discovering-podcasts

Looking for other things to listen to besides music, I decided to give the podcast list a trawl on Spotify. Although the first few seemed interesting enough, they lacked that tone of voice that would keep me awake at my desk on a warm Wednesday afternoon in July.And then it appeared… No Such Thing As A fish. My first thought was, ‘what the heck is this?’ Then I immediately went to ‘it’s got fish in the title, I’m sold’ (real mature I know).The podcastHosted by the QI Elves (give them a follow on Twitter by the way @qikipedia), NSTAAF is a brilliant show where the Elves present their favourite facts from the last seven days.Episode one had a strong opening, not only with a funky tune, but James’ bizarre fact from an exhibition about the Large Hadron Collider. He learnt that the Large Hadron…

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Presenting my entry for Illustration Friday. The theme was sprout. Hopefully the connection is clear 🙂 It was such an awesome programme when I was younger! Oh my gosh, who remembers the films…

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what-our-daughters-should-read

There always seems to be an ongoing debate over children’s literature and what we think is ‘right’ for children to read. If you haven’t seen it, there was an interesting video circulating Facebook a week or so ago, titled ‘If Cinderella were a guy’, promoting a new book of ‘good night stories for rebel girls’. And all I can say is what a disappointment the whole post turned out to be. I was infuriated by it. But before I begin I will do the usual ‘everything in this post is my opinion and my views may or may not be shared by anyone else’, just in case. By the way, a link to the video can be found here.My thoughts on the videoSo, the video opens with a male voice over stating ‘If Cinderella were a guy’, but the following screen then says there was a…

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books-teach-children-something

What makes a children’s fiction book desirable for parents? Is it the compelling plot? The design? The cost? Or perhaps it’s what they think their child will take away from it? (Notice how I’m deliberately focussing on this being the parents’ choice).Some contextAs part of my day-time job, I spend days and days telling the general public why they shouldn’t feed the wild ponies. Why? Because not only is it bad for them, it can cause them act aggressively towards those who (quite rightly) won’t surrender their picnic, and it encourages them to loiter near roads and places where there are lots of people and potential snackage.We use printed articles and leaflets, social media, blog posts, and still we encounter this behaviour of feeding and petting wild animals. So why is this? Stubbornness to accept that their behaviour is in some…

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finding-your-next-read

The problemI always find it difficult choosing my next read and it can be overwhelming walking into my local bookstore and finding myself face-to-face with just about every book imaginable. Do I pick something from the new release chart? Maybe a best seller? Or is it time to go crazy and completely change genre? There must be a new way to choose what to read next.With various social media channels constantly telling me which famous person has their birthday on a particular day, I started wondering who I share mine with. A quick Google search and I found a whole list of famous literary people that share my birthday, but I’d never heard of most of them.The solution*Lightbulb* what a great way to find a new book to read (and add to my more than mole hole sized pile). You scroll through the…

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drawing-way-week

Drawing – making Mondays bearable since time began!This is a first draft of a new scene I’m working on. It needs some neatening up and extra bits added in, but it turned out okay.It will also be the first time I create a version of something with textures on top. So the final stage will be to create fur, grass and rock textures.As always, let me know what you think because I’m still learning and so feedback and tips are always welcome…

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They were everywhere, but now they’re nowhere. Six word stories took the internet by storm, but nowadays we’re lucky to see the odd post reflecting on their brilliance.What made them so popular? They were captivating. An entire story in one line; superb.Wait … ‘an entire story in six words’ – that’s six words long! *Epiphany music plays* (Whatever epiphany music may be – suggestions welcome).Anyway, they caught our attention and sent our imaginations wild with possibilities. You could read one hundred stories in minutes and suddenly feel inspired to do your own.But here is where the problem lies. Where do they lead? They are, after all, an entire story. They are everything that needs to be said. Sure, they could turn into the plot for a book or short story, but that one line of brilliance is then lost.So, I sat racking my brain trying…

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establishing-drawing-style

So after my first attempt at creating some digital characters, it was time to see what else I could do.It soon became apparent that I have a certain style: a thick-ish black outline and using solid colours without any shading or texture.It may look primitvie and a little plain, but I’ve come to like it.What you see is still a draft as the lines could be neater and there is potential to add shading in a variety of ways, but it’s a good start.I’m also in the process of experimenting with backgrounds, changing the tool to get a variety of scenes to suit the character(s).Hopefully one day you’ll see my drawings in children’s books!What do you think…

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Overcoming a writing disaster

I still remember the moment it happened. ‘There’s a problem with the dissertation. Unfortunately, it didn’t pass.’ It was like being hit by not just one tonne of bricks, but a thousand, and not in one go either. Instead, it felt like a small child was throwing them one at a time against the back of my head as I tried to walk away with at least a shred of dignity and self-esteem.  Everything I had worked towards over the last four months was labelled as ‘a problem’. Which was actually quite flattering as it turned out there were so many problems they gave up writing feedback after page two. That must be a record? Either way, failure wasn’t something you’d expect from someone who had averaged B’s throughout their Master’s modules.That was the moment my life started to feel like it…

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inspiration-is-for-amateurs

It’s your day off.You: ‘Great, I’ll finally get some drawing and writing done.’The all mighty being that controls all drawing and writing ability: ‘Not. A. Chance.’There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting down, cup of tea at the ready and all the determination in the world to get things done, only to find you are incapable of drawing anything. And I mean anything.Your backgrounds become a disgusting mix of colours as your brain can’t settle on what it wants to achieve; it’s like a paint palette has caught some sort of bug and exploded at both ends all over your page. Your once cute and cuddly characters look like they have mutated into the things nightmares are made of. You end up madly scribbling across your pages, angrily cursing under your breath.It’s not like you’ve been forcing yourself to…

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