Tag Archives: 2013

Closing out 2013.

So 2013 nearly done and dusted. Some bits I’ll look back on and smile, other parts I’ll be very glad to see gone and look forward to seeing what 2014 brings.

Loads of bits and bobs to do around the house today so only a quick splurge of blog.

The church nearest me has put OMG up in the windows for Christmas, made from fairy light strings, and fab it looks too πŸ™‚ A very clever way of using the architecture of the building. And it’s upset a couple of people too, which is never good to do on purpose but not always bad to do by accident. Makes me smile anyhow.

My son collects rubber ducks and we decided to count them. True to form we only got part way through the beak count but we were up to 225 at the time and there was more to be done but it was fun to see them take over the living room floor.

I was given a couple of cheap and playful phone camera lenses for Christmas which I’ve not had a chance to play with too much but make me smile to know they’re in my pocket ready to be whipped out and stuck to the front of a camera:

Phones have been an oddity over Christmas with me moving on from my very well used iPhone 4S to… well, that’s the trick, I ummed and ahhed about it so much I didn’t get a phone and then, when I kind of had to as I was missing calls and messages and so on, I bought a pay as you go Nokia 520 as it was fairly cheap and also ran Fresh Paint, which I REALLY wanted to try on the mobile platform (although I thoroughly enjoy Β it on the Surface tablet). Anyhow I miss a million apps on the iPhone which I’m sure I’ll get back to sometime in the future… Which leads me to…Family and I went on the London Eye at night which was as lovely and beautiful as we imagined it would be, despite son boy complaining of stomach pains on the tube on the way to it… Fortunately he managed to hold onto his lunch and we saw London clothed in an equal amount of light and darkness. I missed my iPhone as it’s the sort of thing that would Autostitch amazingly well

((for example:

-both taken last year on the 4S)).

…but it was probably a mercy to my family that they didn’t have to stand around while I took 20 or so pictures and waited for them to be stitched together. I did take the above pic on the Lumia which sums up the lights at least and, for a cheaper end camera, it took the photo very well I think.

I did take a couple of pictures on the Eye but tbh was more interested in seeing the view away from a screen for once.

(taken with a Galaxy S4).

(taken with a Lumia 520).

I also had, because Hey, London, an ice cream at Chin Chin Labs. Because that’s what’s Camden at its best, and the picture above was an insta-CCL classic: Beetroot, Goats Cheese, Truffle Crumble (with, I think, some thyme in there as well). Yum.

I had a couple of beers over the year. This is a quick doodle on Didlr app and Samsung Galaxy S4 of a Hogs Back Brewery beer. It wasn’t my favourite of the ones I’ve had this year (I prefer their AOT and OTT beers) but the HBB labels are a thing of wonder. My favourite beer this year? Hmmm. Probably Innis and Gunn rum finish, bottled (and also replete with a lovely label) and something I’d love to have on tap to see how it compares.

And, yes, this. Sometimes this yearΒ I’ve been pushing a mountain while climbing up a mountain, while the mountain was still growing. Occasionally it felt a bit futile but very often I’ve had lovely, marvellous and amazing friends and family around me helping me along and saying hi just when I’ve needed it. The best thing about 2013 has been the friends and family who I’ve shared the good and the bad with. Hopefully I’ll take both the good and the friends with me in the following year and hopefully the same for you and yours. There will still be bad somewhere along the line I’m sure, but hopefully it’ll all find a natural balance…

‘Appy New Year 2013.

Some traditions last, others don’t – or morph into new ones…

For various reasons this is the first year in the past 20 that I’ve not done a Fourth Wise Man or a Christmas Trees don’t Christmas Card. May well come back to it if time allows but this year has been a doozy one way or another. Between sick parents and sick in laws, being sick myself, and a stressful restart to work in Sept 2012 is one I’ll remember for good and bad reasons (the good would be things like drawing at BETT – something that I reprise in a couple of months again – and at the Barbican, and the Royal Academy and MCM Comics Expo. Some parts of the year have been amazing).

But last year I drew an ‘Appy Christmas card and an ‘Appy New Year card and both were good fun to do. Didn’t do that again for Christmas but couldn’t resist doing an ‘Appy New Year card for 2013.

Brushes app again, V2 because v3 isn’t… well… it isn’t. Stylus Sock and Nomad Brush and iPhone 4S (which surprised me. I don’t normally use styli on iPhone and could have done the e-card on iPad but this seemed to be the way I should do it so that’s what I did). Started it around 5pm today (29/12/12), finished it around 11pm and that’s with a break to eat dinner and watch Muppet Christmas Carol with the fam. Yes, we are that messed up time wise this year.

Hope you like (or fav or RT).

…and instead of a signature I wrote the name in app icons as well… Just for the fun of it. 4 icons seemed too small to stick to πŸ™‚ What are the app icons? Well, if you followed me on Twitter you might well now as I tweeted all of the icon inspirations and said ‘Appy New Year (which was a smidge dispiriting as only two have come back to me so far and only one retweeted. That said – crazy busy time of year and my dreams of multi-thousand view generating retweets remain just nocturnal bouts of optimism). I’ll post an edit with the names of the apps that inspired the look of the picture on Jan 1st.

…And this is the planning process, such as it was: inktense pencil on moleskine. Every Christmas (there’s that tradition again) I get some moleskines – generally the limited edition ones (so far: Snoopy, Star Wars, Pac Man, Hobbit. No Petit Prince πŸ™ ) so generally I write lists and draw and doodle in them until it’s the next ones turn πŸ™‚ This is the planning page for the ANY pic:

Why sketch pads at all? Surely I’ve gone all digital with the tablets and so on? Nope, not a bit of it. There’s an immediacy and tactility to a sketchpad, you can make mistakes and clean them up, or mess them up more. And of course it’s very good to take your eyes away from a screen every so often. I’ve always like water soluble media too, from inktense pencils to tombo pens to all sorts. My working practice is grey or purple pencil at the start to find the shapes, waterproof pen to clean up the outlines, water soluble media of some sort – nearly always inktense pencils now, love them πŸ™‚ and then Pentel replaceable cartridge brush pen at the end. Makes me happy.

I participated in a forum discussion on sketchbooks and tips for working on them and this is what I said (the conversation slotting in nicely within what I was doing – picture wise).

>>on sketchpads<<

I’ve got a couple of quirks that I’ve fallen into but they’re more my oddities rather than anything else. I start pads from the end as I never know what I want them to be at the beginning. I also tend to draw a lot of coffee cups. Also I use the sketch pads for writing lists and notes as well as drawing and then, if time allows, turn the rarely completed lists into pictures, generally skyscrapers or just geometric shapes.

Lastly only thing I can think of is that sometimes its easier to start with a random scribble and turn that into something than start from scratch. Also takes away the fear of the white page a little.

Also: Drew this in a PC World Apple reseller store thing a couple of days ago on an iPad mini. Would love one but being careful with the pennies at the moment πŸ™