A day in the eyes of Robin Boyden

Our latest in the series of through-the-keyhole-style artist photo journals is the brilliant Robin Boyden, who we recently featured for his superb illustrated cars series. Now you can see a day through his eyes. Take it away Robin…

Our latest in the series of through-the-keyhole-style artist photo journals is the brilliant Robin Boyden, who we recently featured for his superb illustrated cars series. Now you can see a day through his eyes. Take it away Robin…


Escape the trauma of being awake with a frothy coffee. Only really have one a day so try to make it a good one.


Walk through the park into town to complete generic errands. Observe a tree. There it is.


Come back from town and already have told a lie as I needed another coffee. Fire up the Cintiq, that’s my Calvin and Hobbes wallpaper. Instant mood changer.


Not quite neat, not quite grubby, this is my office / aka tiny room in my flat. There’s a Sam Gilbey on the wall, some smugly placed academic certificates, AnyForty calendar and beanbag fox character made by my sister.


Try to read one interview or feature a day. Just so happens it’s a Lou Romano interview on Thunder Chunky today. Make a note to shamelessly study his lighting techniques.


Stare blankly out of the window.


Watch a couple of episodes of The Trip To Italy. Generally I like to watch comedy when working. Gives that illusion of company that keeps the solo worker from going insane. Then I’ll have a chat with the beanbag fox sitting on the Roald Dahl books. My muse.


Unless I’m really up against it, I like to start the day with an hour or two of personal work. I wrote this ‘Night Draws In’ book about 3 years ago and due to changes in my work setup and technique I can now afford the time to do a page a day on it which is quite nice. No idea what to do with it but I think it’s important to have a self-indulgent project on the go alongside commissioned work, gives you the opportunity to experiment and learn.


Now I’m working on another personal project but this is a little more portfolio conscious. Again, it’s important to fine tune your portfolio, know what pieces draw attention, or are referenced when commissions come in and then expand on them. This is the beginnings of a follow up piece to something I created in 2008 that still gets mentioned a lot by prospective clients when they hire me. So the aim here is to keep that style and concept consistent across my portfolio by creating new and similar work.


Can’t really show commissioned work processes here so decide to have a research day and head to town again. These are my keys, they let me access my flat. Important. Once I locked myself out of my last flat and kicked the door down to get in. It was exhilarating.


Walk towards town, this place is one of my favourites. I’m 30 now but have always been a bit old in the head so this old school wine bar is my preferred destination for a drink. Not now though, it’s 1pm and I’m not that desperate.


Head to the library and have a look at the art books. Take out a Van Gogh book and Alan Titchmarsh’s Nature of Britain. I bet those two would have got on well.


Then to Waterstones to look at what’s new in the kids section. I’m researching for a kid’s book with a nature theme. Feel a bit like a loon taking photos in the kids section with a stack of library books under my arm. Listen to students talk about croissants. They better have washed their buttery hands before touching the books. Precious books.


Walk back home.


Look through these finds to get some ideas and make a mood board.


Some of my books if you like that kind of thing. That secret old one is my 1st edition Arthur Rackham. Should be in a glass cabinet really.


Long Pinterest session to find more images that are relevant to my project.


Some tools as I contemplate doing a little inking.


Have a practice with brushes on this piece. Always been more of a heavy handed dip pen guy, so this has been a challenge. Hoping to sell originals soon but something a little more exciting and with more of a concept/ story than this one.


Getting a little starey so decide to wake up a little bit with some exercise. Have this demonic looking home gym in my studio.


Decide that being 6’2 and skinny, I’m more suited to running so go for a quick runaround in the early evening. The colour orange makes you run faster, that’s why I got these.


Work on some character concepts for a book. Not the Turtle, that was just doodling whilst on the phone. I like him though, may forget all my jobs to do and work him up.


Housemates* come home, it’s Friday, time to sit outside on the ‘lawn’.
*obviously not pictured, I’m not imagining them.


Drink this, don’t know what we are watching but looks like science.


Go to bed but take this with me to have a look through and admire. Great work. Lie awake for several hours and question existence before falling asleep from mental exhaustion.

And that’s a day in Robin’s eyes! Keep an eye on his site for his latest work, and follow him over on his twitter @RobinBoyden.