Monthly Archives: March 2016

simongarf-1It was some time ago now that I found my way toward Paul Simon’s Graceland – well, precisely this from Graceland. With further exploration, my curiosity ended up taking me all the way back to the early sixties, when he had a partner. In a crazy and psychedelic era, Simon & Garfunkel cut gentle, thoughtful figures in music and image, radiating honesty and lack of pretension; even Garfunkel’s awesome hair managed to flow without outrage. They’re all the better for it. There will always be a huge, lasting appreciation for performers of this fashion, not to mention their enormous combined talent, and so I’m sure they’re as relevant today as they were then. Indeed, S&G struck a chord with me, and opened me up to a genre to which I’d afforded little attention at the time. A tremendous duo.

This was a fun – well, sort of – exercise for a couple of reasons. I picked up a different brush – about time! – using a smoother one, which might explain a slightly different finish to my portraits of late. It’s always a little daunting having to work with not one but two faces; I was originally going to do a post just on Paul, but I’m glad I included Art – not only does he, of course, very much deserve the recognition, but his hair was easily the best part of the drawing. Even if he is pouting a little, I think he looks markedly stronger than Paul; I might try and do him proper justice as a solo someday (I think getting used to the new brush might be partly responsible for that, as I did Paul first). It was originally portrait, with Art above Paul, and I kept changing my mind back and forth between portrait and landscape, tinkering with their composition, until I essentially just washed my hands of the decision, lest I go completely mad, and left it as a landscape with just a hint of a gradient between the two. Decisions, decisions!

How on earth have I not already done this? Such love for this film. I know it’s a bit of an acquired taste for some, but who was it that said ‘a little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men’? Oh, it’s Wonka himself. There was a point when it was a Christmas Morning staple, but, timely enough, it appears to have moved to Easter now, a small highlight in what otherwise appears to be generally a run-of-the-mill, joyless schedule. But I digress.

Gene Wilder is a genius, and the film’s wonder truly is cemented by he, with his big eyes and crazy hair – which I had a tremendous amount of fun drawing – making a fantastically funny and suitably unnerving Willy Wonka. Johnny Depp didn’t come close in my opinion.

Happy Easter everyone.

cookie-monster1Me want cookie. Me want Cookie Monster.

Truthfully, I could think of nothing and came to this muppet in my scramble for inspiration. He just about takes the biscuit with his outrageously furry (furry? fluffy?) appearance, so seemed the perfect candidate for a fun scribble. I hope I’ve that much fur when I’m pushing fifty.

I confess I’ve never really seen much of his work. My sister was – and still is – obsessed with Elmo, whom I believe shares the series with Cookie Monster (demonstrating my awesome Sesame Street knowledge, right there). I recall some of my earliest drawings were of Elmo, for her. I’ve fond memories of going into Woolworths (RIP) and setting off all the Tickle-Me Elmos so that the shelves vibrated dangerously, at which point we promptly made ourselves scarce, lest bedlam erupt.

So, in conclusion, quite why I got to drawing Cookie Monster and not Elmo, is really anybody’s guess – perhaps I ought to see to that soon. It’s been a long few days!



“Can you see your key yet? It’s a little silver thing!”

Now that we’ve got The Crystal Maze – sort of – you think we can maybe now have the revival of Interceptor that we so desperately need? Thanks in advance.

I’ve spoken of the show before, and sketched the titular character. Here, we have the host, former tennis star Annabel Croft. Coming straight in from a series replacing Anneka Rice running around on Treasure Hunt, Croft’s job here was rather more sedentary; plonked in a random but most picturesque setting with a big map, she had to guide the contestants to their keys en route to their reunion and subsequent glory.

Indeed, some of the most amusing turns in the programme are when she appears to be getting really quite annoyed that the contestants haven’t spotted their key yet, or when they fear they’ve been zapped by the Interceptor. Basically she’s a bit of a rubbish host who screeches at the players and to us, but of course it wouldn’t be Interceptor were it any different, so there we are.

Here’s some Interceptor fun – poor Clive lets his guard down, and Annabel is less than pleased:

In a relatively short time here I’ve built myself the reputation – I mightaswell live up to it.

Happy Maze Day everyone! And here’s a rather quick sketch to commemorate the event. Today, The Crystal Maze Experience opens to members of the public. The Crystal Maze is reborn. THAT’S NOT DANGEROUSLY EXCITING OR ANYTHING.

It’s been admitting tester teams for a couple of weeks; I’ve been snooping on social media (well, Twitter) for correspondence about the Maze and everything said seems to be hugely positive. Inexplicably, I’ve not been granted VIP access, so as yet I will not be visiting. We should totally put together a team of bloggers and go wipe the floor with its ‘fiendish’ puzzles – how hard can it be, right? So, who wants to come and watch me get locked in?

But how exciting, though. What a time to be alive.

doyle-01Back in the parochial house of Craggy Island we find ourselves, and it’s small wonder we’re being offered a cup of tea from Mrs. Doyle. Go on go on go on go on go on go on. The suitably over-the-top housekeeper and virtual carer for Ted and company has a mug prepared for every occasion, but she’s not just a tea lady; she can often be found digging ditches and falling off the roof. The place would go to pot without her.


reddit-18-01You go ages without a foray into Reddit Gets Drawn and then you do two in a row. Crazy, I know. Anyway, here’s Paisley, a very pretty cat who appears to know as much going by the pose in this photograph… but then, show me a cat who doesn’t know! Indeed I was struggling to find the motivation to draw anything today, until this adorable little one came along – bang goes my early night, eh Paisley? I’ll let you off ’cause you’re a cat.

For those stopwatch/Wheel of Time Reddit enthusiasts, I did try and go as quickly as I could (though I’d be lying if I said the aforementioned plans for sleep weren’t a big factor in doing as much). This took about an hour and a half in total, which is really rather quick for me.

And so to bed! Or at least when I’ve done my WordPress rounds. Yeesh, no rest for the wicked… I’m just joshing, of course. Where would I be without my bedtime reading?

I expect there to be many vastly more charming drawings of Paisley to come, so be sure to keep a paw on the comment thread.


Why do birds suddenly appear…?

I had no idea it was Draw A Bird Day in these parts until I read as much from Laura’s entry on Create Art Every Day, so what we have here is an honorary entry at best. Or perhaps I did know, and that’s why this Reddit Gets Drawn snap leapt out and convinced me to draw a bird today. His name is Mac, and googling ‘green bird with red tail’ suggests it’s the green-cheeked conure – they look like wonderful pets and now I want one! I wonder how well they get on with African Greys…? Hmm.

I usually time myself when dealing with Reddit volunteers, as you know, but for some reason decided against that today and took my sweet time – this ultimately took just over three hours. I didn’t half wear my wrist out with all those feathers/curves – it’s not known pain like that for a while. Never mind, eh! I deliberated over the colour of the background for a long time, then thought, sod it, why not have every colour. Photoshop’s gradient tools to the rescue, there.

You can see the comment thread here, which already contains a number of beautiful pieces.

Well, now all I have in my head is The Birdie Song. I’m not even going to embed that. But I am going to link to it as I’ve made the fatal error of searching YouTube for it. Click at your own risk.

It shouldn’t and can’t be all pretty windmills, magic crystals and crazy fairground attractions. Hence the momentary (possibly very momentarily) change of tack with regards my 3D, and looking at vehicles. I considered a car, but the prospect scared me more than a crane, which is what we ended up with.

The view from my childhood bedroom was cranes, cranes, cranes – to the east you could, through a narrow gap between two buildings, see dock cranes loading and unloading cargo from boats on the Yare, and just to the west was an industrial park, often boasting several massive ones. In seeing these beasts rise, do their business and then creep back down, I somewhere decided that I wanted to be a crane driver – so much so, that I even wrote to the dry dock at the end of our road to ask if I could have a ride in one and possibly have a job. I was probably four at the time.

I didn’t even get a reply from the scoundrels. Astonishing, I know. That was really where my dream ended; I’d say it could still happen, but really I’d probably trust four-year old me at the controls of a crane more than twenty-four-year old me – maybe it’s for the best to write that one off…

j-cranes-1_00381…apart from in Cinema 4D, of course, where I can drive one to my heart’s content (well, sort of!). I am quite drained, as this has taken the best part of two days to complete – far, far longer than any of the fairground rides. I’m not even sure why it took so long; nothing was particularly difficult, it was just awkward and time-consuming. Don’t get me wrong, though: it was still a lot of fun to see the structure come together, and I suppose it was never intended to be a race.


Now this looks a lot more fun!

It’s a little basic in areas, particularly the crane’s cabin and base as I was going on memory of some of the cranes that I used to see around the area, with help from some quite small references of similar models. And I still struggle with creating realistic windows. The slightly more simplistic feel can leave it looking relatively toylike at times – this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but wasn’t really what I was going for. Perhaps I should have ditched the nostalgic touch and opted for a clearer reference – never mind! I never have been one for making things easy for myself. With the time it’s taken, I’ll certainly explore other vehicles, but I can see us returning to the theme park before too long.

I should finally say that I didn’t model the wheels. They were sourced from here.

Oh, it turns out I’m not quite done yet. WordPress has just told me on publishing that this is my hundredth post. Goodness! A massive thank you to all of the people who have stopped by over the past seven and a bit months, even more to those who continue to do so, you mad fools. I appreciate it enormously and am so thrilled to be a part of the little art club thing we’ve got going on. You (yes you!) are the greatest!