Tuesday, 31 March 2009

EDM #11 - draw your glasses or sunglasses

Inspired by Greg, who did this older challenge on Saturday last, I found myself sketching my own sunglasses this lunchtime at work. I love these. They cost, I think, the princely sum of two pounds from Primark and make me feel like Marilyn Monroe. It's just in the last week or so that I've found myself needing sunglasses when cycling to work in the morning, which is great because it definitely means summer is on the way.

I only had some horrible Crayola coloured pencils and an HB (no. 2) pencil, and about five minutes before lunchtime was over.

Back at the watercolour again.

I haven't done ANY watercolour painting since the class I took at the start of the year. This is terrible. And of course I've forgotten everything I learned so I'm back to the start again. I have lots of postcard-sized watercolour pads and thought it would be nice to paint some tiny landscapes on them. Unfortunately my scanner is not playing nice this morning at all and I've been completely unable to scan the boat picture so it looks even remotely like it does in real life (and I think it's crooked too). I'm going to have another go when I get back from work. I have to leave it for now because it's making me cross!

I enjoyed doing them anyway. I really must paint more.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

An experiment in not spending money.

I was reading Apartment Therapy the other day and something jumped out at me: Buy Nothing Week. The idea is to have one week where you ONLY spend money on necessary things like food, medication and transport. I have no idea why this is such a novel idea to me, you'd think it'd be common sense. If you want to save money, don't spend money. But I suppose it's easy to lapse into spendthrifty habits... anyway starting from tomorrow I'm having a no spending week. Exceptions are: if it rains, I'm allowed to take the train to work (normally I cycle); if for whatever reason I can't bring lunch to work (unlikely) I can buy a sandwich from Sainsburys that costs £2 or less, and if my bike breaks, it has to be fixed (same goes if I need a new inner tube or something). But that's it. And I definitely MUST NOT buy any books of any type, or any art supplies or stationery whatsoever. I'll post an update this time next week.

As for Purple Pink and Orange's not eating out challenge that I'm taking part in - well, we kind of fell by the wayside yesterday when, while out shopping, we realised we were starving and went to Burger King. But we did get a cheap cheeseburger meal each (£2.99 each) so it really wasn't too bad. Apart from that I am still being positively angelic, and I'm sure I've saved lots of money, so I'm thinking I'm going to keep it going for April, with the exception of one meal out for Easter.

Oh and also while out shopping yesterday my husband bought us a copy of Professor Layton for the DS. I didn't know a lot about it except that it was as rare as rocking horse poo around Christmas and everyone has been raving about it. Well, they were right to rave, it's fantastic! Some of the puzzles are really quite devious (in fact some are bordering on the unfair) and it's such a great feeling when you figure out the solution to a particularly ponderous one. Great fun. Go and buy it.

Sketching in the British Museum

My life drawing class left the studio and headed to the British Museum on Friday. It was great fun although a bit overwhelming - so much to draw it was difficult to know where to start. We were in the Greek Room (home of the Elgin Marbles). Everyone took a different approach - most people picked one or two things to draw and spent a lot of time on them. I was like a kid in a sweet shop and wanted to draw everything, so I did lots of rough sketches. The time passed so quickly... I'm going to go back and draw there again soon.

Three goddesses from the east pediment of the Parthenon

Horse sculpture from the chariot of the Moon God Seline - also from east pediment of the Parthenon

A bloke fighting a centaur (couldn't find it on the museum website)

Centaur with missing arms and legs (no link for him either)

Friday, 27 March 2009

Some swap goodies I made.

I recently did a Craftster swap and my partner has received her package, so here's some of what I sent.

A wallet made from a tube map and some vinyl. I made myself one too!

A passport cover and matching tissue holder. I liked this Ikea fabric.

A wrist pincushion. I didn't realise at the time that the pincushion was out of focus... oh well. I loved this... had to force myself to give it away.

A set of placemats (they're folded up, the birds are actually in the corners of the placemats). These took me ages! I'm such a beginner at embroidery... but I enjoyed doing them. The pattern was from Sublime Stitching.

I haven't received my package yet... I hope my partner sends it soon.

Reasons why today is a good day

  1. Apple phoned to say my Macbook is ready. Hurrah! I'm going to pick it up soon. No more tiny netbook screen, no more GIMP, I'll have all my bookmarks again and a proper size keyboard.
  2. My life drawing class is going to the British Museum tonight to draw all the sculptures. This will be very cool and I can't wait.
  3. It's Friday, so no work!
Anyway here's a racehorse from the sports pages. I made a huge mess of his front legs, poor horse, but I couldn't fix it as I drew it in pen, so he'll just have to put up with having strange legs. is name is Premio Loco which I think is a great name :-)

Oh and also - thank you so much to everyone at EDM for the suggestions. I can't say too much here as it's all a big secret and a certain person might read! But I will post the results asap, I can't wait to show it off.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Something I crocheted

If you like crochet at all, you must go and check out Bee's blog, chaincreative. Bee is the lovely lady who taught me to crochet at Loop, I'd tried to teach myself from books and thought I was a lost cause but apparently not! (At least not when it comes to crochet.)

Yesterday Bee posted about starching crochet and I thought I'd share this bookmark - it's the last of a batch I made a few months back for a Craftster swap. This one is one pattern repeat short, because like so many other things, I made it while watching CSI and wasn't paying attention. I starched it with spray starch so it's nice and stiff. It's very very easy and the pattern is here.

Sorry for the awful photo - it's dull outside and there is absolutely no light in here at all.

And here's what the bookmark is currently... um... bookmarking. I kid myself that it's improving my Portuguese, but really it's the Quentin Blake drawings and Dahl's warped sense of humour I love.

I'm still without my Macbook and therefore without Photoshop, so I'm using GIMP which I have to say, I really hate. Hurry up, Apple :(

Monday, 23 March 2009

Drawing the sports pages again.

I discovered today that The Sun does a football supplement on Mondays to report on the weekend action. I stole my workmate's copy to draw. Here's some Liverpool player, apparently he scored a goal or two last weekend.

I'm also working on something really quite cool for a Craftster swap but it's top secret for now! I can't wait to post the results.

Oh and I'm still sticking to the "not eating out" thing, and my halo is getting shiner by the day!

My beloved Macbook is currently in the clutches of Apple, having its cracked case replaced (free of charge, happily, as it's a design fault) and I'm using my little eeePC in the meantime. Its tiny little screen and keyboard aren't too bad, but what's really bugging me is the lack of Photoshop. Oh how I miss it :( I downloaded GIMP so at least I'd have something to crop/resize stuff with, but it's just not the same at all. Even worse is the fact that all my bookmarks are on the Macbook, as is the software I use to listen to Brazilian and Spanish radio. I hope Apple hurry up before I go mad!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

EDM #206 - "we call it..."

I'm aware that some people in the USA have this sport that they call "football". It is NOT football. Football is what they mistakenly call "soccer". I used to be a lot more into football (PROPER football, not that American stuff, although Waterboy and Gridiron Gang were good movies) but since I stopped working in pubs I never seem to watch it any more. The very occasional game of FIFA is as close as it gets... although during the World Cup I join in the excitement and support about seven different teams.

My life drawing teacher wants us to draw the sports pages of the newspaper because there's some great dynamic poses in there and the models never move. I had a go at it for the first time tonight and wish I'd thought of doing it sooner. I think these took about ten minutes each. Thanks to Keeley for ripping the pages out of the back of her copy of The Sun for me.

Oh and also - I stumbled across a very nice blog today of a jewellery designer called Christine. She's having a giveaway for a very nice ring - check it out. But try not to win, because I want it for myself :D

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Almost forgot...

Happy St Patrick's Day!

(Card courtesy of my mum, expertly and seamlessly altered by me in Photoshop.)

Neil the chicken

Here's Neil. I made him last night while watching 90210, the new series, which is terrible but for some reason I keep watching it every week.

Update on the "not eating out" thing (i.e. the challenge on purplepinkandorange): I haven't bought lunch at work for a whole week, I've brought it with me every day. We haven't been out for dinner, or even lunch at the weekends. And still no cakes or biscuits. Or chocolate. See my halo? See how sparkly it is? Of course I then ordered the new Grand Theft Auto DS game so any money I'd saved is now gone. Oh, and a flashgun for my Olympus Trip 35. Oh, and some gouache. But apart from that I've been good.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Life drawing

Life drawing class was fantastic last night. The model was a bit older (late 40s to early 50s) and curvier than the ones I've seen so far. We were learning about legs and how the joints work, and especially the knees. Very interesting. We were made to stand up and waggle our legs around to see the field of movement each joint has, but I'm double jointed and my legs do things they probably shouldn't, and I think I got some funny looks :)

The pose on the bottom left (and the scrappy sketches across the bottom) of the page above was one that gave me immense trouble. The way the model was sitting made her hips look wider than they really were, and it was very much a case of drawing what you see, not what you know, but sometimes it's so difficult!

A few more above.

I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who give their input on the hot cross bun debate! I got lots of emails and some replies on EDM as well as your comments here and they were pretty evenly split between "hot cross buns are cakes, don't eat them" and "no, they're bread, there's yeast in them, keep scoffing". So to settle it once and for all I asked my mum, and she thinks they're bread. And if my mum says it then it must be true, right?

However in life drawing last night the usual fabulous array of fabulous biscuits was there and I didn't have a single one. I bet I start displaying a halo soon.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Playing with my waterbrush.

As much as I love my waterbrush, I've only ever used it with watercolour brushes and never with "real" watercolours, so today I took a break from my work to do a quick sketch of some of the things on my windowsill (my beloved Roberts radio, pot of pencils & pens and a tube of handcream) and coloured it in with some cheapy Cotman pan watercolours. I didn't like the waterbrush very much, to be honest - the bristles didn't spring back together the way they would on a sable brush, which made it very difficult to do the lettering (I gave up and went back to pen) and it was quite difficult to clean the brush without a container of water. I ended up using a piece of paper to kind of work the paint out of the brush... till I realised I had defaced the notes I've been making for an essay I'm writing. Oops.

If anyone has any tips for using waterbrushes with traditional watercolours I would love to hear them.

Elvis does not approve, and thinks I should get back to work. Okay, okay, I get the message...

Life drawing class in an hour and a half, hurrah! Happy weekend, everyone.

Monday, 9 March 2009

EDM #2 - draw a lamp.

Just a quick and silly doodle while I was finishing off an assignment for tomorrow. This one is another oral preparation, this time about violence in videogames and it's not nearly as scary as the last one but wish me luck anyway! I love this lamp, I really have to draw it properly with colour. Another thing to add to the list of "stuff to do when the assignments are all done".

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Things I am not allowed to eat, and the reasons why not.

1. It's Lent. Everyone in my office (religious or not) gives up something. This year my 'things' are biscuits, cakes and takeaways (Chinese, pizza etc).

2. Nice food costs too much. There is a gorgeous bakery near the office called Konditor & Cook. They have lemon curd cheesecake that you'd sell your granny/husband/beloved pet for. It costs about £3 a slice. There is also an Italian restaurant that sell food to go - the most fantastic pasta in London. It's about £5 for a box of whatever pasta. I work four days a week, and if I buy lunch every day it can easily add up to £20 a week. (Note to husband - now you know where all my money goes. It's not all being spent on pens.)

3. I have put on tons of weight, especially since the whole arthritis thing happened and I'm just not able to get back to running (as even walking can be a bit trying at times). Cake and cheesy pasta doesn't help. I need to sort this out.

Purplepinkandorange is having a little challenge - no eating out for the month of March. I'm a bit late in starting, but better late than never, right? And I'm also applying it to buying lunch in Pret, that pasta shop etc. If for whatever reason I can't bring it with me from home, I'll go to Tesco and buy a cheap sandwich. I'll post weekly updates for the rest of the month, in keeping with the challenge.

Also - a question. There's a debate at work as to whether or not hot cross buns count as cake. I think they don't - to me they are a bread product. My workmates disagree. What do you think?


A city from my head. It would have been even bigger and busier but my pen ran out of ink :( Click to make it bigger.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Hurrah for leaving everything to the very last minute!

As part of (yet another) assignment, I have to write a piece on Brazilian festivals (Carnival etc). That bit's fine. We also have to produce some sort of video to go along with the written work. I suspect everyone else will sit in front of their webcam and talk about something. Maybe one or two will play the guitar or something. Me? I'm severely camera shy, so I thought "I know, I'll do some sort of Flash cartoon with lots of little Brazilian dudes in traditional Carnival costumes dancing around".

One problem - I haven't actually got any idea how to use Flash. And the assignment has to be handed in on the 19th.

Soooo... I have less than two weeks to research and write 2000 words, learn how to use Flash from scratch, do all the artwork, animate it, find some suitable music to set it to, and put the whole thing together.

Oddly enough, it is occuring to me that this mightn't have been the smartest idea, and on the evening of the 18th I'll probably be talking to my webcam just so I actually have something to hand in, but at least I can try, right?

This scrappy little robot was just to have something to fiddle around with before I actually waste any time doing 'proper' drawings only to inevitably ruin them. But I think he's kind of cute.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Doodling in class again.

We had to do presentations tonight (the thing I have been dreading and procrastinating about for weeks) and one girl, Natasha, played the guitar and sang a song during hers. I did a quick sketch of her and all the stuff blocking my view : )

I'm so, so glad this presentation is over! It went about as well as I thought it would (so not great, then) but at least I won't have to worry about it anymore.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Rollei 35 & Mario baddy - separated at birth?

I was talking to my husband this morning about the Olympus Trip 35 and how cool it is, and he told me about the Rollei 35 which is also cool (and which sells for many pounds on ebay these days). I looked at the photo on Wikipedia and immediately thought of one of the bad guys from Super Mario Bros 2: Snifit. I ask you - do these two photos not look alike to you? He thinks not, but he is wrong.

Incidentally, I've decided I must have one of those little Rolleis, but that won't come as a surprise.

Some useful mantras.

Repeat to self:

"I am not interested in Adobe Illustrator."

"I am not interested in drawing cartoon people."

"I will not procrastinate."

"I love writing about the Brazilian military coup in 1964."

"I will not eat all my husband's pringles."

If I say all that enough times, I might start to believe it. Although it might be too late for the pringles.

Monday, 2 March 2009

EDM #211 - draw a microwave oven.

Not a "proper" drawing this, but I thought I'd have a bit of fun - I was heating up a beef enchilada for dinner and thought I'd try and draw the microwave before the enchilada was ready. Grabbed the very first pen (a terrible ballpoint) and piece of paper I found and started scribbling. It's not a good drawing but it's not bad for 3 minutes 50 seconds I think! (The stuff on top is a bag of apples on a tray and a package of hot cross buns.)

(If you click on it, it displays much better.)

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Joining the ranks of the Holga owners!

I love quirky photography, and I especially love vintage-looking images with saturated colours and light leaks and maybe even double exposures. I've always wanted a Holga, but the 120 film is hard to find these days and the processing costs have always been a bit scary. Well, this weekend I finally found a lab who will process medium format film without requiring me to sell a kidney (these guys) and that was that, I was straight to ebay to find me a Holga. It's coming from Hong Kong for a fraction of the price lomography.com wants for one. I can't wait to get my hands on it! I used a photo for this drawing, because obviously I don't have a real Holga sitting in front of me... yet.

Hopefully, the images will turn out something like this Photoshop mockup I did earlier using a photo of an awesome Corolla stolen from Dave_7 on Flickr (original photo from here).

I'm still having tons of fun with the graphics tablet, but I'm not sure I'm approaching the whole "digital drawing" thing in the right way. For starters, I'm only using Photoshop because I don't know how to use Illustrator. And I'm really not sure about blending colours - I've been kind of using a few colours and blending them together using the smudge tool, but I bet there's a better way. I would quite happily spend the whole day experimenting, but unfortunately I've got a LOT of uni work to do.

And with that, it's back to writing about Chico Buarque and the history of MPB... sigh.
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