ok, what's all this?

This is a small stream of pen and ink drawings, posted sporadically, along with musings, links, perspectives, curiosities and sometimes the occasional insight.

These inky observations are made along the river of life – a meander through curious landscapes, twists and turns, strange flora and fauna, and the flotsam and jetsam encountered as we make our way to the ocean, still far off on the horizon.

The Reluctant Illustrator, August 2023

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To find the ocean, still far off on the horizon.

ok, and where's this river taking us?

I don't know. It's an adventure!

In a time of excess clamour and big proclamations, a small, meandering quietude seems like a reasonable thing, and embracing an emergent process in a time of unknowns seems appropriate. Right now, this little stream is a mono(b)log of occasional posts and drawings to help lighten the load, raise the gaze, bring a smile and maybe share some things I'm thinking about.

I'm contemplating ways to evolve this into a dia(b)log with my readers and viewers...

  • Illustrations from conversations yet to be had? (Drawn conclusions?)
  • Drawings from reader's submissions? (Illustrated Letters?)
  • Illustrations from submitted prompts? (Reluctant Intelligence?)
  • An on-the-road itinerant travel(b)log? (Postcards Without Stamps?)

In time, I'll include a membership tier, to help sustain my wandering adventures and travels. I'm working on including prints for sale here and books of drawings.

There might be rapids ahead, there could be whirlpools – certainly eddies. Are there crocodiles? waterfalls? electric eels?

Not to worry. We will find our way.


... why all the reluctance?

Reluctance has an illustrious history. The Reluctant... Philosopher / Fundamentalist / Astronaut / Dragon / Gourmet / Chef / Saint / Widow / Shaman... The Reluctant Abider?

The list is long. So much reluctance – and with good reason, it's crazy out there. I'm in good company.

I've always enjoyed illustration, cover art, comics, and cartoons – the little New Yorker Drawings, NY Times Metropolitan Diaries, Gary Larson's Far Side, Randall Munroe's XKCD, and all of Hayao Miyazaki's work. It's a long list, and I am glad to be making these little drawings.

Like Alice, I fell into a rabbit hole. I had somewhat reluctantly signed up for a creative workshop to make a hundred conscecutive daily posts, and on the first day I made a little sketch, which led to another, and soon I found myself wearing the hat of an illustrator, chronicling what I observed.

...and all my reluctance? It's become the contrarian at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party – where the universe is always ours to make.

toe in the universe

alright, who is this, really?

I am a visual artist and multidisciplinary designer. Born in the late 50s in Kenya, I grew up in a magical landscape - a realm full of spirit and the constant buzz of creatures, reading Gerald Durell's A Zoo in My Luggage, and My Family and Other Animals, friends had Bush Babies (Galagos) as pets, and a world that was opening up with optimism.

I've travelled a fair amount across this shared Earth and have observed it get smaller, more crowded, louder and less magical than it once was. In the blink of an eye, we obscured the stars and stepped with a heavy foot on a gentle planet. Some echoes can take a while to come back.

I am interested in reflections, observations, thoughts, and philosophical musings about self, culture and our human condition. With a skewed glance, I am curious about depicting ways we see and engage the world. Through these simple pen and ink drawings on paper, I’m exploring how to reframe things for myself, and in the hall of mirrors that is my mind, I try to capture reflections of some visual poetry.

brain image

An image from my Brain Terrains digital print series.

and what's with the red badge?

The back story on the badge comes from Bruno Bozetto's Allegro, Non-Troppo a musical term that translates as Cheerful, But Not Too Much – the protagonist, an illustrator, is chained to his desk and contractually obliged to illustrate a feature-length animation - a great parody of Disney’s Fantasia.

In a way, we are all protagonists in our own bindings, and in the age of Amazonic enchainment, a smiling chain seemed appropriate. I've always loved the red stamp on Japanese prints, so couldn't resist the opportunity - and of course "Badges? – We don't need no stinkin' badges..." is a memorable reference for those whose memory goes that far back.


and since you are here...

Subscribe with the red button for a regularly irregular post, that may or may not entertain and edify - but will always draw you along (groan.) Let's see where this current takes goes.

My initial Reluctant Illustrator sketch.

If you have questions or comments, you can always write to me here:


Thanks for reading!