbreaking sci-fi television shows ever to beam down to Earth. Our goal was to try and capture the essence of what we found most enjoyable from the series for building this faux opening to this classic show.

Just superb!

My World

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I was recently asked to participate in the Travelling Moleskines project, and jumped at the chance! The summary is that you fill either 1 or 2 pages of Moleskine in any way you see fit, based on a theme, and then pass it on. The theme was ‘My World’ which immediately made me think of cheese, but if a blank page is daunting a blank moleskine is more so.

I’ve chosen the next recipient to be Veerle.

Geneviève Gauckler on CBBC?

I’m big fan of the French artist/illustrator Geneviève Gauckler, having discovered her work via the Guardian Angel Room project.

Now, I’m not sure why, but I was really surprised to see her work (or at least her style) in the backgrounds of CBBC, the site for BBC’s youth output.

I’ve tried to do a bit of searching, but no information is forthcoming, and I can’t see a credit anywhere. I’m surprised, can anyone tell me if these really are her work?

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There’s also wallpapers available too:

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Segpub Christmas Cards

This year’s SegPub Christmas cards are something special; each one has been illustrated by 4 Segpub-hosted artists. These are now on sale, with 50% from each card sold going directly to Oxfam!

Here are this years designs:

(Clockwise from top left) Mathew Hoy (Hellaboss), Jon Hicks (me!), Claire Robertson (Loobylu) and Nathan Jurevicius (Scary Girl). These are all artists I’ve admired and envied.

The brief we were all given was very flexible – the only stipulation was that it had to incude SegPub Yellow, and the Segpub logo. I have to say, after months of coding and IE bug fixing, it was a joy to just make something. After this I really feel like giving up on coding, and just trying to make a living from plain ol’ design and illustration again.

Cards come in packs of 4, at $12 AUD each pack (excluding GST). Shipping is just $1 per pack to anywhere in the world! Go shopping!

The Story of the Sex Pistols

Whilst sorting through some attic boxes, a hidden treasure was discovered that had been forgotten for over 20 years. “The Smash HIts Yearbook 1984” no less, from a time when Neil Tennant was still working for that popular pop music comic, before deciding to spend the rest of his life standing in front of a motionless Chris Lowe.

The best part of this find, was the comic strip “The Story of the Sex Pistols”. I thought this was so insightful, that I’ve set up a photoset on Flickr so that you too can learn the truth behind the seminal punk band! Here’s a little taster:

“They look like they mean it!” was a cry often heard at those early gigs…

Blazing Fruit

A friend of mine, Jonathan Williams, has just set up an online portfolio so now you lucky folks can see just how good he is. He uses a mixture of natural and digital media to achieve his unique style – I love it, it’s so fresh and attractive. (His company name ‘Blazing Fruit’ comes from a poem by Roger McGough)