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Biscuit Bear character range for Tesco - just in time for Easter!

Biscuit Bear character range for Tesco - just in time for Easter!

A while ago Tesco approached me to design them a traditional cute bear character for a new range of greeting cards.  It took a while to get there, but the result was 'Biscuit Bear' and his furry little friends.  I can't show too much just yet, but I'll post more illustrations as they hit store shelves (likely a few weeks before Father's Day).

Above are brand new designs just in time for Easter, so get yourselves down to your local Tesco and pick up a card or two (or three...go on!)





I can finally show 'Retrocave', my illustration for art book #EVERYDAYISPLAY by @Gamepaused


Super proud to have this painting included in the stunning coffee table art book "Every Day is Play", now available on

From an early age I've been pretty obsessed with video games, and this painting has several meanings (as well as a bunch of game references - can you spot them all?);

1, It depicts how a single controller (in my case my first time was with a NES) can be a gateway into another world for a highly imaginative kid.

2, It shows how often, when we revisit the things we remember fondly from our past (especially old games), they haven't aged too well and don't live up to the amazing memories we have of them.

The kid dangling from the wire is me in the early 90's at the height of my obsession - a simpler time when games were 2D, all multiplayer was local and the most important thing in a game was how 'cool' the mascot was.  Ahh, good times!

Below are some shots of the book itself;

You can order your own copy from and it's well worth the money.


Introducing Whittle Mill, plus cover illustration for 'Progressive Greetings' magazine

In January this year my sentiment driven card range for Gemma International, Whittle Mill, launched into Clintons stores nationwide!  It recently featured on the cover of Progressive Greetings, the number one magazine of the UK greetings industry, which was really satisfying to create and see in print.

Whittle Mill is a cute sentimental range centred around two wooden puppets. There’s a sweet little story to accompany them which tells of how, long ago, a couple carved a heart into a tree which sealed their love inside it forever. Years later a branch falls from the tree and is carved into two puppets who, imbued with the love once sealed in the wood, come to life to be reunited.

This range is very much a love letter to my Wife, who inspired the relationship based illustrations as well as the background story (below) and the verse inside—which in its self was a whole new, and very rewarding, experience to write.

The story on the back of every cards reads (get ready for the feels!);

"A long time ago, before you and me,
A happy couple sat under a tree.

Into the bark they each carved a heart,
And swore to each other they never would part.

In leaving the hearts their promise was kept,
And for many years in the wood their love slept.

Then on one windy day a branch snapped and fell,
Landing next to a sculptor, who said with a yell...

“This wood is perfect for the toys I’ve drafted!”
And from the branch two puppets were crafted.

The sculptor examined his work, delighted,
The happy couple at last reunited."

But my illustrations would be nothing on cards without the expert graphic design skills of fellow Gemma creative Adam Martin which frames them so perfectly.  

As previously mentioned, Whittle Mill is currently in Clintons stores across the UK, and will soon be sneaking into Tesco and WH Smith.

This post contains excerpts from a recent interview I did for Tuts+ which you can read here.


Blue Nose Friends toy environment concepts

This will be my last post of artwork from my time at Carte Blanche Greetings.

I think the forest image above was actually the best thing I did whilst at the company, so it's a good one to close this chapter of my artistic career on.

Below are some concepts for other such worlds, along with the 'magical doors' which lead to each one.
Seems like a lifetime ago I did these, but it was a really fun project.

Images courtesy of and copyright Carte Blanche Greetings

There was a whole new character sub brand I worked on whilst there that I'm dying to show, but as it never made it to market I'll probably never be able to.  :(

Next onto some newer stuff!


Blue Nose Friends Blossom Pond

Image Courtesy of Carte Blanche Greetings

A promotional illustration created for the launch of the included characters in plush form.  I always enjoy painting water and it was fun experimenting with different colours and levels of transparency in this piece.


Blue Nose Friends Sunset Snow House and end of year recap

Image courtesy of Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd
So 2012 is nearly over, and it's been an interesting year to say the least.  The first half started out pretty much as normal; Working away on Blue Nose Friends illustrations and squeezing in the odd personal piece when by amazing, but very distracting, 1 year old son allowed.

Then the greetings industry started to change, some well established high street names nearly went under, and I realised that I needed a safety net.  So with the intention of building a freelance client base I spent the latter half of the year putting together a portfolio, website (stop by!), business cards and a cool little pack to send out.  Beyond freelance opportunities I also hoped to use this work to break into the videogame industry, so I headed off to the Eurogamer Expo to show my stuff.  Although I received some excellent and positive feedback from some well respected industry professionals, it also made me realise that maybe the industry I choose isn't as important as I think it is, as long I enjoy what I'm doing.

This was further confirmed after attending the live workshop in London and listening to the advice of Bobby Chiu.  Inspirational is an understatement;  After the four hour lecture I finally felt I had direction, and that direction was to do what I loved doing and do it well.

So although I had put a LOT of work into my videogames focussed portfolio, it turns out it hadn't gone unnoticed.  Soon after I was offered pretty much the best job I could possibly get within the greetings industry, a role with so much potential it's almost daunting!  So I packed up my pencils and left the home of Tatty Teddy.  For better or worse this obviously means that I will no longer be illustrating My Blue Nose Friends, therefore the above image will be the last MBNF christmas image I ever post - it was used on this years Blue Nose Friends advent calendar by the way.  It's been a good run but I'm glad to move on to something different and stretch my artistic legs a bit.

2013 is going to be a super exciting year for me and I hope to show of some of the work I've done for my new employer as soon as I can.  In the meantime I still have a few unseen pieces to keep things ticking over.

This blog will live on!

Have a great Christmas and a fulfilling new year,

All the best,


Quaint toy fireplace

Image courtesy of Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd
A painting used as a decal inside "Tatty Teddy's heart shaped house", a new toy that's part of a range from Worlds Apart.

In the snap below you can see it on TV, the second time my artwork's been shown on the small screen (the first was the result of a competition I entered when I was 8 so it doesn't really count);

Check out to see the rest of the toy range.


Tatty Teddy and Blue Nose Friends Sky Scape

Image courtesy of Carte Blanche Greetings

An image used in a kind of trailer animation for the newly released Tatty Teddy and My Blue Nose Friends toys.

This is what I call the 'Sky Scape', an aerial kingdom found within the sky door (to be shown in a future post).

About the new toys, got to to check them out; Your small female relatives will love 'em!


Tic Toc Jungle themed door concept

Image property of Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd

A themed door which leads to a kind of Jungle world where there's a time travelling Grandfather clock.  That particular idea probably won't make it into the final products so I thought I'd put it out there anyway.

Painting this made me realise how fun it must be to design one of those crazy environments in a theme park, so if anyone out there's developing a new attraction and needs some ideas all you have to do is ask!


Tic Toc Jungle environment concept

Image property of Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd
A quick concept for the magical 'Jungle world' of the Blue Nose Friends.  In this post you can see the  door that leads to this land.


Magical room of magical doors

This is kind of a hub found within Tatty Teddy's wardrobe, each door, for example this farmyard door, leads to a different themed world, for example the Farmyard world.  I think you can see where I'm going with this!

Initially it was produced for a style guide to inspire new toys, but has since been used on a bunch of things including a giant display at the London Toy Fair (shown below, I did the characters too), which was nice.

More doors coming in future.


(All images property of Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd)

Home, blue home

Image Property of Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd
A potential new house for the Blue Nose Friends, but what's it actually for?  You might find out in a  few years :)

Zoom-in to check out my favourite part -  the contoured roof!

Shane S

Creative influence map

Loads more I wanted to include but decided to stick with the grid ‘rules’ on the bottom of the template instead.

I mainly included artists that have influenced my work and technique directly rather than just a bunch that I loved but didn’t consciously take anything from, hence no James Jean, Da Vinci or Watterson.

I'm always interested to find out the creative origins of artists I admire, so have been checking out a whole bunch of these things online lately.  A few highlights are those of Sam Nielson (surprising how similar my own influences are to his, unfortunately I left off Monkey Island but I haven't been able to draw clouds without including a spiral since playing MI3!), and Sebastien gallego.

Download the template file from the creator's DeviantArt page at and create your own.

Shane S

Tatty Teddy Rainbow Lake

Image and character property of Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd
An experimental Tatty Teddy painted a few years ago.  Although the concept wasn't quite right I still like the colours so I thought I'd post it anyway.

Shane S

Blue Nose Friends springtime pond

Image and characters property of Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd

Really enjoyed painting this illustration as it was a good chance to mess around with water effects, plus it's kind of two images in one which is never a bad thing if you enjoy a bit of variety.

Promotional image for the plush launch of these four characters.

Shane S

Farmyard magical door concept

Image property of Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd

As part of the development of the new Blue Nose Friends toy range (launching in August 2012!) I was asked to develop the concept of magical doors leading to different themed worlds within.

I really enjoyed stretching my artistic legs beyond the usual character artworks that make up the majority of my day job.

This particular door leads to a farmyard area shown in this concept painting.

Plenty more of these to come...

Shane S

Farmyard environment concept

Image property of Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd

The magical 'Farmyard world' of the Blue Nose Friends.  To see the ornate wooden door that leads to this land have a look at this post.

Quick environment paintings like this are always a pleasure to paint.

Shane S

Lighthouse aerial scene

Image property of Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd

A background painting for an animated short.

Shane S

Summer fun with some blue nose friends

Characters and image property of Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd
Promotional image for the launch of these plush characters.  It was also a great chance to experiment with coloured lighting.

Shane S

Blue Nose beach 2

Image and animation property of Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd

Another animation background for this short, beaches are surprisingly fun to paint;