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A week in creativity (week ending 24.09)

Hey everyone!

As well as the “photo a day” challenge, this week (creatively) featured a mad dash to London and a revisit to a fantastic exhibition! So, let’s go to the gallery….

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Day 17: My addiction – apart from heading to dark places, the fact that I buy so many of these cute figures must be an addiction!
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Day 18: outtake – it wasn’t until I looked at these pictures later that I saw that reflection in the glass.
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Day 19: out of focus – is that clearer? The accuracy of a Stormtrooper’s shooting is again brought under question!
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Day 20: Dinner – Alice’s dinner
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Day 21: Between – as in ‘between the eyes’ – a deadshot Stormtrooper!
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Day 22: care – the morning after a night out; self care in a sausage sandwhich!
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Day 23: rule of thirds: If the dinner is nice, asking for thirds is the rule. As Instagram uses squares (and has guides), the Instagram posted version has the figure and the bowls on the grid lines – on the the thirds.
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Day 24: everyday adventure: I don’t believe there’s such a thing!

This week, a new art exhibition is opening at the Barbican, London. The Barbican estate  was built in the 1960s and is all scheduled as a Grade 2 Listed area because it is a huge example of what is known as “brutalist” architecture. But it also has a very strong no-graffiti policy – and this week the street artist known as Banksy put two of his pieces on the walls.    As I type this, some 6 days later, the Barbican has still to announce what they will do – recognising that these pieces link to their exhbition, that they are Banksy’s (and therefore have value) and that this flies in the face of their no graffiti policy.  So I decided to head over to the Barbican and get a photograph before they decide to remove them.

Sue and I went to see a few bands this week, and took the opportunity on the Friday to go to the Victoria and Albert museum to and see the Pink Floyd exhibition “Their Mortal Remains”.  I had already seen it before, but it was nice to see it again – and find the things that I had missed before.  It also meant that our memories were fresh and we could discuss and compare notes.  This week was also Design Week in London, and the V&A were hosting some other design exhibitions in other halls.  As well as a very weird light reflecting room, there was a fascinating show about plywood and how it was made (which I didn’t know about) as well as examples (did you know that it was made into leg splints by the designers Charles and Ray Eames for World War 2?)

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An interesting chair to make from two pieces of plywood
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round display from the Pink Floyd exhibit
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I didn’t remember seeing the lasers in the ceiling before
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The Dale Chihuly in the V&A
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The reflection room
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The reflection room

for more on the reflection room, go to

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A week in creativity (ending 16 Sept)

Hello everyone!

Relatively speaking, it’s been a little quieter creatively than some of the previous weeks, but perhaps that’s not necessarily a bad thing – I read recently that no matter how good you may be, if you seem to be prolific at something the perception is that your quality isn’t as good. Well, you can be the judge of that for me…

Hard on the tail of the NEW BOOK (plug, plug) this was delivered this week…

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… so apologies in advance that there will be every intention of another advent story this year 🙂 There may be a few small tweaks to the rules, but these are so I’m not making things overly difficult for myself – there’s still every intention that whatever plot I may have come up with will go out of the window by day six….

This week’s photo a day challenge has been quite fun.  Some of them I know that I could have just chosen an image that I had taken a while back (see earlier comment about being prolific!) but I quite like using new and never seen before images (see comment about making things difficult!).  so here are days ten to sixteen:

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10 – lunch – his sandwiches seemed plasticky
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11 – solo: sometimes there’s a good reason for it
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12 – emotional. See later in the blog
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13 – scenic: recropped version than the one on my Instagram feed. Taken from County Hall at the end of a 10k run
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14 – mess: totally messed up
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15 – Spoon
16 – Playing tourist. I have these erasers and with the Fluffy photo app I can play tourist!

Day 12 of the list – emotional – was a challenge as my initial reaction was the negative aspect of being emotional (see my other blog about this one here) but I decided to go with something that covers so many emotional meanings – a hug.  This is the art that I drew “square on”:

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Finally – here are a few other random things that I did this week:

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I had an idea for “Scenic” where the artist was looking at a drawing and was finishing a coloured photograph. It didn’t quite work, but this was the sketch
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… which I then coloured in for completeness!
I bought the pig in a charity shop. With all the reboots and rehashes of things, I thought about this classic tale…
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My new watch face. It doesn’t tell the exact time, just approximates it. Something that makes me smile as we look for precision with most watches this has just gone the other way!
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I started to watch the film “Captain Underpants” … so… Tra-la-la!!


Have a good weekend and I’ll see you next week!

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New book – Inspiralisation

frontpage cover

Hey everyone! I’ve published the new book – Inspiralisation

Having bought a book on drawing Kawaii figures, one of the characters was a snail – and having drawn it a couple of times I started to get more ideas about adapting the snail’s shell.  ‘Inspiralisation’ was the result – the Inspiration of an idea with the subsequent spiral of ideas that then came from it!

You can get the electronic version through Smashwords- the link is here .  I’ve set it at the “you choose the price” so you don’t need to select the amount that it has there.


Thanks and enjoy!

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A week in creativity (ending 10 Sept)(all)

Hello everyone!

For me, it’s been a good week for creativity – both absorbing and producing. I decided that life was stable enough once more that I could try a Photo a Day challenge, so this week I will show all the images I produced for the 3rd through to the 9th.  Although the challenge is on Instagram (which uses a square image format), I have been able to recrop or just use a wider format to present them here.

One of the things I did do this week was to play with my Digital SLR again. It was obvious as  I looked through the images that I really need to practice using it – of the many that I took there was a lot that were ruined by camera shake.  In my defence, I didn’t use a tripod and was working with a fairly big lens on maximum zoom, which highlights any sort of shake, but I’m sure practice will start to resolve that.  Hopefully with the DSLR closer to hand in my office I will try to use it more – although for closeup work the mobile phone camera seems to working fine.

“Swans”, Sculpture by the Lakes. Taken with Canon DSLR and edited in Picasa
“Time to Reflect”, Sculpture by the lakes. Taken with a Canon DSLR, no post editing
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“Search for Enlightenment”, Sculpture by the lakes. Taken with Samsung S7 no editing
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… yes, I took these characters out for the day too!

For the photo a day challenge, there was a certain element of serendipity to this week which I quite enjoy.  In case you were wondering, yes I did post days 1 and 2 on Instagram (@frog_101 if you are interested) but these were “Something Pink” and “Breakfast” and being away from home the something pink was a hurried shot and breakfast was a fry up – so you didn’t miss anything.

Day 3 was “I made this”:

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… which I had drawn in the week preceding.  There are some excellent books out there on how to draw Kawaii in simple steps, and the image on the right is a good example.  I have now coloured this in – unlike the mandala/zentangle on the left which is still black and white!)

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Day 4 was “on the road” and again, a serendipitous image.

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“I’m not sure where I am” said Jessica.

I say this was serendipitous because I’d started on the background image earlier last week, working on a 0.05 pen and pencil to draw the map, and then spent best part of a day colouring the image in:

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Those with eagle eyes will spot that in a few cases the roads have been changed from the pencil original… that’s progress I guess!

Day 5 had the seed “Grass” and fortunately a new toy – Stik-Cat – was available for this quick little image:

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I have included this image because to me it highlights one of the challenges of toy photography – that of “right scale”. In many of my photographs I try to get the scales about right – so the grass doesn’t look too long for the figures – highlighting that these are toys – but this image shows that this is a toy in a garden.  Perhaps if I had used a more mossy part of the lawn, where there isn’t so much “tall” grass this may have looked better.

Day 6 was the seed “ball”.  I had wondered how I was going to do this and had spent much of the day in contemplation… when this idea presented itself, complete with song earworm:

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“Can I kick it?”

Day 7 was “Surprise” and this image was something that came to me quite quickly:

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I drew a picture of a cake, and carefully cut the centre to fold it back, curving it with a pencil.  The two naughty bunnies and Miss Rainbow are new characters to my collection from a Blind Box collection by Fluffy House, and they stand about 7cm tall unlike the others which are 4.5cm approximately.  What you can’t see is Stik-cat proping up the card!  The whole thing was photographed in the Lightbox.

Day 8 was “That’s funny”. Personally, I have an almost instant creative block when I feel I am being told to “do something funny now” or “be creative now”. So this felt a little forced to me.  But a trip to the shops that day saw me purchase the oversized Bourbon biscuit (which was lovely) which seemed to work.  Oh, and yes I know that’s not the Lego Alice – she’s somewhere in the other house at the moment. Sometimes you have to work with what you have.

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“Are you sure it says Eat Me?” asked Alice

Finally, day 9 had the seed idea “Sweet”. Although I was originally considering some form of Kawaii confectionary, I had bought a picture frame at a charity shop the day before and it was in need of something to fill it.  Once the image was drawn up and coloured, I realised that this was really saccharin sweet, very cute and the picture for the day:

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From an art perspective, this has been a good week for drawing and creating.  Here’s a few more that I produced this week:

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Halloween is coming – watch out!
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I like the pop art of Keith Haring – so I recently bought a box of wooden stencils to play with!
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“Uh Oh.” Artist paints himself into a corner.
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I saw a picture of MIffy at the Art gallery, where Miffy is staring at a picture of an peach. I decided to create my own version
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Yes, it’s Snoopy’s kennel. Quite pleased with this!
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… and it works even better when Snoopy is by it!
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“Sushi Chef only uses the freshest ingredients”. Playing with the Lightbox

Finally, I have some news.  Over the last month or so I have been working to produce a collection of images which I have called “Inspiralisation”. I’ll put a separate blog post up about this, but it is coming soon and I’m quite happy to make this collection available to the world!

frontpage cover

Have a great week everyone!

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A week in creativity (3 Sept.)(all)

Hi everyone! It’s been a little odd this week for art – because I was having an extended stay in London this week (more on that in a bit) I decided to cut down on what art materials I would pack into my case.  Consequently, I decided that I wouldn’t pack any colours, working only in Black.  From that decision, I managed to produce 5 drawings on postcards – and with one exception I realised that they would look much better in colour and so I decided not to photograph them this week (the exception was for my friend Shawn who had his birthday this week.  As this was time sensitive I posted it, but again, I think it would be better with some colour to it.  But anyway – HAPPY BIRTHDAY again, Shawn!)

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But I did use my camera (mobile phone) and lightbox this week, photographing some of the toys I have in my collection – as well as photographing the Snail collection ready to start digitally editing the images (I have decided that although the snails themselves will remain as they are, I will adjust how they are presented to give a standard look and feel – in my originals some are small, others not so).

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couldn’t resist redrawing this into a full postcard
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In space, no-one can hear you having fun!
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Pigs… In… Space….
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Village People

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As I said at the start, I had an extended stay in London this week, remaining up to see the band Sisters of Mercy at the Camden Roundhouse.  I also decided (as I was up in London) to go and see “Alice’s Adventures Underground” – an experience which was chaotic, almost anarchic, fun, mysterious and weird in very equal measure.  I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but there are four possible adventures to be had – corresponding to the four suits in a deck of cards and I ended up with the Diamonds.

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When I went to get Sue on Friday, I also decided to do a little London walking – it was quite unusual to see London in the middle of the day – and not through a sweaty brow haze!  But I found the Banksy I was looking for at London Bridge, then walked along the South Bank to Waterloo.  But my days of adventure weren’t over as we then went to the Barbican to see an exhibition in Science Fiction (that it was located in the Barbican, somewhere that was designed in the Brutal style of architecture so has a futuristic feel to it) and I managed to see one of my most favourite robots of all time, Twiki (“nice one, Buck!”)

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Open Air Bookshop, South Bank, near Festival Hall.
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Just because I could 🙂

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Roll out the barrel – Camden Locks
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The Camden Locks, London
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A teeny-tiny Banksy Rat in London
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As you can see, it’s almost a “blink and you’ll miss it” work.  In fact, I wonder how many times I ran past it without spotting it.  This is the tunnel under London Bridge – the entrance to the London Tombs Exhibition is just over the road, and there’s a small pub up to the right.  The glass installation just in front lights up in a random way too – which is quite pretty.  

So guide notes to finding this London Banksy: from London Bridge Railway station, come out onto Tooley Street and turn right.  Walk past the frontage for the London Tombs Exhibition, then turn left (almost back on yourself) when you see St. Olaf’s House… which I found out after, is the first Art Deco building in the UK!.  Walk towards Borough Market along this road and the Banksy is on your right.

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It got a little rowdy and pushy in the middle, so we moved to the side where it was much emptier. It was like being backstage!!

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We said “Hello Kitty” at the popup at Tombo Fitzrovia
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The cupcake was nice!

As I’ve said before, creativity is like breathing, sometimes you breath in and absorb whilst others you breath out and produce.  This was definitely an “inhale” week.

See you next week!

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In search of perfection (all)

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In a blog post a few weeks back, I noted that I had started a small project, drawing different “Kawaii” style snails.  The concept was to replace the snail shell with other items, such as the football above, and to take the idea from there.  It’s been a lot of fun and I now have a number in my sketchbook (actually, the book’s full!)

I had an idea that having created this collection, I should also look at sharing this as well – whether that is through the blog, or by an alternate method – I would need to create decent electronic images of these.  Brilliant … but.

You see, as it currently stands, there are only a couple of digital versions of my snails in existence (and I would need to edit them anyway) and the rest are still in my sketchbook.  All those wobbles, wrong lines, colour bleeds etc are all safely held back.  The example (and hence the image above) shows a typical example – I’d grabbed the wrong pen to shade the snail’s body and whilst I then created it, I know it’s wrong.

So if I want to make a digital version – a “right” version – then I have a couple of options:

  1. redraw the image
  2. edit the digital image

Whilst redrawing the image is a possibility, I know that unless I do something very clever it will be clear that the paper type that the image was on isn’t the same as all the others and it will seem like a bad do over.  So option two would seem to be the better solution – but then, is that then an authentic image; it’s a bit like taking Matisse’s Snail image and changing the colour of the cutouts – technically it’s still the Matisse, but it’s not the print of the real thing.

But there is a third option – use the journalist’s mantra “publish and be damned” – show the art as is, warts and all.  Whilst this is the most authentic solution,  I know that it shows an amateur nature to the image.


As it is, I’m certainly thinking of editing the images to standardise the sizes of the snails – and possibly trim the white edges to add another coloured background to them, so perhaps option 2 is the way forward.  I don’t know – and I guess until I get to edit those images this will remain unanswered.


What would you do in this situation?


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A week in creativity

Hello everyone!

For the UK, this is a Bank Holiday weekend, so an extra day to the weekend! Yay!  Looking through the art for this week, there seems to be a number of items that were drawn with a particular purpose or message in mind, so this week I will include a few notes to cover the “what was he thinking?” question.  With the exception of Briain the Snail (yes, the extra ‘i’ is important… he’s psychic you see… geddit??? Extra eye???) all the images have some form of ‘crossover’ in the art – where it’s not just artwork, or not just toyphotography.

So… onwards!  Enjoy!

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Post Parkrun. I liked the idea of feeling sleepy having just completed the 5k run…
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I love this poster – and really glad that I can use the Body-kun doll to hold it! It’s a custom printed Lego tile by Brick Sanity Customs
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Lego “N-Pop girl” and display. Brick Sanity Customs printed the wall tile for me and I’ve been wanting to use the floor tiles (from Firestartoys) for a while. The challenge was the multicoloured base – it’s quite a challenge not deliberately try to be random!
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Briain the Snail. A simple little fun build
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Happy Sundae everyone!
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Apart from Eraser in background, the two other figures are a combination of a Hello Kitty head, the N-Pop girl and the Butterfly girl. So Pink was definitely the colourway to go here!
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The full postcard art.
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“It’s a bit political, isn’t it?” asked Jessica. I wanted to write a blog about the political nature of the world, and one of the messages that has been out there that reflects this is the “Obey” poster (worth a Google if you’re interested). I enjoyed using both the Naughty RAbbit and the Hazmat guy to produce this
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Clearing out some old IT equipment, there was a very broken keyboard, and this button appealed to me. I will probably try and incorporate it into more artwork later
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I had an idea about a caption involving driving sheep (this was part of a walk across London) but I wondered how many would know that was the term. What I also discovered was that the grass in Hyde Park is longer than it looks when you’re only a few inches high!
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I had to draw this – a gallery visitor didn’t see the artwork on the floor and walked through it, leaving footprints in his wake! The footprints were produced by using the Chameleon pen and partially bleaching the colour out. Really impressed with how it came out!
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I saw this postcard at the station. It’s a Lenticular card, so it looks 3-D. I’m really pleased that it translated so well into this image!
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Another collectible figure, who we may see again in 60-something days time…. 🙂