The big wave

By | That's life | 4 Comments

The great wave of Kanagawa

Just having a bit of fun with the famous woodblock print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, by the nineteenth century Japanese artist Hokusai.

Japanese woodblock printing involves the artist’s final sketch being glued to a piece of wood, typically cherry. The horishi (block carver)  then carefully carves away the line work to create a relief of the former art work, which is destroyed (or rather removed) during the carving process. This process is repeated for each colour, resulting in a series of blocks, ready for the surishi (printer) to then rubs with paint for printing. This process enables a number of prints to be made, but is limited by the life of the wood; typically 5,000 prints.

So the end print is a collaboration between artist, carver and printer. Interestingly, the ownership of the final work belonged to the hanmoto (publisher), who could do as he wished with the blocks and prints.

I love this print for it’s line work and limited use of colour, but it was the curling waves that inspired me to draw this cartoon.

What art or artist inspired you to do something new?

Fifty shades of diversity

By | That's life, Word play | 2 Comments

50 shades of greyWell, it’s been a long time coming this cartoon…

I started earlier this year, thinking it would be a fun exercise to draw as many different aspects to diversity through the cartooning of different faces. Well, let me tell you, fun it was, but easy – not. You see, my imagination started to run dry after only four faces. So, I had to seek inspiration external to my own little bubble and hunt for ideas elsewhere. And where else is a better place to start, than right here at home in Melbourne, during my daily train travel to work.

Those of you who live in Melbourne, would know that we are proudly rich in our strong ethnic background. Along with this comes the joys of a diverse culture which is expressed through everyday life here, especially in the choice of food venues…But I digress…

Pretty much, every face you see here (except for the original four, and perhaps just one more – can you spot it?) travelled along side me in the train to work. Fortunately for me, the majority of people these days are so absorbed in their technology that they were blissfully unaware of the cunning exercise being undertaken.

What do you love about the diversity in your home?

One word to describe a culture

By | Work | 2 Comments

Workplace culture icon

My little in-house community art project continues.  This drawing portrays our company’s ability to form strong alliances with other parties to enable us to bring the best offering to the table for our clients.

You may recall, this project is all about using images and words to describe a workplace culture. My fellow workers come up with the words and I draw the cartoon to best describe it visually. Each word is a new picture and over time the culmination of words and images forms a collage, expressing what it’s like to work in the business.

So what word would you use to describe your workplace culture?

Lights! Camera!

By | That's life | 4 Comments

Lights! Camera! Selfie!

It never ceases to amaze me what wonders technology can bring into our everyday lives to make life easier, yet at the same time, perhaps more absurd than ever before.

Let’s consider the snapping of the ever humble selfie. I mean, I thought it was simply a matter of extending one’s arm out so that you take on the appearance of a Romanesque sculpture and then trying to look normal whilst getting your thumb to click the ever elusive button to take the shot. But technology and our love of all things gadgety has enabled businesses to boom in a society that loves sharing images of themselves. Check out MacWorld’s 7 selfie enhancing products. Personally, I think you can’t go past the Joby GripTight GorillaPod Magnetic XL.  I think using it might be simpler than calling it by name.

So, what’s your selfie tool of choice?

Fear not, no judgement here. You’re in the safety of the world wide web.

Nice weekend – Gone fishing

By | Space and Aliens | 4 Comments

When the earth becomes the worm on the fishing hook

So this is what it feels like to be a worm on a hook

Have you ever gone fishing? I’ve tried it once with a group of friends. It was a casual affair with a simple reel, hook and bait and we all huddled together along a pier. At the time, I thought the chase was fun and treated it like a competition…until I was struck with the actual reality of catching my prey. I felt awful looking into the goggly eyes of my helpless victim and froze – I couldn’t kill it, I couldn’t remove the hook and put it back into the sea – What to do?!

One of my friends saw the dilemma and took control. His decision was to swiftly kill and place into the bucket. Unsurprisingly, that was the end of my fun for the day. I sat back with some other friends who too had retired from the activity. We did the Aussie thing and cracked a tinny (opened a tin of beer), sat on the pier’s edge, talked nonsense and watched the sun set.

So, have you ever fished?


By | Work | 4 Comments

pictogram of business networking

A few weeks back I shared a cartoon from a work project we started in the office… just for that bit of daily fun. If you missed that post, fear not, I’ll explain here.

I’m calling it The Art of Us and it comprises of a series of cartoons that each portray one of our cultural  strengths as an organisation.  The panel above depicts networking as one of our key strengths in a business that spans the globe in over 40 countries and 100 offices. It resides amongst a set of other images that depict our culture and is slowly growing into a giant checkerboard of colour and inspiration.  Best of all, it’s a community project and allows anyone in the business to get engaged in the art.  These aren’t my ideas; these are the thoughts and feelings of people in the business when I ask them ‘What is our key business strength?’ All I do is bring their idea to life in a few cartoon strokes and a bold splash of colour (cunningly coloured in our corporate approved branding pallette 🙂 ).

I feel it is a small but meaningful way of introducing the inspiration of art into our workplace.  I’m a big believer that art helps spark people’s imagination and put simply, makes us feel good. Rather conveniently, it also allowed me to cover up that uninspiring beige wall adjacent to my desk.

So how would you describe your workplace in one word or sentence?



Musical chairs

By | That's life, Work | 4 Comments

Office musical chair dance

Funny, how the past comes back in later life.

For me as a child, musical chairs was one of my all time favourite party games. That, as well as pin the tail on the poor donkey and eating cake (that’s food, does that count?)

So what was your favourite party game and why?


The 5 second rule

By | Dung Beetles, Science | No Comments

does the 5 second rule apply to dung beetles?So what does science say about the 5 second rule?

Well, to do the topic full justice, please pop on by to my favourite science blogger, Jen Martin from Espresso Science, where she’ll give you the full blown scientific low down in a fun and disgestable format.

This week she explored exactly what science has to say on the popular notion that less than 5 seconds, means thumbs up to the consumption of a dropped item of food.  Without giving away too much, I was initially surprised by the finding that although duration was an obvious consideration, both the landing surface type and food type were more important. Dropping a moist piece of watermelon onto a tiled surface is more likely to pick up bacteria when compared with say a dry biscuit on carpet…(carpet? surely not?)

But I have shared enough. Read Jen’s study into the 5 second rule quandary, so that next time you drop food onto the ground, you’ll know exactly what to do.

So tell me, do you or don’t you eat food that’s been dropped?

When presented with a second chance

By | That's life, Work | 3 Comments

The IT cloudHopefully the exit is different from the entrance, in that a lift would be really handy when accessing the cloud…

But hang on, let’s imagine if that were possible…  The fastest elevator currently is Taipai 101 in Taiwan. It travels at a speed of 59 km/hr (37 mph). If we assume our average white fluffy cloud to be at a height of 4km (2.4 miles), then this elevator would take us 4 min and 6 sec to reach our destination. Pretty impressive when you consider that the first ever elevator installed by the Otis elevator company in 1857 in New York travelled at a modest 20cm per second (40ft per min). That would definitely require a packed lunch for our Otis elevator trip, with a duration 5 hrs and 33 minutes.

But you know what? I think I’d take the old tech option and enjoy the journey.

Which elevator would you take and why?

Thinking together

By | That's life | 9 Comments

Thinking together - the unified whole is greater than the sum of its parts

And now for something completely different…Yes, you’re right, not one of my normal cartoons. I thought I’d mix it up a bit and share with you some of the other cartooning work I do.

I’ve been looking at ways of introducing art into our workplace as I’m believe that art helps spark people’s imagination and put simply, makes them feel good. But, the art had to fit in with the business environment (hey, we’re a serious bunch of engineers at work); it had to be another element of the business that made sense amongst the library of engineering standards, 3D CAD machines and meeting rooms.

Ultimately, this idea manifested itself into what I call The Art of Us. This is one panel from a growing series of panels that I’ve checker boarded onto the big blank beige wall opposite my desk (What is it about engineering offices and their love of all things beige or warm grey?). Each panel aims to depict in images and a few words the culture of our organisation and express what it means to work here. But best of all, it’s a community project and allows anyone in the business to get engaged in the art.  These aren’t my ideas; these are the thoughts and feelings of people in the business. They simply tell me what they think one of our cultural strengths is and I interpret their thoughts and feelings into a one panel drawing.

So what do you think?

What word or phrase would you use to describe the culture of your workplace?