Layer Tennis Results

Cook vs Crowle - Layer tennis

Game set and match to Rex by the look of the votes. If you missed it, you can still view the match volley by volley here » I think in the heat of the moment I kind of forgot about the ‘layer’ aspect of the game… The advantage of us both being in the same room was I could see what Rex was drawing and start sketching ideas for my return volley before my 15min had even started. But that kind of led to me just doing a doodle and not re-using any of the layers. Nevermind, it was a great match and we both had fun, especially the post match drinks :)

I was impressed with the speed that Rex could knock out full colour visuals. My usual style is to pencil sketch, scan, then work up vector outlines and then colour last. Not a hope in hell I could get all that done in 15min, so I just stuck to the pencil sketches. Rex though works straight into photoshop with a Wacom tablet, it was quite an eye opener, might have to get one and give it a go.

Thanks again to Anne for her commentry, check out her reflections on the game. And of course thanks to Coudal for inviting us to play :)

Here’s the both of us in action:

Playing layer tennis

Layer Tennis today!

Tennis desk

In just over an hour me and Rex start our game of Layer Tennis. It should be an entertaining show, so make sure you get tickets »

In preparation I painted my (only) desk green yesterday, still hasn’t dried… Looks good though, but there might be a few green smudges on our drawings!

The live commentary will be provided by Anne Ward up in Glasgow, you might know her blog – I Like, check out her intro to the match. Also I’ve won the coin toss, so will be going first and Rex will have the last word.

Rex has just arrived, blimey I’m starting to get a few butterfly’s in my belly…

Layer Tennis

Layer Tennis

This very exciting news – me and Rex Crowle will be playing in an All-English bout of Coudal Partner’s Layer Tennis this Friday. The idea is we swap a photoshop file back and forth every 15min over a match of 10 ‘volleys’. I’ve no idea how it’s going to pan out, but I suspect they’ll be much doodling of monsters, moustaches and general mayhem.

I think we’re going to create a little lawn tennis club in my front room, I’m going to paint my desk to look like a little tennis court with our Macs either side. Obviously we’ll be quaffing Pimms and munching strawberries & cream in between each volley.

The match kicks off 4pm Greenwich Mean Time and lasts about 2 and a half hours.  Sign up for your free season tickets here and watch it live on the internets!

To get a flavour of what it’s all about, check out last weeks match between Jason Santa Maria & Derek Powazek. Jason also wrote an interesting account of the match here »

The Goat Race

Start of goat race

Well the Oxford & Cambridge goat race last Sunday was hilarious :) I wasn’t sure how much of a race it would be, thought they might run off into the crowd for a bit of petting, but when that gate was opened they were off!

Oxford and Cambridge goat race

There was neck and neck racing, overtaking action, it was so quick it was hard to get a photo of it. In the end the little goat Cambridge got to the finish first (I had my money on him too).

Here’s the little winner Cambridge:

Cambridge goat

As an bit of an afterthought I stuck two sock monkey jockies on them. Glad I did, they were funny bouncing along on their backs. Overheard from the audience – “that was probably the funniset thing I’ve ever seen”.

Here’s the much larger, but not quite as quick Oxford:

Oxford Goat

I think maybe he lost because his jockey looks like he’s sleeping on the job  ;)

The goats in their pen

The reason the goats were going for it was so that they could back to their pen and munch on all this hay. It was a great day, not sure how much we raised for the farm, but I’d say there was a least 200 folk there so it must of been a few hundred quid, thanks to all who attended :)

I was impressed with Spitalfields City Farm, can’t believe it’s literally right next to Brick Lane by the Trumen brewery and I’d never seen it before? Lovely to discover a little bit of countryside right in the middle of dirty urban London. You could buy veggies and plants there too, the different kinds of lettuce looked really good.

Oxford & Cambridge Goat Race

Oxford & Cambridge Goat Race

On the same day as the boat race (29th March) London’s going to host a new event – The Oxford & Cambridge Goat Race ;) When Ant, Simeon & Anne told me their idea, I said where the hell are you going to get the goats from?!? Well luckily the nice folks at Spitalfields City Farm (just off Brick Lane) don’t mind us racing a couple of theirs around a field. In return the £3 admission fee will be going toward the up keep of their urban farm project.


2 actual real live goats, one representing Oxford and one representing Cambridge, race a tough, meandering course lined with cheering spectators. Then on to the pub for cheap or possibly free (trying to sort out a booze deal now) drinks and music.


  • The Official Goat Race Bookie and Sweepstake
  • Enter the Goat Wrestling tournament (I’ve no idea wtf this is)
  • Goatee competition


Spitalfields City Farm E1, near Brick Lane – map »
Sunday March 29th
Get there 2.30pm
Race 3.30pm
After party from 4.30pm (in the pub)


Strictly: Black Tie, Rowing lycra, boat club jackets and ties, or goat.


£3 on the door charge, all proceeds go to a Spitalfields City Farm Charity.


If you would like to attend, or get involved in any other way (you could turn up with a few metres of bunting at least), head over to the Goat Race Facebook page »

Organised by – Team Magic-Ish (Anne Hopkins, Simeon Rose & Anthony Goh)

Background paper textures

Free background paper textures

While I was doing my Cargo Collective folio I decided to make a new repeating background gif. Originally I really wanted to have a really bright colourful background, break from the mold of ether black (ish) & white (ish). After much experimenting and playing around, I just couldn’t find a colour that didn’t clash with my work – problem with a colourful image heavy site, so I ended up plumbing for white (ish)

The good news though – I thought I’d post all the rejects here, maybe they’ll be of use to some of my readers :) There’s 2 sets of files for you to download, the gifs are ready to roll, just upload them and insert the link into your html. But I’ve also included a set of Photoshop files, the texture’s just a mask so you can quickly & easily change the colour just by paint bucketing the layer. Note – there’s a second darker layer underneath, you’ll want to change this accordingly with your top layer. They’re all 150 x 150, so not too big file size, have a play around and I hope you find them useful.

This’ll get your eyebrows moving

Cadbury Dairy Milk is going Fairtrade

Cadbury Dairy Milk is going Fairtrade! I’m sure you’re all aware what Fairtrade is about and that’s it’s a good thing. So far I’ve seen it as a bit of a niche, with the odd logo on expensive bags of coffee. So it’s good to hear that Cadbury are annoucing that it’s mega mass market flagship choccy treat is going to be using 100% Fairtrade ingredients (in about 6 months). Find out more on their blog »

“Fair trade means products are purchased directly and at a fair price from small family growers and co-operatives that do not rely on hired or illegal forced labour. Growers receive a minimum guaranteed price that covers real production costs, regardless of how low world market prices fall.”

Cadbury is a big dirty corporate company, but it does seem to have a history of doing nice things,  such as – Back in 1879 Mr. Cadbury didn’t want his chocolate factory workers to live in city slums, so he built it out in the countryside (Bournville) along with a model village which would ‘alleviate the evils of modern more cramped living conditions’ for them to live in. No pubs though, Mr. Cadbury was a Quaker, well you can’t have it all ;)

Cadbury fairtrade blog

How come I know so much about This Cadbury Fairtrade thing? Well I was pulled in at the eleventh hour last week by Hyper to re-design the blog after the client rejected previous work. There wasn’t much time (the announcement date was set in stone) Started on Thursday morning then 27 hours later without rest or sleep the blog was finished. I think Guy Bowden who built it must have been burning the midnight oil over the weekend too.

Anyhow, check out my late-night chocolate & caffeine (I don’t they were Fairtrade) fueled efforts our on the Cadbury Fairtrade blog »

Cargo – portfolio site

cargo collective portfolio site

Pay close attention to this post dear blog readers – this portfolio site is 100% free and 200% awesome! I’ve tried out many portfolio systems over the past year, this is head and shoulders above the rest and won’t cost you a penny to have a play, can’t say fairer than that eh? It evolved out of the system that runs the SpaceCollective community, so has a fair fine heritage.

Cargo is largely much like all the others, but what makes it so briliant is down to a few key features like:

  • A strong focus of design and visuals – it’s all about the images
  • Navigation is a full page of projects thumbnails, the defacto best way of naviagting visual work
  • Simple enough for the novice, but enough advanced features to keep the seasoned developer happy
  • Unlimited – uploads, projects, customisation, fun.

What you get:

  • A choice of excellent themes to style your site
  • CSS editor to fine tune or completey customise your site
  • Well maintained forum with lots of top tips
  • Free Hosting
  • Ability to set up a custom URL (

My Cargo porfolio site

I’ve been playing around with it for a week or so, you can see the quick & dirty portfolio I’ve knock up here »

Here’s some other great portfolios I’ve found made with Cargo: Folkert Gorter, Josh Pangell, Stephen Cheetham, Kitchen, or just check out the Cargo Gallery.

It’s is in public beta at this stage, you can request an invite here. There’s talk on the forum of bringing in a flickr-esque annual subscription for a ‘pro account’, with a similar price tag – $25. Sound fair to me, would be happy to pay that.