That Drawing I Occasionally Redo

25 April 2012

Ekishima Redraw 2012

This Weekend Needs More Terrarium

22 April 2012

Just did that thing when you leave the room, come back and notice a herd of dinosaurs standing on your mousemat…

Dinosaur Herd

Welcome to my weekend obsession. I don’t even remember where this started. I’ve been fighting a pretty persistent algae outbreak in the fish tank and somewhere between that and watching the weird java fern leaves sprouting roots for lots of plantlets the recurring question came up of what to do with this:

The Tank

It’s Kio’s original tank. Too small for most things to live in, I considered putting a Siamese fighter in but wasn’t sure about keeping the temperature constant in such a small volume of water. And after careful deliberation I decided I didn’t want to maintain another filter so that ruled out an aquatic plant tank.

Which landed me firmly in the strange little world of gardens in glass jars. Terrariums. Have a peek in this [Flickr pool] to see what I mean. Ferns, mosses and similar green things. A layer of gravel, activated charcoal, soil and off you go. I was worried about the gardening charcoal coming in huge expensive boxes and ending up with a stupid amount leftover until I found out that the stuff goes by another very familar name:

Cheap Carbon

This entire project has thus far cost me the princely sum of £3. Now all I need are plants!

Naturally in the middle of all this I found another glass-like container:

The Unsuspecting Candle Holder

Okay so it’s technically a candle holder and it’s in 2 separate pieces, but if I glue them together I could make another mini one… and I can see this two-day obsession getting out of control very very quickly if I don’t get it over with soon.

What does this have to do with dinosaurs? Well something’s got to live in there hasn’t it? Most people have deer and unicorns, I’m having dinosaurs. Because they’re awesome. Don’t worry, only the brachiosaur and the triceratops will live in there so I won’t have to worry about them eating each other when I’m not looking. And there’ll be plenty of foliage so they won’t fight over food. I bet they’ll make perfect tankmates.

Alas I can’t get to a garden centre this weekend, and Homebase didn’t have anything suitable. So I stuck some of the tiny bits floating around the top of the fish tank in a jar to appease my need to put something, anything, in glass this weekend.

Baby Aquatic Plant Jar

They might not do so well, I’ll keep an eye on it and chuck them back in the tank if things start to look a bit rough. I’ve forgotten what this was supposed to achieve, I think my brain mis-routed somewhere between deciding this second tank wouldn’t be for aquatic plants and noticing these tiny ones that might be perfect for it.

As final note: never, ever go to Asda on a Saturday. No it doesn’t matter that it’s near Homebase. Or that there’s a bus stop right outside (on the wrong side of a dual carriageway with metal railings down the central reservation and 5 mins from the nearest crossing point). For the shop will be full of trolleys and bizarrely, shelf stackers, who between them will block virtually every attempt to access a shelf as you wander around this maze of an unfamiliar supermarket trying to figure out where everything is. Unless you like to go from zero to frustrated in 4 mins, in which case go right ahead.

Acrylic Paint Test

9 April 2012

Stumbling on this earlier in the week [Kidrobot: The EPIC Custom Collection Of vinyltoyz] put me in the mood to finally do something with that blank vinyl DIY model I picked up last month. One tiny obstacle to face though: I can’t paint. The plastic’s well suited to acrylics so I had a bit of a read around the internet this weekend about how to obtain gradient effects. Had a bit of a play this afternoon with somewhat mixed results:

Gradient Acrylic Paint Test

The red seemed to work best, kinda funny seeing as it’s the cheapest paint of the lot. I don’t think I’ve nailed getting the water dilution right to pull this effect off. The purple Vallejo gave a nicer finish when I got it right, but it kept drying too quickly to do the blending properly.

Polystyrene Paint Test

The model’s quite small though, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to work this effect in while staying in the right area. I’m gonna borrow an airbrush and see what kind of effects I can get with that. I don’t really know what you can do with one but it’ll be fun to try. Squee, new thing to play with :)

(Aside: what the hell is my upstairs neighbour doing? It sounds like they’re re-arranging furniture. Again!)

I also picked up a paint marker:

Posca Paint Marker Test

This thing is brilliant, you don’t need to put any pressure on it at all to get a nice smooth line but the nib drives just like a normal pen so it’ll be much easier for me to get details in than with a brush. I think I might need a narrower one though, it soaks into this paper so it’s kinda hard to tell.

Last Minute Day Out in London

30 March 2012

Got up bright and not-so-early to go to London for a day of exploration and general getting-out-of-the-houseyness. You could say 9am isn’t that early but when you were up till 4am planning your trip at the last minute then yeah, 4 hours sleep does make 9am look a little bit bleurgh. Id’ve travelled earlier if the railcard’d let me; somewhat suprised that they’re not vaild until 10am on weekdays, kind of a pain when you’re travelling far but come to think of it I should’ve remembered from last time I travelled on a Friday.

So yes, first up was the Science Museum. I’ve been there before a few years back, but I only got there 1 hour before the doors closed so I decided to go back and finish it. Turns out, that might’ve been the interesting half and it was a little bit dull until I hit the section about the human brain and identity, that part was kinda cool.

It was another fantastically sunny day so I headed up to Hyde Park for lunch. Okay I never would’ve thought it would be hard to find a sandwich shop near a major tourist attraction but it took 15 minutes and 3 maps to land me at a tiny kiosk that did the job. It was an awesome day for it though, I sat on the grass by the river watching the swans, ducks and boats go by. In my quest for somewhere to sit I walked past the Diana Memorial Fountain, but time was pressing on so I didn’t go back for a proper look.

Getting totally lost in Covent Garden I ended up running facefirst into a Kidrobot store. I haven’t done the last vinyl yet but picked up a cute little cube dude in a teacup and another custom DIY job, this time a tiny zipper pull. Blindboxed, so you get either one of a multitude of cute little animals, a random lighting bolt, shuriken, or… well… a bright green poo.

Munny Zipper Pull - Green Poo

What the heck am I supposed to do with this?! (and why is it green?)
Oh I know, maybe I could polymer-clay its ass and turn it into an iced gem. Or a snail. Though it might be poor taste to make an iced gem out of poo. Note to self: don’t buy blindboxed assorted figures. Unless the assortment is just a colour change, that’s okay.

Also in Covent Garden I found a quirky little store selling all sorts of notebooks, erasers, cute things and the tiniest lego sets known to man.

Nanoblock Tiny Lego Set

I had to have one :) Those blocks are about the size of my thumbnail. The other sets had more pieces, but I liked this one because it’s blue.

I stopped by Forbidden Planet but I was all silly-thinged out by that point so I didn’t buy anything and headed on to the British Museum, slightly later than planned. Covent Garden seems like a great place to meander randomnly around, but any attempt at navigation is foiled by long, long roads that run in both directions from a single point. I swear I went down this one road 3 times until I finally got my bearings.

So the British Museum. I’ve never been to this one before, and it was *amazing*! So many things crammed in there from all over the world, most of them pretty damn huge. I spent ages wandering around the Assyrian section, walls lined top to bottom with engraved reliefs of all sorts of things.

Assyrian Relief

Nereid Monument

(I gotta say, HTC’s cameras could use some work. I took some more pictures but they didn’t come out much better. Second note to self: next time, take actual camera. :S)

I got there at 4pm worried that I’d not left enough time (or got this trip backwards), but lucky for me the place is open late on Fridays. If I’d realised there were free tours in the evening I would’ve joined one, but I missed that memo and wandered around the Greek, Egyptian and Enlightenment sections until 7pm, by which time I was getting a bit tired and decided to head back in search of dinner and a nice warm cup of tea.

The person next to me on the train home was knitting. I never did figure out what she was making.

Another Sunny Day

29 March 2012

Sunny Day At The Beach - WIP

I’ll be inking this later.

Sketches in the Park

28 March 2012

Spent 3 hours sitting out in the sun this afternoon, rather nice for the middle of March.

Park Sketch 1 - Ekishima


Park sketch 2 - Amia

Things and Things and More Things

28 March 2012

Lets get this in order.

Two chapters and 4 exercises left in the Java textbook, kinda happy to get to nearly get to the end of it. Though it is all Swing GUI stuff and I always find that kinda tricky. Sooo many objects, so many lines, so many odd little settings and things to remember.

I made a wallet. It has constellations on.
Constellation ZIppy Wallet
Modified the Riko doll. I’m still not happy with it. It’s missing something but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Diddy Riko Revisited

I’ve been watching too much anime. Then again, there’s nothing on so maybe that’s okay. With Game of Thrones coming back and some random thing on Channel 5 about fairytales, maybe that’ll change. I still need to finish Battlestar.

A wandering Timcanpy appeared. It was cute.

Timcanpy Plush

An amigurumi dragon stopped by to say hello too. He was resized, but he didn’t seem to mind. He now lves on my desk, amongst other things.

Cute Little Amigurumi Dragon

I got one of these, I thought they were cool:

Baby Angel Cat Qee - Blank

I need to design it. You can paint them with acrylics but seeing as I suck at painting I think paint marker-pens are the way to go.

A friend sent me one of these. It was also cool:

Tea Mug

The fish got new plants. The just-a-bundle-of-leaves fern was a little disappointing, but there’s some baby ones growing off it so maybe those will survive.

New Plants in Fishtank

Yeah… this is totally the wrong kind of camera for this.

I had a go with my new Studio pencils. Can’t say I’m used to them yet as the drawing I’m trying them out on is allllll black so half of the pencils are from a different range, but it’s nice to have so many shades of grey to work with.

Pencil Test - Allen Walker WIP

The polychromos are nice, they cover big areas well and the colours come out darker than the harder Derwents. But then, that’s not what I brought the Derwents for.

I’m on holiday at the moment. It’s nice to have time off work, finding places to go is somewhat difficult. I have plenty of things to do here but it kind of feels like killing time, and that’s no way to spend a holiday. I won’t sit indoors the whole time.

I need a new bag. I can’t find one I like. I considered making one, though I’m not sure where you get the thick kind of fabric that makes messenger bags work from. All I’ve found so far is cotton, and that stuff isn’t much good when it comes to handling book-weight.

Adventures in Pencil Land

22 January 2012

I’d say I’d been very bad yesterday but I really haven’t, I earned it…

Derwent Studio Pencils

I’ve been coveting a nice set of colouring pencils for a while. My Carb0thellos are great, but it’s impossible to get small fine details out of pastel pencils so I have to leap in with a box of Crayolas to save the day on the tiny bits. Last week I struggled to colour something purple with my one shade of deep dark violet, and decided to take a look to see what else was out there. I did a bit of research and was shocked at how much these pencil sets cost.

Enter Hobbycraft’s January sale; it’s not often you wander into a store and find exactly what you’re looking for at half price, or spend an hour trying to decide which set to go for before finding these tucked away at the back of the store. They were marked down at £10 cheaper than that Artist’s range, which I can only assume is because they’re less popular. Most artists look for something soft and highly blendable so while I found a sea of reviews praising Derwent’s Coloursoft range, those wouldn’t quite fit what I was looking for. In the end I narrowed it down to two ranges; Derwent Artists and Derwent Studio. The “lead” core of the two pencils is identical, but the Studio line is thinner with a hexagon shaped barrel, so they’re marketed as being for fine detail work and sound more like what I was after. Plan A was to pick up one pencil from the different ranges, give them a try and see which I liked best, but I was unlikely to find a set like this for £25 again so I just went for it. After a quick play it seems these’ll do the job just fine for me. :)

Calendar Project: Complete

31 December 2011

Squee I did it I did it I did it!

Calendar Project 2011 Art Summary Meme

I’ve come with all kinds of colourful New Year’s Resolutions to try and get me drawing again. Over on DeviantART this meme goes around every year where you fill in each box with the best drawing you did that month, and I found it pretty depressing looking at it for the past few years with lots of blank spaces I couldn’t fill. So I made a resolution that this year, I’d have a drawing for every month. I called it Calendar Project; unimaginative I know, but naming a drawing for each month made me keep track of which ones I’d done and which ones I hadn’t, and it worked brilliantly.

New Year’s resolutions usually only last until about March, so getting to the end of the year and actually finishing one is pretty cool. Sure there were a few moments when things didn’t go smoothly; August was a train wreck, October and November were never finished, June was late but hey, never mind. The point of the exercise was to get me drawing again and I think it’s done the job :)

Backups and Things to Put Them In

19 November 2011

It dawned on me about a month ago that in the whole time I’d had my desktop, I’d never done a full backup. Which doesn’t sound like the end of the world, until I realise I brought Karexi in February 2010. That’s a whole lot of data to lose.

Backups on SilverDragon involved about 3 days of tidying up files and swapping out CD-R’s, so I can’t say it’s a job I particularly look forward to doing. Which may explain why I put it off for so long. But it all seems a bit daft when you realise Windows 7 has an automatic backup facility which just requires plugging in a portable hard drive on the right day of the week and leaving it to it. To be honest I’ve never been a fan of the thought of using hard drives as a backup medium, but seeing as my track record proves I probably wouldn’t bother most of the time it’s better than nothing, as long as I remember to crack a DVD out every now and then just in case. So one quick trip to Staples and a portable hard drive later, everything was backed up. Yay.

I’m sure we all know by now what another new toy means; time to make a new case to put it in! I rather liked this <a href=””>iPod Nano Case Tutorial by Petchy</a> so I went with that, adding an extra pocket in for the USB cable. This design doesn’t hide the side seams like I usually do, so I liked the idea of trying something different.

Aaaaand that was over a month ago. My iron was messed up for a bit so I couldn’t finish it and then I put it off for ages but it’s finally done.

Portable Drive Case 1

Everything I’ve touched this afternoon has given me grief, and this case was no exception. Sticking the extra pocket in and sandwiching the felt between two pieces of fabric with interfacing on the outside layer made it too thick to go through the sewing machine. I couldn’t handsew it because with the side seam stitches visible backstitch would look too messy on the reverse side. So I had to take the whole thing apart and cut the felt down small enough to clear the seams.

Portable Drive Case 2

I also screwed up the ribbon, stiching it under the side seam at first and having to unpick the whole side, and when I finally got it in it’s 5mm too long. I must’ve caught it on something when trying to sneak the stiching in underneath. But it doesn’t matter, it’s not like this drive is destined to spend much time on the move so having the top flap a bit loose is something I can live with.

I’m a stupid perfectionist so there’s a lot of things about this case I could pick holes in but screw that, positive thinking time; I love the blue fabric, and it’s finished! Yeah, that’ll do.

Portable Drive Case 3

As an aside I have no idea what the lining fabric says; it’s French, has matrices, Pythagoras triangle geometry drawings and the odd refence to Nottredame on it but I never did figure it out.