Thursday, 17 October 2013

Speed drawing, is there a perfect method?

I have been exploring various methods recently of producing speed art. I suppose the outcome of speed art should be the best looking outcome in the least space of time.

The images above are blind contour (top row) and speed sketches bottom row. They are a quick visual storyboard of Leicester market, Quick minute sketches. Reference used real life.

more blind contour/speed sketches of Leicester city centre

 This is a speed sketch in a thicker black pen of my dream wedding dress. Notice  how I have quickly used line to show a sense of form in the image. 10 minutes. Reference used various photographic images.


This is a gestural line drawing from life. Time taken about 7 minutes. A quick wash was added to show lighting. Reference used:- Life model.



I really like the above, sketches, ink pen on watercolour paper really gives a nice drag to your sketches. I love the  feel of a pen or pencil on paper. Reference used:- books.

This ink drawing was done in life drawing ages ago but it deserves a place here. It was 5 minutes of confidence. and that was it.  I used big confident marks. One of my favourite pieces of art I have ever produced. Also one of the quickest.


Finally, digital speed painting, I was trying to develop a new "quick" painting technique and I do like the outcome. Time taken 30 minutes, Reference used: books

Honestly I think there are many methods of speed sketching. It depends what kind of artist you want to be and what is an appropriate style. I really want to explore different methods. I do not think I can do that on this course though. Nor do I think it is appropriate for game art

Sketching on the straight and narrow.

Sketching on the straight and narrow.

I thought it was time to reflect over the past few weeks and talk about some of the work I have done and the progress I have made.
I have not uploaded every single piece because I find that trying to scan and present my artwork takes longer than doing a final piece. Time is precious.

 We were studying colour theory this week. as with any project though I find it is essential to capture the essence of a particular place.
I chose mount St Bernard's Abbey.

I have tried a different approach to drawing this year and have attempted straight lines.
That may sound like a ridiculous thing to say but before I was using a technique called feathering.
Personally I think feathering gives drawing character but our new visual design teacher has informed us that if an artist uses this technique it looks like they don't know what there doing.
So I followed his direction. Reluctantly at first but with good results.

I have done a few sketches of parts of a lobster as an example of the "FEATHERING" technique.
The purpose of this was really to compare my new sketches to these.
 The wannabe game artist in me wants to do things right. The rebel illustrator in me wants to continue feathering and drawing like this and hopes the wannabe game artist will listen.

The visual storyboard

 I think that a visual storyboard is a great way to capture the essence of an environment as I have
previously stated.
There are many ways an artist can use mark making to do this. Quick lines to show the
outline of an object in a scene a bit like a gestural drawing where the viewers eye can fill in the detail.
These are the first sketches I did that day and honestly I think they are lacking in many ways.
The values in the ink sketches are all over the place. I didn't really know a lot about value till after I did these sketches.

The second visual storyboard I produced has improved on the last. My values are more accurate and my line looks better.

As far as perspective goes I have learnt that sketches of uphill paths should be avoided like the plague and that it is up to me as an artist to put down on paper my own interpretation of the environment. Sometimes that means using a bit of artistic license and including things that maybe are not there and getting rid of some things that are there.

This is my favourite page of sketches I think they are more atmospheric in many ways and I believe that is directly related to my choice of line thickness and value.

I have experimented with different mark making techniques for the foliage and I think it has worked quite well in areas.
I have been taught new ways of rendering tree bark this week after some criticism from one of my lecturers. I look forward to applying it to my next project. I will have a go anyway you cant say fairer than that can you?

These sketches were mainly experimenting with different compositions of the same scene.

I really like the majority of them for the composition I have chosen.

I'm not happy with the archway leading up the
stairs sketch. The lighting is inaccurate and it doesn't capture what I wanted to capture which was atmosphere.
I wish I 'd have drawn more of the archway because in real life it looked amazing.

All in good time though Victoria. Keep going and one day you may be able to capture everything you see.

I have done other sketches in different styles this day but I think that's enough for this post.
 These sketches only capture the atmosphere in most cases and in there self were not enough.
 I went on to do some colour sketches to help with the progression to a final piece.

I think my main goal in the future will be to capture as much information as I can in a single image.

So all in all I did get quite a lot out of this new technique which is the most important thing and the outcome was fairly successful.
I made loads of mistakes which drive me mad, but I know that's how you learn and I am constantly reminded that is how you learn.  I would give myself 6 out of 10. Good but needs work.

Taking a wonder away from game art.

I'll be honest I have been having some doubts for a long time on whether or not I am going in the right direction.

Last weekend I was deciding whether or not I wanted to withdraw from the course and from education completely. I seriously doubted that I would be able to cope. The thought of a peaceful life were dusting the house would be my biggest concern.

It has taken me 2 weeks to get into the flow of things at uni.

I have gotten into the flow now and I will probably be ok as long as I keep my stress levels down. I will do what I can and I believe it is not the end of the world if things don't get done.

I took a little wonder into the queens building to check out what they were doing in graphic design and illustration. That building is huge! You could get lost in there.

I was brave though. Brave enough to a least consider my options. For that reason I am proud of myself.

There is absolutely no reason why I cannot have other interests outside of game art design. Illustration is something I do enjoy doing but I need to give it some more thought.

When deciding on what I wanted to study at university I considered 3 things:-
Game art

The reason I signed up for this particular course was because I wanted to do something different and learn skills.

I have learnt so much that will help me to improve in a few short weeks here.

I think Game art design has given me knowledge that I can take with me elsewhere.

Some inspirational song lyrics..

"You see the world in black and white,

No colour or line.

You think you'll never get it right

but your wrong, you might"

Concept art vs illustration

Curiosity did get the better of me this week and I took a little wonder into the queens building were illustration lives to see exactly what they do there, more on the outcome of that later in this blog.

I have been doing some research of late on concept art and illustration. A lot of people who hope to become concept artists go and study illustration. I was curious to find out exactly how the two differ.

Concept art VS Illustration

I think it would be fair to say that most people have a warped view of exactly what concept art is.

When I say concept art what is the first thing you think of? epic images with awesome composition and lighting. Hang on a minute that's not concept art... there is nothing epic or final about concept art.
At least the way I see it there shouldn't be.

When we think of concept art in this way we are probably thinking of video game promo art.

Artwork that has been made to promote lets say a video game is very final just like illustration

because the two have a similar function.

So what is the difference between concept art and illustration?

In lamens terms....

An illustration is final, concept art is part of a process.

The answer in metaphorical terms.....

Concept art is the plain Jane who is getting ready for a night on the town, doing her hair and makeup , deciding what to wear...etc...etc

Illustration is the sexy woman who steps into the nightclub turning heads.

As with the plain Jane the final audience is never going to see the woman getting ready they will only see the outcome of the process involved whilst getting ready.

The final audience is never going to see a piece of concept art. They are only going to see the result of the communication between the concept artist and the development team. The final outcome. The game. The difference between Concept art and illustration is in intent. What's it for? and more importantly who is it for?

The audience.
The audience for a piece of concept art will be the development team that will use it as an aid to finalise there ideas leading to a final outcome or your boss that will tell you what needs changing.

The audience for an illustration, will see the final outcome.

Does concept art need to look attractive? No it's just a concept.

Does illustration need to look attractive? Yes

What do employers want?

During my research I have read that some employers don't even know what concept art is.

Its a good thing to think about that if it is the case that some employers are not even sure about what concept art is then surely as an artist you should be prepared to do more give that little bit extra isn't that what they like to see?

Who does the video game promo art? or the art they want to show off? I'd say from talking to actual concept artists that it is probably the concept artist.

So is it better to be a jack of all trades or a master of one? A master of many? that would be ideal.

So illustrator or concept artist? I'd say both.

Final words

I think this post was only the tip of the iceberg as far as the subject is concerned. I will investigate further. Honestly Id rather be the sexy woman than the plain Jane.

Links and references

Personal reflection.-The past.

I have been reflecting recently on the work I have produced for this course in the past, also on the criticism I have received. The reason I feel this is relevant now is because I have had a chance to step back and see things for what they are in actual reality and not from my own warped and sometimes narcissistic perception.

The fact is that everyone likes praise, it makes you feel good about yourself and the things you do, but praise is something you have to earn. Praise can’t be expected when one achieves little or nothing, It is not something you are entitled to, you need to do something worthy in order to receive it.

The way we are taught these days implies that everyone is special and unique, everyone’s a winner. It leads you into a false way of thinking. A way of thinking that creates the illusion that you are special and unique and that the world, society or some greater force owes you something.

Step back and see things for what they truly are, the world, society or some greater force has no debt with you. There are things for the taking though and you have to be prepared to go out and get those things, work for them they will not be handed to you on a silver platter.

That leads me back to my reflection of my own academic achievement over the last several years. When I was a naïve first year I thought the marking was hawk-like and that I deserved better than what I had achieved, after all I felt I understood what I was doing. Right now I realize that the marks I received were the marks I deserved and were a direct result of the understanding of the subject that I demonstrated in my work. Most importantly I realized that the marking was fair and accurate.

Knowing that is a great thing because now I can see that if I want to get a certain grade I need to not only be able to understand but to show my understanding creatively. I need to demonstrate it in my work. Just knowing is not enough.

Looking back I see what I could have done and what I didn’t do, I have gone over the work again with much greater results. The most important thing is that I realize what I need to do in the future and feel more than a little dumb that I wasn’t able to do this earlier.

I want to earn respect as an artist; I want people to come to me to ask for help with things. I want to be able to talk about things, share my experience and knowledge, and earn friendships and valuable contacts.

The time to do is now! there is too much time to just let it go to waste. I have learned that sometimes you need to stop to rejuvenate and find inspiration. The level I need to be at and the things I want to achieve are not even close to what I am doing now but every day I spend working on it, the things I want to achieve get closer and closer.

They are still however very far away, it’s an uphill slog, but I know in the end every step towards that goal will all be well worth it.

In truth reality is a bitch, life however, doesn’t have to be. I am not owed anything by anyone, I do however owe it to myself to be realistic and push myself when I need to be pushed and stop when I need to stop. Balance is the key in theory and in reality.

Remember me?

As with any new start a little trip into the world of the author is needed, Its more for my readers benefit than mine.

Rest assured though, You will be reading the balanced thoughts of a sane aspiring artist not a nut job with a Google account.

Feel slightly more comfortable now?, Well I guess that backfired.

Here's a few Q and A's

What is your name?
Victoria Kate Cichocki (pronounced Chick - hod - ski) People tend to call me Vic, I prefer Victoria as Vic is a blokes name and I would very much like to preserve my femininity.

Do people often mispronounce my name?


Which is understandable because it is a difficult name to pronounce.

It comes from Poland where my grandfather is from, the other side of my family comes from wales hence the dark eyes and hair (I think) Generally I wouldn't associate Welsh folk with fair hair and freckled faces.

How old are you?
I am and will be until the 29th of December 2013 (my next birthday*) a whopping 30 years old! Do I feel any different than when I was 29 years old? No.

Do I ever lie about my age? No, I don't need to I look fab for 30.

Where are you from?
I was born in Leicester but I have spent the majority of my life moving back and forth from Leicestershire and Lancashire.

I left home when I was seventeen determined to stand on my own two feet. I actually met my first love in Lancashire. Are we still together? No.

What is your educational background?
A level art, Gnvq art and design, btec nat dip performance arts, btec nat dip interactive media. Year one game art design. other random qualifications...

What else have you done since you left school?
Loads! Tried and failed at being a freelance illustrator/graphic designer. It really isn't that glamorous!

Why? Because there is only one Neville Brody!

Its not like the fancy stuff you see at degree shows, jobs are usually really boring like colour coding a timetable.

Any advice?
Yes, be careful who you take advice from!

I had someone tell me that you DE saturate photographs for specular maps in year one, Which is codswallop.

Looking forward to the future?


Thursday, 3 October 2013

Day 1 Groundhog day

Every single person will come to a point where there first attempt at something doesn’t work and they have to start over. I'm sure you’ve seen the movie groundhog day. In the end Bill Murray uses the fact that he relives every day to his advantage.

That seems like an excellent way to roll. Mitch did mention today that making mistakes is vital for learning and I cannot agree more. I feel prepared for when things might go wrong and experience has taught me that I need to get things wrong in order to get things right.

I am glad I have another chance and am very grateful for everyone that has helped me.

Fortunately the groundhog day feeling only lasted about 5 seconds as everything is brand new and shiny.

New timetable.

I like the fact that all lectures are in a row with no days in-between. We have the whole weekend for self-directed study. This will help so much with my self organization.

New digital painting sessions.

I think the new visual design with its extra digital painting sessions is a very good addition to the course and I believe it will benefit us all. I am an advocate of self-teaching but I do like to be pushed in a different direction and be taught by someone else every once in a while. Its a nice balanced way of learning.

I even asked for extra homework and it was given to me. I could quite happily just go home and paint anything but I wanted a brief to stick to for now just to build myself up again.

20 greyscale renders of alien environments for next week. I plan on starting directly after this post.

New building

It definitely has better feng shui. But anything would be better than that rotting corpse of a building we were in last year. The atmosphere is better too. It smells nice. All of these things make me more relaxed about being here.

New cohort.

Everyone seems friendly enough. I have not really had a chance to chat with them yet. There is plenty of time for that though.



Friday, 20 September 2013

You owe me a quid

I checked blackboard today as I got an email saying the timetable will be displayed.
After I checked it and after my internal organs did a backflip because it wasn't exactly the same as last year, I filled out my mid year diary and scheduled what I would do on a Wednesday afternoon after critical studies... for the whole year..

Lucky for me I tend to check things over...

the timetable had changed making my years diary useless....
and again it changes.... I now have to be in 2 places at one time....

hang on a minute... I'm not a complete idiot

I think I will leave it a couple of days. Its probably being written as I write this.

I would like to add that I liked the 1st timetable with critical studies the first lecture of the week.

To whoever is responsible for the timetable You owe me a quid for a new diary... or perhaps a free lecture in how to demonstrate a little patience  ;)

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

going back to basics update

I spoke recently that I intended to go back to the fundamentals of what I have learnt so that I can fill in any gaps.
This is an update of how I have been doing. Things have been going really well, it brought back memory's of my struggles as a naïve first year whilst making wheelie bins.
The wheelie bin project revisited was fun though, The different in time taken to complete is phenomenal. It would be though wouldn't it after all that was 2 YEARS ago. I cant believe it has been two years. I miss university and the people there. Its not and never will be the be all and end all of my life again but I am bored, the last 8 months have dragged.

I am at the mercy of my own inspiration unfortunately, not having summer projects to look to or work on. Surely I cant be expected to do nothing for 10 months.

I'm still going to carry on with this re doing the first year. I will post some of it up and comment on the things I wish I'd have known then.

It was just making back then and learning and understanding its quite different now, there is more to it and there is more room to be creative when you know the software as you have the tools to do more things.

Made of metal

I feel quite robotic of late, meaning I can get things done with little care.
I always wanted to be an art machine that could draw and paint and make without thinking too much about it.
My thoughts are that as you become better and you learn the steps in which to do things it can be easier to get things done, That and being emotionally dumbed down.
Emotion does play a part in art I believe, too much emotion just gets in the way though, it distracts, manipulates, causes you to make wrong decisions.
But what about passion? inspiration? desire? are they not all fuelled by raw emotion? There has to be a way round this? surely you can get ideas down and develop them into something cool even if you are a robot.
I would rather be a robot that "could" than a human being that thought he "couldn't" even if that meant not feeling.
After all what is the point of feeling if you cant do anything?

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Escaping Limbo

I've been watching a lot of films recently. Last night I watched inception that's been on my watch list for ages.

It occurred to me after watching it that I myself am stuck in some sort of "game art limbo". Not knowing what to do to prepare myself for going back. Do I work enough so I don't get rusty?, do I go over what I have learnt?, do I attempt projects again?, do I learn u.d.k so I am prepared for when I go back?,Do I try something new?
All of these things crossed my mind and have been done to some degree. I have been doing these things. The u.d.k one was the greatest achievement.

My summer work has however lacked structure. I need a clear structure to follow having attempted numerous projects.
I am now proficient enough in u.d.k and the writing of design documentation to see me through to Christmas in game production. My painting, drawing, concept/planning, sculpture has improved enough to see me through until Christmas in visual design. The reading and research I have been doing on the subject, films I have watched and the art history I have been learning about will definitely see me through until Christmas in critical studies.

So what now? Well I have decided to cease all of the projects I have been doing recently.
I am going to spend the time from now until when I go back going over everything I have learnt so far whilst doing game art.
This way I can make sure I have and am able to demonstrate a full understanding of what I have learnt. Particularly the fundamentals. If there are any gaps in my understanding they will be filled.

This to me seems like a great idea and it actually has structure and purpose. There will be no sitting and thinking too much about what I am going to do because its already there in front of me.
So.. Wheelie bins and one point perspective here I come.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Going back to school

I went to a high school open evening today with my son who will be starting senior school in September.

It wasn't just any high school though, it was my high school. Its been knocked down and rebuilt since but most of my teachers are still there including my form tutor and they remember me. I really don't know how teachers remember all  of there past students.

It was fun to go back and remember all of the things I wanted to do when I was at that school.
He really enjoyed it, he seemed really happy. No one from his primary school is going to that school, but he's already made lots of friends. That's great, i'm proud of him.

The best thing is that the school is located at the back of the field outside my back garden, so its convenient too. They have loads of clubs that he can go to.

I just had to share, it was great.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

breaking the cycle

Apologies for the last post, I've had a cold for 2 weeks and was feeling a bit run down.

I have struggled for a long time in a vicious circle of negativity. I have managed at last to break the cycle. Its taken a long time and I didn't even think I could do it.

The thing that helped the most was being self aware, getting to the bottom of what was really causing it.  It has made me realise what really wasn't important and the reasons why I thought it was.

anyway.... the last few days I have felt so much better, and clear headed. I know what I want now and the ways in which I can get it.

When your mind is clouded by negative thoughts and emotions its hard to see clearly. Its a terrible place to be.

I want to come back to university in October and be myself , I was ill when I started in the first year, it started to get out of control after Christmas which was reflected in my performance.

It will be interesting to see, and show what I am really capable of now that I am better.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Time to chill out for a bit.

I think I've made a mistake, As soon as I started feeling better I was up and raring to go. The trouble is that slightly better felt so much different than before that it felt almost normal.
who am I trying to kid.... myself probably.
I took on too much too soon. I'm starting to feel not so great again and having more  and more "bad days"

I keep having this reoccurring nightmare that I start back uni and my lecturer asked what I have done in the summer and I haven't done anything... so  I wake up and do something.

but I think I will chill out for a bit, I will try.. or this year was worthless and all of those things I was proud of achieving will be non existent.
I like making stuff it is a hobby of mine but there's a fine line and I think I have crossed it .

It was a lot harder than I thought it would be, honestly and I am definitely not as strong as I thought I was.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

my medium of choice. oil paint

 Against my fathers advice of "not doing any computer work for a while", sorry dad
I have been bored.... So I have been painting, and sculpting and drawing and making things in 3D, because I am an artist and that's what I enjoy doing.

Having gotten to a certain level with digital painting I found that you only really need to do about 5 things and the paintings done, and that's for any painting. Knowing those steps makes the whole process a little tedious. but I can do it, so...

I have always wanted to be a better 3d artist. make things that look cool. I have been working on an environment this last week. That's for another post...

I have had this niggle inside me for a long time. I have always wanted to be a better traditional artist. Paint using traditional media. I have been painting using oils. Honestly they are such a joy to use, and also there is nothing stressful about painting with oils, just the feel of the paint is so relaxing and therapeutic... oils have become my medium of choice. I love them. Also I don't find using them difficult, I find it easier than digital and quicker. My favourite paint... you can keep acrylics and watercolours...  the technique for painting with digital and oils is similar, I find.
Using them is so relaxing that I find I drift off into a state of meditation and the paintings nearly done before I know it. Not thinking to much about it is the key.


I love using oil paints... I know I keep saying that...there is just something classically awesome about them.  I think I will keep working on it.. become the next Michelangelo... ha ha, the painting above was based on a masters study but I made the lady look more modern as I don't think people look like the ones in old paintings anymore.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

voluntary work

Last week I started doing voluntary charity work . It has helped with so much, my confidence, self esteem, gets me in good habits for getting up in the morning.

I actually prefer it to paid work actually because there is no pressure and no superiors talking down to you. Its better than being a freelance illustrator, not that that would take much. :)

The best thing about it is that its something else to talk about. I dont want to just do one thing all the time. I want to do lots of different things and have something interesting to talk about.

So when someone asks me what ive been up to it wont be ive been at home drawing. It will be Ive been drawing and doing some voluntary work.

Its very rewarding actually. It has helped me develop my people skills and I have not sworn once, but its early days yet.
6 hours of my time a week. I think I will carry on with it because it is inspiring and something I enjoy.

Friday, 12 April 2013

In the studio with vic episode 1

A while a go I rearranged the rooms in my 3 storey terraced house. What was my bedroom has now been transformed into a new art studio. All my books are on the shelves and all of my art equipment is exactly where I can find it.

I thought it would be fun if I do a little series in my blog of stuff I am getting up to in the studio. 

Today I have decided to attempt still life the old fashioned way. I will be experimenting with different media, composition, lighting, techniques.

The first thing I need is some stuff to draw so I went round the kitchen and gathered some fruit a jug some pots and an old throw.

I have read a book on cezanne recently. Although I do not want to imitate his style I learned some things I didnt know about his technique.

different, better, balanced

Ive missed writing in my blog. I read some of my old blog posts just now. I was a little disturbed by them quite frankly, it was as if another person had written them. I have matured in the last 4 months also, changed, I feel different, better, balanced.

Having learnt so much about myself in the last 4 months I realised that being negative and being anti negative are pretty much the same thing because they both focus on the negative.

I was focusing on what I didnt want instead of what I did want. How silly of me.

 I heard this quote the other day by Mother Teresa, she had the right idea and I can understand where she is coming from.


"I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there."

Mother Teresa
When you focus on something be it good or bad it increases in importance. no good will ever come of being anti-negative I can guarantee. look at me, read the pages of this blog it was like I was walking down a spiral staircase and as I decended the step behind me dissapeard.
So be pro positive, pro sucess focus on the things you do want. Thats my new motto. It really does change your life.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

What would you wade through mud for?

I had a friend come and stay with me and tyler over easter, he is a 55 year old trainspotter/ academic called Bob I have known him for 15 years since I was a child. He is our familys oldest and dearest friend, in fact he's one of the family.

last week Bob, Ty and I decided to go for a walk to Mount st bernards abbey(good scones) I live at the very edge of the town so I am within walking distance of the countryside.

There is a short cut/ country path that is only about 5 minutes from my house that leads to the abbey but Bob insisted that we go the long way round.

I had new shoes on that I was trying to break in, and blisters from yesterdays walk round loughborough (tyler wanted to go on the easter bunny express).
I decided it would be more comfortable if I walked bare foot. After a while I started to lag behind and told the guys that I would catch up with them, next time I looked they were two hills away and my feet were killing.

I decided to walk back to the shortcut and I thought "This isnt muddy, I wonder why bob wanted to walk the long way".

So I started walking down the path, determined to prove my point that this way was quicker and beat Bob and Ty to the abbey.

The path to the abbey
Not too muddy, If you stick to the edges.
I saw, in the distance a tractor going back and forth from the farm to the field, I knew I was nearly there. As I got closer to the part were the tractor drove I heard the bells ring for prayer from the monestry.
The Tractor came rushing back from the field as I got to the part were the tractor drove to and from the farm. Then I came to what appeared to be a river of mud about half a meter deep.

Alleged "River of mud"
Dosent look that bad from the pic, but it was, just compare the tractor (which is pretty big, to it)
As the tractor drove through the mud, it turned and some horrible brown smelly slop came gushing over the edges of the trailer, It was then I realised that it wasnt a river of mud at all.
I thought, how badly do I want to go to the monestry, not bad enough to walk through that, what if I fell?
I will walk barefoot along the road, through the mud, but i'm not wading through a river of poo no matter how good the scones are.
Come to thing of it there are precious few things in this world I would wade through a river of poo for, To help my son, If there was a million in cash on the other side. If someone was offering me my dream job, thats about it. What about you? What would have to be on the other side?

Friday, 5 April 2013

No more parrots

Since I have gotten better I look at that bloody parrot and see that it isnt really a symbol that I would like to use to represent myself.

I think its time to leavethe parrot behind and move on.

I am not a mimic, My intention as an artist has never been about trying to immitate what other people think of as cool.

I have been studying the masters techniques for years now, stealing techniques here and there, bits I think work and look cool. Putting them in my own work.

I think the outcome's of my study are greater than the bad photocopy effect you get from copying a photograph.

I understand that when working on becoming a commercial artist you need to be level minded, but that is no reason you cant be creative. I dont think creativity is being able to do whatever you like and forget the fundamentals. I see creativity as this...

I see creativity as freedom, the freedom to go outside and find things that inspire you, to look at any object and have ideas that make you want to make art.  look at artists see what techniques inspire you, try new things, see what works for you. What looks cool, how can you present your work? That is my idea of creativity and I think any artist can do that.

I believe that any artist has this freedom, and that every artist should stop and look at everything around them. In all directions. The world is a beautiful place, and beauty can be found in everything from a flowering blossom to the texture on the wall of a dilapidated building.

Dont be a caged bird, sitting at a desk all day is downright soul crushing. Explore, be inspired and see.

I will leave my readers with something to think about.

There is a myth that if you wake up in the morning and all you can think about is art, then you are an artist.

Thats codswollop.

If you wake up in the morning and all you can think about is art, then you are a person who wakes up in the morning and thinks about art.

If you wake up in the morning and you make art, then your an artist.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

My ultimate achievment

I have created alot of art during my time off.  I have decided not to show it to anyone.
It is my recovery art. As soon as I felt able and more balanced and level minded I picked up that pencil again and started making pictures.

Right now I feel the best I have felt in over a decade and I no longer need to show off pretty pictures to prove my worth as an artist or as a person to anyone anymore.

I am not showing it because I have almost beaten this, and what anyone may think of me as an artist does not even come close to my worth as a person. Knowing my own worth means so much more to me than being able to make pictures.

The strength I have had to demonstrate over the last 10 years and particularly over the last few months really is worth its weight in gold. I believe firmly that this strength will help me as an artist but I dont think art makes me. My experience my personality my character and my knowledge make me.

I am much more than a machine that draws pictures. Loads of people can do that. It is merly a hobby, one that I am really passionate about, a skill I am devloping. Something that I and anyone else that proclaims themself as an artist does.

I know what I am capable of. That knowledge is inside my mind and my heart. no painting or  3d model I will ever make will ever come close to what I have achieved this year, and i am fine with that. It has been an ultimate test of strength and no matter what I do with the rest of my life that will always be my ultimate acheivment.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

A few money making, tips, truths and myths.

A follow on to the last post. A list of things to remember and the truth about making money that I have found out the hardway its particularly aimed at peope who want to be there own boss. It really is not all it is cracked up to be.

research and planning. should be done the top before the below is even considered.
what are you going to sell, whats the market. who is the target market? how much will it cost, how much are you selling it for. hours you need to put in. what will you need to do.
how much profit will you make. taxes?

1. There is no such thing as easy money -
You get out exactly what you put in. You need to put in time and money. How much time and money you put in will determine how much money you will make.
Money comes to money. You have to put it in to get it back. It cant come from nothing.
The first thing you ned to do to make money is save.

2. You can be your own boss - yes but thats only the tip of the iceberg.
Yes you can be your own boss but you also have to be every other member of staff you could possibly think of.
You have to be
  • The boss
  • the customer service team
  • the buyer
  • the advertiser
  • the seller
  • the cleaner
  • the restorer
  • the accountant
  • the concept artist
  • the research team
  • the delivery guy
  • the person who wraps up the parcels.
  • and so much more.......

3. You can make money doing what you love - Yes but expect to find out exactly how much you love it. In my case sanding marker pen of 30 year old vinyl for 4 hours a day can be a passion killer.
I loved vintage toys and had a huge collection, now I know exactly what happens to the plastic as it ages it made me want to get rid of my own collection before it rotted on the shelf. I no longer collect vintage toys. 

4. You can choose your own hours, You can but if you want to make any money expect to be working every day.
Most of my time is taken up with customer service. Answering questions making sure they know when they are going to recieve the item, negotiating prices and so forth.

5. Not everyone is on your side. The more trading you do the more problems you will get.
People trying to rip you off,
people not paying,
competitors trying to give you a bad name.
customers who are not satisfied.
things getting lost in the post
people demanding refunds.

6. You need to be organised. Very much so, it is all well and good taking peoples money but you need to make sure you post the right item to the right people. That may seem easy enough, but when your trying to sort out boxes of toys into piles to send to 60 different people it can get confusing.

7. You need knowledge - Very true, you need extensive knowledge of what you are selling. If I didnt I wouldnt be able to answer customers questions, restore items, or even advertise items properly.
I know the names of them, there release year, the condition all that stuff.

8. You can make money part time. - I need to work every day, it is a full time thing. I cant ignore questions even for one day or else they will go elsewhere.

 So in short dont let it put you off, just be prepared. It is very very hard work. 
It does loads for your confidence and independance though.

a long and quite educational success story......

Hello Blog! It has been a while.

Just a post to talk about the things I have been up to since the pause of my studies in November.

Great news I have been feeling loads better recently and I'm positive I will make a full recovery.

So what have I been up too. Well.... its a long and quite educational story, there is lots that any reader could learn from it so I shall begin.

In November I temporarily left university as you may well know, I found myself Jobless, moneyless with bills to pay and a family to support.
I worked out that I would be ok until after christmas. So I decided that after christmas I was going to go into business for myself and earn some cash......

One problem.... How?....I needed to find a way to make money....... fast.

I am going to write a money making guide afterwards that may help students who are skint and are desperate to make money, They probably wont like what i'm going to tell them though, but there are a few rules many of which I learnt whilst at university. I have made a few mistakes on my quest.
 I will tell you though there is no such thing as EASY MONEY, making money comes with its own price tag.... more on that in the next post.


The first thing I thought of (and this is a bit obvious) is something I could sell and make a profit on.
I read a few money making guides and all of them had one thing in common. They clearly stated that you should SELL WHAT YOU KNOW!

What do I know? art? there really is no market for that sort of thing in the online auction place, Unless its rare, signed by the artist, who is famous.
I have tried to make money on my art in the summer I sold a few ink sketches for 40 quid each, but that was just fluke that someone saw it and liked it. This was not an option for now.

What else do I know? Im a collector of my little ponies and vintage toys, I know them really well.
I was on the right line now but here is where I made my first mistake.

I looked online ( I should say that I did some extensive research) into the market for this kind of thing and found that the best selling ponies where the custom hand made plushes (cuddly toys) They were going for about 100 to 150 quid.

So I sold a vintage toy online to make some money so I could buy the material and started planning the concept, the pattern and all of that.
These cuddly toys sold because they were an accurate representation of the character that they were meant to represent.

I started trying out the pattern for these toys. My first one was a disater and out of proportion, the second was better but still not right.
I made 5 different patterns altogether and with each one I made they looked better and better.
Unfortunatley it took me 2 days to make them, cost 5 quid to make and I was really having trouble shifting them.
So I decided to move on. It just wasnt worth it. The time it took and the small profit, I would be lucky if I made enough money to live off....

So what went wrong?

1. I should have used some old cheap material to practice on first... but I was too eager.
2. I should have made sure that the design was correct and that the pattern would make a toy that was an accurate representation of the character...... before I made it.
3. I didnt know anything about making toys.... I knew the product... but not how to make it properly.
4. My reputation for selling this kind of thing online was zero. The people who were making the money had a decent rep because they had been doing it for ages and had sold many.

If its any consolation I am now very very good at making cuddly toys because of  all the mistakes I made. It took a month of practice and making before I got this good.. doing it every single day.

I didnt make a loss though, which was good.

I knew vintage toys! I had some spares upstairs that I had bought for about 30p online and I had restored. I have been doing it for years so I know what works.

So I took some really nice pictures and put them on an online auction.
Verdict. They still didnt sell very well.

More research was needed.  I looked at my competitors items for sale and realised that they were running a business by having a buy it now price. If the Collector saw the item on auction they would try and get it cheap... on a buy it now there is always a chance that someone else could pay for it straight away and you would miss out.

So I tried it. I bought some more vintage toys for dirt cheap on line did them up, took some very nice pics, gave a highly detailed description, offered to combine postage if the buyer bought more than one and listed them for a buy it now price of 14.99.

and they sold... for 14.99. each.  The rarer ones sold for more about £25 the less rarer ones about £9

This is cheaper than alot of other peoples stuff and my pictures are better too.

So I bought loads more, I decided that I wouldnt spend more than 99p on a vintage toy. That way I could make a decent profit.
After a month I had built myself a decent reputation and I had customers who had bought things before contacting me and asking for more things.

Which I was happy to sell to them. After the first month it is going really well. Im even managing to save some money.

My best customer is a primary school teacher from london called Barry! I made alot of money this week. It sounds good but its not all its cracked up to be. There are pros and cons which I will discuss in the next post.

I am getting out of it what I put in. I am able to look after my family and not claim benefits and that really does alot for my confidence.  I am now not worried about money because I know I possess skills that allow me to make it. Most of those skills I have learnt in my adult education.