Tag Archives: portrait

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…

Would you enter a dungeon to play a game devised by these two?

I hear that the new The Crystal Maze has been axed by Channel 4 after only three series. I must confess I stopped watching it about five episodes in, feeling it was not made for me. It doesn’t sound like it ever improved, and indeed the trajectory of viewing figures suggested it wasn’t made for lots of other people also. Going celebrity only for its final run was the final straw. It’s a frustrating misfire; the first episode back in 2017 drew one of the biggest audiences of the year for Channel 4 and the opportunity for something special was obviously there. Oh well! At least we still have the original series, and that was actually quite good.

With that mindset, you can understand why, on hearing of its termination, I produced this. Here’s a pixel art portrait of our mellifluous maître-d to the Crystal Maze, Richard O’Brien and his Mumsey (Sandra Caron) from days of yore. The style is loosely based on the RetroMania characters I worked on. Neither look particularly like their real-life counterpart – I’ve tried Richard several times in pixel and have yet to perfect his unique visage – but the “eclectic” outfits were fun to work on. I wouldn’t want to complete a sprite sheet of either, though!

On a completely unrelated note: did you know it’s once again possible to access the Classic Editor, free of blocks? Maybe it has always been there, I’m not sure, but I thought if anybody out there is still annoyed by them then you might want to know. In your admin, go to Posts and note the ‘Screen Options’ tab in the top-right corner. Change to Classic View. You’ll then get the little ‘Add New’ button with the drop-down menu which allows you to select the Classic Editor. Hooray!

I’m surely not alone when I say that music has got me through these crazy times. Old constants have been called upon just that little bit more during lockdown, to the extent that I’ve started to worry if the neighbours hate hearing the same songs over and over. Not that it’s enough to make me actually stop, mind you.

Of course, there are new – and ‘old new’ – earworms popping up all the time. I happened to catch a classic Top of the Pops on BBC Four – they’ve been showing them for about a decade now, starting from 1976 and running from there. They’re now up to late 1990. On said episode, the number one was The Beautiful South with A Little Time and, well, it’s been hard to escape since. I’m not surprised it did well at the time. Anyway, this is why we have this pixel portrait of Briana Corrigan. What a voice! And a feisty lyric, which might explain my colour choices.

Now maybe I’ve done this, I’ll be able to move on. But I doubt it.

I thought the scanlines and EGA palette would give it a suitably 1990 feel. I had been looking for an excuse to use the palette for a while now, and you can probably see why, but nothing has been happening at all lately on the productivity front, until Briana. So, thanks Briana.

Friendly or calculating? Maybe both? You decide.

I was looking at drawing some faces in pixel, something I’ve struggled with in the past. Then I started looking at pixel art of robots, androids and this spilled into browsing – and wanting – several of those vintage wind-up robot toys you often see popping up in stores around this time of year. This was my attempt at combining all of the elements, and what fun it was, actually, much more so than vanilla portraits would have been and have been in the past. I started with the bottom-right, mostly based on the reference, and used him as a template for the other three. Admittedly I did try to make them look reasonably non-threatening, but it’s probably advisable not to run into any of them in a dark room, whatever their disposition.

I can’t help but wonder if, in an alternate universe, it’s these chaps who are doing the dishes, taking care of those suspicious stains and making sure the jetpack is fully charged – the helpful companions we were meant to have had for decades by now, you know? But I suppose that’s just a less photogenic version of Humans. And we all know how that ended. Well, actually, I don’t. I only watched the first series. And, if they are truly calculating, maybe the States could’ve done with a few of these bots over the last few days…  amirite, folks? Phew! It’s been an exhausting week, a nail-biting week, but what a week. The sights of people dancing in the streets say it all. I know this is only the start, and there’s an awful lot of work to be done, but I’m happy and hopeful for America and all of my friends there.

What a shock it was to hear of Joe Laurinaitis – Road Warrior Animal – passing away last week. Together with Hawk, he formed The Road Warriors, who are probably among the most celebrated tag teams in the history of professional wrestling. With their striking face-paint, spiked shoulder pads and dominant presence, you weren’t going to forget this pairing in a hurry. Sure enough, they were stars all over the world, wherever they went.

I vividly remember seeing them for the first time. It was when I was about ten; I used to buy lots of second-hand WWF tapes on the cheap, usually fairly recent pay-per-view events. One day, I plumped for an old one, likely because it was at the bottom of the pile and thus hardest to retrieve. That tape was SummerSlam 1992, which, on buying, I did not know emanated from Wembley Stadium. Animal and Hawk, then known as The Legion of Doom, were featured early in the event. The sight of their entrance, on motorbikes with their golden shoulder pads shining in the afternoon sun, was something special. Of course, the crowd were absolutely crazy for them, too – even more when Animal pinned ‘Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase for the victory. It was hard not to get caught up in it all. Indeed, I was left wishing they had stayed with the WWF long enough to be there when I was a viewer; there were lots of young, up and coming teams around that time, and the Legion of Doom could have made the perfect ‘old guard’ to help them reach the next level.

It is sad to lose yet another guy I used to watch a lot, and young too – he only recently turned sixty. Just last year, I worked on his likeness for RetroMania Wrestling, which was something I never expected to be doing – a shame indeed that he will not see the finished product. Everyone seems to have remarked on how great and approachable he was and, I have to say, I always got that impression, despite the menacing façade. I have no doubt the legacy of the Road Warriors will continue to grow, even more legendary than before, for they made quite a name for themselves while snacking on danger, and dining on death.

Ready to be picked. I don’t know who he is, but he was a lot of fun to draw and, after several false starts recently, this happened very quickly.

Thanks to Fearsome Beard for selecting the photato as Beard of the Day and bringing the subsequent inspiration. Do check out his site if you, like me, are fans of charming men with charming beards.

Also, wow. So this is the new WordPress editor that I’ve seen various bloggers struggle with and complain about for months. Argh! I can see why. It does seem rather daunting. Hopefully this post comes through without catastrophe.

When your job involves spending ages on Photoshop, what better way to unwind than to spend ages on Photoshop?

I found this photato a long time ago and put it away for a future session; taken in 1903, we see two leisurely boaters enjoying a smoke while meandering through the Norfolk Broads. I liked the composition and how content they looked in each other’s company.

Since this was a break, I had no choice but to move quickly and, coming in at around an hour, it is exceptionally fast for me – especially dealing with two people. The swiftness is probably clear, but it could certainly have been worse. It’s been a long old time since those Time Tested challenges.

Thanks to Ronald Shields for the most charming photato; fingers crossed it won’t be too long until people are allowed to be this close once again, though, perhaps without the smoking!

Here’s a portrait of Karen Carpenter I made about a year ago, based on a photato of her recording her ‘unreleasable’ solo album. It’s a great snapshot of the experience, showing Karen in the zone, free of any Carpenters baggage and really feeling the music. The drawing was meant to appear as part of a publication, but it appears this fell through as I heard no more about that. Ah well. Here she is again, anyway. In my haste (explained later), I took what was just a straight drawing and ‘sunnied’ it up rather a lot, duplicating layers, blurring them and overlaying gradients.

I think Karen’s vocals certainly had a sunny quality, juxtaposing the somewhat more prolific – especially in hindsight – mystery and darkness. Sunrise, sunset. There are many layers to her readings and, even now, I can’t help but think her skills are underappreciated (and I could say the same for her brother, too). But maybe that’s just me being overprotective of a woman I never knew.

Why am I haplessly hacking together a sunshine analogy, you ask? Well, firstly it’s very generous of you to even call it an analogy. But, you see, it’s because I was recently nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Get in there, gowon my sun.


Thank you to Camilla at My Freddie Mercury for this honour. One of the very first people to ever follow me on here, now almost half a decade ago, I do admire Camilla for still putting up with my nonsense and supporting me to this day. Her blog is a must-visit for any Freddie fan.

Here are the nominations for the coveted Sunshine Blogger Award. Good luck everyone!

Congrats to all of our winners this evening! Do mingle and meet each other and make beautiful bloggy sunny music together. I did try to pick eleven fresh faces, so please don’t hate me if you’ve missed out this time.

I am now duty-bound to answer the following questions, pitched by Camilla herself.

Rock, somewhat of a contest.

Freddie Mercury, absolutely no contest.

Tea, also no contest.

Now there’s a tough one. I’ve always loved the cosiness of winter, however, I also love the long summer nights. I think winter would edge it, because of snow and the fact that it’s the snowmen who are melting, not me (although I do come close when I step into a shop who have felt the need to whack their heating up to ‘inferno’. Wear a jumper, man!)

My terrible reading record has been dredged up before in these little exposés, and you’ll be disappointed to discover that nothing much has changed. I would definitely watch a movie, although honestly I don’t even do that very often. I’m such a fun, cultured person.

Queen, most definitely.

Quiet house. Again, life and soul of the party, me – so much so that I don’t even need to throw one. I live next door to a family who keep what you might call a ‘party house’ and it’s not ideal.

I would love to travel but it’s not realistic at the moment. Looks like I’ll be sitting at home then. At least Norfolk is nice for mooching about.

Ha ha, well a wife certainly isn’t going to happen. I don’t know about children – he might turn out like me and nobody deserves that. I don’t mind being alone.

I’ll take the money, thanks Jeremy. Freddie would be entertaining I’m sure, but I doubt he’d want me hanging around, and think of all the positive things you could do with that much cash.

Love them!!!!!

I believe I’m supposed to offer up eleven new questions for my nominees, but as I’m such a rebel I won’t do that. I shall relay Camilla’s questions to you. The rules dictate that nominees should go ahead and answer those, and choose eleven of their own favourites to award, but it’s really up to you whether you want to do it or not.

That’s it! After all that Christmas grub, I’m dashing off to get out of this tight-fitting tuxedo. There’s some nightmare fuel for you – and me! Well, we’ve time to recover, as I probably won’t be posting for some time, sadly – Christmas is all but over and my workload just skyrocketed, which means several projects have to go on the shelf for now. That’s why I’m putting this out quite quickly; I thought it was a nice way to break. I shall depart with a Happy New Year to all of you, and I look forward to catching up with you, some other time.


He’ll probably take a while to load.

Here we have a Spectrum-inspired pixel portrait of André the Giant, who is something of a regular on this blog. Inspiration came from two places: A generous helping of Skittles, and watching a review of the Spectrum’s typically awful adaptation of The Krypton Factor. Standard, I’m sure you’ll agree. I saw the portraits of the contestants in all their pixel glory and thought it’d be fun to try a similar thing with André.

Nostalgia Nerd is heartily recommended.

As it was, I ended up working on this for almost four hours, until after 4 o’clock this morning. I’m not going to complain. Motivation is not my strong point, so if the time flies by like that – which it most definitely did – then it can’t be that bad. It was really enjoyable, actually, and quite a happy result, similar to my stippling experiments from a few years ago. You can tell I started in the eye/nose T-zone and worked outwards, because it gets tidier the further we go from there. Some of the positioning and gradients could be better, particularly around the jawline, but I’ll take this as an impulse punt. Skittles or not, I will look into doing more of this.

At one point I just casually duplicated the marks layer and nudged it slightly, and was intrigued by the effect. Here are some alternates, positioned to the right, beneath, and another with a drop shadow effect; of course with nearest neighbour interpolation the aesthetic is locked to sharp pixels, so, even if less effective, they keep an authentic look.

I’ve probably shared this before, but it never gets old: here’s a clip of André at WrestleMania IV, mocking Hulk Hogan and showing Bob Uecker who’s boss.