Saturday, February 13, 2010

Enter the dragon head

Here's another project I've had to do at my job in the library - for the Chinese New Year which funny enough is tomorrow in my time, I've been asked to create this Chinese dragon. I'm not sure what else they're doing to this display but if they're doing anything else interesting I'll be sure to get a shot.

First I drew and painted the dragon's head using several printed references I was given from the staff. The design had to be quite big because it was being put up on the boards on the walls so eventually I had the final design drawn on a piece of my own paper that I took the trouble of bringing in. Also brought my own watercolours as I've done with the birds, because well, felt tips aren't the best things to use to fill in such large areas with colour. Several layers and blends of watercolour later, I gave it a final touch of gold glitter glue. I had a bottle of gold paint somewhere at home that I would have brought in, but where I've been moving everything about it's gotten misplaced.

Then I was assigned to create the body just by sticking scraps of different coloured paper and foil [or rather, a McCoy's multi-packet] in some wriggly manner and then cutting it out. Might seem easy stuff but it was actually quite tedious to position everything and then stick them down with PVA glue. Then again this is the children's library after all, plus I get paid to do this sort of thing so who am I to complain?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

First post of the new decade

Hello, I'm back on Blogspot. I hope everyone's had a happy New Year's, Christmas, Boxing day, Guy Fawkes etc. All I can say for myself is that the past 3 months have been a rollercoaster.

First of all, I did indeed go to the MCM expo in London ExCel, which was absolutely fantasico. I will certainly be going again and cosplaying the next time which is in May, hopefully by then I'd actually be able to buy more stuff from there. You can view my take on it at DeviantART, and more photos can be found at my FlickR page.

The next epic thing going on is that I now have a job at a library, as my profile now states. Unfortunately I don't work many hours a week, which isn't my fault, but the pay has been amazing [for me anyway] and I've been on some major spendups as well as supporting my family with it. Some of the things I do there include shelving, shelf tidying, unpacking and stamping new books, flat packing boxes, and even art and craft - since they've discovered that I draw and paint, I've been set up on working on displays for the children's library most of the time, as well as preparing pieces of paper, felt etc so that the kids don't have to when they make penguins. Below is a recent project where I had to draw some birds for a birdwatching event the kids are having.

The robin's a bit fat there, but I think it's given me a little experience on drawing birds, something I rarely ever draw. I've also finished up a pretty funky looking Chinese dragon for Chinese New Year, which I might post as soon as I can get a photo of it. Additionally, I painted up some sort of mural in the women's toilets, which is basically a montage or stars, moons, butterflies and a mountain. I'm surprised my clothes didn't get ruined while I was doing it.

Lastly, just the last weekend alone has completely flipped my world upside down. Not only did I go to the cinema for the first time in 2 and a half years to see Avatar, I have found myself an other half, and that other half is none other than Aaron Foster aka Gagaman. For the past 5 years I've been a fan of his artwork via DeviantART, but it wasn't until about 3 years ago [or 4, if the first time I ever spotted him counts] that we had bumped each other in real life at boot sales, funny enough, and I plucked up the courage to say hello.

Since then, we had been very good friends because we're very like-minded, but after the expo in which we spent quite some time hanging out with each other, we had gotten closer and closer, and eventually arranged some days to meet up and hang out some more. It was only when that last weekend came and went, that I've expressed my feelings for Aaron. Now, I'm still besotted [I'm shaking as I type this] because of how he feels for me.

So that the past three months. I am only praying that the future stays this perfect.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I'm just gonna spit it out

Am I getting good at facial anatomy yet?

Now for the one thing that's eating me up right now. For a few months I've been thinking about coming with an old college friend to the MCM expo in London after we had a chat about it on MSN and she said, "come with us sometime". I was thinking of cosplaying as Penny Crygor from the Warioware games, but I didn't really put much effort in looking for costume parts so if I do go then I'm just gonna dress ordinarily. I told my mum that we've been on trips before and that it's like a comics, movies and media con and at the moment she seems OK with it.

There's the next worry, having the money for it. I still haven't started my job at the library because now they're saying they're refurbishing the library I'm working at, and at this rate there's no way I'm getting my first wages until very late in the year, so any money I get from my incapacity benefit [I get no more than £20 a fortnight from that] or that I get given, I'm trying to save for if I do go. I never get to go out anywhere so why should I miss out on anything?

Other than that, I'm due for an MRI scan tomorrow, at least I don't have to pay for that. For the last month I've had to see doctors about how I'm being affected by Asperger's physically and so far, so good. The neurology doctor bangs me on the knees and such, then I have a blood test, and now that. Not sure what's next after that.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Background studies oh joy

I'm still doing background studies, both videogame and real life/photo inspired alike.

Obviously judging by the Ray gnomes, this is Rayman 3 inspired, though the aims here were to build up layers of colour among pencil lines. Not sure I like the way I tried to apply detail, but I do like how it's almost like it's night time in the Fairy Council, just like in the game. Not forgetting that there's also light coming from the window; maybe next time I'll add little fairies.

Almost a month back I did something similar, based on a trip I took years ago when I was at college.

Here, not only did I try to experiment with light pencil lines, I also tried the splatter technique, something I actually don't use often because well, not so easy to mask this paper with masking fluid so I had to use paper. Man, this was such a boring place, all we ever did was poke a dead fish that got washed up on the beach; shame I lost the photos I had of it. What I do like here is the bushes - the colours used for that were just a mix of viridian and Payne's grey. It's amazing how many more colours can be made by mixing, something I do practice a lot.

I still have some unfinished scenes to finish.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Back to basics

The old template and title had to go, it gets ever so rusty after a while. So what have I been up to the past three months?

First of all, I turned 22 years old in April. Wasn't really anything special, what with the credit crunch and everything, but certainly not the worst. I got a good amount of birthday money and put most of it to good use. Nearly a month later, we spent one whole day at Thorpe Park, where we gave one of the latest rides, Saw, a whirl...whoa man, that was so wicked!

However, a week before the day out, I made the tough decision to pack up the voluntary work at the charity shop. I felt that my general life would hardly improve if I carried on for much longer, and in turn, I landed a job in a library within the borough. As of now I've yet to start, and I'd had just sent my medical and criminal record forms away. Only time will tell about my luck with this.

Regarding art, I pretty much struggled, I'll have to admit, again. I have a feeling that I'm not improving at all, and a part of me wants to blame video games. Another part wants to thank them though, because I think that even if you're only drawing WarioWare related doodles, you're still drawing, and any drawing is healthy, right? When I'm not drawing such scribbles, I'm attempting animals, as seen below.

That's the cat next door, and he's a cheeky sod. He dreams of coming in our house one day to eat my dog's food, but he'll never get in when Jessie's about.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Experimenting with "anime"

Today, I decided to fire up Inkscape [kinda like to Illustrator as GIMP is to Photoshop] and try an "anime" style for a change. I've never been too much of an anime fan, but I'll let you in on saying that there are a few anime shows that actually appeal to me, and no they don't include Naruto and Bleach. When I was younger I had tried to copy its attributes, but it often led to some disastrous results.

I'll have to be honest, I'm surprised with the results here - it amazes me how simple things like shading and highlights really bring such a picture to life. I've studied a few anime shows, and most of the time the lineart is done with think lines, so I tried that.

Inkscape is a nice alternative to Illustrator once you get the hang of the most important too of all - the bezier. It works completely differently to Flash, Paint Shop Pro, PaintBBS and Photoshop, but it doesn't take long to get used to. I've used it to make my hand drawn lineart smoother and more crisp with a feature called POTrace, before importing it back to Photoshop, and what's nice is how it can export a lovely PNG file that's ready for colouring elsewhere. You can colour in this as well, which I've done apart from the blush, but if you want to go beyond cell shading, then plonk it into Painter or something.

I suppose turning a non-Japanese product into this is just pot luck - some top-end American, British etc cartoons might work, others won't, and vice versa.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A new [scanner] light

Last week, I was at a jumble sale, in fact, the very one I picked up a Nintendo 64 from, and found a scanner there for £3. It looked quite a nice one - an Epson Perfection 2400 Photo. So I bought it, but for a while I thought I had some bad fortune. When I set it up, while I found that the software was indeed XP compatible, it was making a sound like a hammer hitting nails, and I thought it was broken. The next day, my grandparents came round for dinner, and I asked my grandad to see if he could fix it. It turned out that all it took was to flick some kind of switch at the back that somehow locks the pulley inside, and now I'm free - to scan!

Despite being a clunky thing, it works wonderfully, perhaps more so than the old HP I had, so now I've had the chance to scan and upload some paintings and sketches that I had left unscanned for well over a month.

Recently I've come back to one of my old fandoms, the Worms series; since I found my copy of Worms Open Warfare 2 on the DS. I ran out of games that I haven't beaten at least once, so I thought, why not? As a result, I've finally finished my crappy old comic The Shovel, and I'll probably end up making another anytime soon.

This painting was inspired by a time last month when my mum and I were baking a cake for my older sister, who turned 23 then. The first time we made one, it became nothing more than a pile of crumbs, and we were quite baffled by it because we were sure we got the proportions of butter, sugar, eggs, flour etc just right. We must have missed, or used too much of another ingredient. The second time, it had little black dots in it, which I think might have been just burnt sugar. I also put too much food colouring in the ready made icing, which wasn't even that nice anyway, so it ended up being a red blob of gooey, sugary mess. But it had to do. My sister recently started to take interest in cake decorating, so hopefully we'll make better, prettier cakes in the near future.

Finally, good old James Pond and his amphibian sidekick, and I imagine they'd be about five years after the last game of the franchise, Operation StarFI5H. While I was doing this, it had finally come to my realisation that using strong colour isn't really the best idea if you are going to shade something, as you can see with their jackets. Never mind.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

An ancient muse

Glad to finally have some motivation again. In the space of 24 hours I managed to finish two pages of a Worms comic that I left unattended for a whopping four years, and I'm now on a bid to complete the last two pages of that, and to complete a stitching to give to my grandmother. I never felt so busy in all my life yesterday.

Now for a story.

Three months ago, I was assigned to visit the University of East London, for the sole purpose of learning how to cope with the journey there, and to meet with a man named Martin, that was one of a few people that had come round my house to talk to me about my future. From where I live , it takes about three trains and a bus to get to the campus. The first time I came, it wasn't so bad, and I met a lady named Bee who, with Martin, talked to me about getting into University and the help I would get if I enrolled.

Two weeks later, I had to come again to meet them, as well as a lad with Asperger's, and two ladies that discussed their learning and financial support they offer. That went quite smoothly, until I went home. There were some severe problems with the Docklands Light Railway, which turned what was normally an hour long journey to one of three hours. The second me and my mother walked through the door, I was sobbing, because I know that going to Uni would become a complete disaster. I felt at my most broken that night, like my future has been shattered. All because I'm too socially inept to take this journey.

I felt like I let down and wasted the time of those I met on those days. But I had to think. Why did they even suggest that I should go to Uni anyway? Apparently, I already had the qualifications I needed for Illustration, so I didn't need to go to college again, but now this is what they're suggesting to me. I'm not going to that college I went to again, even if they relocated. It was such a disorganised waste of time, and it wasn't any wonder that I wasn't the only one that dropped out.

I haven't really a clue on what to do next now. I mean, I want to have a good professional reputation, but I know it's going to take a lot of work.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


I'm really surprised that the snow we had on Monday hasn't completely melted yet. It's been so bitterly cold, thank god I have this heater to take place of the crappy radiator in here. Even more so, I'm surprised I'm still actually drawing, despite freezing my socks off and virtually living on toast at the moment.

Just to be safe, I have officially discontinued use of my old scanner. Thankfully my new digital camera that I got for Christmas can spill the beans on what I've been working on.

Fanart based on a very good Wii game going by Wario Land: The Shake Dimension. I actually started this last week, and have been doing it little by little, because colours that accidentally run into each other while wet don't really make a happy painting. Bigger brushes don't half make a difference when doing such large areas though. More WIP shots are on the way.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stripey scans

With Christmas dawning near at the speed of light, I've decided to take a break from stitching so I can concentrate on drawing again. Unfortunately, in recent days I've noticed something really peculiar with my 6 year old scanner. At first it started scanning things as if someone put coloured cellophane over it, then it started scanning with like, horizontal bars. Like when a printer gets all dry and makes lines in what it prints. I take it that it's a warning that maybe after Christmas I ought to buy a new scanner. Bit late to ask for one for then, gawd knows what mum and dad bought me apart from a Wii game I've been waiting to play for 3 months. In the meantime, I aim to draw more with the tablet.

I've got one more day of work tomorrow, and then I've got a 5 day weekend until next Monday. This will be such a blast, what with movies on the telly, games, family etc... wish I could have 2 weeks off though, just like the old days when I was at school age. Pros and cons of having to grow up, gotta love them.