Tag Archives: Expression

Sigh… sometimes I only feel I get to do artwork when I’m ill*…


Long been a fan of Marvel comics (and comics in general but the X-Men were the ones who hit most at that time in my life) and the Sentinels were possibly my favourite bad guy: hostile yet unfeeling. Fancied doodling as I try and get better sooner and this is the result.

*Actually the title is blatantly not true as I’ve been lucky enough to be doing artwork all over the place recently but this is the second time recently and nth time this year I’ve been sick and it’s a bit dull lying here not able to do much bar squeak.

And a little bit of Cerebus created in Expression while I’m at it:


The assassination of Jesse James by…

… the robot driven Ford Ka.



… Seemed funny (ish) at the time. It’s a riff on this:


although mostly the image was done on a bus and then finished off in a bath. That lettering took FOR-flipping-AGES and yes, I know, I could have done it in Pixelmator in a squillionth of the time. Wanted to do as much in Brushes as I could. In the end I just added the vignetting in Pixelmator and that was that.

In other news I’m excitedly downloading the Expression Design 3 demo at the moment. If I had the time to do so I’d spend all day playing with a ummm quadumvirate? of art packages: Pixelmator, Brushes, Blender and Expression Design. All of them (bar brushes) are hitting pretty major updates soon (1.5, xx, 2.5 and 3 respectively) and that always makes me wan to play and see what’s new. Surprisingly all are allegedly the less well known applications (I also own Photoshop, Freehand and 3dsMax – legally I add) but these lower league programs often show themselves to be better than the big boys…

Anyhow: it’s downloaded now so time to play πŸ™‚

((Sigh, take it back, time to download Net framework 3.5 – which keeps bombing out, and then install. Grrr)).

(((and… to be fair to Microsoft, it’s not just their software that’s giving me grief this morning: iMovie is crashing out repeatedly while trying to convert a clip too πŸ™ ))).

Lastly: while I’m waiting for things to install, download and upload, here’s the timelapse of the Assassination picture with not particularly great garageband soundtrack. Hey, what can I say, I was multi-tasking and doing this and kids brekkies and everything…


Expression Gallery/Pixelmator manual.



Doing the image thing as an emergency valve against all of the words I’ve had to edit this and last week… Uploaded a few images to the Expression gallery which can be found here:Β http://gallery.expression.microsoft.com/Β 

I’ll be adding more as time goes by, some even not about elephants πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Β partially as it’s so easy to participate in their gallery pages and partially because I like to use Expression and think the results are fairly strong, if I say so myself, egotistically πŸ™‚

There’s some other nice stuff up there so well worth a few minutes having a mooch around I’d have said.

Also was contacted by team Pixelmator asking for permission to use one of my images in their next manual which is hugely exciting and of course I said yes straight away πŸ™‚ Big fan of both Pixelmator or Expression so am happy to see some of my pictures going all over the place.

Couple of updates:

First off: Messenger. The lovely George C at Spring Harvest has mentioned it in the latest flyer from them, which is very kind and much appreciated. It’s mentioned in the same breath as Compassionart which, if you don’t know anything about it you really should. You can find out about it here: http://www.compassionart.tv/

((and you can find out more, well, a little but there’s more coming soon, about Messenger here: www.kercal.co.uk)).

Actually I was stupidly excited about Compassionart when the flyers came over and it’s been duly plugged at the church I go to, until I found out that it was more about the musical arts. Not a problem, it’s a good thing to support – cd and book wise, but the photo’s were so ace I was sad to see that there weren’t more of them or more visual arts involved… The website is beautifully designed and the pictures of people around the heart logo inspiring, moving and thought provoking (which is why I wanted to see more of them, I think…) (in fact they are very reminiscent of the extraordinarily beautiful pictures that Tre Sheperd took while visiting the engageHIVaids.com hospitals in Africa. Those are well worth a search for if you have an hours worth of mooching time on the Internet. I’d post the link but start at the engage website and work your way from there I think πŸ™‚ There is some amazing stuff on that site too…)

Anyhow: Compassionart is something which I hope grows and grows, taking on more artforms and showcasing the heart of more and more people who want to change the world. More photos and art please, but please support them now, so that further projects can happen and so that the projects they are supporting can feel the benefit. As mentioned previously also consider getting it in town, rather than on le web, from either WHSmiths, which I believe was going to stock it but then got caught in the Woolworths troubles, but worth an ask anyhow, or at a Christian bookshop. Yeah it’ll be a quid or so more, but it’s the difference between free-range and factory farmed innit.

Which SEAMLESSLY brings me to the latest doodle (or at least would have if I hadn’t added another paragraph in between the art stuff and here), which will take me out of any consideration for any future of Compassionart projects ( (: ) Asbo Gran. The image tells the story, but omits the fact that I was giggling like mad when I first saw the picture in the circles (a lesson intended to take students away from the crutch of “I don’t know what to draw”) (because sometime’s it’s about the drawing, just for the fun of it, like you sing a song because one note springs into your mind or you dance just because you can…) (/rant). Anyhow, image almost derailed lesson, but the guys liked the character and it did take on a life of its own in the class… So added here, just fo’ the fun.



Anything else? Had a down week last week for various reasons… Autism being the main one, sometimes it’s not particularly easy trying to head off the issues that come up. But so far this weeks been better so onwards and upwards, hopefully. Tried to send out a couple of quote begging letters, one to someone who I know I’ve got the tiniest sliver of a chance getting at best but would make me smile to hear what he thought for reasons outside of the book… but, much like when I sent out loads of WYAC letters to people for a quote about youth work to get one reply which was not helpful, sometimes it’s a big world and I’m a very small me.

Also went to a flower show, of all things, which had a floral arrangement done with the title Japan, which was allegedly sponsored by me and the book. Not sure that the audience was entirely within the same bracket as the one for the book but hey, was an interesting experience. Photos to come. That said did get lots of ideas for something so who knows… Maybe the next thing would be set in a flower arrangers circle?

Anything else? Um…

Nope. Well, not at mo anyhow.

DOH! I KNEW there was something else. We were VERY pleased and delighted to have Susie Clarke pop into the arts centre to work with the kids and play us out with a song. She’s a fabulous singer and has a voice that has to be heard to be believed. Difficult to describe but, in the same way that Alison Moyet has a voice that sends shivers down my spine, Susie has a VOICE. Deep and soulful, her song at the end of last weeks session was an absolute delight. If you’ve never heard of her check out: www.myspace.com/susieclarke and if you ever get the chance to hear her play live jump at it. Not to diss the recordings of her songs but hearing them sung live is an experience.


Thanks Susie πŸ™‚

Also, whilst prevaricating around the bush…

Doodled this following yesterdays post and a reminder to myself that I hadn’t checked out what the Dook was up to. Sad to see that I’d missed a gig in London, although my going up to London gig days are well behind me it feels like…

So anyhow, checked out his myspace (http://www.myspace.com/dukespecial) and then his webpage at www.dukespecial.com and, those actions completed over and above the things I really should have been doing, I quickly doodled this out in Expression (of course).

Duke Special, amazing irish singer, pianist,tree

So, um, yeah. Had a busy morning this morning and off to a meeting at college next and then teaching straight after. Treadmill activated? Then it’s gogogooooo!!!

One more thing…

There’s that inner apple fanboy coming out again…

Forgot to mention a non-related thing mark 2:

Downloaded Expression Studio 2 the other day (as part of Microsoft’s support a student scheme, bless ’em) and have been totally addicted to switching it on (well, the Design part of it anyway) and playing if I get any free time, generally between 10 and half 11 most nights, much to the grumpiness of my wife.

Nearly a week in and it’s a mixed review so far. Expression, for anyone who knows me, is BY FAR my favourite art software with Photoshop coming in second place. Pixelmator is nearly there and Blender, Flash, Fireworks and others all get an airing occasionally. Expression is the only one I play with rather than work in though. Love it to pieces…

Currently I’m in the ‘learning new features, frustrated with changes’ zone and also the slightly sluggish working in virtual mode – it’s currently being used on a lowish end macbook using Parallels 3 as a bridge. However there are some BIG changes that are winding me up a wall.

For a start I was surprised by how much I had come to use soft fills and fringes to give sometimes very subtle effects. They’re not there anymore. Worse still is the exclusion of effect lines! Shocking.

These images have some of the taken out options in. No idea how I’d replicate some of the effects in there without:




((the last one is called faces because every time I look at it I just end up looking at the faces that come out of the lines)).

Apart from that the new effect filters are lovely and I’m aiming to be working with them a lot. Here’s the first doodle done, playing with the new options.

creature house microsoft expression

Frustratingly the colour blend modes don’t seem to work and I’ve got no idea whether that’s the build I have or what… Hoping to get some customer support although, sadly, their forum is filled with people saying the same sort of thing.

Regardless Expression remains my favo piece of art software… I’m just not sure which version of it it is just yet… Or whether I’ll be using both Expression 3.3 (old) and Design Studio 2 (new). Ironically both were free downloads from Microsoft and that’s something that I think the company are well deserving of thanks for over and above the slating they get for many things.

But I still want my effects lines back πŸ™