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Monthly Archives: September 2015

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It’s been verging on a month since I indulged in drawing David Pevsner. What am I playing at…?

David recently uploaded this stunning photograph to his (NSFW!) blog, and I had to have a go at it, for it might be my favourite one. It’s effortless, adorable and alluring. My drawing is slightly less so, however, as I don’t think I captured the smile and inviting eyes as much as I would have liked – he looks a little stern here compared to the photo. That said, I’m still quite pleased with the outcome – it looks like him, I think! I was tempted to forego the extra elements until some point mid-way through, where I decided that it’d be fun to try and capture the folds in the pillow, and also to try and make it actually look as if David is laying against it. I was wrong in assuming that would be fun – jolly frustrating it was, and incredibly time-consuming. I still can’t decide if the shading works or if it just looks as if he’s standing in front of an elaborate backdrop.

I did a colour version too for you lucky people, thanks to Photoshop magic. It does add something I can’t quite put my finger on, but, as is usual, I prefer the black-and-white; more of that sparkle to it.

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I do these now as much out of gratitude as pleasure, for David shared both of my previous efforts on his site and they seem to have gone down quite well on the Tumblr-verse, as well as bringing a tremendous number of viewers over to this very secluded corner of the interweb. Thank you, David, it’s so very much appreciated!

That’s it, then… until I succumb to the temptation once more, I suppose.

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How I laughed when I touted the idea of a spinning wheel to determine the time limit for my Reddit Gets Drawn practice runs. What a ridiculous suggestion.

Um, yeah, you didn’t realise that, behind the laughter, I was being deadly serious… or I just turned to this in a fit of boredom and burgeoning flu. You decide.

I have basically taken to Cinema 4D and refaced the wheel from our version of Wheel of Fortune, just to inject extra fun. Wasn’t that a wonderful show? Or not. But that satisfying ‘ping’ every time a contestant guessed a letter that was in the puzzle, and the adorably cheesy models flashing the prizes… ahh, the nostalgia. As you can see, there are some beastly spaces on that wheel, which I’m sincerely hoping it doesn’t land on anytime soon. I think if I pick any of the shortest ones I might have to ditch the Reddit element and work on self portraits – it’s okay to offend myself, I’d rather not do it to others!

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The most exciting thing on this – besides the generous helping of glitter on the type – is that the little flipper you see actually reacts to handles of the wheel, with some magic from connector dynamics. It took a great deal of time to create, and it’s a small reward in stature, but a pleasurable one when it works.

In fact, I think this blasted wheel took longer to rejig than most of the values on it put together! Oh well. It’s learning. Learning is good. I had a wheel of a time.

Will I actually use it to determine my time limits? Well, that depends entirely upon what it lands on…! 😉

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Welcome once again to S-Reddit Saturday, wherein I horrendously offend kind artistic volunteers of Reddit Gets Drawn in the name of creative practice. This week I took the time limit to scary new levels as I slashed two hours down to just one. As I said last week, I’m doing this simply to try and speed up; I’m not so much concerned about working slowly, I just yearn to become more efficient more quickly. To make progress. That’s what we’re here for, after all.

I really liked the bubbly nature of this photo and thought it’d make a cracking portrait, though I was unsure of how it was going to go under rigorous time pressure. I had a desire to go for more of a pop style, such is her look, but again, under the clock I felt it best to stick to what I know on this occasion.

Goodness, it was a bit of a frightening prospect when that sixty-minute clock started ticking. I was quite certainly peeing myself, to borrow a phrase from a fellow blogger, and indeed you might be able to tell as much from the poor initial outlines. It actually seemed to generally pass slower than I had convinced myself it would. This being said, it did become a bit of a frantic episode toward the end of time, and I had to completely forget about colouring – which is irritating, as it was something I really wanted to do with this portrait! – because the time was up before I even came to it; as you can see, I was still somewhere in the process of applying shading and tidying up scruffy marks as the clock – or rather, a sixty-minute selection of Carpenters and Queen tracks – finished.

Not great, and I’m not sure if I’m cruel enough to share this with the subject on Reddit, but nevertheless a bit of fun and an invigorating challenge. I’m now off to change my underwear, wide-eyed in the thought that I’m likely to push myself even further next week. What will it be… forty-five minutes? Half an hour? Even less…? Perhaps I should have a tombola drum to draw from, or a wheel to spin… there’s an idea!

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My obsession with Karen Carpenter seems to only be escalating lately. My niece of eleven months is already a fan, smiling and clapping whenever she begins to sing. I have taught her well. I have already drawn and spoke about Karen once – way back in those hideously humid days of July… but it seems like only yesterday… I’m sure everything I wrote in there still applies. This one is rather more angelic.

Someone say Only Yesterday? Such a brilliant song.

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I said I’d draw Carol Vorderman, and I’m a man of my word. Loving the hair, Carol. (So much fun to draw) This is off the back of my portrait of Richard, and also my enjoying the 1991 repeats of Countdown far too much.

For those unaware, Carol was the ‘vital statistician’: there to check contestants’ calculations and indeed solve the problems caused by the numbers game when neither contestant could. For many years, she was billed as just another of the many hostesses the show had at the time, and indeed was only wheeled out to do her bit with the sums. However, as the star of Countdown ascended, so did hers, and in later years she was essentially a co-host, with her chemistry and rapport with Whiteley becoming the stuff of daytime television legend. By the mid-90s, Carol had become a presenter in her own right, at one point appearing to be absolutely everywhere, though she always remained loyal to little old Countdown.

She was on the show from its inception in 1982 until 2008. Her departure that Christmas, coming amid rampant cost-cutting, caused a furore most uncharacteristic of the programme; a ninety per cent pay cut indeed seemed incredibly cold after so many years of dedicated service – many predicted it would spell the end, but thankfully the show has continued, with pretty young thing and equally marvellous Rachel Riley picking up the marker pen.

It’s a tremendous relief this drawing happened, actually! All week I’ve been trying to draw someone, something, anything – for, if I do not, I go crazy – and it just has not been working out at all; there have been some terribly unpleasant results and I’d become rather crestfallen by it actually… but this one happily turned out relatively well, especially given the quality of the reference photo was really quite low. Perhaps this three-day curse has been broken!

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Another Saturday, and another voyage into the unknown as I get a little further acquainted with the brave new world, Reddit, moreover Reddit Gets Drawn. I like the idea of fashioning it to become the basis of a weekly challenge of sorts, although knowing me now I’ve said that I’ll probably never go there again… I’ll try me best!

I’ve always been slightly curious of just how long it seems to take me to make a half-decent portrait, even though I know that ultimately matters very little. But seeing others knock superior stuff out in sometimes under ninety minutes, I just like the idea of someday being that efficient. On that vein, I’ve begun using these images to pit my wits against the clock – this was done under a firm two-hour limit. It probably shows, considering most of my other portraits unless otherwise mentioned generally consume more than double that, if not even longer. Our voluntary subject looks a good few years older than I’d estimate he is going by the photograph, thanks to the shading being very, um, shady in places – such smooth skin, and yet so apparently hard to render! I think it was a combination of going a little quicker than I needed with the time limit in mind, and generally having a touch of the ‘off day’ – I wouldn’t say I’m pleased with it, but I got more done than I thought I would. I realise now just how much of that work time is spent fiddling, tidying up and generally losing the will to live!

Tick tock. The presence of the time limit was a bit of a perk as it encouraged me to not to get distracted, as I always do. Encroaching deadlines often have that effect, don’t they, much as fear them. If I’m feeling brave, maybe I’ll try 60 minutes next Saturday and see how I get on. The countdown starts now!

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This is, I believe, the first drawing I’ve uploaded to this space which hasn’t relied on a photograph or reference image in any way. This was created completely by the mind… there were supposedly limitless possibilities, and this is what came of it! I don’t know what that says to you about my imagination. Well, I guess it begins to illustrate the thoughts of eeriness I mentioned a while ago when drawing Norton Marsh Drainage Mill, with what appears to be a hazy summer sky moving aside for a big-arse storm, just to make things extra scary… you don’t want to be out on the broads when a lightning storm hits, let me tell you from experience!

As it happens, I used to dream up scenes much like this as a child, often inspired by Sundays out with my family, which invariably saw us out on the broadland somewhere (These were the days when, being Sunday, it meant there was little else to do!). Using only a pen and whatever paper I could get my hands on, my mother knew it kept me out of mischief, so she would buy me no end of sketch pads, old diaries, anything… I wasn’t much fussed… I’d be out of her hair for a few hours. She would do that a lot.

I wonder if this ‘full circle’ of sorts has been spurred in any way by my recent return to walking. I’ve been out and about a lot over the past few months, indeed every single day since the start of August, as it’s widely reputed to be good for depression. It’ll do me the world of good, they all say. (And then I scream at hearing that tiresome bloody phrase on endless repeat.) I can’t say it’s had a massive impact in that respect – I probably got desperate and overestimated the effect it’d have – but I have found myself forcing myself to do it every day, so it must be doing something positive in there. I’m trying to increase my mileage with each week… maybe one day I’ll outstretch and bend time backward, to the pathways I explored as a youngster, which look a little like this one.