A.Richard Allen
My first published picture-book, Apes-a-Go-Go! came out through Harper Collins in the UK last year and hits the shelves (via Knopf Random House) in the US this year. It's a collaborative effort- concept-wise, that is, I claim no credit for the writing other than the odd tweak and the title- with my dear, talented friend: writer, fashion designer, wit, Best Man at my wedding, host to weighty slavic diacritical marks (just look at the accents on that surname! it's like a row of dress medals!), Mr Roman Milišić
Whilst the book's gestation and arrival weren't incident-free (I've still got the stretch marks and stitches to prove it), we now have a charming book of which we're enormously proud. All at Harper Collins and our literary agents (Andrew Mills at Michelle Kass/ JAB) have been patient, professional, insightful, unflaggingly enthusiastic and thoroughly supportive. I'm grateful to them for the opportunity they've given us.
From the rhyming, concept and character-driven dummy that we pitched to the publishers, the book developed into a more substantial, narrative-led fable. There was a false start along the way; a less-than-satisfactory early version of the story ('The Kong Show') was expertly euthanized- tied in a weighted bag and thrown into a canal. We pressed on, using that as a stepping stone- the bag being insufficiently weighted- towards the mighty Apes-a-Go-Go!
We have a two book contract with Harper Collins and are looking forward to producing a new story or possibly a sequel; we're still rather taken by the characters and are sure the wider public will grow to share our ape love.
So let's hear that refrain ringing out. Altogether now: 'CUPPA COCOA! APES-A-GO-GO!'
(Unless you're in the US, in which case it's the less fey, 'Bogo! Pogo! Apes-a-Go-Go!')
Sample spread from the finished book Apes-a-Go-Go (C) 2014 A.Richard Allen & Roman Milisic (Harper Collins)

Sample spread from the finished book Apes-a-Go-Go (C) 2014 A.Richard Allen & Roman Milisic (Harper Collins)

Sample spread from the finished book Apes-a-Go-Go (C) 2014 A.Richard Allen & Roman Milisic (Harper Collins)

The UK edition cover. Apes-a-Go-Go (C) 2014 A.Richard Allen & Roman Milisic (Harper Collins)

Cover rough.
tighter cover rough
Second set of thumbnails for the first half of the book. ((C) 2014 A.Richard Allen & Roman Milisic)

First set of thumbnails for the first half of the book. ((C) 2014 A.Richard Allen & Roman Milisic)

dummy cover and pages from our original pitch ((C) 2012 A.Richard Allen & Roman Milisic)

The cover from the 2013 aborted version of the book ((C) 2013 A.Richard Allen & Roman Milisic)
character scamps
a character model sheet of sorts

The Wilderness Years
It’s been a while

Let’s call it a hiatus.
I’ve spent rather a long time returning to my first love, oil painting. I've been illustrating too; more of that later.
Here's a site devoted to some of the painting I've produced. Do, please, take a look
DCTH (b.1923), 2015, oil on linen (65cmx65cm)➡
My late Father-in-Law, Donald House.
The energy that comes from documenting a subject that changes at every sitting, charting life passing is truly compelling.
ARA (self portrait) 2013, oil on linen (25cmx30cm)
Portraiture was one of the first things that piqued my interest in painting, 25 years ago, starting with Stanley Spencer, Egon Schiele, Gaugin, Van Gogh, Lucian Freud and leading me on to Velasquez, Hals, Titian and others.
I find the self-portrait is an odd beast, poised somewhere between vanity and dissection.
⬅ Still life (Hugo, Moth, La Valette) 2014, oil on linen on board (30x22cm).
Still lifes comprising layers of mementoes and levels of mediation with reality hold a real fascination for me.
Still Life (Pylon, Friedrich) 2014, oil on linen on board (35.5cmx23cm)➡
Birches, 2013, oil on linen (66cmx61cm)
A nature scene of sorts
Hardy Country (Postcards) 2014, oil on linen (67cmx91cm). A mediated landscape

Turtle, 2013, oil on linen (41cmx36cm)
More nature morte. I produced a series of paintings at a beautiful, crumbling local museum, the Bournemouth Natural Science Society. It houses a remarkable collection of Victorian taxidermy
Lucky Jim
My last Folio Society book, Brat Farrar was a highlight of my recent commissioned illustration work. When Sheri Gee called to commission me to do another book I gladly accepted. The book in question was the slightly better-known, Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis's post war comic novel of provincial university life. The eponymous protagonist is a passive and indolent chap. I'm not entirely sure that I enjoyed the book- I'd read it many years ago- but it provides many visual, humourous set pieces and an interesting cast of grotesques. The challenge of pacing the illustrations, showing the characters whilst not giving too much of the narrative away was very satisfying. The feedback from the publishers has been positive. I'm assuming- having just received my complimentary copies that the book is soon to be released and that I'm not jumping the gun in showing these here.

The obligatory gazillion thumbnails

Cover designs. Pub signs and match, cigarette packets were dismissed since there's no need for including the title. I tried to suggest numerous figure free, atmospheric and decorative solutions.


Another piece for SooJin at PLANSPONSOR. This is about wholesale scepticism/ cynicism from the US public as far as Health Care reforms are concerned. HERE'S a link to the digital version of the magazine
Roughs for the above. The glass half empty solution seemed appropriate for the scepticism-bordering-on-pessimism theme

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