Masters of Reality

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

My contribution to The Critter Shed’s ‘Creatures of Extinction’. It’s based on an engraving from an 1854 edition of the Illustrated London News.

The illustration shows a dinner party being held inside the mould of one of the Crystal Palace dinosaurs on New Years Eve 1853. The artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins designed the dinosaurs with the help of Richard Owen, first director of the Natural History Museum. Hawkins and Owen are there, along with 20 or so of their scientific and literary friends, celebrating the launch of the models. And here are a couple of the completed iguanodons.

So, this is what people imagined iguanodons looked like in the 1850s. Or maybe I should say, this is what people from the 1850s imagined iguanodons looked like in the Cretaceous period, 145 million years ago. And this is what they thought they looked like when I was growing up in the 1970s/80s…

And this is what they think they looked like now…

Since I was a kid, one of my favourite dinosaurs got demoted and isn’t a dinosaur any more, another one now has feathers and there’s one less planet in the solar system.

The Crisis Deepens

Monday, June 16th, 2014

This is my contribution to a collection of artworks produced by staff at Liverpool School of Art and Design – ‘I Don’t Love Soccer Because Soccer Has Never Loved Me‘. Each piece is a response to an essay titled The World Cup and Its Pomps written in 1978 by Umberto Eco.

The dialogue in my illustration is sourced from vox pops with fans on the Cardiff City website. They were about to get on the bus having been beaten 4-0 at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

There will be an exhibition of all the work at Bold Street Coffee, Liverpool on the 25th of June.

The Beasts of Oldham

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

I’m going to be running a monster making workshop in Oldham on Saturday as part of Festival Oldham. There are going to be all kinds of exciting things going on in the town centre. What kind of things? Pop-up art exhibitions, skateboarding displays, Small Cinema’s going to be there and also BMX dancers! I could have been a BMX dancer, but I only had a Grifter.

Exhibition of Dreams

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Microfiche readers, slide viewers, taped dream recordings, transcribed dreams on index cards, cryptic post-its and an office décor caught in time.

Sam Meech and the rest of the Re-Dock fellas have done a great job of creating an installation that exhibits and archives the material generated during our year long project at St Helens Central Library.

The Library Of Dreams exhibition is now open at the Godfrey Pilkington Art Gallery in St. Helens World Of Glass Museum.

Cat Dream

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

The Library of Dreams exhibition opens in the Godfrey Pilkington Art Gallery, St. Helens on Saturday and runs until Sunday 30th of September.

This sketch is based on one of the many dream records collected during the project.

Animal Mash-Up

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Library of Dreams

Friday, July 13th, 2012

I’ve been working with Re-Dock on a wonderful project called ‘Library of Dreams’ in St Helens over the past year.

St. Helen’s central library has all kinds of terrific I.T facilities, including iMacs, drawing tablets, digital cameras and software. Re-Dock developed ‘Library of Dreams’ as a project that would encourage library users to take advantage of all these great resources.

The idea was to run a series of family friendly workshops, themed around documenting, interpreting and sharing dreams.

Each workshop would feature a different artistic/multimedia technique, from illustration and animation to music design, video editing, film and poetry.

The project was organised to culminate in two events – ‘Music for Sleeping’ an audiovisual concert which took place at the library in March, and an exhibition which will run from Saturday July 28th July to Sunday 30th September at St. Helens World of Glass.

The Music for Sleeping concert was a great success. You can see a film of it on the Library of Dreams site. Here I am drawing a young participant’s dream.

Another dream image recorded on the night…

As well as facilitating a number of the workshops and taking part in the concert, I also developed the branding for Library of Dreams. Because there were so many strands to the project, I created a modular logo that could change depending on its  context – whether it was being used for a poster, a dream log book or membership card, or whether it was advertising a drawing based event, a film event or a music event.

The Library of Dreams project is supported by St Helens Arts Service through funding from Arts Council England. Archive film used with permission from St Helens Local History and Archives Library, and support from the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Santa’s NML farewell

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Father Christmas has just completed his mini-tour of National Museums Liverpool.

Over the course of his visits, he has drawn nearly 300 pictures, with more than 70 being completed in one afternoon at Sudley House. Father Christmas informs me that this comfortably beats his previous personal best.

There have been dragons, reindeer, ninjas on unicorns, killer whales, the baby Jesus, Robert Pattinson out of Twilight, Yoda and numerous self-portraits. The chap on the right of figure 1, Frankie, is asking Santa for a drawing of Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus (photography by Mr. Adam Todd).

Here is a detail of the magical elf-paper which Santa brought with him from the North Pole…

Merry Christmas!

Sketchy Santa

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Exciting news! Apparently Father Christmas is going to be visiting various National Museums Liverpool sites over December. He’ll be drawing pictures on request for kids visiting the museums and galleries, which can then be taken away as a kind of early Christmas present!

He’ll be at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight on the 3rd and 4th

Sudley House in Mossley Hill on the 10th

and the Walker Art Gallery on the 17th, 20th and 21st

You’ll be able to get a free ticket at the venue’s desk on the day, and Santa will be drawing from 12 till 4.

Unfortunately I’m going to miss him, as I’m away on those dates on URGENT BUSINESS.

If you do see him, ask him to draw something easy. Like a cat. But not a cat walking down Fifth Avenue, or driving a combine harvester.

Twitter Beast

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

You can now follow my tweets @chrisrodenhurst I’ll mostly be tweeting little pictures of works in progress, unfinished pieces from yesteryear and some of my photographic efforts.

Ramble the Ralla

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Ramble the Ralla is a signage project for a cycling/running/ambling path in North Liverpool. The path is officially known as ‘The Liverpool Loop Line’, but is known locally as The Ralla, being a former railway track.

The signage was developed in partnership with groups from the different communities the path passes through. I was asked to help develop and deliver community workshops, and then work the ideas up into the finished artwork.

Barlows Lane Primary school came up with loads of ideas, including the fox and pumpkins. Here they are at the unveiling of their sign.

Here are some badges I made for the event.

I didn’t make all of them…

The signage was installed by Project Playgrounds. The fellas arrived with what looked like jigsaws of my artwork which they then melted onto the path. I’d tried to make the illustrations quite loose and expressive and was worried they might lose some of that in the translation, but I was really impressed with how close they were to the originals – every little nook and cranny was in there.

I also designed a map for the project…

Here’s the Majorette of Norris Green.

And a lizard for Walton. The kids at the workshop said there was treasure buried in the park…

The project was commissioned by ART Valley and I was supported by Re-Dock throughout its development. Sustrans, the people who look after and maintain the Ralla, were also a great help.

Everyman Map

Monday, June 27th, 2011

I was asked to create a map of the Everyman Theatre – stage, dressing rooms, front of house, the whole shebang – before it all undergoes redevelopment.

As part of the current building’s finale, orchestrated by theatre company ‘Slung Low’, visitors will be able to explore the building. They’ll be given a copy of the map to help them get about. I wanted to see if I could come up with something that was both functional and subjective. Looking around the empty rooms and corridors made me think of the insides of a pyramid. That said, I’ve never actually been inside a pyramid, but maybe if I ever visit one it will remind me of the inside of an abandoned theatre! I’m quietly obsessed with ideas of subjective treatments of place.

I’ll also be doing a live drawing at the event, recording people’s memories of the Everyman onto a wall before it gets demolished.

Constellation of Signs

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The Constellation of Signs is an art installation created for the Pennington Road Bridge in Bootle, along the route of the Leeds-Liverpool canal. It was developed by Re-Dock and artist Alan Dunn.

The work is made from 117  traffic and information signs. Each sign represents one of over 300 memories and ideas about the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, gathered from the local community during community workshops and activity days. I helped run the workshops and designed 35 of the signs, based on material generated by the public, a selection of which are shown below.

Unfortunately, since installation, the wall took a bit of a battering from vandals and is to be re-installed in a new location nearby.


Monday, August 31st, 2009


I was interviewed over at The Tools Artists Use. It’s a great site for finding out what different artists and illustrators have in their pencil boxes, how they like to work and what techniques they use.


The Almond Tree

Saturday, June 27th, 2009


Next Thursday I’ll be doing some live painting at the Everyman Theatre as part of State of Wonder’s production ‘The Almond Tree’. The play is a beautiful and darkly atmospheric reworking of a Brother’s Grimm fairytale. My paintings will be projected to form a kind of live backdrop for the play. There will also be live music by Hannah Peel.

Some of my pre-production sketches for the show…




Tuesday, May 19th, 2009


I recently took part in Shakespeare in the Street’s ‘Sonnet Walk’ for a second year. To quote the website… “Small groups follow a guided route…taking in some hidden gems of Liverpool’s history alongside more contemporary secrets. You’ll encounter performers along the way and you’ll never know what to expect.”

For our bit, Hannah and Cata sung Sonnet 113 whilst I picked someone in the audience to draw as though they were my one true love! The sonnet only lasts about two and a half minutes so I have to be pretty quick!

You can hear Hannah sing the sonnet on the Shakespeare in the Street’s website.

I also designed the logo for the event…



Liverpool Light Night

Monday, January 19th, 2009


Hannah, Sam and myself had a lot of fun drawing and playing music in town last Saturday. You can see a great film of it by documentary film-maker Tim Brunsden here.

Unfortunately, Hannah had lost her voice on Saturday, but you can hear the beautiful music she composed and see the little music box she plays in the film. Check out the punch paper she feeds through the music box – each hole punched by hand! To hear Hannah sing as well as play, visit her MySpace page…


Tate, the Making – Made

Monday, December 22nd, 2008




Tuesday, September 16th, 2008


Liverpool’s first AudioVision festival kicked off today. Over the next five nights the art-deco hulk of the Queensway Tunnel ventilation tower at the Pier Head will be the canvas for New York art group NOMO and Jacqueline Passmore.

On Wednesday The Smith Quartet will be performing at The Bluecoat, with specially commissioned cinematic visuals from local artists.

On Saturday night there’ll be a FREE gig at the tower, with projections and music from AddictiveTV, Kinetic Fallacy and Ultre. And I’ll be doing some live drawing that’ll be projected onto the building. Festival gates open at 7pm and the performances start at 8.



Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

I’m going to be doing some work at this year’s Creamfields as part of Paint Jam, a live illustration/graffiti/graphic arts event devised by Sam Skinner of Liverpool’s View Two Gallery.

Not sure what I’m drawing yet, so in the meantime, here’s a dancing Sasquatch