Monday, January 21, 2013

Frosty Moon

We haven't had that much of the massive blizzardy snowfall that the rest of the country seems to be blanketed under, too warm by the sea possibly? Just ventured out to the shop (8.30 pm) and was quite surprised at how twinkly and frosty everywhere has become since sundown. The best bit of frost in the air away from neon lights is how the stars and the moon (with a huge ring around it) look, if it wasn't so flipping cold I would still be out there staring up! Glad I ran out of milk now.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


 How sad to read that Jon Finch, the actor I had such a huge teenage crush on, died over Christmas. I wrote a blog post about him here.  He certainly had the talent and looks to be a huge star and reading this obituary I am relieved to hear that his relatively low key career was his own choice. It's kind of reassuring to know that not everyone chases fame.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The plague of Plagiarism

Seems like every 6 months of so we come across yet another example of some hot new artistic talent being hyped across the internet who shortly afterward goes down in flames for being an out and out copycat. Some brazen it out (*Mijn Schatje), some risk a prison sentence (*Shepard Fairey) and others, like *Josafat Miranda wail into their Wacom Tablet: "I don't have a gallery. I don't have a job". He claims that being outed for copyright theft has "damaged his life".

I seriously doubt it, no publicity is bad publicity in this jaded age, but he hasn't learnt anything if he doesn't realise that it was his own bad decision to trace over another artist's image then sell it as his own that has caused the gallery to pull his work. Read the usual learned comments below this article (is there a variant of Godwin's Law that substitutes Picasso's "Great artist's steal" quote for the Nazi's in these cases?) to reassure yourself that plenty of very vocal (if typing can be vocal) people out there still don't get what is and isn't plagiarism. At least I don't think anyone rolled out the mouldy chestnut "it's actually legal if the artist changes the work by (insert random number) %, that's a legal fact, I am a top lawyer... Mom, shut up I'm busy down here", which makes a lovely change. Steam comes out of my ears whenever I read that one. (Who needs curling tongs? I look like an orthodox Jew a lot of the time.)

Anyhoo, (a) you like drawing stuff: great, draw stuff, preferrably from life, it teaches you a lot. (b) You like tracing from photo's: great, take some photos or use COPYRIGHT FREE images if you think you might ever want to sell your work!!! OR, (c) and this is the one that get's the most misunderstood... evolve the reference material you choose, (say, a photo of a celebrity who flatly refuses to come and sit in your Mother's basement while you draw them) to an extent where it can be called an original work... I can't tell you where to draw that line, there is no magic percentage. You need to develop a feel for where to draw the line on if you are copying or not for yourself, because you don't want to start selling your work and then wind up in court having a Judge decide for you. If you feel a little iffy on that issue then maybe just keep those drawings for a personal folio of stuff you show on deviant art but don't sell. Finally there is always option (d), the option I imagine Josafat Miranda now wishes he had taken, and that's contact the original photographer and ask permission, it's their right, as in All Rights Reserved - if they grant it and ask you to reference that it is based on their original image then do so... it's their legal right (that's a legal fact, I am a top lawyer, etc..)...

Must get back to my tracing errr drawing...

* have accepted my name isn't special enough for glory!

Friday, January 11, 2013

corset clad cat lady?

Surely this is the way forward for my back problems? Steel boning! If a gal has any surplus about their person, that probably bulges out the top (OK, something to rest my double chin on) right? Has to look nasty/peculiar from the back? These things didn't have cups in the old days so what's to stop the boobage getting displaced and causing your arms to elevate like an over-pumped body builder?

On the mend but did get my groceries delivered like a mad shut-in -slipper-entombed-cat-lady this morning.... ooohhhhhh!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Misshapen identity

Ever been mistaken for a celebrity?

Back in the days when WetWetWet were a regular feature on Top of the Pops (and back in the days of TOTP obviously) my friend Stu was regularly hounded for Marti Pellow's autograph... Stu was very cute and had spikey black hair but looked nothing like the singer, I think he enjoyed the attention though. HotHotHot!

I, on the other hand, seem to have been 'blessed' with a random collection of mismatched photofit features and pretty much wait for the moment when any new acquaintance triumphantly says "Do you know who you remind me of?" (that's a phrase that always strikes fear into my heart... mainly because it proves my invisibility device needs new batteries again!) and then reveals the name of some completely random woman who also has dark eyes and hair... there never seems to be much overlap between the unusual suspects (except that they do have eyes and hair, obviously) apart from the colouring.

I did once get asked for an autograph too though, mistaken for Julie Walters by a merry myopic couple in a Spanish bar shortly after the film "Educating Rita" (already kind of an old film by then) had finished showing on the TV. What's the protocol for these situations, I should have asked Stu when I had the chance? I figured they had enjoyed happy hour enough not to notice that I had signed my own name on their serviette and made a sharp exit. I look nothing like her either... eeeerrrrrrrr

Except for today. Belatedly inspired by Olympic Fever (everything takes it's own sweet time to get to North Wales!) I bent over to tickle the cat with a gymnastic flourish this morning and did my back in. I passed the hall mirror and was struck really forcibly by the resemblance to Ms Walters in another role entirely. Yes, that's right, Mrs Overall - enjoy...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

There is a human behind the Face-book

I was just doing on of those leapfrogging research sweeps across the internet for some design work and as usual, wound up in a place I never intended to go or could have predicted I would end up in. I somehow got to Wired.UK and this article caught my interest 'Facebook's questionable policy on violent content toward women' (has no bearing on what I was researching!). This link will take you to Thorlaug Agustdottir's FB page so you can read about this incident and the pathetic responses of FACEBOOK to a clearly distressing situation for one of it's users.

The point of all of this was nicely summed up by one of the later comments: a lady named Oonagh Lawrence wrote: "When someone threatens another person (female or male) with sexual/physical violence, they destroy there(sic) own humanity. it is ultimately a position of loss, they have lost themselves so irrevocably and what it means to be a human being."

I am not sure that the Troll, or Hater, in this case is "irrevocably" lost because hopefully the resounding backlash to his (presumably) actions will cause this person (very possibly someone quite young and emotionally immature) to rethink their behaviour, question his values and possibly even reform them. I hope so.

It all made me think of a quite a heated debate I had a few nights ago with a male friend on the subject of the New Delhi bus attack/rape case, he was telling me that he had to leave a pub where he was drinking with some work colleagues when a group of men nearby started joking about the woman who died and the whole "rape-bus" idea. We wound up discussing the fact that just about everything we see and hear is about reinforcing the differences between men and women, between the races, between sexual preference and religious groups. Reinforcing stereotypes and drawing up demarkations, putting labels on ourselves and everyone we meet so that we can dismiss them offhand without the hassle of getting to know them. Why? Why so little about what makes us all united, we are all human first and foremost and surely we can all empathise with another human being, any human being, who is frightened or victimised? Surely we don't have to have been victims of that exact brand of hatred ourselves for empathy to come?

Sunday, January 6, 2013


My WIP blog posts are usually about doll making, but as the illustrations/paintings I'm working on in my spare time right now are intended as personal work for my online folio (which no longer exists because the older stuff seems like someone's else's work almost now) I figured I could share some thumbnails and prep sketches maybe.

My old style just doesn't relate to me anymore, and over the years when work has been scarce I have done a lot of chopping and changing to suit what the job/art director required. Kind of ironic that so many young illustrators are now imitating the work of well established 80's artists (ha ha, not that I could ever have been called "established" -even at my busiest I flew by the seat of my pants!). The irony being that they produce this "hommage" work on a Mac while many of those original illustrators kind of fell by the wayside due to their failure to adapt to the sea-change of the computer graphics age! A lesson for us all really, there is no point digging your heels in?

While I am trying to evolve this new style I have decided to work on a few subjects that just relate to my little interior world rather than the usual topics you see in spec portfolios. That way I hope to draw more freely rather than what I imagine those who commission illustrators right now want to see... that will come later. I don't want to chop and change anymore, I do that enough in my heavily fashion influenced design work already.

Anyway, channeling Rolf Harris for a moment... can you tell what it is yet?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Of course I believe in Fairies - Alex CF

Meticulous attention to detail and highly entertaining, watch the little film!

Alex CF

It all reminds me of my Granddad, who went to such great lengths to convince me that fairies really lived at the bottom of our garden when I was a child. I would frequently 'discover' things that they had carelessly left behind during the night, the most memorable being their "bathroom" under a snowberry bush. There was a teeny weeny toilet roll and a white fluffy towel draped over a branch next to the bath. Obviously now it occurs to me that the Victorian looking ceramic bathroom set was from a dollhouse, but the majority of the things he would leave around the garden were hand made. It was a big garden but he always seemed to know exactly where my cousins and I would go looking next ;o)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013