Bloggomania and cow gum.


I’m moved to draw the above by postings by this chap which are well written and entertaining, worth a look. Jon Beckett

I’ve been busy re-discovering fun of glueing. It may be worth recounting here exactly how I do my drawings. They are drawn straight onto layout paper which is kind of paper that will allow you to see the page below, not tracing paper but similar but a lot more opaque. So quick first rough is done on this and then the second done over the first and so on until I get to the final drawing. So it’s done in layers, a sort of photoshop type of working that I’ve been using for years. All those years ago photoshop was just somewhere you could buy a camera.

My methods are born out of doing layouts and visuals for advertising in my early days and storyboards for tv commercials. The paper is cheap and the method of working is good with markers as layout paper is made for markers. Once the final piece is done , I’d then glue this layout paper to board, this was later changed to paper as the drawings would need to be rolled onto a drum scanner. In those days all I did was the final drawing and the only equipment I needed were the pens ( I use something called a Pentel Sign Pen, not expensive ) and the magic markers ( which were and still are ). I no longer use magic markers as most of my work is black and white, anything with colour on it will have been done digitally these days. Today, one is expected to scan one’s own work, and of course to produces digital files to supply the artwork. When I tell people that I used to send my original drawings on the train to be collected by the client at the other end, they give me that quizzical look as if I should be looking for my carer.

Below is the first rough for the drawing above, in this case, simple idea and drawing and I have drawn that doctor patient thing a few times in my career, so no messing. One rough and then the final from it.


The glueing of the final drawing was usually done with “Cow Gum”. It was not as some people might think, made from cows, but was invented by a Mr P B Cow. It was essentially a rubber solution glue which one spread over the back of the paper, and if you wanted a very firm hold over the receiving card too. Placing the final piece onto the receiving card could be tricky as any misplaced paper would stick quite firmly and air pockets could be a problem but practice made perfect and most things could be repaired.

Cow gum no longer exists, it was replaced to a great extent by spray mount adhesive, which used the same sort of adhesive: sprayed! This was supposed to be progress, but of course health and safety soon got onto the idea that this might not be that healthy and someone else invented glue booths to take excess spray away from your nearest and dearest, or anyone in the wrong place when the button was squeezed. I dislike the stuff, lamenting the demise of Mr Cow’s fine product, itself no doubt a major hazard of some sort, as were those magic markers. A few hours working in a windowless room with cow gum and magic markers and you’d think you’d been using magic mushrooms.

Well, good news, thanks to the internet I’ve found a replacement product for Cow Gum, and it’s called Studio Gum! It has the same sort of design on the tin and I’ve been joyfully mounting a load of drawings this week. Cow Gum used to give off fumes and was best used in a well ventilated room, this new stuff is just as noxious! I’ve had to choose a dry day when all the windows could be open when applying the solution.This new stuff performs very much like the old cow I used to use, so now am working on a series of drawings that can be properly finished off at last. One of the key things about cow gum was you could make what was called a ‘cow gum rubber ‘ by spreading a bit on a window and then just rolling it up, this is then used to take any excess gum off the drawing or surrounding paper, that’s what that big lump of stuff looking like ectoplasm is on top of the tin!

I’m hoping to put together some little movies in the New Year to demonstrate my working methods, so that others can try them out. “The Joy of Cow Gum”, I bet you can’t wait.





Ooooer what a kerfuffle…


Seems like the Turner Prize has manufactured a bit of a ‘kerfuffle’ yet again. I think that if no one took any notice of them they would consider it a failure. Politicians sticking their comments in are only good for the news about it. The public, we the great uninformed, get to show our outrage, contempt, shock, horror,  curiosity, admiration, and in my case envy, at what they have been allowed to do. Strewth, I wish someone would give me a few thousand quid, a large warehouse and ‘people to help me bring my vision alive’ that I’ve drawn on the back of an envelope. I’d love it. I’d talk all the ‘art bollocks speak’ using the word juxtaposition juxtaposed with just about everything, and leave the public gasping at my daring and skill.

But that’s the point is it not. The fact that they have the freedom to do this stuff is the essential thing. The fact that a lot of it is just ‘art bollocks’ is the price of freedom.


I’ve called this one “Drawing a blank”

It’s one of the drawings that will be in my exhibition in August of next year,
I’ll post details nearer the time.
Thanks for looking in.

Tim Bird

Well there are people with unusual names but it is odd how they seem to get work which suits them. I was reminded of this when this morning I had an email from my phone suppliers signed by someone in sales called Samantha Honey. What a great name for someone in sales. It could have been better, Beatrice would have suited her well.

There are times when ideas come a little thin and enthusiasm for an idea gets above its worth.I’ve generally no idea whether this is the case with any ideas. I go off them and then later find them unreasonably amusing and carry on with them again. This is the case with Names. I did a series of drawings on this subject some time ago and then an email reminds me that it might not have been as bad an idea as I originally thought when I abandoned them. Digging them out yesterday, the drawings need finishing but I’m re-envigorated to do so.

I have an exhibition coming next year in August and with a bit of luck I’ll get them into that, together with other random ideas that will hopefully seem worth it. Unless I go off the idea altogether again and do something else.

Here’s a sample of one of them. This is Pastor Al Dente, of course!pastor-aldente2

Tim Bird used to be the tree officer in our local town.


Just seen this in the Park and thought it well worth adding, what a wonderful name. I bet he was a lovely gent, and he probably deserved to live till 90.fullalove


” That’s the sound of the man working…


…on the Chain Gang.

I’ve been reviewing, it’s that time of year. I took this bit of video in Gloucester where they repair and refurbish boats and ships some time ago. This one is a fine tall ship. I was struck by the fact that these guys were chipping away at a chain! How much more interesting if they’d got a bit more of a rhythm to it. Perhaps they could have done it to the sound of the Chain Gang as sung by the great Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke

. I think the ship is called the Kaskelot, and it’s worth looking at the site from the link below. Re-caulking is what the chap by the ship is doing, that is hammering in bits of rope that are in between the boards that make the hull, there’s much more information on the link that will give all the interesting details about how it was all done.

There’s more information right here: The Kaskelot

As you can see I’m trying my hand a little videos, I hope you enjoy them.

Do you get to try them all?

It was a question I forgot to ask of the gentleman in the photo, who runs this family off- licence in Sheffield  where I’ve been again. Dropped into this place in Walkley which is not far from the University area of the City and is well worth a visit. I’ve never seen so many varieties of beer and whisky ( and other alcoholic beverages with strange names ) in one place. Belgian beers and some fine malt whiskies. It’s a family run operation and the shop itself has not changed radically for many years.

They don’t seem to have a website but they certainly have a Facebook page, take a look or better still go and try some of their stuff: The Dram


We’ve had some of those bright sunny winter days where the light is better almost than at any other time, clear and sharp. I came across this building in Sheffield which has some fine brickwork. It’s the end of a church built entirely of brick and in perfect condition, I’d love to have seen the bricklayers putting that together. I’ve tried my hand at bricklaying and for those of you with a tense disposition I’d recommend it. I was only let loose on some garden walls but found the whole thing extremely relaxing. I was advised after completing my handywork that I’d better not be let loose on anything vital like a garage, or I’d need a rubber car. Lets say that the walls ‘swayed’ a little. Not a problem with this building.


Note the artistic juxtaposition of brick and winter sky. There it is again: that word: juxtaposition. It’s one of those words heard on radio four arts programmes and it’s usually when I reach for the off switch. Pretentious? Moi?

Speaking of art I came across this brilliant piece of work by an unknown artist. You could call it an installation or give it another name like “Untitled”. It’s not likely to exist for much longer as it’s on display on a poster site down the road near Carphone Warehouse and the “canvas” is likely to be re-used soon for a bog-off promotion for Tesco.


Thanks for popping in!