A really scary bathroom story for Halloween

The brief for the second week of my course was based around phobias. What a good timing for the week before Halloween!

My project developed from my real phobia of pipes (yes, I DO have a plumbing phobia). Seeing big uncovered pipes gives me shivers, and I am also wary of bathroom taps. Seriously, my biggest nightmare is about overflowing bathtubs!

It all starts with a girl having an innocent bath.


She gets attracted by the plug hole…


and then … gets sucked into the pipe.

Little Book of Bathroom Scares


She travels through the dark sewage tunnels.Little Book of Bathroom Scares

And she encounters the horrifying and mystical world of the water systems.


Little Book of Bathroom Scares

Until she makes it safely back to the comforts of her bathroom.


Little Book of Bathroom Scares



It makes a great bathroom reading, trust me!


Sweaty Bob – the bandit caterpillar

Picture consequences and other random word/picture games are great when you feel stuck and need to come up with new ideas quickly. Personally, I really like the illogical and random process of idea generation – it is fun. Apparently, there is even a special name for it – aleatoricism. And that is exactly what we did when my friend came to visit me all the way from Australia, and we sat down after dinner to play a drawing game.

Each of us had to come up with a word. The words were then revealed, creating a random illogical phrase. We would then do a very quick sketch combining the three words together (it was three of us playing). For one round, the combination pistol – vase – caterpillar came up, so I drew the first thing that came into my mind – a bandit caterpillar with a gun, and a shattered vase.

The manic bandit caterpillar is born.


Collectively, we named the caterpillar “Sweaty Bob”. Sweaty Bob is a character of nervous disposition. And he just can’t stand art. Whenever he sees a work of art, he has to destroy it in a state of mad frenzy. This character trait makes him an unreliable employee (in his usual gangster activities) – he just can’t help getting sidetracked all the time.

Later in a game, another word combination came up: parrot – telephone – boat. That is how Sweaty Bob’s boss came to life – a mafia magnate parrot Don Francesco, who is casually floating on a gondola in Venice while chatting on the telephone.

I really liked the new Sweaty Bob character, so I made a few stencil prints at home using paper, acrylic paint, sponge roller and a household sponge. If you, like me, don’t have access to screen printing facilities, paper stencils allow you to re-create something similar. I particularly enjoy mixing the sponge roller, which gives a consistent colour coverage, with a sponge, which creates textured, fluent strokes.


My colour palette came out slightly chaotic, as I didn’t have a clear colour plan before I started. Really, I just couldn’t wait to get going on actual stencilling. Some colour combinations worked better than others, and I discovered that printing with white paint on a darker colour worked well.


I think that bright contrasting primary colours work best for me, so this bright red print is my favourite.




Don Francesco – the mafia parrot

In my previous post I shared the game that my illustrator friend and I came up with one evening to play around with chance ideas.  We had to come up with random word combinations and then illustrate them in a matter of 1 minute. After a vase-pistol-caterpillar phrase, the next mix turned out to be boat-parrot-telephone.

I produced a sketch that worked surprisingly well together with the previous one.



What you see here is an influential mafia baron parrot named Don Francesco. He casually floats on his private gondola in Venice drinking Prosecco wine, while chatting on his phone. He is the one who gives orders to Sweaty Bob, but probably in vain, as Sweaty Bob is easily distracted so easily.

This sketch was asking to be stencilled, to go together with previous Sweaty Bob prints. This time I decided to limit my colour palette, sticking to primary colours which I thought worked best last time. As I was getting more familiar with paper cutting and stencilling, I added some finer details to these prints.


I haven’t really done a full-scale printmaking project before, so I was really happy to discover the “rustic” feel of the way the colours blend together. I think the final prints have got a little bit of M. Sasek’s feel to them, which I didn’t aim at consciously but the inspiration came through in design.



I think I am getting seriously addicted to stencil printing – especially to that texture effect of paint applied with sponge roller. This one is definitely my favourite.




Now I am planning to connect Sweaty Bob and Don Francesco into a picture book. Not sure about the story yet, but will post some more development soon.