Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Where’s my right hand?

I know, I know, the sketchbook within the sketchbook has been done by
much better artists. But so often at the end of the day I’m sitting with the family watching TV in exactly the same position as on previous evenings and I get a yen to draw but can’t be bothered to be anywhere but in my comfortable seat with my feet up. It gets difficult to ring the changes from the same viewpoint so I’m once again resorting to blatant copying. I should have done the job of copying better and remembered to somehow include my right hand.

Monday, February 27, 2006

EDM - Doorknob challenge

It’s neverending. I don’t know how everyone else keeps up with all the chores and repair jobs that need to be done. I think I’d rather draw the house collapsing around me.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Flo after a shower

This is the third and least worst attempt to capture Flo this evening. All the drawings of her as a teenager have failed to capture the sweetness of her face. I have just over three years to get one right before she’s no longer a teenager.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Illustration Friday - SONG

A preliminary rough of something that’s been stewing in my mind for the last week. I was thinking of self-publishing an illustrated book of ‘There was an old woman who swallowed a fly’, because it’s one of Xavier’s favourite songs. However I think the words of the song are still under copyright so it looks like I’m going to have to do my own version. If you add any suggestions for further verses in the comment box, please do so on the basis that you’re freely giving them to me to use if I want to!

One more naked man

This one needed eight separate scans to patch together. I’d use smaller paper but I know the teacher would disapprove and I’m such a conformist…

Thursday, February 23, 2006

How to scan big pictures

First scan your image in as many overlapping scans (all at the same scale) as necessary to scan the whole picture.

Then patch together your scans in Photoshop or other photo manipulation software (the Gimp is free software you can download) to make the whole picture (using transparency on the layers to check that each piece overlaps correctly). You may need to slightly rotate some of the patches to ensure they overlap correctly.
Once it all fits correctly, change the transparency on all the layers back to 100% and use the eraser tool to gently rub away the hard edges on each layer.
Finally use curves, levels, brightness and contrast, hue and saturation or whatever you want to improve the appearance of your picture.
Flatten the picture, and save for web to post for all to see.

Or say ‘Sod it, nothing is worth that palaver’ and get out your digital camera.

Job interview tips – Number one

Whilst Robin was settling into his hospital room today (for his minor knee op) we were chatting about his experiences in the past when interviewing job applicants. The funniest was the beautiful young woman who wafted into the interview room with lots of cleavage on display. Despite the erotic frisson she brought to the interview, he attempted to dispassionately assess her suitabilty for the job and how she would fit in with the team. However the moment that the job was lost forever to her was when, just as she was leaving, she gave him a knowing wink. What was she thinking of? So girls and boys put that at the top of the list – DO NOT EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WINK AT THE INTERVIEWER!
Do you have any tips?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Faces at the parent/teacher evening

These scribbles kept me occupied whilst waiting in endless lines to hear the best and worst that the teachers had to say about Tom.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

William and Annie Hodson

My father just sent me this family photo of my great grandparents surrounded by their sons. They also had three daughters who sadly all died in infancy. Aren’t these old photos an endless source of fascination? Little Archibald (how could anyone give a baby that name?) on the left is my grandfather. I find it amazing that Annie knew me. If there are any members of the Hodson family who would like a print out of this photo a large version can be found here

Monday, February 20, 2006

Flying horse

Another hospital picture

I was here waiting for what we thought was going to be an injection in Robin’s knee, but the consultant reckoned keyhole surgery would fix the problem better, so look forward to more hospital pictures from the chauffeur.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

EDM drawing challenge - People I love

Tom, Hugo and Robin aren’t the only people that I love but they were the only ones in the sitting room watching the film last night. I’m a very lucky person. Broad brush pen on rough lumpy handmade paper.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Facing the sad reality

This woman could do with a face lift.

Robin watching TV

The top one has something of the angularity of Robin’s head. I like the way that these rough brush strokes sometimes – by luck rather than design – capture something of the person.

Hugo dropping off watching TV

More brush sketches.

New brush

This one does look quite a bit like Tom. I do like this new thicker brush pen.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Illustration Friday - SIMPLE

The deceptive simplicity of an egg. The illustration was created entirely from circles.
The perfect simple comfort meal – a slice of good crusty white bread toasted, buttered and topped with a poached egg, a sprinkle of Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper – yumm!

I’m back

This was last week’s life drawing – I think I really hate charcoal. Will I have the courage tonight to just do my own thing rather than using the materials that are on the teacher’s list – probably not. I haven’t posted for days because of a horrible virus and generally feeling under the weather, but I’m back posting daily now.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Illustration Friday - CHAIR

This is the latest I’ve ever submitted an illustration friday picture, but I’ve still managed to get in under the wire wa hey!

Memories of Brighton last summer.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Spot the difference!

One of these pictures is Rachel Whiteread’s installation at the Tate Modern and the other is Julie Oakley’s installation in her living room.
Do you think Rachel has a clutter problem like mine?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Hugo’s birthday tomorrow

Hugo should enjoy this as he’s a fan of Vin Diesel.

I might not be blogging for a few days as I feel very achey and think I’m starting the flu, so I'm off to bed and will only emerge to tend to the little emperor (Xavier) as necessary.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Technology meets knitting

I met my first real live fellow blogger in the flesh on Friday night. Glyn was wearing this super duper knitted waistcoat that his incredibly talented mother made for him. This original marketing technique made me look at his
website the very next day and it’s full of gems. He’s a poet, writer, publisher and promoter of wonderful films that would never have seen the light of day without him. However his website is a kind of eco-friendly free-range blind contour design so I can’t find the link for the poem that particularly moved me about how a couple need to share a sack of salt before they know each other. Do have a look around and see if you can find it, it would be lovely to show to someone that you’ve shared half a sack of salt with. He also has a rather good way of dealing with forgetting Valentine’s Day, if you should find yourself in that position. Oh and buy something, anything.

Inspired by Rousseau

I’ve always liked this painting that my daughter Florence produced when she was studying Rousseau’s work at school a few years back.
I knew that Henri Rousseau was a ‘naive’ artist, however I hadn’t realised until I went to the exhibition yesterday, quite how bad his draughtsmanship could be. Nevertheless, what an inspiration – he didn’t become a full-time artist until he was in his forties, and despite the lack of drawing skills, he produced such delicious paintings. So there’s hope for us all.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Train journeys

Lots of culture this weekend. The National Theatre production of ‘The Coram Boy’ on Friday which was fantastic (this link shows excerpts from the play) and the Henri Rousseau exhibition at Tate Modern today. One of the things that is so lovely about having several children is the different combinations you can have on an outing. Today it was my turn to be with just the two older boys. I failed miserably at catching their likenesses on the train but used the drawings to play with different shades of blue. Tom doesn’t usually look so gormless, but he has a horrible cold at the moment and can only breathe with his mouth open.

Friday, February 03, 2006

BCF - Insect

These stick insects were the children’s first pets. When they died Tom lovingly mounted them and framed them for posterity. I just hope he won’t want to do the same thing when Rufus passes on.

Illustration Friday - GLAMOUR

Bette Davis the epitome of glamour in that wonderful film where Paul Henried put two cigarettes in his mouth, lit both of them and handed one to her. That film did so much for the tobacco industry!

So as an antidote I also offer one of my favourite anti smoking ads.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

First life drawing class in over 20 years

Wally and Laura have both inspired me to find a local life drawing class. I’m struggling a bit with new varifocals, standing up with my arm in the air, and trying to produce bigger drawings. I was forced to photograph these as they were four times the size of my scanner, but I can’t seem to get an in-focus result from our camera, so I may in future scan in patches and put it all back together in Photoshop.
The only class I could find was with some 16 year old 'A' level art students – all girls. Chatting to them whilst leaving they said this was their third class and the first one with a male model. If they go on to art college they’ll seem so sophisticated to their fellow students, having already dispensed with the nudity embarrassment hurdle.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

On with the new

Bye bye January, hello February.
Despite the craven commercialism of my new masthead, I think you should know that some of us appreciate tokens of love, just because you love us, not because of pressure from the greetings card manufacturers/chocolate manufacturers/florists. So flowers please at any time of the year, just not on February 14th.