Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Ghibli, Painting Practice & Cheer Up All You Art Students!

Hey there everybody, its a wonderful sunny day in Falmouth, and I thought I would share with you some hints, tips and realisations.

First let me tell you about what I was doing yesterday. A recent comment on my Mindo project prompted me to have a go at copying some scenes from studio ghibli. I've always admired the artistry that goes into the background, and so I thought, why not? Lets have a go and see what I can learn from doing this. To aid in this decision I found a book on the art of 'Spirited Away' in the library, and so this produced the perfect opportunity to get to grips with backgrounds and not necessarily characters (which are rendered in a completely different way) 

Anyway, I find painting practice a lot easier when I copy a painting, and it also acts as a kind of 'painterly health check' of sorts... by comparing my work to the original, I can see where I'm not taking enough risks with dark and light areas, I can see where my greens are going wrong (notoriously hard to get right, I've waged a war against them, and they shall be mine soon!!) (but seriously, super hard...I always tend to go for earthy greens because im scared of punchy vibrant greens... but I need to learn to love them, because they can make or break an image.)
I find it a great way to find out what issues you need to address in your artwork... whether it be getting to grips with the content of the piece, or whether it be skintone, backgrounds, tonal values etc etc. It helps an awful lot, and can stop you wondering how to combat it, because at the end of the day, you're creating a copy, so its not as precious. Use them as your training wheels, and it will help you to take those risks when it comes to your own paintings.

So here is my half-finished paint practice of the below 'Spirited Away' scene.
By squinting you can see where I still haven't gotten the tonal values right. Although the book is in partial darkness, so that doesn't help either. If you can see, my greenery on the right hand side is a lot more earthier than it should be, and doesn't yet have the vibrancy and lightness of the original. My orange wall is a tad too vibrant, but I'm going to leave changes until I've filled in the rest of the image, as what sometimes happens, is areas that you deem too dark and non-vibrant can suddenly pop back out when you complete an image. This is due to colour relativity. compared to a dark red, an orange is light, but compare that orange to a light yellow, it is a lot darker.


Amongst the things I have already learned from this 2 hour gouache practice, is that when creating shadowy areas in greenery, always add a lighter vibrant green or blue highlight. Add blues in areas where there are deep shadows, and add lighter creamy yellows or greens to the warmer shadows. 

Any of that make sense? It just about does to me, but I've probably rambled on enough.

So, my advice for all you students out there:

'Don't learn how to jump through hoops, or score points, or get marks. Learn how to make beautiful, meaningful art'
cheers guys!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Tea, Hayao Miyazaki & Sushi

Righty! A Japanese/Chinese inspired post today. 
I recently found these little gems online...

I'm afraid I can't remember where I found them, but they are adorable.

Along the Totoro theme...
I'm doing some painting studies from film stills.
I'm using 'Spirited Away' because I found a book on the film art in the library today.
So keep posted, I hope to have 2 studies done soon, the drawing underlay is all done, just painting tomorrow! 

Also, I like this quote, so I popped it over the teacup I drew at christmas for 'The Essence of Tea' in Falmouth.

'If you are cold, tea will warm you;
If you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you'
-William E. Gladstone

I bid you adieu!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Pooka, Jellyfish & The New Application for UV Paint

Hello again! It would appear that this is quite a good week for blogging.

I just wanted to share with you my new ideas! I seem to have burst into life with them! And I was up until 5am this morning just writing, creating mixtapes, painting and drawing. Ah, back to my old self... but highly more able to stay awake. I don't think I've ever stayed up intentionally til 5-6am just because I didn't feel like sleeping, but working instead! I even saw it become daylight. However, when I did go to bed, I didn't wake up til 5pm, so you win some, you lose some. Albeit I didn't feel too well either. Damn chocolate.

A marvelous... or not so marvelous idea came to me today... 
What if I did a scientifically correct painting of a jellyfish, and then, got some invisible UV coloured paints, and painted in the way it bio-luminesces at night?  Because the UV paint is invisible in daylight, it doesn't interfere with the correctness of the daylight painting. Then because you can also get invisible UV paint in black, I can paint over all the areas that I want to be invisible under UV, and it would be like a night-time scene underwater! I'm terribly excited for the possibilities... but alas the paints cost £19 per 100ml pot, and I would need at least 4, if not the whole range of 5 colours. If it didn't work, and I only ended up doing one painting, thats £100 of paint down the drain! And I simply can't afford it. But if it were to work... it could create an absolutely stunning museum display....
I wonder if there's any funds anywhere that I can tap into... Natural History museum, are you listening? I have a proposal for you!

Also, I decided what I will be doing this term at uni. I'll be working on a book (hopefully) about a dog I met in Ecuador. It will be for kids, and its all about how this one little skinny dog wanted to fly with her huge ears. I first need to write the story and figure out why she wants to fly, how she came up with the idea, and perhaps why she didn't fit in.
Here's a picture of the adorable mutt, I wish I could have brought her home with me.

This is Pooka, and her little kitten sidekick Mica
So goddamn adorable both of them.
If anyone knows what breed of dog Pooka might be, let me know! I seriously want one! More like I seriously want this little lady, but it would have been too cruel to her to put her through quarantine, and from a lovely hot country where she could roam freely up and down the street, to a little house in rainy England, where I wouldn't have been allowed to keep her anyway!
Its a shame, but I hope she is doing well, I hope she is ok! And I'd love to see any photos of her all grown up... Mica too!
You guys will probably get some character sketches of her in the next few posts.

One mixtape done! One to go!

(oh! P.S, if anyone has an old tape player & recorder that they no longer need, could I have it? Or pay you for it? Desperately need one! )

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Bird/Cage, More Anthology & Brownies to die or not to die for

So I just finished one illustration for an upcoming anthology... only one or 2 more to go by the end of the day.

Its not my style, and I'm not too proud of it, but it will have to do. I wish I was well enough to have given it my all, but alas, I had a major funk yesterday. I want to say that almost always my slumps will creep up on me near to a deadline. I need to take time out to go outside, breathe, drink water, eat delicious brownies, and have a spring clean of my mind. Generally this involves me becoming a big blubbing mess, and then drawing/painting something completely unrelated, and learning a new song on guitar and singing. It takes a late night, utter emotional exhaustion and tiredness for me to get it out, and then to wake up the next morning with a clearer head. 
For example, yesterday I had NO idea how to tackle this illustration, and then this morning/midday I took a shower, and poof! It just popped into my head. Sometimes I think too hard about one thing and can't see the wood from the trees.

It is thanks to my enduring friends that put up with my wailing, complete illogical rambles, and exasperation, that I can come through the bad days, and be ok in the morning.
Because everything is better when the sun is up.

So here's the illustration. At the very least, it is done.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Lilies, Mixtapes & Anthology

I bought myself some stargazer lilies the other day to brighten my room. I might paint them soon. It is once again a beautiful day in Fal. I could get used to this... I can't wait for the summer holiday. 

Though that in itself is a pretty scary thing, because if I don't decide to stay in Falmouth for a year after the course, then this will be my last summer here! But, I think the chances of me moving out of Fal are pretty slim. I just need to find some people to live with to make that step from being in a crowded studio to being alone in my room a little easier. Also I need to get a job here if I want to stay. And although pot washing is a job, I don't think £24 a week is going to cover anything. Probably back to care home work for me!

Ok, so about these mixtapes... I've mentioned them before haven't I? Well, I'll leave it at that then. Look forward to seeing some Jazzily designed covers for them! 

I finished my Mindo project, and here are the 2 finals. They will be shown to the provincial government in Ecuador, and I think (if not, I stand corrected) but I think there was mention that the President of Ecuador Mr. Rafael Correa (who looks remarkably like a friend of mine) might get to see them too! When I was in Ecuador I was having a look around the capital Quito, and saw (or didn't see) him in his blacked out car emerging from his presidential palace. Which I have to say is a pretty impressive palace. And he's a pretty cool guy might I add. I would say he's possibly the best president Ecuador has seen in a long while, but thats because I don't really have a comparison... anyway. He might see my work, and thats a bit of a shock.

Anyway, here are the finals, and its not something I normally do, so things went wrong here and there, and I'm pretty sure, given a year or 2 I could make them look how I want them to look, but here they are, as they stand. 

 The first is of the main street in Mindo, with all traditional houses. This is what we want the government to endeavor to build. Some are existing houses.

The second is of Mindo with all modern buildings and the trappings of a modern city. This is definitely what we don't want to encourage. As Mindo is essentially a town where eco-tourism is its mainstay, we want to keep it as organic-looking as possible. While still taking into consideration the needs of the townspeople, which can be met whilst keeping traditional housing. 
Mindo is a cloud forest nature reserve in the Andean region of Ecuador. Situated 2 hours from the capital, it boasts a huge biodiversity of bird life and plant life among other things. 
It is an absolutely astounding place of natural beauty, and I hope that it will be kept that way, and that the town itself will be improved to make it as much of an attraction as the Galapagos... so that not only on weekends will tourists arrive, but all through the week, sustaining a healthy community that welcomes and embraces eco-tourism and eco-tourists instead of just seeing them as a way to make a fast buck. I would love to see Ecuadorians in general engage with tourists, and to be fair, the ones in industry do. But it would be nice to see people taking their own jobs and being passionate about them, like a few of the people I have met.

Anyway, enough ideal world speech... have you elected me as Miss Ecuador just yet? haha


Now I'm working on an anthology with a university in England, which will be published at a later date. We have 9 illustrators working on the book, (including me) and all the pieces of writing are by students from the university (which university escapes me at the present moment.) So I have to illustrate 2 or 3 pieces by Wednesday, all in black and white. I'm hoping to have fun with these ones! 

Ok, thats all folks!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Super Inspirational, Finished Mindo & Mixtapes

Hey there! Just a short one, some truly inspirational talks on

First comes the puppeteers behind WarHorse. A truly spectacular theatre performance, I'm hoping to go and see it soon in London. If I can find somewhere to stay the night that is! I'm a little short on cash as is, but this looks to be something that I HAVE to go and see somehow. 

The second is one hell of an inspiring poet, Sarah Kay.

And last is one lady and her many legs, transforming the way we think about disability and changing it into more than a normal person's ability.
Hope you all get inspired.
Go go go!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Mindo, Lists & A New Invention To Rock The World

Wow! Long time no post, and the last post I did do was my hundredth!

Alrighty, its Easter vacation down in sunny Fal (The weather is phenomenal and there aren't too many tourists just yet... thank god!) I've been swimming lots, trying to avoid damaging my hip any further, but still keeping going with getting fitter. And its getting better! Jacobs ladder is becoming easier each time. 

I'm still working on the Mindo project, and the second half of that is due in today. I might need a little more painting time, so I'm hoping its not in too much need right now. I think I have about a week's leeway. 

Me and a friend sat down a couple of nights ago and came up with an invention that could just blow your mind... or could just blow our budgets trying to make it. Nevertheless I reckon it would be cool.

I present to you on behalf of Mr.Sam Bradbury...
The Butterflycycle!

Yep, thats some kind of tiger riding it. He seems extremely sad... perhaps thats because he has no teeth and can only eat flour! How terrible! However, he will be our mascot for this life-changing product. If you think that this is merely a unicycle, think again my friend! Instead of pedaling with your feet alternately, you use both your feet at once (think of the style of swimming called the butterfly and you'll get the idea.) 
I was then set the task of drawing a spider in a flap because her baking had gone wrong. This is what happened. (May I note that nearly 2 glasses of wine had been consumed by this point.)

 Sketchbook page I recently did. I like paint sketches. I like watermelon (sandia), and I like super awesome cars like that with nice curves baby!

This is Patch again! Still can't pick out much detail, he's very black indeed.

I popped my new silk scarf from lush around his neck, and he pranced about for a bit. Very proud of himself indeed.

The first installation of the work for Mindo, Ecuador. Second part to come soon.

I couldn't sleep very well last night, so at about 2am I decided to get all the rubbish out of my head, and write down a list of things I want to do this year.
(I keep a book for writing down ideas/poetry/writing/songs/thoughts by my bed especially for occasions such as these. Sometimes I wake up, read them, and think WHAT THE HELL?! Other times, I wake up, read them, and think... ahhhhh everything is so much clearer!)

hehe, thats all for now,