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Pixel Dailies on Twitter got all seasonal recently, prompting followers to create a “set of ghosts”, with a 32×32 pixel restriction for each piece. Here is what I came up with in response to said prompt – significantly enlarged, obviously. The small size was an interesting challenge; I thought about going all Pac-Man and cutesy but, seemingly, everyone else beat me to it. So, I used a brightness jitter on my pixel brush to create a reasonably spontaneous noise effect which I thought would work on small spectral spookies. I’ll let you be the judge. See it with your own eyes.

Where ghosts are concerned, I’m a bit of a sceptic I’m afraid. Those “paranormal investigation” shows do not help the cause, with the likes of Most Haunted eliciting more hilarity than concern (I’ll never forget that Mary loves Dick). But who isn’t fascinated by a good ghost story, especially at this time of year? I remember people saying the middle school toilets were haunted, which – shock horror – led to a few people claiming they saw a man by the washbasins. One said he looked scruffy and “like he was from the 1800s”. Perhaps it was the caretaker? I never went in, not because I was scared or anything, of course not. And there was another time where our dog became agitated, barking at seemingly nothing, and then refused to walk past the spot where this bizarre turn occurred. Who knows what he might have seen? Bad dream or something more?

I’m sure it’s nothing…

papa-shango-1Fashionably late to the party as ever – making his way to the ring for Halloween, here’s Papa Shango, who looks remarkably like the terrifying Baron Samedi. With the same voodoo powers and wrestling nous to match – what a terrifying prospect!

Shango arrived in 1992, and, sure enough, he would strike fear and concern into the kiddies at ringside with his smoking skull staff and ominous chants. There were other powers, too – he could blackout the arena, set items ablaze and, in perhaps his most infamous appearance, reduce The Ultimate Warrior, who at that point seemed virtually invulnerable, to a pathetic, vomiting mess.

There really isn’t much more to say about Papa Shango, as that was really all that he did. The gimmick was never able to get off the ground; planned rivalries with Sid Justice and the aforementioned Warrior were put on ice when both of those men left the company, leaving Shango floundering as the writers scrambled for new victims in makeshift plots. He did challenge then champion Bret Hart, but ultimately proved no real threat. With that, the mystique rather ebbed away, and Shango had been cast away completely by early 1993. Charles Wright, the man behind the face paint, would go on to have a successful run in the WWF as Kama and most famously in the late nineties as ‘The Godfather’ – a fun-loving pimp – capping off what certainly was a colourful career.

Though a bit of a flop, Papa Shango isn’t easily forgotten. An acquired taste for definite, and perhaps they could have done without the whole vomiting angle. But I love these bizarre, goofy characters – they’re a big part of what wrestling is all about. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t; this one’s failure probably just makes it all the better a horror story!

Happy Halloween!

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Anybody want a peanut?

The Saturday spin is here again – it’s especially early this time around, isn’t it? This week, the Wheel of Time gave me 20 MINUTES to knock out a drawing. This was a space I’d been looking forward to tackling, with it being the halfway house between the 15 MINUTES and 30 MINUTES exercises, whose results saw quite a difference in quality.

I’m skipping the Reddit bit this week, as I didn’t find a spooky-goofy Halloween one that took my fancy, which was a bit of a shame – I expect they’ll appear in flood-loads now that I’ve done something else. I did actually do one of a chap in goggles and surgical mask covered in blood, but indeed thought that a little too gruesome to post. So, I just went to the scariest guy I could think of: André the Giant, of course, looking most unhappy, and clearly coming for you. I’ve sketched André countless times over the years. I love to do so, as I find him a captivating subject for obvious reasons, however, I’ve never tried this swiftly before, so it was sure to be interesting.

I used the same brush that I used on Mini Me – I wish I could say through design, but actually it was just because I forgot to switch back before starting to draw. The colour overlay doesn’t make it darker as I hoped it would, but it makes the image as a whole look better than it probably deserves, softening the variation in skin tone and thus appearing smoother, though visibly there are strokes which stick out like a sore thumb – I’m not entirely sure what’s going on around the clavicle, but it was over too quickly to fret about such things. I was going like a madman on this, to be honest, partly because of the time limit, and equally just because of the time! I’m quite chuffed with the face, though – it has a markedly different feel to my normal plan of attack, and that’s pleasing!

Well, that’s time up for another week – back to Reddit victims next week!

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Jeepers! Someone’s ready for trick or treats a week early!

Another Saturday, another spin of the wheel – this time around, it gifted me 150 MINUTES to work with a volunteer of Reddit Gets Drawn. I was initially a little indifferent about this; it’s really the smaller times I’m looking forward to more now, which, I grant you, is quite a departure from when I constructed the wheel and was pining for as long as possible with each spin. But still, we must respect the wheel, and the choices it makes through no volition of its own. Who knows, I might go into it all complacent and PAY FOR IT. WHAT DRAMA AND SUSPENSE THIS CONCEPT OFFERS.

With almost three hours feeling positively pedestrian to me now (at least on Saturdays), I decided to go for a full body portrait, and this adorable photograph leapt out at me for pretty obvious reasons. I don’t think I’ve sketched a child for a very long time, certainly not for a couple of years at least. Infants are quite a different kettle of fish to adults, and it can be easy, if not going carefully enough, to turn a fresh-faced kid into a shrunken, haggard grown-up. With that peril in mind, I spent more than half the time doing and redoing the child proportions – thankfully the costume was a bit of a safety net here, but not much – and working on the face. After a little while looking quite a way off, I managed to coax the childlike smile out of the subject. Thank goodness I had all that time to get it right!

With the longer time, this also allowed me to use colour, which I haven’t been able to do for a while in these tests. Again, I’m pleased that could be so – you couldn’t really forego it here, could you?

That’s the scary ticking clock out of the way for another week! Seeing this cute shot rather makes me regret never giving much of a hoot about Halloween as a child… I want a costume! (huffs) Well, actually, there was one: a friend’s party shortly after the event circa 1998, where I dressed as the devil and was plastered in glittery make-up, but I won’t be drawing that any time soon.