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)

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Arch

March has been BUSY. Mostly good busy.


However, those of you who know me well will know how task based my life is. Not being able to achieve all my tasks is UPSETTING.


I saw Ed Milliband IN REAL LIFE. He was right there outside my work. He was taller and more handsome in real life (which isn’t usually the way these things go) but he also looked tired and a little anxious. I like Ed. 


Like, so good. To the point where Alex got a little offended by my refreshed interest in his face. ‘Do you only love me for my glasses?!’
 

I LOVE a good post day, and when I live with someone who orders as much stuff off the internet as Alex, it’s not often I get MY good post day.


Lots of bouldering drawings. The good days and the bad days. 


There is a LOT of good music this year. (And my hair is getting really long)


Got irrationally emotional when La Choza gave me a burrito rather than the tostadas I’d ordered (and I didn’t notice till I’d got it home). Basically just saying this over and over through mouthfuls of burrito, like a petulant child unwilling to admit that actually it's quite a nice burrito but I'm just really hungry and tired and stressed.


Ever tried to organise a holiday with a largish group of friends? I perhaps got a false impression of how easy it could be after I managed it with little tribulation last year.
BOAT is going ahead in June with an almost totally different group of people to the original plan, and it’s going to be great, but at this point I was just about ready to give up. 


Pizzaface have got a great special on at the moment called ‘The Reg’. I order it with artichokes and vegan cheese instead of the wild boar salami, and the rest is fresh radishes, fennel seeds, fennel, caramelised onions and chipotle chilli, and a squeeze of lemon juice. It’s SO GOOD.


ACHIEVEMENTS!


Public service announcement: it’s really easy to make potato farls from scratch.


I feel that I definitely made the most effort for work’s St. Patrick’s day do. (Aforementioned potato farls and by far the greenest outfit.) 


Different holiday. Same stress. (I have to go back to where I grew up for a wedding. So apparently does EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD because I cannot get an affordable place to stay for love nor reasonable amounts of money)


Quite the achievement. I’ve made some bad falafels before, but these were on a whole new level.
 

Redeemed myself with some great pasta though.


BIRTHDAY! Mostly revolved around eating amazing stuff.


Day-after-birthday ruined by (mostly irrational) letting agent anxiety. Wouldn’t it be nice if they would just put us on a periodic contract so I didn’t have to get paranoid every 12 months that they’ll find some reason to kick us out so they can do up the house and get in loads more rent from wealthier people instead. I got another one of those great pizzas though, and friends made things better.


Veg fest is RIDICULOUS. It was SO busy that I couldn’t even get lunch. At a food festival! All the queues were far too long, but I did buy loads of different kinds of vegan milk chocolate which I’m looking forwards to indulging in once lent is over. Vegfest was so intense and exhausting that I was too tired to do a good climb and nearly fell to my death (slight hyperbole)


Is anyone else watching Indian Summers on Channel 4? It’s basically PERFECT Sunday evening telly. Brooding beautiful people in period costumes with just the right balance between plot and aesthetically pleasing sex scenes.

Onwards to April. Hopefully a good April. With plenty of brooding beautiful people, plot, and aesthetically pleasing sex scenes.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Work work

I've been doing some fun stuff at work recently.

I work for a group of international colleges (teaching foreign students English), and one of our English teachers at our London colleges has been writing a series of blogs about slang, idioms and suchlike. I've been creating illustrations for these articles, a portrait 'thumbnail' with explanatory words, and a main landscape image without the words to display on the article page. It's been fun.



Food metaphors 
 


Beauty metaphors



Compliments and insults



Register (Formal/Informal)



Words for when you can't think of the word (yet to be published)



Weather related idioms



Body metaphors

They've also been doing a 'word of the week' feature on the Facebook page, where various members of staff pick their favourite word and I illustrate it.
Here are a few!






I picked bottom. Obvs.