Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Off to France!

So... tomorrow I'll be off for a week to Nice, with my sister, to see some culture and do some drawing. I'm binding a couple of sketchbooks today and printing maps off the web and wondering if I want to run off and buy a travel guide after all... I'm sure I can get one at the airport though.
I hope there will be WiFi access somewhere close to where we're staying, then you might get some updates.

Am also listening to the radio as I've been doing recently, and wondering if we'll really get a Tory government next. With WebCameron at the helm.
And if Boris Johnson will actually manage to save London from flooding by giving us more roof gardens. This has been on my mind. Is there any way in the world that roof gardens actually would significantly cut the risk of flooding? That man confuses me. It's like his idea of opening more boxing schools to put kids off knife crime. I wonder if any of this is backed up by research? Or is he just improvising? It all seems very odd to me.

Anyway, see you next week if not sooner :)

Wholesome Thoughts

Just finished my morning exercises. I've been very good doing them, and evening exercises too, for a while.

I don't know if any illustration students are reading this, but there's something I want to tell you guys: when I was in college, many many years ago, almost seven I'd say, studying illustration, we had a course meeting so students could suggest things they wanted to be taught. While everyone else was still thinking, one guy very seriously requested lessons in how to work in an ergonomic way, so as to not knacker our backs. - There was an immediate reaction, a weird hissing sound coming from everywhere: a whole room of illustration students going tsssss dismissively. It wasn't mentioned again. I seem to remember I actually said 'Oh come ON' quietly. What a weirdo.

Some years later, to my utter surprise, I woke up one day to find that I couldn't even draw a circle any more. I'd well and truly messed up my back, shoulders and neck with work and stress and lack of care. It had never before been a problem that my shoulders sloped and my neck stuck out horizontally, tortoise-fashion. All the cool people looked kind of like that, artists and writers, as far as I could tell from the photos. I'd been told "you'll have problems later" but I figured that meant some back-ache at age sixty plus, and then I'd just do some Pilates or something. I didn't expect that I'd be temporarily immobilised before age 30. As soon as the stress of working life hit for real, in fact.

Anyway, all very boring, just to say: if I could go back in time I would have asked for some basic lessons in how to sit and how to work, and what exercises to do to stop myself from curling up into a cramped ball from all that drawing. And if someone just starting out reads this it would make me happy to think that they might decide to get themselves a few exercises and do them as part of the job...

Oh enough of this wholesomeness already! Hooray, I just got a punnet of chocolate mushrooms from the Netherlands, what a nice treat!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

First Cat


I've started painting the cats again... here's Moonpie, trying to look just right for the back cover.
I'll paint him a few more times... it's quite hard to get these guys just right, although last time it only took a few days until I got them down first or second time round most of the time.

There's a good surplus of cats that look fine, but they don't quite completely have the right expression... I might sell them on Etsy. Would be good to send them to good homes!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I just spent an hour or so on the grass by the public swimming pool, looking up into the sky, thinking about stories.
I meant to go swimming, but I got so cross when my ladyshave broke after one leg that I didn't check my swim bag before I left, and so didn't realise that I'd left my swimsuit behind.

Never mind... when I got back I had a list of characters for the novel I want to write in NaNoWRiMo November. I will take up a novel I started planning in college but then dropped because it seemed jinxed. First I based one character on a friend and then killed her dramatically, which was meant to be a compliment - don't we all want to have a great death scene without actually dying, like Tom Sawyer, or all these film directors getting themselves shot in slow motion as extras in their own films? - But she had a really awful time after that, and so in retrospect it felt quite wrong.
Then I read two best-selling books that used some of the same ideas I had lined up, and they were unusual ideas (I thought at the time). One was using the 1977 netting of a 'sea monster' to mirror the state of mind of a troubled child watching the news at the time (just to read it done better in Sonya Hartnett's, "What the Birds See"). The other was the discovery of a clockwork man in a hidden room of a public building (probably done several times since, what with steampunk arriving). - I was so cheesed off with these two things appearing in other people's books that I put the whole thing in storage, wrapped in string and tape.
Only recently I suddenly realised that any story that combines these two elements most likely wasn't very good. A sea monster AND a clockwork man? What was I thinking????!?

So I stripped out all the weird fantasy elements, and checked what actually remained, and realised what the story was actually about - just one family and what secretly troubles them. Then I auditioned the fantasy elements and let exactly two back in, the ones that actually had anything to do with the story.

Anyway, I am rather looking forward to actually writing the thing, but I won't start before November.

Anyone else going to write a novel in NaNoWRiMo, by the way? Would like some more writing buddies :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Lost in Translation

Am still perusing the Christmas Gift Catalogue that came through the door today.

I am sure this all sounds so much more romantic ship to ship, without all these crude words.

Ah, people, they will make a mockery of all that's beautiful. Sail away with me, little one, when they've fallen asleep drunk on champagne, we'll find our own Bermuda triangle and disappear. Said the tall ship to the pleasure cruiser.

That'll cheer 'em

Know someone who spends too much time on the sofa altogether?
Get them this charming set of scatter cushions, why not. Yeah, all of them.

(That thing just showing at the bottom is a USB stick leather fob. In case you were wondering.)

And if that special someone in your life just won't commit, this ensemble might just be the ticket... wear casually in any combination you like whenever they come round to your place.

For subliminal effect, just combine sock messages with everyday wear, e.g. doctor right, estate agent left. Guaranteed results or money back (for unworn items).

(at presentsdirect.com)

Free Printed Materials of today

Ah, today the Guardian gave away their last booklet on how to write, 'Childrens Books' this time, and at first glance it looks useful! I like the advice they gave about writing picture books: Don't think you need to find some artistic friend to draw the pictures for you before taking it to a publisher. Very true! You can if you like, but don't force it. It's not great for a budding illustrator to illustrate a beginners' script instead of getting on with their own portfolio (in which they could illustrate whatever they wanted) - it's hard enough to make pictures for something that's been through an editing process, and you might end up getting very tangled up in it all. And there's a chance that when you take the joint project to a publisher they do indeed like it - but only the words - or only the pictures... ouch.

I mean, if you're a great team already and love working together, that's brilliant, but if it's just a favour (or if it's just that you want to spend some time with that gorgeous person, or if you owe them rent, or anything besides grand artistic cross-pollination) you could both be doing better probably getting your seperate portfolios polished and just be friends! Or lovers. Or cousins. Or whatever seems right. I got no advice on that part actually.

Talking to the void of the past here, no one I know at present, the weather is making me feel reminiscy. Reminiscascent. Reminiscent? Ruminatory. Like looking out of the window a lot.

The other thing I got through the door is... NOT my frog-shaped scotchtape dispenser that I ordered a couple of weeks ago or so. Instead a letter telling me to be patient for a month and NOT phone them up because it just takes this long. Hah. But also: the company's catalogue, which is a brilliant load of total tat, and so I have something to read in my lunch break. I love silly catalogues. It seems a bit depressing to think that we actually produce all those daft things from limited resources, but hey, they'll mostly become unwanted gifts, go to Charity shops and come alive at night and have great adventures.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rolleiflex Help, anyone?

Photography buffs / glass experts:
Is there anyone out there who could help me get my hands on a small pane of plain frosted glass that would fit in the top of an old Rolleiflex camera as a viewing screen? I just started researching it and thought before I spend days, I'll give the world a shout, just in case...
The camera I have has a perfectly fine viewing screen - but it has a grid etched into it which I don't want... I want to take pictures of the viewing screen, you see, because it makes everything look great - but the grid is in the way!
Am hoping to use it for a fancy book project I am working on, too...
(I should ask this on a photography forum but I enjoy sometimes calling for help on my blog and see if anyone pops up from the quiet void of the web :)
Would welcome advice, and if anyone has a glass panel that would fit I'd swap it for artwork or something!

Here's a very rubbish example (it's too dark in here to show properly what I mean, so it looks just like a bad grainy photo, but you can see the grid lines)


London Zoo Monkeys

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Autumn! The first rainy day in Autumn! And like clockwork, it kicks in. I MUST HAVE CANDLES! I MUST HAVE GERMAN TREE CAKE! And so lucky I am to have a LIDL in the neighborhood.
So, spent some very happy time eating Amaretto-infused tree cake by candlelight.
I don't know why but I always feel at home in Autumn, no matter where I am. Autumn is like a place.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Cats - Second Round Begins!

Urh. I am feeling unwell, but bored in bed, so I'm back up and starting on the new Cats book... first of all I need to get my roughs to the right size. But what is the right size? Fortunately I have a completely mixed folder of STUFF to do with the first book, and I hope it'll become swiftly apparent. I think I was working at 75% ...

Cat Folder

Gosh, what a heck of a lot of paper this is.

Dutch Cats...


...just arrived in the post! Four copies! Anyone want one signed?

Monday, September 22, 2008

To the Zoo!

What a brilliant day I had!
I went to a drawing trip to London Zoo with Alexia. I've not been in years, and it was incredible how much it had changed! I remembered it as this slightly dreary place where I used to go with people to talk about relationships and such and draw brown rats climbing up walls and feel sorry for big cats sitting glassy-eyed in the rain. I am not a big fan of zoos, generally. You kind of have to go there sometimes to learn how to draw stuff.

So... the first thing I saw was the gorilla enclosure, normally the most depressing exhibit in a zoo... you know, majestic silverback sitting there all day with a bucket on his head, just taking it off when when the jeering gets too loud to charge at the safety glass - and I just thought: now this is quite an excellent pad, and these guys look like they agree... and then it went on being surprising.
I didn't expect having hummingbirds buzz past my nose, or monkeys cross my path followed by zookepers running after them. I was surprised to be chased off the bench I was going to sit down and do some drawing on by some spindly legged bird hissing like a steam kettle.

There are also leaf-cutter ants walking past people's noses, and you could take the leafs off them in theory... but you look at the jaws of the soldier ants and you don't.

I think I really have to go back and do some serious drawing, maybe a few days in a row.

And if everything's moving to fast, one can always draw the Meerkats. They know how to stand still.

By the way - if you have a British Rail ticket (or a travel card) they let you take a friend in for free - which makes a massive difference seeing it's sixteen quid to go in.
The coffee is evil though, don't drink the coffee. We did and turned into hovercrafts for the rest of the day, gliding about the place wondering if those animals were the right colour.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Playground Letters

I photographed this thing on a Playground off Shaftesbury Avenue. We had a rest there at lunchtime, it was very quiet, just some pigeons flying low like they were up to something.
I wonder what they imagined children would do with this? I tried to spell something for a while but the best I could do was TIT. I noticed people had replaced some of the letters with marker pens and the like, so I guess they wanted to spell something particular, too, but I just couldn't work out what.

Found an old diary


Why do I keep sneezing? I started yesterday, and I think I've been keeping it up since. But I'm not sure because it was my day off, so I spent it getting more Mangas from the library and reading them all through back to front. Of course it's impossible to read any of them in the right order - you'll know that if you ever tried to read a serialised work in the medium of library books. So now I've read 'Fruits basket' parts one and sixteen, 'Demon Diary' part five and so on... it's a bit hard to follow the storylines, I admit. But the characters seem to have trouble keeping up with the plot at times themselves, and so it seems ok.
It made me feel like I want to write something strange and thoroughly enjoyable, too. I like the way these stories go straight for the most fun and exciting thing conceivable.
Anyway, that's why I don't quite remember if I've been sneezing a lot yesterday, I was completely immersed in stories of Demon Lords and people who turn into animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

I also bought the Saturday Guardian, despite the loathsome advert plastered up in my local train station advertising the creative writing booklets they are running all week. That advert is actually really getting my goat. Last week I stopped in front of it and said 'shut up you idiot!' - I can't remember how it goes, it's a long poem in big rainbow coloured letters starting something like 'fear you not the writers block, the white blank wasteland of A4' or something much worse, and it's written in the style of... hm... whatever you hope no one will stand up and read out as a surprise at your 50th birthday party. It's a complete mockery of what a person might feel staring at a blank page - or hundreds of written pages - worrying that they just can't do it - and DONE IN TERRIBLE WRITING! RHYMING!
Turns out the first booklet is quite nice, though, and it only quotes Stephen King's 'On Writing' once. That's a very good book to teach you how to write a lot of words, by the way, if that's your main problem, not writing enough words. I followed his advice myself and produced so many words I could hardly believe it, but when I re-read them again I thought: would be nice to have some sort of plot as well, in places, a bit. He says plot is overrated, but I got a feeling that's a matter of personal taste. I'll have some, next time round.
Which reminds me... I wonder what I'll be writing next, in November... I have a big box of collected objects that I've been wanting to turn into a novel for years now, and I might as well give that a go because it doesn't really matter if it ends up being a load of weird ramblings. - I also have an idea for a story about foxes, but I don't quite know how it ends, and I don't want to mess it up because it seems like a good story, and maybe I should't hack through it in a month.

What else? The good news is that I found a good place to plug in the charger of my electric toothbrush. The bad news is that they closed my local post office, just when I finally got a bag full of letters that I've written over the last couple of months there to actually post off.

Here's another inexplicable thing I found in an old sketchbook:

Friday, September 19, 2008

All's well

Looks like I've got a new book to be working on :)
It's got small animals in, great danger, big emotions and probably collage elements. Well - hooray!!!!
Now what to do with the rest of the day?

I think I'll go for a walk and then... draw some cats!
I'll also see to it that I post a bit more drawings amongst the ramblings. Sorry, all I've been drawing has been scrawls, it's because all my projects are in intensive drafting phase at the moment. I do rather want to go out on a drawing trip or two, shall ask friends to come along presently (more fun).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Some Old Sketchbook Pages

As usual I can't remember drawing any of these.

Old Sketchbooks

Am sorting through my project files, seeing that publishers are coming 'round tomorrow... found a bunch of nice old ring-bound ones... I'd forgotten I used to use this kind a lot.

Might go through and see if there's nice bits to blog inside...


Definitely time to go to bed... I've delivered the dummy book to the publishers', actually to the security guard because it was quite late already. So they can read it tomorrow, and then come and visit me on Friday, which will be a nice change from going to see publishers.

It was nice to take the bus there while it was light and the bus back in the dark, except London buses after dark are a bit of a mixed bag. This time someone was shouting along to his headphones (well I hope, else he was being VERY odd indeed), a song about lots of weaponry of all kinds and what to do with the ladies.

And just then I realised that I'd set my Twitter account up wrong and missed several days worth of nice messages, now I am reading them back and it's quite sad because they are all friendly but I don't know what they were replies to, it reminds me of a story I read somewhere about someone who had his old front door replaced and when they took it out many years' worth of mail fell out of it - the letter-slot had been broken and some letters just fell inside the hollow door.

Looking forward to tomorrow! Got cats to draw, and LOADS of food in the house for a change!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Na No Wri Mo

OK... this year I am signing up for NaNoWriMo. (Thanks for the nudge, Lau!)

Here's my profile page.
The aim, as always, is to write a 50.000 word novel within November. Should be quite possible! I have a whole load of novel ideas knocking about here but never seem to get started on them, this might just be the way to get something done! I'll just pick one of the more vague ideas, I think, and see what becomes of it. I do hope it won't be another horror novel, for some reason all my novels come out that way.

Today Type STuff & Things

I got some new T-Shirts in the mail... at some point in my life I've turned back into a T-Shirt person from a dresses person. Probably when I turned 30. All my old favourite dresses look threadbare, but I don't really care. It's autumn anyhow. Makes me feel a bit puzzled because some of them I remember buying expecting to wear them in case something wonderful happened and now they are worn out just from walking around London buying groceries, and it doesn't seem all that long ago that they were new... Maybe I am getting a bit less imaginative, but these days I'm quite happy living in more comfortable clothes. Real wonderful occassions don't tend to mind what I'm wearing anyway.

I also got a manual for 3D animation, which looks pretty brilliant - as I've been hoping, it is possibly to 'model' things onscreen, I was a bit worried I'd have to plan and construct everything from numbers in my head. Flicking through it I saw a tutorial on how to make a hairy ball, basically covering a sphere in strands of hair, then rendering it and see them all fall into place with digital gravity. Very cool!

And I think today is the day that I start actually producing the artwork for the seqel to 'There are Cats in this Book". Some of the roughs still need adjusting but tehre's enough to get going... I just have to remember what scale I was working to last time, and get used to drawing the first few pictures twenty times over until they look like I did them without trying :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Doodle... Work... doodle...

Hard at work making a new dummy, scrawling roughs with fat black pens and sticking loads of paper over it all again and again to correct stuff, and then realising that the first doodle in my sketchbook was better so blowing that up large and gluing it over the top... yawn.

And in-between doodling.


Saturday, September 13, 2008




I just found my dream car!
Well, maybe that with an electric motor for uphill support.
Mind you, I don't even have a bike. That's because I'm afraid of falling off though.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New Projects

So I just managed to render my very first 3D Object in Blender (following a tutorial), and man, it was hard. The low point came when I accidentally binned the virtual camera. I can't believe I ended up with this after half an hour's puzzling.

Apparently I'll learn how to turn him into Gingerbread and make him walk next. I hope the manual I ordered arrives soon, it's seriously hard trying to learn it from the Blender wiki.

We'll see if in a few months' time I'll have graduated to hairy, feathery creatures! I have dreams of making my own video game critters...

And while recovering from that I am working on a new dummy. Here is a bit of the second page.


Well all right then!!! Let it be FROGS!

Uwarrrgh!!!! Where is my tape dispenser? I just settled down to do some work, and I can't find the invisible Scotch tape. I am sure there are some rolls about, because this happens ALL THE TIME, and so I keep having to go out and buy tape in a hurry... but if there's one thing rolls of Scotch invisible tape are NOT, it's easy to find if they are not in a highly visible tape dispenser. And where is that??? WHERE???? What stupid reason did I have to remove the tape dispenser from my desk this time???
OK, I have completely blown my top now and ordered the most ridiculous tape dispenser I have ever seen (my uncle had this in his house when I last visited - I just googled Frog Tape Dispenser), and if I misplace that one then... I don't know.

Until then... grr. Too late to go and buy more now. I'll just do some sketches instead. But my, I wish I could NAIL the few items I need all the time to this desk!

P.S. Reminds me: here is a nice short animation to go with this thought.


Canary Nest

Busy, busy, busy.

Now DON'T let your birds explore your kitchen unobserved. It's a dangerous place for them.

Not a very eventful film, this, but nice...
Here's a slightly more eventful film that shows you why you got to keep an eye on them.

Don't worry, I saved him the next moment!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Green Tomato Chutney

This is what I decided to do with the green tomatoes, eventually. I boiled them with cider vinegar, sugar and spices, slowly for hours, into the night, sometimes stirring them around and thinking: still looks runny. Then I spooned them into some clean jars.

Chutney Jars

I hope it worked... it smelled great, anyway!


I'm Proud.
Wouldn't you be?
Now apparently I have to hide this away for three months at least so it can mature...

Keep Up To Date

Headlines today: THE WORLD STILL EXISTS! - Am I glad that I got a newspaper for breakfast, I would have been worried else.
In that light, I just subscribed to the RSS feed of this site . Yes, that feels much better now.

I liked listening to the switch-on of the particle accelerator on BBC radio yesterday morning... especially the scientist (I didn't catch who he was exactly because I was still half asleep) very seriously and tensely explaining what they were doing to the reporter who was trying to keep up - 'we are monitoring the blahs now, we are switching the somethings...' and at some point this unnerving popping noise happened and the scientist said 'I am drinking some champagne now'.

We celebrated, too, with a hearty dinner of Bangers and Smash.


Look what I got in the post today!

French Cats

Not one, but TWO French language editions of There Are Cats in this Book. French, and French Canadian!

In France, as usual, they changed all the bits they figured I didn't write quite right :) - especially adding some 'Coucou' inside and out, which admittedly is a nice thing to say to the very small, generally, I wondered why I didn't write any 'coucou's myself, and I think it's because I was very small for some years longer than most kids, which means that I have a lot of memories of people goung 'coucou' and 'heititei' and 'dududu' and such at me when I was trying to, I don't know, read a book or think about physics at the time. But I admit I did enjoy a bit of 'coucou' when I was of official and proper 'coucou' age, so well done & point to the French there.
Both translations seem rather lovely to me, I like reading things I wrote translated into French. Must be fun, actually speaking French for real.

French Cats

I especially enjoyed finding how they translated 'woweewow', which I originally put in because when I tried to imagine what a cat would talk like ideally I remembered Christopher Walken in 'Puss in Boots'... and somehow when I think of Christopher Walken I think of him saying 'woweewow'. I'd never heard anyone else say 'woweewow' and wondered if it was a real thing to day, but it did stay in the book all through editing, and there it still is. And in France apparently it's 'Wouahwouahwouah'. In French Canada 'Maâowmarraow', and I have a feeling maybe that's something only cats say, but if not then I quite want to move to French Canada one day!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Celebrations Ahead!

So my computer works now (new soundcard) and at last I believe I can turn my attention to other things!
First, there's The Hulk. He's going to be an eyed Hawk-Moth. ALexis found him in the street and rescued him... he became a Chrysalis two days ago, and this morning Alexis built him a wee house on the balcony to overwinter in style.


And this morning we were planning to celebrate the switching on of that big Particle Accelerator with a cooked breakfast of Bangers and Smash... but I was too lazy to go food shopping yesterday, so that'll have to wait until they actually go ahead and make a black hole. I assume they'll tell us beforehand, seems only polite.

Then it's just about time for another celebration - 10 years of Viv in the UK! That's how long I've bloody lived here now!
But I have no idea how to celebrate... suggestions?

And in half an hour or so Alexia will come around to eat some of the abundant Balcony Tomato Sauce.

Balcony Tomato Sauce

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Crime, and nicer things

It's a lovely grey autumn morning, and I'll go out to buy a newspaper in a minute... The Times, again, they are giving away free Hitchcock DVDs this week. I hope I won't get too annoyed... there's always something in there that makes me want to send a letter of complaint. Last Sunday they were running an article about a guy who killed his wife and daughter with 'just two clicks', implying quite heavily that it was somehow computer-related. - But how? - did he email a contract killer? Did he lose all his money online gambling and force them into suicide? What? - He used the internet a lot, including for dubious moneymaking schemes. I read almost the whole article, including things like his ebay feedback (going from good guy to bad guy), before I realised that, indeed, the two clicks were two clicks of the gun trigger. He personally shot them at close range, no internet connection involved.
Sheesh, is this really the opinion out there - using your computer a lot encourages family fathers to reformat their life by deleting their wife and children? - I'm trying not to think about it too much, since, well, it's not my newspaper of choice... and if he'd been an obsessive gardener, maybe they would have claimed he just did some pruning... still. Fah.

On a much happier note, I just downloaded Ktoon- a free 2D animation package, still on my quest of discovering what open source programs have to offer for the creative professional... and thus for anyone hoping to become one on a budget, and without resorting to piracy. - I am not allowing myself to try it out today because I need to get a new dummy together, and in the afternoon probably go to a reception at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dum de doo

Just realised that it's really easy to make animated GIFs in Gimp.
Was also thinking about tubby little mice which might replace hamsters in latest project.

More Twittering...

And now (if you are twittering) you can receive genuine Sleepwalker Tweets. Don't miss any new and exciting episodes...

Pumpkins and Scissors

It's my very first balcony pumpkin!

my first pumpkin

now I hope that pumpkins accept their own pollen, or else this is a dud and for the next one I need to take the train to Battersea Park and take a brush to one of their male pumpkin flowers.

Otherwise... where on earth are my scissors? ANY of them? I know I own a pair of Chinese scissors for gardening, a pair of tailors' scissors for cutting paper neatly, and two pairs of multi purpose. And yet I never have any to hand. I would buy some new ones, but I live in Peckham, so I need ID to buy scissors because people who buy scissors without ID want them to run Amok with, obviously. Either that or I look like I'm under 16. And I just can't be bothered... and also I bet they would get enlisted elsewhere in the house, because I do carry them upstairs to the kitchen and then they disappear. Somewhere there is a nest of scissors in this house and I don't want to guess what inter-dimensional creature is hatching its breed there.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


I've just signed up for Twitter... it's mainly so I can get messages from my virtual secretary Sandy (who keeps my life in order beautifully), but all you nice people are of course much encouraged to send me friendly tweets.

First Autumn Occurences

So... the first cold nights are coming in. The trees are shedding crinkely leaves. It's my favourite time of the year. And I harvested all the tomatoes!

tomato harvest

Before the first night-frost. So that'll be a heck of a lot of chutney et cetera.

Also, I went to see The Death of Flyboy last night... it was beautiful. I spent some time looking for the best place to watch it and settled for the statue of Laurence Olivier, who was pointing right up at the building that it was projected on, high up on the South Bank. The music was drifting down and the trees were rustling.


Friday, September 5, 2008

I'm in Love...

So here's the next 'Sleepwalkers' page, and it's not done in Photoshop at all.

And so far not only can I do everything I'm used to doing on Photoshop in Gimp, I actually prefer some of it... Well, it doesn't seem great for realistic paint effects, but neither was Photoshop (well, maybe one can make it work that way, but I never did).

I imported all my old brushes, palettes and other files... and it's lovely to use.
How happy I am!


Still computers, but also some Sheep!

This morning, I am mostly... transferring files and settings. I can't believe how much stuff is on my old laptop... especially in that folder labeled PROJECTS. I'm finding whole worlds of weird in there... and they will all get their new neat homes now, and maybe some of them will eventually turn into something!

I'm also colouring in a new Sleepwalkers page, but first I need to grab all the swatches and huge layered photoshop files of the previous pages from the laptop, else continuity will get even worse... I should have made a sheet showing the colour-scheme right at the beginning and printed it out and tacked it to the wall, I can never remember for example what colour the white sheep's sword hilt is. Ah well! Live and learn.

Thingummy finch definitely thinks he's Helga canary's mate these days, he follows her everywhere (even scary places like, say, my knee), keeps an eye on her at all times and does funny little dances to impress her. She, on the other hand, just gets on with nest-building and egg-laying and general insanity as usual. Now they have moved into a basket under Alexis' bed... strange little animals. They seem happy though.

And I just read up on the 'One Laptop Per Child' laptop, I'd heard of it before but didn't look into it... and it looks brilliant! If they sold them here I would get one, it looks like just the thing to take to a cafe, bump into stuff on the way and pour coffee over mid-sentence. Runs Linux, and thus all the useful writing and internet stuff one could wish for. And it's a buy one, donate one deal... I do hope they'll be available here some day.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Oh, I'm allowed these.

Instead of starting the day at seven with coffee, trying to make my soundcard work without even changing out of my pyjamas (bad) I went for a lovely walk (good) to Toys'r'Us (ah well) and bought the tenth doctor. Now I feel I am allowed to swith the computer back on, but I stuck him on top of the monitor to remind me NOT to try any more fixing until the week-end, because I've got work and such to do.

The tenth doctor inspects my new dual screen setup

And to keep him company I also got one of my favourite Doctor Who villains. I love the way they designed these guys... look:


Smooth Warrior... this is how they always come chargin into the story... then they take their helmet off, and... ready...?


SONTAR-HA! No change in shape!
I love that about Doctor Who, the way that they very seriously consider the character traits of the species when designing them. These guys, for example, have their only weak spot at the back of the neck - so they never turn their backs on an enemy, they just keep charging...
Sometimes the designers take this idea so far that it goes out the other end, like with the guys who carry their brains in their hands and so are incredibly peaceful, because, well, it's not good to start a fight when you got your hands full of your own brains already. Yes.
I always enjoy seeing kids enjoying Doctor Who... it's great that the UK has their own home-produced series to get excited about, it kind of gets a person down if everything entertaining needs importing. When I was small I felt like cool aliens would never land where I lived.
Mind you, this morning the only enthusiast in the same aisle was a dad with a one-year-old-son in a pram, he was buying a whole load of Daleks and such - that's probably the ideal age to go toy shopping with your kid, then you get to keep the toys until they're old enough... at least... :)

I am impressed how detailed they produced this series, I'll be monitoring the bargain bins... am tempted to start a collection. They are only small!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Evil Ping, but good food

We spent all day cooking today and made a glorious meal... some of it balcony-grown! Now I am stuffed and happy. There will be leftovers for DAYS!

Also - I decided that I've probably messed loads of stuff up on my computer while learning the ropes, so I re-installed everything from scratch, inbetween frying tomatoes and such. And just then, late at night, well-fed, I worked out why the email program crashes the system every time I get a mail. It's the little PING sound. The PING sound crashes EVERYTHING. How mad is that??? I disabled it, and that solved it. - Weird!!!

Yes, I am completely obsessed and this computer stuff is getting boring. I promise to go back to drawing tomorrow, now that I don't have to worry that some incoming mail crashes all my work...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Good Show!

This is too insanely brilliant... I've been up before eight today, and mostly trying out this computer since. My only meal has been a medium Big Mac meal at the keyboard (my second one this year). I can't believe it... every few hours I go: OK, next step! And plug in a second screen or try what happens if I just plug in a camera. And the most brilliant things happen. YOu can't tell from this photo how much I enjoyed watching it being sucked out of the camera, put in a neat digital photo album (automatically labeled and all) and then whisked to my FLICKR account. It was Smooth.

Inbetween, I interact with lovely people who visit and really do deserve seeing me not just from the side, typing, I am sorry... my former landlady's daughter visited and brought her little son. He had his first birthday when I was there, and I made him a sock monkey for his one-and-a-halfth (I think) which he apparently loves a lot. Anyway, his mum read him 'There are Cats in this Book' and he was vaguely smiling, and I went downstairs because I felt silly watching, like I was staring at this kid worried that he'd hate it, or worse, walk off and do something more exciting... and then all children in the world would agree, obviously. I fiddled with the computer some more and came back up... and they were still reading it, and he was throwing the paper wool at the paper cats and laughing, and blowing on them to dry them when they got wet and laughing when they puffed up (this is an interactive book you see) - this was already the second showing! And when he got to the end, he said: 'Let's read it again now!'

So, well, I am very happy now :)
Quality child, that. Excellent taste.

All set to go

Scanner works. Graphics tablet works. Website maintenance programs installed.
Self esteem rocketing.

Now I want to know if I can play PC games on this :D

Death of Flyboy

If you are in London, come and watch this with me :)

I visited Matthew a couple of days ago and he showed me the beautiful, intricate shadow puppets he has made for this show (which is a science fiction opera with silent movie puppetry projected on a building - so it better not rain) - I was VERY impressed.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Kleenex Cat

Hey! I am liking this program! Look, I coloured a cat! Now I wish my graphics tablet worked because I'm rubbish with a mouse...

Scanned some Stuff...

OK... here is my first picture scanned under Ubuntu. I fiddled with it a little bit in Gimp (which comes with Ubuntu), and I can't believe how close to Photoshop this program is so far... in fact, everything works either great or not at all so far. Meaning that every device that is supported works instantly (so far) and every other one... I'm working on it :)

It's nice, no? I had to use my not so good portable scanner because my big expensive one doesn't work yet. Pah.

Oh, these are random doodles from my sketchbook by the way.

Huge box!

This is the first ever post from my new computer! YAYY! I have so much space on my desk now!
It arrived in a HUGE box weighing 20kg because my parents took the opportunity to send a load of other goodies along, a percolator for example (is that the right word)? And my old winter coat I left in Germany. I had to unpack the box on the doorstep because I couldn't shift it.
The computer was a bit mad out of the box and I re-installed Ubuntu, now it runs beautifully. It took me an hour to install the printers, because I didn't realise that all you have to do is, er, plug them in... now I am stumped about the scanner, but I have a feeling it will resolve itself. And I need toget my graphics tablet to work. And apparently somewhere in here a TV card is hiding!
Expect some oddities for the first Sleepwalkers Instalment to be coloured with open-source graphics programs only. Huah! Well, as soon as I worked out how to scan anything. Hm!!