This is Elspeth and a version of her Dogsteed.  She is my intrepid anima.  She has become something I have focused on for the last year or so, with my upcoming exhibition of work being about 11 of her many encounters.  I still don't know much about her.  I do know that she is quiet and powerful and has been appointed with the task of collecting elements from the Dark Inventory and putting them to good use.  Every piece she collects, be it a character, place or power, changes her forever.  Access to all the universes lie within the infinite pockets of her coat for recall whenever she needs.  Her best friend, besides me, is Crocodillio who gave her the ability to draw.

Crocodillio with his Ballistic Bam Bam Biff Bat.
A mistake has been made.  The kind and gentle bird king Shren had been on a pilgrimage around the forest shrines of the inventory when one of the racon crocklets, hunting buffalo cogs,  sees movement and fires.  The crocklet may as well have shot himself, as the guilt he feels is so violent and heartfelt that it nearly crushes him there and then.  He knew how revered and loved this gentle king was.  In his grief, he decides to take the poor dead monarch and his crown back to his people and own up to his grave error.  When he reaches the place where he knew Shren's kingdom to be there is nothing but an empty valley.  In the centre of the valley is a wren's egg and in the sand next to it is written a rhyme:

 'if we are gone, our king is dead.  
now place his crown upon your head.  
with this done, we shall return,
to our new king with lessons learned.'

The papillionaire and his pupil, the moon pilot, are up to no good.  There will always be repurcussions if you trick fellow creatures.

The Primer Kuk sits in the dissonant wood contemplating change. I draw lots of frogs and each time they look really different.  It's strange how I can draw them in radically different ways but they're always recognisable as a frog.  I figured it's the same guy who just wishes to be seen differently each time.

So here he is, half there, half not.  About to change or having just changed.  Hence the nervous cigarette.  Half asleep under the chair is Neomi.  This is where the dissonant wood becomes relative.  It is two places in one skin.  Leave the dark and cold version only to return instantly and find it dappled, sun-kissed and full of life.  The cold one is ruled by Kuk the frog and his familiar Neomi.  The warm one is ruled by Neomi and her familiar Kuk. 

There were some frogs mating outside my house tonight.

The clue is in the title.  The wise old Vapour Queen has been given the worst birthday present of all in the form of a stab wound via the very thing she helps.  Gaunt the Cat has been tricked into delivering the blow by the Sunken Vast, a jealous and heavy spirit of depth.  The duality of fleeting importance and deep abyss ridden waste.  

The naivety and wisdom of age vs the naivety and wisdom of youth.

This shows one of the looping systems of the Dark Inventory.  The Mechonquistador is from the same family as cycles, circles, strips and wheels.  When under control, as he is here by an eight-eyed Reuben, he takes on the appearance of a masked black worm and will travel at great speeds through worlds in quick succession to act as a replacement catalyst for spirits and personalities that are integral to the universal whole.  His face is always the same.

The day after I drew this, and before I'd shown it to him, my friend told me about the dream he'd had the previous night where he'd become massive and was crawling quickly through a village in the desert.  People were scared of him.


The Whispering King knows everything there is to know about Nothing.  Not our nothing but the nameless nothing, the sub-nothing.  The thing that nothing doesn't even know.  Sometimes he may give hints to inspire lucky artists, kings or court jesters, purely for his own amusement, but whatever he says, by it's very nature, remains forever unrepeatable.

I was told he can be caught by using a flame in a bottle as bait.  I think trying to catch or control him is a silly idea.


In July of 2010 I started a series of images that all followed the same portrait style with a black, comic-book shaped frame.  This was because I wanted a rule or law to stick to, and because I like the idea of things being the same but different, in the way that songs, days, stickers, pokémon, dinosaurs, boglins, badges and people are a series of the same idea pumped out in different variations, circumstances and versions.  Collectible and growing.

In this picture, the eggs and young gods are being sucked out (and in) to a world in the process of being made. The wizard is a fool and not a real wizard.  The cats are Ampersands looking for food in the forest and the mountain is yelling out one of the mysterious and powerful creation words.  

This was the last time (to date) that anything has popped over the boundary.  Six eggs, six.

This is Kid Zero, gently bringing in the morning, armed with his Blackest Cape, Word and Sceperator, which are used for walking between worlds.  Kid Zero doesn't always look like this.  In fact once he looked like absolutely nothing at all.  

I thought him an apt envoy for the start.