Happy New Year. Thank you to everybody that supported my 'Red and White Legends' project towards the end of 2016. I have been thrilled with the response to it, taking orders from all over the country and receiving lots of great feedback. This really wouldn't have been possible without people supporting it by sharing, liking or commenting on it on social media, writing reviews on my website, telling friends and family about it, and of course, buying it - whether through my site or through the stockists in Sunderland. I am hugely grateful to all of you.
The calendar itself was quite an undertaking when considering the hours that went into it, initially in producing the caricatures - The older players were a particular challenge as source imagery is hard to come by. All players, up to Gary Rowell, were drawn from black and white images - often of poor quality, with the colour added last of all. For the Raich Carter caricature I used a good close up image of Tom Cruise to determine skin tones and detail.
Once all the individual illustrations were complete it was a case of setting the layout and designing the front and back covers, I must thank the people who I relied on for copy checking and proofing - they know who they are. Once printed and thankfully sold there was the logistics of ensuring all orders were delivered promptly and correctly. I wasn't the most popular person at our local single-counter post office as I turned up with my box full of envelopes every other day!
I'm looking at starting work on this next year's calendar as soon as possible, It could be Legends Volume 2 - or maybe Cult Heroes, I'm also looking at producing calendars for other clubs. If anyone has any ideas on this - please leave a comment or get in touch. I'm always grateful for feedback and always happy to discuss new ideas.
Being a self-employed artist is not always straightforward, and there a often big risks involved in order to succeed. Some days when the emails ease off and the phone stops ringing it's hard to resist reaching for the jobs paper and plotting a return to the security of full time employment. Ultimately, aside from relying on what ability I have, along with my work ethic, I'm reliant on people buying in to what I do. I hope that in return I offer something unique, useful and interesting - and with your continued support I'll continue to do so. So thanks again, your Facebook likes, shares, messages, comments (even the Newcastle fans!) help to get my work in front of a wider audience. And your willingness to put your hand in your pocket and support me enables me to keep the gas on, as I while away the cold winter nights frantically searching online for grainy images of Nick Pickering...