Poster boys

Letraset poster from 1971, by me
Two coincidences collided fortuitously recently. First, regular readers of this blog will know I've had the painters, decorators and carpet layers in. Well, I also insulated my loft (I didn't do it myself, obviously, but handyman Danny did) which  involved bringing out some boxes that I've had since I moved down from Guildford 25 years ago - and a big roll of old posters. These were mainly from the late 60s and early 70s, gig posters from Surrey Uni and Guildford Civic Hall. I unrolled and photographed some and put them on Facebook.

Hand-drawn poster by me, 1970. I had a version printed on silver paper!
I decided to put a couple of them on Ebay: a psychedelic Edgar Broughton Band one in gold and brown (below) and a Sun poster of David Bowie (neither by me!) and was surprised at the prices I got for them. Then, out of the blue I got an email from Alexander at Briggs Vintage Concert Posters with a scan of a hand-drawn poster I did for Surrey Uni Rag Ball, featuring the band Yes (above). I assumed he'd seen it on Facebook, but my copy was yellow on silver. So I searched for myself on Google Images (as you do) and found the above poster, which was on sale at Beat Books (scroll down to item 285). It had already been sold, so I have no idea what it made. In any case I was rather flattered to be in such good company!

Edgar Broughton Band poster by Mal Dean (?) printed by Screen Dream
So, Alex popped round to the Pipes Museum and bought some of my posters, plus the odd flyer from the vaults, including one for the Bob Dylan Isle of Wight festival. Most of them were in fact Letraset posters like the one for Kevin Ayers at the top of this blog, printed silkscreen in two colours. I learnt the technique from my good friend and mentor Rick Welton, and in fact some of the posters I sold were his designs from the first Guildford Festival in 1969. Alex was really interested in the hand-drawn psychedelic stuff, however.

Hand drawn screen-printed poster by me, 1968
While he was round, we got talking about Poppa Ben Hook, the Guildford Arts Lab house band. And I mentioned I had six unreleased demo acetates of their tunes. He thought Record Collector might be interested in releasing a limited-edition vinyl record of them, and some time later I was contacted by Rob of Pop Classics and they now have the tracks. I was concerned about permissions, that I was only in contact with one band member, Al the drummer, but he said go for it. Watch this space!


Retired at last!

Well, it looks like I'm properly retired at last. The other day I turned down an illustration job and yesterday found out that the publisher of the book I've been working on for the past year 10 principles of graphic design has just gone into administration!Vivays was founded by a couple of ex-employees of my main publisher Laurence King, including commissioning editor Lee Ripley. Ah well.

It's happened before. In 1991, my second book CAD for product design was commissioned, written, edited, picture researched and ready to go to press when its publisher (whose name escapes me) was taken over by Phaidon. What I didn't know was that Phaidon had also been recently taken over and was relying on its back catalogue to generate income. They weren't publishing anything new, so sat on my book until I asked for it back. After sending it to another couple of publishers (Wiley was one, the Design Council another) and waiting for them to read it (this was before the internet and email), I decided it was getting too out of date to continue, so it never saw the light of day. Soon after, Laurence King approached me about Production for graphic designers, and I've worked for them ever since. When they proposed a second edition of Drawing for designers, which would have been virtually a different book to the first edition, I declined, saying that I'd retired.

So Lee emailed me last year about her new venture and I couldn't say no - only 17,000 words required. Incidentally, another of their authors is Ruth Slavid, who I worked with at IPC Science and Technology Press in Guildford all those years ago. Her book 10 principles of architecture did get published, though it's unlikely she'll see any royalties!

That makes three unpublished books on my hard drive. CAD for product design, which is only openable as a text file, seeing as it was probably written in Claris Works; my NaNoWriMo novel from November 2011, which I'll self-publish just as soon as I can decide on a title; and the graphic design one. Maybe the administrator will find a buyer, maybe not.