"Whatever you are, be the best you can be."

Monday, 31 January 2011

Sketch #5 Lamp on Wicker Table

Today's Sketch I also found in a mail order catalogue, a fancy lamp with strange globes on the end with bulbs inside and a chrome base, and then I picked a small wicker table to draw underneath it. I don't think I got the ellipse correct that it is sitting on, but then it's not that easy adding a table as an afterthought! I did enjoy it though, and I'm gradually increasing my Still Life sketching.

To see more of my Art, please check out my art blog:

Improving My Art

I am amazed by how much my art is improving, sketching every day is making a huge difference to my art. I want to improve my art equally in all major areas. There are 7 days in a week. If I can come up with a list of 7 things to try, I can do them each week, and ensure I improve.

This idea came to me after seeing my Fashion Girl figure drawing yesterday. My figure drawing is improving much better than the last one I did. If I choose to do a figure drawing sketch once a week, my figure drawing is bound to improve. So I will make a list of the 7 different things I want to work on each week, and see where my art ends up in 3 months time. I am doing this over 12 weeks, which means 12 figure drawings - just imagine where my figure drawing will be then?

  1. Figure Drawing
    (music star, movie star, fashion model, humanoid, fantasy)

  2. Still Life
    (a stationery object or food)

  3. Animal
    (mammal, reptile, fish, bird, insect, spider)

  4. Landscape
    (greenery, trees, grass, plants, water, full natural landscape)

  5. Urban Landscape
    (buildings, parts of buildings, stone statue, street, vehicles)

  6. Sci-fi or Space scene
    (spaceship, stars, nebula, asteroid, aliens, alien technology)

  7. Colour Pencil Piece
    (any of the other 6 items in colour)

This should keep my skills up in all these areas, and I can have fun doing them. I’m looking forward to this.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Sketch #4 - Fashion Catalogue Girl

Today I sketched a Fashion Catalogue Girl. She appealed to me because she reminded me of a Vampire, a real cruel and evil one. I ended up spending over an hour on this sketch, and I think I might have overworked it a bit. I ended up shading away most of the detail in her hair, I had some gorgeous strands and movement showing in there, but she does have really dark hair and it wasn't dark enough in my sketch.

I'm still happy with how she turned out, as people are probably the one subject I find the hardest to do, and this is a learning curve for me!

To see more of my Art, please check out my art blog:

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Sketch a Day Game - Stippling Trees

I just discovered a Sketch a Day Game challenge on Wetcanvas, where they challenge you to do a sketch a day, numbering each one you do, and having to revert back to #1 any time you skip a day! It's ok to not upload every day, so long as you sketch every day, and upload them after. Let's see what number I can get up to without missing a day!

Today I start on Sketch #1 - a practice at Stippling foliage for bushes and trees. I usually just do the shading as on the first couple of shrubs and trees on this page, the stippling definitely doesn't come naturally to me, but I'm hoping they resemble trees and shrubs!

For more of my Art, please check out my dedicated Art Blog at

Short Fiction Post: "Ghosts Of Time"

Here's a short piece of fiction I just wrote about a character I've come up with for my new Ghosts Of Time story idea. It's set in an apocalyptic future where we meet him. I've just written and not edited it or changed anything, so please don't expect it to be perfect!

"Jesse stirred slightly in his uncomfortable bed. He was lying on a dirty blanket and encased in wood, which for some reason was baking hot. His mouth was dry and parched as he tried to unstick his tongue from it. Blinking his eyes in the half-light, he turned to his right to peek through the vertical sliver of light outside his makeshift bunk. All he could see was a shaft of sunlight showing up the grains of dust that gently filtered through the air, down towards the weathered floorboarding beneath them. All was still and all was quiet.

In one weary movement, Jesse pushed the sliding door as far as it would go to halfway down his body, he rolled and slid out of the wall-lining cupboard. Around the edges of the room were dusty circuit boards and bits of clapped out old machines that no longer worked, laid out there just in case they came in handy. Jesse loved the pattern of circuits on the boards, they had a kind of art-form to them. One of the few pleasures left to him in this world. Making his way to his knees, and rubbing his eyes with his sleeve, he crawled over to another open cupboard and pulled out a small tin of food. The label was weathered, but if you looked closely, you could just make out it was an old tin of baked beans. Picking up a medium-sized screwdriver, which seemed to be left there for just that purpose, he carefully started to dig into the lid of the tin, and peel it open. Once he was in, in a well practiced move, Jesse slipped the screwdriver straight in his mouth and out again, in one sleek movement, and the shaft was clean. Carelessly placing the screwdriver on the side, without looking at it, his whole attention was focused on the juicy beans before him. Diving grubby fingers in eagerly, he scooped the beans straight into his mouth, guzzling them down cold."

For more of my Writing, please check out my dedicated Writing Blog at

Discovering Something New - Inside A Laptop!

I finally got rid of my old laptop that's been hanging around for ages. And I had lots of fun doing it! I wanted to take the hard drive out because you're supposed to smash that for security. I know you can use software to write itself over your hard drive to permanently erase any passwords and online banking information you may have left on it, but the only ones I could find would take about 24 hours to complete! And as my laptop is old and overheats to the point of switching itself off, that wasn't going to happen! So I decided to take it apart. After all, how hard could it be?

Much to my surprise, I took the battery out, both my DVD drive and Floppy Disk drive, then proceeded to take all the tiny screws out and separate my motherboard, Processor, fan, keyboard, touchpad and screen; in pieces all over my bed! But I still couldn't find my hard drive! How important an item in a computer, and it wasn't there! How could I have missed it. After some rummaging around through the parts, and some advice from my Dad, I took a closer look at my two drives (DVD & Floppy). I couldn't believe it, my hard drive was attached to my Floppy Disk Drive! What a crazy place to hide it?

I did have much fun though taking my laptop apart, lots and lots of tiny screws, a motherboard full of lots of cool little things I have no idea what they do! LOL! I had a lot of fun! And am still finding the odd screw left on my bedroom floor when I walk across it barefoot this morning! I had a lot of fun!

My Dad suggested that I check out Maplins.co.uk, as they have books with projects for building your own electronic things, and they sell all the electrical components you need to put it all together. It could be fun, and something I've never thought about trying before! I just might have discovered a new hobby to try!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

My 2011 Art Goal: Create Beautiful Art

I think this year I want to concentrate on creating beautiful art. I have been trying to do concept sketches, and am embarrassed by how badly my art looks without reference images. This year I want to really work on my art and improve it. Perhaps rather than trying to create amazing original sci-fi and fantasy art, I should concentrate on doing art from reference images and creating beautiful art. Obviously improving my skills in the process.

I think I am afraid to try creating art that I cannot see clearly in reference pictures before I start the final piece. I don't think I have ever tried to draw lizards or snakes before, and believe I should try to do that before I try to create a lizardlike creature from imagination. I remember seeing fantasy artists sketchbooks in The Encyclopedia of Fantasy and Science Fiction Art Techniques, (one of my favourite art instruction books), and it showed many drawings from life as well as some flights of fancy. The more I practice doing art from reference images the more skilled I will become, and can adapt that skill into fantasy work.

I think this year I just need more practice, work from reference images, and build a portfolio I am proud of. Then I can try more fantasy art. Or perhaps trying some flights of fancy in between? Especially in the Boris Vallejo book, Fantasy Art Techniques. He shows you how to work from reference images of the various elements, and put them all together in one painting.

Reference images is definitely the way for me to go, and I intend to work at them and create beautiful art this year.

(P.S. You can see more of my Art over on my Art Blog)

Saturday, 22 January 2011

What kind of writer do I want to be?

What kind of writer do I want to be?

I am asking myself this question so I can figure out what I want my 2011 Writing Plan to be. My end goal is to be a published writer. I would love to write for TV, but I would also like to write novels and short stories too. I've been looking at Sera Gamble's website, she is someone I admire greatly. I love the Supernatural tv series she writes for, which she has now become the executive producer and showrunner of. She has a great section for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in which she answers many of the common questions she has been asked about becoming a writer. (Well worth a read). Reading this, and a recent blog post about why people stop following your blog (apologies I forgot where I saw it and didn't save the link), it's made me think more about my online presence.

I want to promote my writing on this blog, especially as I become a more skill writer (with lots of practice), but I also want to make it interesing and blog things people want to read. I recently read one blogger say they often type blog posts up ahead of time in their Word documents first before posting, and they always have a few ideas for blog posts they jot down before they actually come round to writing their blog posts. They also try to stick to a schedule for their blog posts, as there's nothing worse than a blog that's updated rarely.

With this in mind, these are my 2011 Writing Goals I want to work on this year:
  1. Create a blogging schedule, possibly weekly.
  2. Jot down a few blog post ideas so you have something to blog about when you do sit down to blog.
  3. Comment on other similar theme blogs to increase your blog readership and make friends with similar interests
  4. Practice prose fiction writing every day.
  5. Create Writing Samples to show my work...
  6. A Short Story
  7. An Original TV Pilot Script
  8. A Speculative TV Script of a critically acclaimed TV Series
  9. A Movie Screenplay (original)
  10. Create a new website as a Writer to show off my new writing samples
  11. Practice Writing even more fiction!

ArtOrder Creator - Great for Getting New Ideas!

I just visited the new ArtOrder blog (they've moved!), and found a link to a really cool ArtOrder Creator widget. You click the AO button at the bottom and it generates a whole series of ArtOrder specifications for you. If there's anything you want to twek slightly, just click the grey buttons to the right of each line you want to alter. It's a lot of fun, and you can get new ideas when you're stuck for inspiration!

Here's what it came up with for me, funnily enough I've been really interested in Steampunk lately, so think I may give this one a try!

(Click image for larger view)

This would also be really handy if, like me, you're an amateur artist and want to see how you could have a go at doing commissions, without actually committing to one and risk letting a client down. A test run if you like!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

New Music - My Darkest Days

This new year I seem determined to try new things: new art, new writing, new goals, a new me - and now, new music too! I have a feeling this is going to be an exciting new year! Whilst browsing around the web looking for new music, I stumbled across Mercury Records website, and found an exciting new band, My Darkest Days.

Their website has a cool layout, imitating the entrance to a cool night club, no doubt linking to the name of their debut album, and their debut single Porn Star Dancing Rock, which is absolutely brilliant. They're fresh, fun and exciting!

So who are My Darkest Days? According to Wikipedia, they're a Canadian post-grunge band based in Toronto, consisting of lead singer Matt Walst, Doug Oliver, Brendan McMillan, Sal Costa, and Reid Henry. They were discovered by Chad Kroeger of Nickelback, who signed them up for his production company, 604 Records. And I can see the link, if you like Nickelback, you're gonna love My Darkest Days. They have the same umph in their music, the feelgood foot pounding beat we love so much. As the same time they sound fresh, new and instantly likeable. No need to wait for their songs to grow on you, you love them as soon as you hear them - an instant hit.

The fact the lead singer, Matt Walst, looks pretty cute here doesn't hurt either...

Here's their brand-new video of their first single, Porn Star Dancing Rock...

Sunday, 9 January 2011

A New Story for the New Year

For the New Year I want to write a new story. I have the idea of writing about an albino time travelling assassin/agent. She may travel back and forth in time, picking up people from different time zones. She could visit an ancient tomb, just before someone else is about to pick up a relic from there that will give them the power to conquer the world. Perhaps someone like Hitler, or Hitler himself would get hold of it if she didn't intervene.

They could be a specialist team righting the wrongs of the time space continnuum. I would love to have a Victorian gentleman, possibly a scientist. Though that would be difficult, as I would have to have an understanding of science, and an understanding of what science was around at the time.

What other specialists from time would you collect if you could? Who would you want on your team, that has died in their prime? Someone who you could travel back in time at the moment before their death, save their life, leaving all in the past believing they were dead.

I would love any ideas and suggestions. Who would you want on your team?

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Trying Concept Sketches

After being inspired by Christopher Burdett's blog post, and his amazing monsters that he loves to create so much, I thought I would have a go at designing and creating my own monster. I decided to do the Wetcanvas Creature Feature, which this month is a mythical creature called an Eachy. An Eachy is described as a species of lake monster from Northern England and Scotland. It is typically a large humanoid being of gruesome and slimy appearance seen to occasionally emerge from the lake. It is described as a 13-foot-long (4.0 m), triple-humped, python-headed creature.

Following Christopher Burdett's method of using reference photos and concept sketches/thumbnails, I gathered many images of python's heads, hunchbacks (of notre dame), and even the odd hunchbacked gargoyle statue. I looked for 'humps' so I could look at camel humps. For future reference, make sure you add the word 'camel' to your search, or you get a lot of humping and no camels!!!

These are some of the suitable reference images I found...

I like these reference images, and I got a basic idea in my head of what I wanted my Eachy to look like. So I started sketching my first ever 'concept sketches'. I've never done concept sketches before, I've looked at some, (especially those in Art of Star Wars books), I've sketched fun cartoony images before, and drawn from reference images before. But how do you draw an imaginary creature, from reference images that obviously are not a photograph of the imaginary creature you're trying to make up? Well, I had a go, and embarrassed to say my drawings looked like a child's drawings! They looked awful to me! I shaded them in and went over the lines a bit, and they seem to have improved a little, but they're definitely not the best sketches in the world! I know concept sketches aren't meant to be the best art ever, just show the design of whatever it is you're designing. Which mine do, just about. I just hope I can make a better creature when I come to doing my final drawing. I really think I need help on using reference pictures to create imaginary creatures!

Here they are, I hope you don't find them too poorly drawn. Any help and advice anyone can offer would be gratefully appreciated!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Colour Pencil Art Inspiration

I decided to trawl the 'net in search of inspiration today, so I specifically searched for colour pencil art in the style I would like to be able to recreate.

So please note, I DID NOT CREATE ANY OF THE ART IN THIS POST! Please see artist info and link back to where I found the art underneath each picture. I have only posted these images here as I find them inspiring, and hope to promote more colour pencil art.

Please note, I DID NOT CREATE ANY OF THE ART IN THIS POST! Please see artist info and link back to where I found the art underneath each picture in this post. Thank you.

2011 - The Year To Find My Art Style

I've just been reading Christopher Burdett's latest blog post, 2010 - The year I got more serious. I love reading his blog posts, and it reminded me of reading his blog post this time last year. I think it was called 2010 - The year to get serious, (or something like that). I remember I found it really inspiring, and made me want to really focus on my art. I wanted to create amazing fantasy art, and I know that had I concentrated, and pushed myself to produce new art every week, I would have produced many pieces, that would have improved over the course of the year, and I might have felt closer to calling myself a professional artist now if I had.

Now I'm wondering what direction I'm going to take my art in this year. I know Christopher Burdett loves his MONSTERS! He writes so just about all over his blog! I don't think I have found my niche yet, I know I love fantasy art, but I don't have a specific goal of becoming a monster artist, fairy artist, sci-fi spaceship artist, dragon artist, etc. So perhaps this year will be spent finding my focus. I would like to try creating each type of fantasy art I can think of. Producing a piece in each genre to the best of my ability. And then having tried each, I might be in a better position to see what I like, and which I might like to focus on. In Christopher Burdett's latest post, he also speaks greatly about REFERENCES, and the importance of gathering many photo references to produce more realistic and better work. He shows images collected of photos, he then creates thumbnail drawings and ideas, before producing the final drawing and then painting (adding the colour).

I don't think I've properly tried to create a brand new creature from imagination and reference images, I've often not known where to start. But using this method I may be able to try one! I think this is the year for me to experiment, try different things, and find the type of art I want to do. I love spaceships, I think they're cool, space art looks amazing, and I don't think you see enough of it. (Or at least I don't). Something else Christopher's technique above has taught me, is that even though you're doing fantasy art, you can still use references, you can still find elements of what you want to do, in real life. For example, his Crab-Bear monster has elements of bears and crabs. A monster's mouth has giant teeth, so why not use a shark or a lion's mouth as a reference? For spaceships, take a look at sleek airplanes and maybe helicopters for the way light reflects on them, and their shape. Perhaps submarines and other sea vessels too.

So my Big Art Goals for 2011 are...
  1. Sketch every day
  2. Work on a full colour piece every week
  3. Try a Monster Piece
  4. Try a Spaceship Piece
  5. Experiment and Try New Things
  6. Look for inspiration on ConceptArt.org, Wetcanvas, and Art Blogs (see blogroll at bottom of column on right)

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Sketch - Igloo & Christmas Tree

Here's an igloo I sketched today with a Christmas Tree, inspired by one of my new calendars - 'Eric the Penguin.' It's a funny slimline calendar following the exploits of a perhaps not so intelligent penguin in the North Pole.

I think in my drawing I would have been better drawing the igloo with a rounded base (for some reason I was thinking the shape of a snow globe would be right), and the doorway of the igloo should be a little further in to the left. In my defence I was working without any reference image in front of me!

Short Fiction Post - 'Invisible Jet'

As it's the New Year now, I've decided to have a practice writing scenes and little bits of prose to keep my writing skills up, and hopefully improve them, if I just aim to do between a few minutes to half an hour a day, I should be able to make progress with my writing! Here's hoping!

Here's a short piece I wrote today inspired by the One Minute Writer Blog, whose prompt today is 'Jet.' Only I didn't time myself, so may have done a little longer than a minute! Ooops!
I hope you like it!

Invisible Jet

Anya brought the sleek invisible jet hissing gently down towards the shoppers on the main streets of London, reassured that the low hum of it’s engines would be lost among the hustle and bustle of local shoppers passing by and the festive music pouring out from the open shop doorways inviting you in with a warm glow to battle the chill December air outside.

Looking out the transparent view pane, Anya could see the shoppers completely unaware her invisible jet was there. She sighed, a little despondent at the sight of the humans so engaged with their shopping. As if it were a life or death situation whether or not they would have the best Christmas Log on their table, or if they would be sold out by the time they arrive at the shop.

With a deep breath, Anya tucked a lock of brilliant white hair behind her ear, the rest neatly swept back from her icy pale skin, and turned her dark red eyes back down to her console, twiddling dials and pressing buttons to emit a series of beeps as she ran the basic system checks she always ran when she landed.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Sketch - Snowman & Star

Here's a little sketch I did on New Year's Day, a Snowman because I was still feeling festive, and a Wishing Star for all your New Year Wishes. Happy New Year Everyone!