Monday, October 21, 2013

Cartoon diary 3

Cartoon diary number 3. Coloured two weeks after drawing completed

Monday, September 30, 2013

The cartoon diary

Its been an incredibly busy and frustrating few months with a lot of interesting lessons learned.  The most interesting of the lessons was defining a major difference between prfessionals and amatuers.

At one poinnt I spent a day helping a friend to fit a kitchen.  Now this guy does this for a living. He is an extremely skilled and competent craftsman.  At one point he was cutting some very nice worktop and the laminate broke at one end, snagged by the saw tooth, leaving a large and very obvious triangle of bare wood exposed.  As an amateur my immediate response was to panic and figure that's £60 quid of worktop to replace. Not so the professional.  My friend worked out the depth of the tiles and splashback that would sit on the worktop, measured the overlap at the front then took a couple of centimetres off the back with a circular saw and within 20 minutes you would never have known there was a problem.  "Its about what the customer can see, not what they cant." He told me.  Thats when I realised  professionals mess up but they deal with it and amateurs just start again.  Applied to art this is especially key.  Its so easy to trash a drawing or painting because of it's errors and start again and again and never really finish anything.   You never realise that often you are the only one seeing the errors.  So with that in mind I'm stepping up productivity.  First a weekly diary/journal strip and then looking too expand further.

Strip 1

Friday, June 07, 2013

Mistaken beliefs about painting

Recently I learned to paint. I have been painting for years. Both true statements. For years I have dabbled in watercolurs, usually over pencil sketches and found it a pleasurable, though occasionally trying, experience. Then I was challenged to paint in front of an audience and "decided" to work in acrylic with no pre-drawing. I have often described drawing as being like breathing. If I neglect to do it, it's not healthy but when I do it it is natural and comfortable. Painting in acrylic was like trying to breath while drowning or having a panic attack. I had something I needed to get out urgently before I lost the ability, the vision.

Beliefs of this kind are strange things, superstitions really. It's only when you state them to another person you realise how foolish they are. That's what happened to me. I said out loud about "breathing while drowning" and thought "it doesn't have to be like this". So today both my lovely children were at school all day and I decided to work on some paintings calmly. It was a pleasurable experience. I enjoyed it. I have three paintings in various states of completion and no sense of panic about them. I like it.
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Snail watching

This snail has spent 40 minutes moving in a very slow circle. I assume it's eating but couldn't say for sure. I have spent 40 minutes sat silently watching it move slowly in circles and waited to see the lesson it held. The lesson was... Be still. And know. An hour in the snail is a foot further away from me and I've only moved the vast distance that the rotation of the Earth and its orbit around the sun has taken me. Still is never still. Thank you snail.
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Black Dog. A poem

There's a bark, ill tempered, heard in the distance
Nearer a beaten dog whines
An inky blackness slips past you in the corner of your eye
It is a lie
But misery loves company
Not the company of others
No, the company of one
It loves to wrap its lead around ankles
Take a trip with the black dog
It sits on your chest a breathes its slavver in your face
Chains of drool linking and locking you together
Off to the left a black cloud hovers searching
But one bark from the midnight dog and it flees
Unable to contend.
Keep your dog on a leash the sign says
But sometimes it slips away and someone gets mauled
An innocent, a family member.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

But it's fun. Inspired by Hayling Fun Fair

Whiplash whipping around corners
Loop the loop, internal organs external
Centrifugal force a glimpse of facelifts to come
And then the Drop, 40 feet of entrails like streamers
"I thought I was going to throw up"
A voice in thrilled tones
"Me too! Let's do it again" it's twin replies
Screams fill the air
Terror and delight in equal measure
And slowly the crowd grows
Excited kids
Parents preparing themselves
Loud bad pop from speaker trees
And always more screams
Spinning, falling, flying, twisting,
The day goes by with echoes of Pinnochio and braying asses
And all the time racing children and flustered parents
At last a tinny, disembodied voice
"This park is closing in 15 minutes, please make your way to the exit"
And tired, badly packaged children ride pack horse parents towards the car park
Heads full of teacups, flumes and Klondike Goldmines.
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Friday, May 10, 2013

John 15:1-11

Painting inspired by this scripture. Painted in 1.5 hours.
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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The Blackdog

I always understood what Churchill meant when he referred to his bouts of depression as his "black dog". The Black Dog has a long history in British folklore as the harbinger of death and depression can certainly encompass those feelings. Despite a latin American variation the dogs are almost uniquely British in that seeing them invariably means death is coming. (The Latin American variety are mostly the Devil in disguise) that said, some were benevolent creatures, almost like guardian angels but that too would in some ways fit in with depression. Many famous, driven people have lived with depression and used it as a tool to spur them on.

Lately the dog has been trying to creep back up on me, given an inroad by circumstance. I need to figure out how to use it as a tool if I find myself unable to fend it off. "The dance of Lifey Death".
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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

One of four

The story I'm working on with Alex Boxall features 3 castles. This is the one built on rock.
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Sunday, May 05, 2013

Mind map

At the gentle suggestion of Allan Cox I attempted to mindmap my existence. Unexpectedly expected themes appeared.
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A flexible nib

Rediscovering the joy of a flexible nib.
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book sketch 1.jpg

This is a character sketch from a picturebook I'm working on with my friend Alex Boxall. Alex is a very talented writer who, like me, needs encouagement to believe in his work. Look out for more w.i.p. Coming soon
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A poem what I wrote

Twin tornadoes outside the house of God
But the hope of the world is God in them
One calls the other Abba and asks to be tucked in
Then they are rushing to adventure on a pirate ship
Looking for lost treasure in a desert sandpit
And all the while the treasure is in them
And they see that and respond to it
Revelling in the creators gifts of sand and sticks, running and imagination
All to a soundtrack of birdsong and car engines
God's creations and man's works.

This was written while enjoying the sunshine outside church with Harry and his mate Judah. The complex storytelling in the play of these two 4yr olds was beautiful.
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