Expect the unexpected.

Tea break?

In days of yore if you worked in a large office then there might have been a tea lady. These fine servants of the company would wheel around a huge tea urn on a trolley and dispense much needed cuppas to the work force, sensible really as the workforce did not need to leave their desks. Urn brewed tea and a solid digestive made for great productivity. The introduction of computers, those beige blocks with electronics everywhere were also coming into view.

This drawing, done for a campaign to encourage people to back up their data, was for Christie Electronics, at the time based in Stonehouse in Gloucestershire. With their equipment you could be sure that all that data was safe from the tea lady’s entrance.

This was one of a number of drawings done on the same theme and appeared as I remember in the technical press, and went under the headline of “Expect the unexpected”. It’s also where I met my good friend Robin Burton, who was the inspired sales director brave enough to commission the work, generally without making any changes. He was a joy to work with.

Christie Electronics are sadly no more, Robin went on to make a big career for himself and is now something of an expert on folk music, playing in a band called “The Swing Rioters”. We collaborate on the odd creative idea even now, when we are not walking the many paths of the Gloucestershire countryside.

For those with an interest in how the drawing was done: I had a period when I did line drawings and had them put onto acetate ( a little like an animation drawing ). The line work was then painted on the reverse, just like original animation painting. Any softer areas in the backgrounds were done as a separate drawing in magic marker and soft pastels. I employed Linda to do the painted acetates, she was much better at colour than me. It was a very expensive method of prosecuting artwork! The acetate prints were not that cheap at the outset! I’m still not sure to this day quite why I used this roundabout way to produce an illustration, but one thing is sure, the artwork has lasted. Magic marker colour fades after a relatively short while especially if it is in sunlight, these painted acetates have lasted well with the colour popping out just like when they were painted by Linda all those years ago.

The same method can be replicated these days with photoshop on a computer.

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