Saturday, 20 June 2015

Unashamedly cute.

Just thought I'd share this birthday invite I made for my BFF's sister's little girl.

The theme of the birthday party is 'teddy bear's picnic', and the dog teddy in the middle is her absolute favourite toy. Generally try and avoid pink-for-girls, blue-for-boys cliches, but I had this pink and minty green colour scheme in mind from the start, so OH WELL.

Printed double-sided, A6 (postcard size), on a lovely thick card stock.

Enjoyed doing the typography for this one too. Texta for the body copy works well with the hand-done fonts, I reckon. (Texta is my new favourite sans, after years of Gotham loyalty.)

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

May 2015

May has felt busy, in the way that the months leading into summer tend to. It probably wasn't that actually that hectic, but I guess it's just warm enough that we're all starting to venture outdoors again... So, with that in mind, BUMPER EDITION visual diary! At least it feels that way.

Starting with wedding!

I did this fairly terrible drawing of the beautiful Louise and Caroline... (which in my defense was done very late at night while utterly exhausted...) based on this picture I took, which (if I do say so myself) captures the moment wonderfully. SUCH a lovely day.

May continued nicely...

I had a great evening on May 5th… Went to Pizza 500 (who make amazingly delicious but also cheap, authentic Italian pizza) with Alex, Hannah and Tristan, then came home and watched BBC 4’s fantastic ‘slow tv’ 2-hour broadcast of a canal journey (link expires this Friday) while listening to one of my favourite radio shows over the top, and working on a fun freelance project. DREAMY.

Got pizza two days in a row as well, which is always a treat. AND a big slab of Wes’s birthday cheesecake.

Last month I left a very minor cliffhanger. Brief summary: applied for nice job in new place. Got interview. Conclusion: didn’t get nice job in new place. It’s cool. I do already have a very lovely job, and change is TERRIFYING, so everything is fine.

And then the Tories won. Many more dark days to come.

Perhaps in a slight political misery induced haze, I decided to stop climbing. Or at least stop climbing as a regular thing. I know. I’m a big quitter. WINNERS DON’T QUIT AND QUITTERS DON’T WIN etc. But you know what, screw that. I’m not into putting myself through things I don’t enjoy on the vague promise of some potential future personal betterment. It just wasn’t my sport. I still haven’t found my sport. (More on that next though)
Climbing still has its joys and I will return on occasion and battle my way up the easy routes, but it just isn't a thing that I want to force myself to try and get better at when I just wasn't getting better or having fun in the process.

I only quit climbing on the condition that I immediately start trying some new sport thing. So with great trepidation, I showed up at a hip hop dance class and flailed my way through a terrifying hour, including at one point being surrounded by a circle of lithe, toned women, and being shouted at to ‘FREESTYLE’. It was genuinely one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. AND I WANT MORE

My life basically revolves around tasks. If I’ve completed them all I find myself at a bit of a loss. (You can never really complete ALL the tasks though)

How come all the cats I meet in the street are so super lovely and friendly but all the cats I meet in my garden are just grumpy evasive poop-machines?

Bought myself some beautiful trainers for absolutely no justifiable reason.

My hair is finally long enough for UP-DOS! How exciting. It’s a pity I have no idea what I’m doing.

And here I am again. With my terrible coordination, a whole new range of body-confidence issues, only fully revealed by attempting to dance with lots of other people in front of a large mirror… AND YET.
It’s really remarkable that it’s taken me this long to combine my intense hatred of exercise with my intense love of music, to come up with something that just about tips the scales into ‘tolerable’ with moments of outright fun. Who knows. 3 months down the line I’ll probably decide this is ‘not my sport’ either and start playing badminton or something, but for now. This is the dream.

I’m not normally into fizzy pop but this stuff is GOOD.

I love hanging out with new dog friends.

Then, the annual event. EUROVISION!

I decided to try and draw all the acts again this year. As previously mentioned: I’m terrible at drawing people. But this is good practice. And I love Eurovision so much. (Even in the slightly less good years like this one was, IMO)

Tried another self portrait. I guess it’s probably quite vain to keep on doing this, but I feel like I need to at least be able to get my own face right! It still isn’t, but there are some interesting things going on that work okay. (Hair and cheek shading)

I’ve been meaning to do this for AGES. I hope I can be a good blog updater. If you like benches, you should check out my blog, UNPRECEDENTED BENCH ENTHUSIASM (all the good bench URLs were taken, okay, and not even by people writing about benches!)

In exciting house news, we were suddenly informed we were going to get a new toilet. (Probably prompted by the discovery that the soil pipe was a) leaking, and b) asbestos…)
We were told by the plumber that our old toilet could be over 100 years old! When I first moved in I thought it was GRIM. Everything under the water-line was utterly stained and the whole thing was covered in cracks and inherently impossible to every get truly clean. But the ceramic bowl was a beautiful unusual shape, and it had a certain sturdiness and reliableness to it (enhanced now I know it may have been 100+ years old) that meant I grew to quite like it.

For a few moments I was thrilled by the new toilet. It’s so CLEAN! It practically GLOWS! Shining! Gleaming! But it turns out it IS possible to have sentimental feelings for a toilet, and I (and several other people who live/have lived in this house have confirmed), the old toilet was kind of iconic, and we all miss it a bit. Which is RIDICULOUS.

Another one of the mixed blessings of this house (like the disgusting toilet that everyone secretly felt emotionally attached to), is that the house hasn't been properly emptied in probably 15+ years, maybe longer, and many past tenants have left behind possessions, either with the intent of collecting them further down the line, or as an easy means of getting rid of things. As a result, the kitchen is filled with a fairly ridiculous amount of stuff and I finally got round to disposing of all the pan-lids-without-pans, ancient poorly-washed tupperware, rusty cake trays, and other miscellaneous unwanted bits. What could go to charity shops went to charity shops, and the rest was recycled or binned, and suddenly the cupboards are no longer filled with junk and it's SO GOOD.

Rarekind is a record shop at the bottom of Trafalgar Street. I’d always walked past it and thought “I think that is a record shop for people who really like hip hop”. Then on Sunday I was like “Hold on, *I* really like hip hop”… so I went in and it’s so amazing and as well as hip hop there’s loads of jazz and electronica and I spent so much money and this is going to get expensive really quickly. I love you Rarekind.

Onwards to June. Already exciting because housemate and friend Justin has returned from his travels, this Friday is Alex's birthday, and after that we're going on a BOAT! Adventures await!

Monday, 11 May 2015

An interruption to usual programming

So. A few days since the election to collect my thoughts and everything is already going QUITE QUITE HORRIBLY.

It has become rapidly, brutally clear to me (and, it seems, a lot of other people) that I really can't simply sit back and do nothing. I have been pondering at great length what actions I can practically take, and/or what changes to my lifestyle I can make that will help those left most vulnerable under this new government, while also advocating for the change in attitudes needed to ensure that we ONLY have 5 more years of this, and not more. (And not UKIP. Please not UKIP.)

Like it or not, this government was voted in by a terrifyingly huge number of people (although still not as many as it should take to elect a majority government… but the proportional representation rant is a rant for another time)

I’ve seen a lot of people writing about things they’re hoping to do, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts so far… Some which are being repeated by a lot of people, others which are possibly ridiculous plans made by a tired, upset mind… All of which feel too small, but hopefully many small actions by many people will make a difference.

I thought for a while about quitting buying new clothes entirely for the next 5 years, shopping only at charity shops (and with exceptions made for pants, tights and socks because no one wants charity shop pants), and giving the money saved to appropriate charities… It probably wouldn’t really have any impact on anyone much aside from myself, but it still feels like it might be ‘the right thing’ to withdraw my support from dubious maybe-slave-labour clothes and my general addiction to high street shopping. Plus the vague notion that the Tories want me to go shopping so maybe I should stop.

It might not look it, but this is actually a really flattering top, and only £3 in Shelter!

I thought about joining a union (and may still) despite there not really being one specific to designers, and not really feeling like I need one (but you NEVER KNOW right?)
It's more about a gesture of solidarity to unions than specifically feeling like I need union support, I guess. Unite seems like the logical choice, but can anyone recommend one that might be more relevant?
Today's question: how do you draw the concept of a union...

I’m already vegan in things that I eat (apart from the odd bit of honey, because bees might save us all), but I really need to quit the occasional leather purchase and any non-edible products which aren’t specifically marked as vegan. I know this isn’t really a direct F-U to the current government, but the world needs all the help it can get environmentally now, especially with a government who are unlikely to do their fair share.

I'm not saying you all need to go vegan, but I AM saying vegetables are great.
These are some of my favs, not including kale because kale is hard to draw

In terms of volunteering, I’m weighing up my options here. I’ve been thinking for a lot of years about attempting to undergo the Samaritans training. The main thing holding me back is worries about the impact it may have on my own mental health, but realistically a LOT more people are going to be driven to the brink by this government, or even just need some basic compassion and kind words… I would love to be able to offer that to people. Has anyone had any experience with this?

Might need to work on a less gormless telephone face though

I’m also considering joining Arts Emergency as a Network Contact… this means being willing to talk to/mentor students (16+) from underprivileged backgrounds who are interested in careers in the arts (in my case it would specifically be graphic design). It feels slightly egotistical, but I love what I do and I do feel like I could offer some good advice, or at the very least support and encouragement to students who are considering it. I’m still trying to work out whether I’m a) experienced enough and b) worthwhile enough in terms of the advice I could give to get involved!
This is me, pondering some art, and whether I'm in a suitable
position to encourage other people who want to devote their lives to it.

In terms of protests, I don’t think this is something I am going to get involved with (much though I am ANGRY and like the idea of SHOUTING)… I am too scared (which I know is exactly what ‘they’ want), but I strongly, passionately support everyone I know who is going to get involved with any peaceful protests, and for protests which may require background support (for example in the Balcombe fracking protest where food, tents, camping equipment, sleeping bags etc were required) I will definitely be happy to contribute in any way I can. Alex has got excited in the past about getting more involved with mass-catering for protests (a la Anarchist Teapot Mobile Kitchen), and I could also be down with that. If chopping up hundreds upon hundreds of potatoes can make a difference then goshdarnit I’ll do it.

I am now available for placard design/slogan writing, including other such
passionate messages as 'I might need to have a lie down' and 'can't you be nicer?'

In terms of charitable donations, I am in the fortunate position that I can afford to donate some money each month, and there really is no excuse not to. Currently I do so on a fairly ad-hoc basis, chucking money in the direction of whatever charity catches my eye, but I’m wondering whether now is the time for a couple of direct debits alongside these irregular donations. Homelessness charities, food banks, domestic abuse support, and any charities which offer support/advice to anyone vulnerable due to poverty/mental health issues are particularly high on my priority list. Does anyone have any particular suggestions for charities in these categories that I might have missed?

My hard earned $$$.

I’m also trying to work out whether there’s a practical way I can get food/personal care products to either the Shoreham or the Whitehawk food bank during their opening times, but it may be tricky due to the hours they’re open clashing with the hours I work. Is anyone I know planning on taking donations to either of them on a regular/semi regular basis? If yes, let me know so we can try and work out a way that maybe you could take my contributions as well.

Remember, food banks need things like tampons, pads and cosmetics too!
Also does anyone else wish there was some way to buy and donate
mooncups to those who would like to try them but are put off by the
initial financial outlay? Because I would be so down with that.

I also attend the Quaker church, and the Quaker community has a long history of peaceful dissent and direct action, which particularly appeals to me because it comes from the core belief that they see ‘that of God’ in everyone… I know to non-believers that is probably meaningless, but to me is basically means that everything comes from a core of respect and love for everyone else involved, no matter how reprehensible their beliefs/behaviour. It is incredibly important to me that I hold onto these values: I am VERY CROSS, and find it hard to love/respect people who voted Conservative or UKIP, but I must try. I don’t know yet how I will get involved as I don’t know yet what actions the Brighton Quaker church may take, but whatever they plan, I will try and get on board, be it financially or with my time.

Sorry not sorry if religion freaks you out.

I’ll end with these rather poignant words, from a public statement by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain, agreed in session at London Yearly Meeting, 22 – 25 May 1987:

“Quakers in Britain have felt called to issue this statement in order to address a matter of urgent national priority to promote debate and to stimulate action.

We are angered by actions which have knowingly led to the polarisation of our country — into the affluent, who epitomise success according to the values of a materialistic society, and the 'have-leasts', who by the expectations of that same society are oppressed, judged, found wanting, and punished.

We value that of God in each person and affirm the right of everyone to contribute to society and share in life's good things, beyond the basic necessities. We commit ourselves to learning again the spiritual value of each other.

We find ourselves utterly at odds with the priorities in our society which deny the full human potential of millions of people in this country. That denial diminishes us all. There must be no 'them' and 'us'."

I only hope that the passion and motivation that I and so many others are feeling in the wake of the election result can be translated into worthwhile, positive actions.

What are you planning on doing? Do you have any advice/wisdom for me?

Friday, 1 May 2015

April 2015

The year rolls on... April has felt fairly eventful, in a good way, I think.

I’m still bouldering but I’m becoming a little disheartened by my lack of progress/weakness/fear. This was a good day though.

We made a an election colour themed pizza for the first big debate. It was delicious.

Good Friday was good. A day off work spent in the company of wonderful friends.
(I'm really enjoying these greyscale Tombow brush pens...)

I mean, really. People are actually thinking of voting for this fool?

I was feeling happy so I decided to draw my smile… Took a reference picture and was like ‘hm, bit wonky, let’s try again’… took another one… still wonky. Hold on, is my smile wonky ALL THE TIME?! Has it ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THIS? How have I NEVER NOTICED?!

Lovely phone catchup with an old friend.

So there’s a new lady working at the Western Road Iydea, and it’s got to the point where I actively avoid being served by her if I can because she fills the box so carelessly and inefficiently, and slops stuff over the edges and I know this is a very minor problem in the grand scheme of all the horrible stuff that’s going on in the world which is why I’m not going to complain. I’m just going to avoid her.

So for a while there I got REALLY EXCITED about Snapchat. I’m a bit less excited now mostly because I need more snapchat friends. Do you want to be my snapchat friend? I’m undividual on there, as everywhere.

Finally did some gardening. Still need to do a lot more gardening.

Practicing my hand typography…

At a certain point every year, my dreams start mostly revolving around page layouts. It’s usually around June/July. On the bright side, this does probably mean we’re being spectacularly efficient and getting all the hard work done early… perhaps…

My very talented friend made a great point and click adventure game for this year’s Game Jam. It’s called Spotney. He got an insane amount done in the two week deadline and the finished game is lots of fun. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic gay bar in a world populated by cat people.
This relates to an ongoing discussion between us about optimum use of onomatopoeia (which he sadly didn’t have time to implement in Spotney). DJAMB is the sound of a pirate airship unexpectedly appearing out of nowhere.

I was feeling a bit low, and sometimes cutting my hair is an easy (although risky) temporary fix. Turns out a too-long fringe can really get a girl down.

Went to see Daedelus at Birthdays. The man is both lovely AND a genius. A rare combination.

 Then I went to Pick Me Up. Got really excited about risograph machines, as I do every year.

Jess bought some watermelon round. We ate it and got sticky watermelon juice everywhere.

And... that's enough for this month. May is on the horizon. There was a bit more April, but I need to keep that a secret for now. CLIFFHANGER! (No, I'm not pregnant)