A.Richard Allen
Cwoffee- a paean to the bean

A less gag-cartoony, more oblique approach to Tim Hayward's FT Weekend food column. This was a considered piece about coffee. The writer contends that whilst the coffee we drink has in recent times improved immeasurably, in some of his his more lasting memories involving coffee the brew itself was of variable quality (sometimes downright undrinkable).
An Italian I met recently bemoaned the Chain coffee stores' interpretation of coffee and how English people drank coffee in too large quantities, drowned with milk, a view echoed in this article.

Some recent pieces for the Telegraph newspaper's money section. So far, they've been a rather good client: sympathetic, and undemanding (give or take a few justified amends). Also, crucially, I'm enjoying the work.
1st round of roughs on pension choices (various suitors (financial advisors) vying for investors' attention).
From beauty contests (their idea, honest, though I rather relished doing something with the unreconstructed Miss World scenario) and dog shows...
...we moved on to consumer choice (supermarket ranges), different means of achieving similar ends (food utensils) to the final image of a princess choosing a prospective prince...

The canny HMRC (the Taxman/ IRS) has identied payment in dividends being an underexploited form of tax revenue.
For some reason I went all farm yard-y and submitted fox/henhouse and lowly dairy farmer having his milk siphoned off by a government tanker driver...

Rather more signposted this one. Labelling notwithstanding, I like many elements here.
SooJin Buzelli received an award earlier this year- the Richard Gangel Art Director Award- from the Society of Illustrators. Recognition for promoting and nurturing illustration comes as no surprise to me. SooJin is- for many illustrators- the model AD; trusting and authoritative, instinctive yet reasoned, she directs with a supreme lightness of touch.
Perhaps the content of the titles she oversees helps. The copy often consists of abstruse financial forecasting, forbidding to the layman. In the initial commission the article is summarized in broad conceptual strokes for the benefit of the illustrator. Being given a broad theme rather than agonising over specifics is- for me- a fascinatingly free way of creating imagery.
This piece from last year may be a fairly unremarkable assignment in many ways but the enthusiasm I felt towards the job- evident in the reams of rough ideas I happily delivered- and feel towards the vast majority of assignments I get from SooJin- is noteworthy and is reflected in the pride I had in executing the piece. Much of this has to do with SooJin's communication skills and creative judgment.
Finished artwork

roughs batch 1

roughs round 2: pop-up world, lift to the moon

The Moving Toyshop
A Folio Society assignment is something I delight in doing and I received another one from AD Sheri Gee last year.
This one is a 40s caper by Edmund Crispin called The Moving Toyshop. The book gleefully throws together elements from various genres; whodunnit, thriller, farce and locked-room mystery. The key puzzle (or maybe it's more of a McGuffin, given the plot's willful convolutedness) is how the titular toyshop murder location vanishes overnight. The story finds time for the occasional, knowing literary aside and the odd bit of fourth wall puncturing.
The carrousel setting of the climactic confrontation between sleuth and culprit will be familiar to fans of Hitchcock: the director lifted it for the final scene of Strangers on a Train.
The cover plus seven interior plates

Wraparound cover
A suspect pulls a pistol on our two heroes
A moment of high farce as an elderly conspirator in the central crime flees on a stolen bicycle, pursued by drunken students
The haywire fairground ride culmination.
A sheet of thumbnails. A challenge with the Folio Society assignments is pacing the illustrations and not giving too much of the story away.

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