Sunday, 18 March 2018

Hands Over

At long last, I have finished my hand-drawing goal:
01. Fill a sketchbook with artwork/studies of only one subject
I chose 'hands' as my subject because I have always struggled to draw them, and after struggling some more back in 2015 when I started on this goal, I gave up, only dipping into it every so often to scribble down a hand sketched from a reference on google images.

Then at some point towards the end of last year/beginning of this year, I began making more of an effort again. For a while I drew a lot from the timed exercises on Line of Action (which you can see in previous posts) which really kickstarted my drawing again!

But I soon began drawing from my own references, too (as in this post) and filled my camera roll up with hand photos I'd snapped on my phone!

I attempted drawing without a reference, but that turned into drawing with a reference (of my own hand) because it started going badly very quickly!

In fact, some days my attempts still go pretty badly!

As for whether I've improved, here are the first and last sketches from the book:

First Hand

Last Hand

I have definitely improved!

After starting this goal so long ago, it's a relief to finally get it finished! In the process of drawing, I've found that pastel pencils make really light work of shading (but are a pain in the butt when they break). I've also found that my favourite pencil to draw with is a 6B watersoluble graphite pencil, like these ones by Derwent (and no, they aren't paying me to say that). It's easy to achieve a variation of shades, and being able to shade larger areas with the side of the pencil gives me more control than if I was using a traditional pencil. So I'm kind of glad I've got two of them!

Over the course of this goal, I have drawn over 150 hands! I haven't posted all of them online. Some are just little doodles from trying to draw cartoonish hands, where I didn't really put any effort into drawing, so I didn't post them. But everything else is are here on this blog.

You can see all the sketches I posted by going to my Goal 01 Tag.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Seasons and Sweet Things

Continuing on from last week's post about my month-long sonnet-writing challenge, here are the next eight!

Too Tired to Think of a Topic
Oft are there times in life when effort fails,
When the siren song of sleep is too great
And still falls the wind from the mind's white sails.
Whether the hour be early or too late,
Hard is the journey when the currents freeze,
And thought's great ship is trapped on oceans grey
As all on board await the wakeful breeze--
Yet drowsily long for the end of day.
But some may resist the lure of pillows
From time to time when oceans rise and fall,
And in fresh gusts of wind the sail billows,
And thoughts fly free amidst the seabird's call.
When sails fall and this vessel longs to sleep,
The answer is to concentrate, breathe deep.

(Because I was too tired to think of a topic)

Gentle her footsteps that herald warm light,
And quiet the sighs that rustle fresh leaves,
And tho' in her wake bloom flowers so bright,
That breath can turn cold and howl 'round the eaves.
For sometimes through meadows sweet she will rage,
And force newborn lives to shudder and hide,
Heavy her tears soak the travelling sage,
And spoils fragile blooms at winter's graveside.
Though often is her temperament harsh,
With her kind light are warmer days proclaimed,
For new life grows upon the cruellest marsh,
Under the care of that nature untamed.
So when the wind howls and rain blots the sky,
Know it is she who makes blooms multiply.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

A Dress for Every Season

After beavering away with my sketchbook, I've finally completed the last four pieces for my outfit/costume design goal!
053. Design 50 outfits/costumes
Having four left to design, I chose the seasons as my theme...

Spring Flower (47/50)

+ Dress: Spring green pencil dress with clear vinyl  3/4 circle overskirt embellished with fabric daisies.
+ Jacket: Cropped short sleeve clear vinyl with fabric daisy embellishments.
+ Belt: Broad white elastic with daisy buckle.
+ Shoes: White canvas wedges with daisy embellished rubber mesh in side-panel and daisy design embossed on wedge.

Summer Days (48/50)

+ Top: Cropped red flouncy top with butterfly sleeves and embroidered trim (yellow suns and red edging on gold leather).
+ Skort: Flouncy red shorts/culottes with gold leather overskirt and waistband (embroidered as on top). Side zip.
+ Sandals: Knee-high flat 'gladiator' style in gold leather with yellow embroidered sun at knee.

Autumn Leaves (49/50)

+ Hat: Green slouchy knit with spikes (like on conker shell)
+ Shirt: Green fine knit with high neck and frill sleeves
+ Cuffs: Green moulded leather, like conker shells
+ Dress: High-low hem, sleeveless, made of red/orange/yellow fabric leaves on orange tulle
+ Trousers: Green moulded leather, as on cuffs.
+ Coat: Red/orange/yellow tartan wool with blanket fringe, longer at back. Green leather shoulder/elbow patches/buckles (as on trousers).
+ Boots: Green leather (as before) platform wedges with leaf cutout in wedge.

Winter Nights (50/50)

+ Hat: White faux fur embellished with blue tulle yoyo, silver sequin star and clear plastic 'icicles'.
+ Coat: Floor length white velvet with high collar and 'icicle' spile detail on shoulder, silver star buttons.
+ Dress: Ankle-length ice blue tulle with silver sequin star embellishments. Rolled collar and front button fastening.
+ Corset: Silver leather with silver sequin stars.
+ Shorts: Silver leather, zip at back.
+ Shoes: White velvet courts with clear 'ice' platform and 'icicle' heel; faux fur trim around foot and sequin star motifs on toe/heel/side.

So that's the last of my fifty designs!
I think the spring one is probably the most 'fashion' of them all, though all four of these have more of a fashion feel than the majority of my designs--probably because the majority were costume designs rather than fashion.

I'm not sure if I would make any of these designs completely, though there are aspects of a lot of them that I'd like to create! Starting right at the beginning with my 'Garden Punk' design, I seem to have come full circle back to a nature theme with my more recent succulent inspired designs, and the nature themes in these seasons designs. I don't know if that says I'm repetitive, or that nature is everywhere, and a great source of inspiration!

Either way, my designing is Done.

Now I can cross the goal off the list. Hurrah!

You can see all my designs for this goal on my Goal 53 Tag. Which would you choose to make?

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Blessed Bling: Three Dresses

Another goal that I have nearly finished now is goal 53: design 50 outfits/costumes. I posted some plant-inspired designs the other day, and here are three more.

This time I took inspiration from religious reliquaries. These jewel-bedecked reliquaries and remains are utterly fascinating, and the colours and decoration make them a great source of inspiration, if a little morbid! (Check out my Morbid Curiosities board on Pinterest to see what I mean!)

Relinquished Reliquary (44/50)

+ Dress: Long-sleeved, high-necked fishtail dress of deep red velvet and gold lace. Strapless red velvet bodice/top of skirt, shoulders/high neck/sleeves and bottom 2/3 of skirt from gold lace. 1" woven gold trim on velvet.
+ Necklace: Large cut glass gems (blue, purple and red) on gold filigree
+ Belt: Moulded gold leather with glass gems as before.
+ Boots: Open toe slingbacks of moulded gold leather with gems as before.

Hallowed Heart (45/50)

+ Dress: Blue velvet bodice and skirt with powdery blue-grey silk puff sleeves and underskirt. Gold trim on waistband and around red and purple glass gem & filigree-encrusted heart on front. Skirt decorated with red and purple gems on gold diamond-shaped filigree.
+ Necklace: Chunky filigree and red/purple glass gems
+ Sleeves: Filigree and glass, covering back of hand
+Boots: Blue velvet thigh-high open toe boots with heart detail on foot and heel, red/purple gems on gold filigree on leg.

Cherished Chalice (46/50)

+ Dress: Deep purple velvet mermaid dress with lavender-grey long hem and high-necked 'undershirt'. Gold woven trim and straps encrusted with emerald green and ruby red glass gems.
+ Bangles: Gold metal with green and red gems.
+ Necklace: Choker of green and red gems on filigree.
+ Shoes: Open toe purple velvet sho with gold trim/heel/sole and red and green gems.

Despite what a pain in the butt it was to colour all the detail on these, I'm really pleased with how these ones turned out. Had I the money (or the skill, or the motivation) I would make these and probably actually wear them (even if it was only to the shops...!)

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Hands Together

I am still (yes, still) working on the very first goal of The List: to fill a sketchbook with studies/artwork of one subject.
This ended up being a study of hands, and I am just fifteen pages away from filling the sketchbook!

In the meantime, I'm still drawing from references...

Most of these have been photo references, and I have had a few 'bad' days of drawing, where it all went to hell pretty quickly (eraser? What's that?)

To challenge myself, I also tried drawing 'from life'--using my own hand to draw from (except I was holding a stubby pencil rather than a cigarette! That picture was drawn after failing at drawing a character with a cigarette, and wanting to practice).

It's starting to get a little easier to draw hands, though given a blank sheet of paper and no reference it would probably still look a mess! But I'm definitely getting better!

Monday, 12 March 2018

Succulent Gals or Spiky Ladies?

After designing costumes for characters from Folk Tales of the Sea People as part of goal 53 (Design 50 outfits/costumes), I set my sights on designing outfits based on other subjects.

As I looked around my room for ideas, my gaze alighted on the sunniest corner, inhabited by a small family of succulents, and over the following days, these designs happened.

As usual, you can click to view them larger :)

Aloe Girl (37/50)
Inspiration: Aloe

+ Dress: Green halterneck with velvet bodice and skirt/collar formed of lightly padded matte vinyl 'leaves'.
+ Sandals: Light brown flat sandals lacing up to the knee.

Spiky Soft (38/50)
Inspiration: Cactus of unknown type

+ Dress: Green bardot/halterneck hybrid. Jersey bodice with long spikes on straps. Balloon-like skirt of moulded fleece (like bumps on cactus) to just above knee.
+ Boots: Green rubber thigh high heels.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

A Mixed Bag of TED Talks

It's been a long slog that began at the end of 2014, but I've finally completed a longer goal from The List!
062. Watch 100 TED/TEDx Talks
I started off picking them at random, moved into watching selections on similar themes, and these final ten are once again a mixed bag!

Johanna Blakley: Social media and the end of gender
Media researcher Johanna Blakley discusses how traditional demographics are still being used by media companies to understand their audiences, when online, with the ever-growing use of social media, women are outnumbering men--and these means changes are afoot.
Didn't know what to expect from this talk (because I never read the info section) but this was really enlightening!

Courtney Martin: Reinventing feminism
In this talk, blogger Courtney Martin talks about her upbringing by radical parents, and discusses how loaded the word 'feminism' is, presenting three paradoxes in attempting to define it.
I found this talk really interesting, as feminism is a word so muddied by negativity (on both sides).

Saturday, 10 March 2018

And a Fried Egg on Top: Korean Bibimbap

On Tuesday I was shopping in Brighton with my fabulous friend Lianne, and being that she's as much a nerd for Korean culture as I am for Japanese, she suggested we have lunch at a bibimbap shop.

Bibimbap is Korean dish of warm rice with various things on top, which you mix together before you eat. Whilst Lianne opted for the spicy chicken version, I wasn't in the mood for something spicy, so opted for their aubergine one.

After picking what kind you want, you choose from the options of rice (or rice noodles) and sauce, and can pay extra for other additions. I went for rice noodles and soy sauce, and paid the extra £1 for a fried egg on top, because experience has taught me that fried egg and soy sauce is a Really Tasty Combination.

I wouldn't rush to eat this dish again, as I didn't like having cold veggies on top of warm noodles, and it was expensive for what you got.
But it tasted good, and eating it counted towards another goal on The List!
043. Try foods of 5 different countries
I'm 3/5 of the way through that goal now, and honestly none of the national cuisines I've tried so far are of countries I expected they'd be from. All very tasty, however (I really, really want more Xinxim).

Goodness knows what cuisine I'll try next!

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Angsts, Agitations and Animals: 8 Sonnets

At the end of February, I decided that March would be the month I attempted one of my writing goals from The List:
027. Write 1 sonnet per day for 1 month
This is the most challenging of my writing goals - more challenging than haiku, or flash fiction, or short stories of 1000+ words!

Sonnets have so many rules with regards their form, and whilst pretty much every sonnet I studied in school was a love poem, I decided to throw that out of the window this month and write sonnets on all kinds of subjects (though I guess I ought to try writing something affectionate at some point!)

Today I'm sharing my first 8 sonnets of the month. Some are serious, some are ridiculous, and the last one is pushing it a little.

So here goes.

Survivor to the Fog

On this merciless shore of stones and sighs,
Where the wreckers shine their deceitful light
And await the spoils amidst dying cries,
You are deathly fog on this stormy night.
When darkness lifts her curtain to the gloom,
And when the sun to heaven makes her climb,
Her feeble glow reveals this frozen tomb--
You are the ice of endless wintertime.
Yet others walk upon this untamed shore,
To seek survivors of this fog and ice
And reach out to those in a state so poor:
You are but the patter of fleeing mice
For though your blindfold may once more descend,
All fog lifts, all ice melts at winter's end.

 (Bad day? Low mood? POETRY.)

Ain't Nobody Got Time For That

Heark ye all! That young fellow doth approach!
In verdant splendour upon a fine wheel
Oh how we curse for the subject to broach:
What driveth this boy and what is his deal?
And here dwells a fellow with wide-eyed gaze
His coat as pale and soft as summer sand
He sayeth much good, very boy, amaze!
As his worshippers await close to hand.
Though many more have passed along this way
A humble few remain in mem'ries strong
And though no heed to logic do they pay
So many more are yet to pass along
Should time escape ye all or so it seems
Remember this: these fellows are but memes.

 (Yes, I wrote a sonnet about dat boi and doge)

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Hands Out

Just a little update on the first goal on The List:
001. Fill a sketchbook with artwork/studies of one subject.
That subject being hands, and me actually applying myself to sitting down and working on this goal, I have been drawing so many hands that I'm starting to get sick of the sight of them!

Despite that, it can be soothing to sit and draw from a reference, and as I'm listening to the History of the World in 100 Objects podcast whilst I work, I'm learning things as well!

Some of my sketches definitely come out better than others, and some poses are easier to draw than others, but the level of effort I put in certainly effects how well the pictures turn out.

It might seem as though I've drawn a million hands already (it feels that way to me!) but my sketchbook still isn't filled.

I have 28 pages left...

Guess I'd better go hunting for some more references!