Category Archives: inspiration

Characters, Childhood and Creativity

When I was young I spent hours doodling and colouring books. My absolute favourite thing was drawing from comic books and creating characters and fantasy art. This was when I would get into that ‘flow’ that everyone is talking about these days. This passion waxed and waned through teen years but it never died.

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At 19 we had just moved to America and I started my first job here. I used to sketch while working on big smelly machines. One day I was fully engrossed in sketching a Grimm Reaper, my manager decided I must be suicidal and therefore needed to see company shrink. That right there was a defining moment for me.

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I started to hide my art unless it was more uhm you know, main stream. When I entered art school fantasy art was frowned on so I learned the more traditional. As I aged I moved further away from what I used to enjoy, as well as being pushed to be an ‘adult’ get a real job be responsible, don’t be a starving artist. I felt that childlike creative wonder disappear.

It’s only as I look old age in the face I realize Duh! Do what you love. I love painting nature from my photos. But I love, love creating characters, fantasy now using digital but can’t always do it from my imagination anymore, it’s like a word on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t think of it, finding it difficult to have those amazing thoughts and ideas I had as a kid.

With the new popularity of game and comic book art I wonder what I’d be doing now if I were not made to feel ‘bad’ about my art. Damn! I could be working for Blizzard or Pixar I so want to work for Pixar or Skywalker when I grow up……too cool.

Has your creativity been questioned, have you been able to keep that childlike imagination and creativity alive? And if so what practices do you use. Or have you found that age and responsibility have you feeling a little dried up!

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Falling into winter

The weather here in the north east is starting to change. The leaves have turned and are falling everywhere. On days when it’s sunny and warm this is a wonderful time of year. It’s not cold and not too hot and there are no bugs to drive you insane. The colours of the leaves do nothing but inspire.

But when it’s chilly all you see, or I do, are dead leaves and then wait in expectation of the coming snow. Ugh the dreaded snow. I’m still in denial, I actually don’t like snow and I live in an awful snowy place 🙂

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When the weather starts cooling off I find it harder and harder to go up to the studio, the fingers do not work as well as they should in the cold room. The cozy living room and TV has more of a draw.

Right now the walls in the studio are white and the room is a bit clinical and I’m thinking it may need a nice warm Colour and maybe a cozy chair and throw. If I can make it cozy it will be easier to sit up there and work. My latest work in progress is spring flowers the flowers are a way of keeping those warm days in my mind and brightening the room.

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What tips and tricks do you all use to keep the studio warm, and yourselves moving and inspired during winter.

Redwoods

A few weeks ago my oldest came to me and we got talking about our futures and lack of spontaneity. She’s also a creative person and we have both been neglecting that side and fun! We both laughed about just taking off and doing something crazy. Spend time collecting wild flowers, sketching and journaling. What about Redwoods she says laughing.

So last Friday we hopped a plane and flew to San Francisco then drove 300 miles to Eureka. 22 hours of travel. Soo tired but soo worth it. Warm weather unlike here on east coast.
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We had a list of things to see and things we wanted to do like hug a tree, pick 3 flowers, eat organic. The redwoods are breathtaking just walking in the quiet the birds and flowers. We spent Saturday in the woods. Sunday we did the ocean. California reminds me a bit of home. Mountains, cliffs, ocean and forests not to mention the rolling pastures.

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We talked about our business idea and took many photos. We flew back Tuesday.

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I have to say I felt wonderful. The freedom the fun. So much inspiration. Everyone thought we were crazy, who in their right mind flies to California for a weekend…….We Do!

Sometimes you have to just ‘Live Out Loud’

Sci fi comic books and Shakespeare

A few weeks back I took my daughter to the movies we went to see Guardians of the Galaxy. My kinda movie. I just loved the soundtrack brought back lots of memories.
During the movie this one character Groot moved in a way that for some odd reason Hamlet popped in my head. The only words he spoke were ‘I am groot’ I thought cool that would be an awesome shirt a tree playing Hamlet. So when I got home I set to work.

I took several images from the web as reference photos and started pulling in a sketch using my intuos (graphic tablet) I used the skull I had done for another shirt and just started painting with browns & oranges some yellow & greens. It took shape I was very happy with it. Took many hours of painting and fussing. Wish I could do simple but I just can’t leave something without all the shading and detail.

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So I sent it off to print. As you can see it was dark. So I worked on it some more and uploaded the new image. You can find it for sale at RedBubble, Society6and Tee Public

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I loved how it came out. But as is always the case with these types of images and characters someone always beats you to the punch. I have a tendency to just leave it and put it away thinking I was too late maybe next time I will be first but if I keep doing that I’ll never get work out there. It may be similar in concept to other artists but this one was all painted by me. So this time I said heck with it and posted.

The Big Move to Studio

Oops I’ve been neglecting everything lately. My oldest pushes me if I’m lazy but she has just moved out, which makes me very sad and very happy. This left her room all empty and lonely, what to do, what to do? A Studio!

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My way of coping was to have a massive clean out. I did say massive right! I have systematically gone through my whole house. If I haven’t used it in a few months then I must not need it. Of course I don’t think I have been as aggressive as I could have or should have been. I still have a few small areas but wore myself out over the past couple of weeks.

Now for her room. I have been doing my digital art on my lap on the settee and my pastels on a makeshift table in kitchen, (when not procrastinating) yes I know eeww. Just a tad hazardous but we don’t actually use the kitchen except as a walk through to the other rooms. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. One more thing on my to do agenda, have an eat in kitchen.

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Took awhile but I now have everything art and almost everything craft in her space. Wow! Is this a small room no wonder she moved lol! I’ve done some organizing but it does need much more. I have a window that overlooks the river that runs in the backyard. The noise from water is relaxing. Lots of light and good feeling, inspiration hanging on walls. As you can see it’s a work in progress.

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Since completing this big shake up I have one excuse after another to not turn on the laptop or climb the stairs to the studio. Even my knitting is sitting staring at me and that’s on the settee.

Got to get bum in gear, can’t be a full time artist, designer if the bum is firmly planted on the settee.

So facebook hasn’t been updated nor any of my Tshirt sites like society6 or RedBubble I haven’t drawn, painted or designed.

So a big hike and a SciFi movie this weekend and I am feeling the mojo slowly move back in woot woot!

Our Little Man

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This is a commission I just finished, for my daughter. This is her cat Oliver. I used 8 x 10 Canson Paper with soft pastel sticks. I also used a lot of pastel pencils. 20140725-184004-67204442.jpg

Once I got all the base colours in I used the pencils for details and hair.
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The funniest part was every time I sat to paint Oliver would lay right next to me on the shelf unit watching me. I think he wanted to make sure I captured his likeness properly.

 

Zentangle Shmentangle

When I was a kid my dad and I had this great game we played. We would take a piece of paper and very quickly make some squiggly lines that started and ended in the same spot. The rule was you didn’t put any thought into it just do it. We then handed it over to the other person where they would have to create an image within the squiggles. You could add a small item like an eye but no new lines.
You had to be very creative and think fast. It was very freeing and always sparked ideas for a later craft or art project or even a story.
The other part to this game was pattern creating. Oh my gosh zentangle….long before it existed as the ‘new thing’ for creatives. He could’ve made a fortune 😉

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I’ve been going back to that free hand squiggle lately, during my lunches I’ve been squiggle crazy and then pulling pieces out and using it to create some simple designs. I have some bigger plans for the simple WIP designs but only after I scan them, some digital work may add what I need.

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It’s been a lot of fun going back in time and has brought back so many memories of my dad and growing up in London.

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