Garden Wildlife Article Illustration Project

Last week I wrapped up another week long self initiated Illustration project to find out about how to attract wildlife into the garden. It was very educational for me. I’ve actually been doing a lot more gardening myself and I have all sorts of birds in my garden now including Sparrows, Robins, Dunnocks, Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Long Tailed Tits and Goldfinches.

I haven’t finalized it yet because I’m moving onto a different themed project every week finished or not, but here are some studies from this one so far (from books). It is hard to do life drawing of birds because they move so fast, but I am going to do so while the weather is nice.

Drawings of British Birds

Resource Roundup April

I thought I’d write about a few resources I’ve found lately that might be useful to someone else as well (occasionally I post links to things on my Twitter, but I want to give some context).

I have been an avid listener of the Seanwes podcast for the last few months since I discovered it. I only wish it had been around 7 years ago but what can you do. Learning from your own mistakes is pretty essential anyway, and I’ve learned a lot let me assure you.

I found this awesome video which explains the 12 basic principles of animation. I don’t do animation mind- but I have always been interested in it and I have to get around to learning Toon Boom Studio at some point:

The illusion of life from cento lodigiani on Vimeo.

I’m going to make my Illustration website at some point as a static HTML5 website using Bootstrap because although I could code it from scratch (yawn) I just don’t have the time to be honest and this enables me to focus on the interesting stuff- the content and design. Don’t get me wrong I do still love WordPress but I’m feeling nostalgic for simplicity. Personally I found myself feeling less and less creative after coding themes for WordPress and getting obsessed with php functions and security updates for the last 7 years or so. It sort of killed my enthusiasm because I was never satisfied with what I did and I’m not a dedicated coder- in fact I haven’t done any coding for about 6 months and I feel great.

The only dilemma I was having with that (sort of) is that I needed a contact form to go with it. However I remembered my sister recommending Jem Turner’s contact form script- so problem solved.

Another thing I’ve seen lately is the release of a new digital painting tool called Rebelle which looks similar to ArtRage in that it simulates real medium- in this case Watercolour. This is not so much a recommendation because I have not tried it but it looks interesting. I have enough software for now though and I quite like using the real thing as well. Hopefully there will be some reviews of it at some point.

Yet another piece of art software I came across is called Hexels. This is for isometric art lovers really. Whilst I admire such art I’m not sure about trying it myself just yet.

So that’s that for now. I’m thinking of providing free resources and my learning notes from the years gone by at some point, so stay tuned.

Update on portfolio development

I’ve been doing a new weekly Illustration project (self initiated) since the end of February. I’m realizing that this process is essential for training discipline but also I believe in having fun and being creative as well- It’s not good to put too much pressure on yourself. I’m still experimenting in different mediums and trying subject matter I have not explored before or for a very long time (Fairies are back- dinosaurs are coming). Its a little like digging into the nicer childhood memories but with a more adult perspective (possibly).

I’m pretty sure my idea of a July launch date for my new website was far too optimistic though. As well as real life getting in the way (nothing bad thankfully) I also got a project which I must dedicate time to every day, flatting comics for Doug TenNaples Nnewts 2- which is awesome :)

I started keeping a little art journal since last August which I put any ideas or creative thoughts I have into to make sure they don’t escape. I’m also keeping a large A3 sketchbook (s) for my project work because I’ve really found that it helps me plan and focus.

My time management skills are getting much better, I’m using an app called Task Coach to track my progress every day and I found an app called VisioTask which is useful for seeing what I have to do.

I also use freemind which helps me plan all sorts of things in digital spider diagrams and I’ve been using that for quite a while.

I’m still deliberating with myself whether or not to post images of what I’ve done with my self initiated projects here as a sort of art journal of my progress rather than wait until some time in the future which I can’t really predict very accurately- pretty sure it will be long after July though.

In other news- I’ve also taken up gardening.

Digital art software and animated gif revival

I have to admit I had trouble coming up with the title for this post.

During my recent travels around the Internet I found a few hidden gems I thought I would share.

I was looking into cross stitch designs which I noticed were pretty much pixel art design in sewn form. This got me researching pixel art again.

I found a few open source and free options for doing such art, including animation of sprites.

One that I thought looked pretty good is called Aseprite.

The super professional option (and expensive) is Pro Motion, which is like a modern version of Deluxe Paint.

Incidentally animated gifs are making a comeback in the form of animated e book covers and “retro” style computer games. Sad to say but I’m old enough to remember the early days of computer games. My sister and I would play around when we were kids with an Atrari ST program called Degas Elite making pixel art and animations.

Animated gifs used to be all the rage in website design- maybe there will be a revival to counteract the super clean minimalist look? Who knows.

In other news I have quite a lot of work to do helping my sister on a comic book project as well as my Illustration portfolio development and my new website launch (which may have to be re-scheduled now…) so over and out.



Spin the Wheel

I have been researching the market, soul searching, refining my style and coming up with ideas in my sketchbooks towards a new portfolio of work which I hope to have ready for June, along with a new website design. I am working on 10 Illustration projects for 10 weeks  in order to do this (each project has a one week long deadline).

I have come up with a method for doing this: I will pick one random project and then work on it until it is done, then repeat the process 9 more times.

I have written down 10 project briefs that I want to work on (they go with my portfolio direction based on what markets I want to target and my interests) and then labeled them a-j. These briefs will remain top-secret for now :-)

Today I made a spinning wheel so that I can decide on each project to do without too much fuss or bias. I came up with the idea after watching a few game shows (tip- you have to lay the wheel flat when you spin it otherwise gravity wins every time).

spin the wheel

Now please excuse me because I have a lot of work to do…