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Monthly Archives: June 2018

I may not have been posting much since completing the Twenty-Six Spins challenge – indeed, by that, I mean I haven’t posted at all. But I have been keeping busy, on a daily basis no less, with several pieces, and hopefully these will be ready to show soon. I’ve certainly felt more awake creatively since the challenge, such that this exercise was my idea of letting off some steam. Hopefully, it’ll last. I pushed it enough while it was running, but I’ll say one more time: do give it a whirl. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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You could say that the aforementioned series was a lifeline for me – see what I did there? I found myself playing with my Who Wants To Be A Millionaire model from earlier in the year, with a view to bringing its nineties complexion up to date – well, 2010 anyway. There wasn’t much to like about the series from that year, which introduced a ‘big bad clock’ for questions and essentially killed the show. They did, however, use more pink and purple around the set, and that’s never a bad thing. I’ve dialled that up here, and though I’ll probably always favour the original set, I’m enjoying the heightened neon-retro feel here.

The new curvy columns aren’t great, but will do and shouldn’t be hard to tweak. What does bother me somewhat is the bumpy decoration on the backing panels, not looking particularly accurate; wouldn’t you know it, a simple tweak made it vastly better – a shame this came after the eight-hour render session, huh. Still, as its essentially the same set as that of my first Millionaire attempt in 2016, it’s pleasing to see a much more accurate reconstruction overall.

It was great to see Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Win Enough for The Parking Meter While They’re In Here back last month with Jeremy Clarkson at the helm. Not being a massive fan, knowing his reputation and having never run into Top Gear, I wasn’t really sure what to expect of Jezza. As it happens, I was pleasantly surprised; he was very funny and, though he mocked, you could tell he really wanted the contestants to do well – even when it was clear they probably weren’t. His appointment gave Millionaire an air of unpredictability and intrigue that it probably hasn’t had since 2000. I gather it was a success, holding its audience across the series, so hopefully we’ll get another run soon, since that would mean all the more opportunity for stuff like this!

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Of course A would be chosen for the final letter! Coupled with the return of Geometric, more messing with shapes beckoned. Wanting to mark the finale in some way, I started off thinking about something suitably jubilant – a geometric firework display, perhaps, or game show glitter…

…but that rather quickly fell by the wayside, as it didn’t come together quick enough. Maybe an upward triangle with sunny colours could be seen as positive enough in its own right? Yes, let’s go with that.

Blending the above developments somehow resulted in this fierce eye creation. A for angry, I suppose! Perhaps he’s miffed that the series is coming to an end? Anyway, it’s something quite peculiar, and it’s geometric. That’s good enough for me.

***

That’s it, then: twenty-six letters and more than 420 developments (!!) later, here we are with our rather repetitive alphabet. Generally, I think the wheel behaved itself. Some themes evaded the flipper, though; I would have liked Gothic and Speccy to come up. I’m alarmed to discover that my name is apparently no longer valid. We’ve skipped, among others, an E, an N, and the beloved W. I didn’t get the D either, but that’s nothing new.

Of course, that’s the very nature of the wheel. Chance. If I’m to do this again, I may only choose the theme at random; at least then there would actually be twenty-six spins! We shall see. But, whether you have a super-exciting wheel to spin or not, I cannot endorse the random element enough; it not only enabled me to create by eliminating the awkward dithering stage altogether, but often demanded fresh approaches or a reconsideration of old ones. Results vary, naturally, buy today’s concluding letterform is a prime example of an aesthetic which probably wouldn’t have happened outside of the series. Prospects abound with challenges like this. Give it a whirl and see how you fare.

Until next time, it’s been fun. Here are the fruits of the last few weeks’ labour:

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We’ve somehow made it to the penultimate spin – last one tomorrow! If you’re as excited as I am, then I can only apologise; it’s nearly over. I am still holding out for that W, though.

I’m pleased that Q turned up though, I was beginning to think it might prove elusive. It’s everyone’s favourite letter, right? And it actually merged quite well with Square – at least once I got my head together  I feel like I’m saying that every day.

There was a subtle evolution here, from the very basic and uninteresting to pretty basic and vaguely interesting. Blending two letterforms in Illustrator and the exploration of negative space pushed the final form, which has a pleasantly modern (box) look. The outcome was stronger than the early developments suggested.

At the risk of jinxing it, let’s hope we don’t end on a damp squib tomorrow. That would be wheely frustrating.

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Geometric! Shapes! What better shape could there be than the hexagon – the naughty one? It is J for Jacob, after all – ahurhurhur!

It wasn’t originally going to be this way, as you can see. J for Jaws? There was all sorts of nothing going on here. Sensing a lack of reasonable focus and beginning to panic, I went back to basics and ended up paying homage to the hexagon:

The shape still works its magic, despite the broken wall. As you can see, there are quite a few experiments here with dimension and embellishment, but I decided the simplest form was probably most effective. I could see it having quite an industrial vibe as part of a full alphabet – nuts and bolts, and that carry-on.

A post dominated by hexagons and not a single Blockbusters reference. I’m learning.

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Grunge again, and so soon? Perhaps the wheel is feeling kind as we approach the end of this series. I’m still waiting for W, by the way.

In terms of process, there isn’t much here that wasn’t covered in my last go. I went a touch more urban with this one, thinking more about stencil and graffiti. I’m not sure that’s entirely answering the prompt, but there’s surely an overlap there, so I’m going with it.

The stencils were looking OK, until I overdid it!

And then came the attempts to make some striking S forms, before subjecting them to the gamut of Photoshop manipulation:

Again, this is always a hoot. I wouldn’t mind if the rest come up grunge! 😉

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Yet another double letter and double theme – I should probably think of a cleverer way of titling these should I have another go! With both V and fiery being dealt by our wonder wheels, I thought I’d take a trip to the Lava Reef Zone.

The meat of this was attempting to make a suitable 3D texture with bumpy noise and overlays, starting off with bright, glowing yellows before moving into red hot territory.

The final sees the V shape cut into a rocky plane and the lava placed beneath. Add some cracks and veins in Photoshop, and that’s about it, really. Pretty quick, rather like this post!

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Here you are now, I’ll try to entertain you. Thanks to the wheel, we’re going grungy today. I’m thinking less 1991 trend, and more playing with my texture brushes on Photoshop – that old nirvana.

With that, there wasn’t much in the way of preparation or rationale here. I went a bit mad to begin with, just dropping strokes and colour all over the shop.

I ditched those and drew a fresh R, which organically ended up with a stencil, or letterpress slant, both in form and composition:

Cutting, printing and generally playing with letters in a similar way to this was a bit of a watershed moment for me, now rather a number of years ago. With unique alphabets as the outcome, I became quite addicted, and many of my subsequent projects were firmly focused on typography. Happily, it remains exciting to this day – I’m a grumpy sod mostly, so it’s nice for there to be something that has such a simple effect.