donderdag 31 juli 2014

Ham and Miss Saskia Winterthrope
     The funny thing about ham - take a slice made from say a Gloucestershire Old Spot or perhaps from a Swallow Bellied Mangalitza, and the slices will just fall flat if you drop them from about waist height. But then a nice juicy piece made from either a Hampshire or a Chester White or even a Red Wattle - a piece of ham like that will flip over once before hitting the floor.
I learned this from Saskia Winterthorpe of Jolly's Bottom, Cornwall, who also showed me a rather curious parlour trick using a chicken filet, a tumbler of water and a shoelace.

woensdag 30 juli 2014

Star Shine and Moonlight and a Soft Caress
 Ibrahim L. Igneous says one night, "I'm gonna comb me hair real good, I am. And then I'm gonna change me pants and put on me good trousers. Once that's more or less done, I'm gonna go up that pole and pet a head, if there's a head up there somewhere." And under a starlit heaven, as the sounds of crickets and night birds filled the summer twilight with a pleasant nocturnal melody, that is what he did.
He patted the head for fifteen minutes and then climbed back down, rather pleased with himself and ready to curl up in bed with a good book and perhaps a cheese sandwich.

dinsdag 29 juli 2014

A Morning's Stretch
John P. Posture, posing with a nicely filled bladder.

zaterdag 26 juli 2014

Rain in Suburbia - How to Keep One's Things Dry?
Being an old-fashioned romantic, Sir Dougal Constipation enjoys long walks in the rain. To keep his tampons dry, he puts them in a small waterproof purse. "It makes good sense," he remarks, "and besides, it'd be stupid to lug around an empty purse in the rain."

vrijdag 25 juli 2014

The Active Dunce - Friday is Washday
And all about the village one could hear the sounds of domestic industry - the sweeping of steps, the scrubbing of stones, the clipping of hedges and the cutting of grass. The walkways being tidied, the windows being washed and the laundry being hung out to dry in the midmorning breeze. For Frankie Pimplebottom (below) the Friday is a most wonderful day, a day to clean and prepare his wardrobe for the coming weekend's active social obligations.
Pimplebottom enjoying a well deserved ale 

donderdag 24 juli 2014

The Crackle of Energy, the Smell of Sulphur
Professor Ginger Bread Infinity is best remembered for having invented the year 1973, which he discovered in the winter of 1972.  But his scientific career was marked by many other ingenious creations and innovative theories (most of which have been sadly overlooked by modern scientists).
His work on the Fohnhurst-Melbourne project, for example - a theory which states that "dog" is not the opposite of "cat" - was quite progressive at the time, as was his static-electric imagery of tube socks. Perhaps his most ambitious research was published in his pamphlet "Nuclear Precipitates and the Feather Duster  - Practical Applications in the Fields of Fusion and Light Housekeeping".
Professor G. B. Infinity

woensdag 23 juli 2014

Come on Boy! I'll Race You Down to Willow Pond!
     Ha, ha, ha - the joyous roughhousing of a young laddie and his canine comrade on a pleasant summer's morning. It is enough to fill one's heart with "ha, ha, ha's".
     Upon reaching "Willow Pond" (the race was a tie, by the way - neck on neck at the finish line), the two had a small picnic and basked an hour in the sunshine, listening to the dull hum of the bumblebee and sharper whines of the mosquito and shit fly.
     Insect life and waterside creatures abounded, and both child and doggie were soon utterly crawling with ticks and fresh water leaches. Their panic ridden screams were enough to fill one's heart with "ha, ha, ha's"... serves 'em right, the lounging little layabouts.
"A Run in the Summer - From Giant's Meadow to Willow Pond"

dinsdag 22 juli 2014

A Desert with Moderate Temperatures, Low Humidity and Mild Winds
A keen amateur meteorologist, Gilberto del Smythe is pictured here during the final stages of his exploratory march over the sands of the Pulacaca Plateau, near modern-day Swindon. He was keen - enduring days of hardship in this barren, sand-swept wasteland. He was an amateur - forgetting to bring any type of meteorological instrument. But he dressed sensibly, in a fine white linen suit and comfortable shoes.

zondag 20 juli 2014

Running with Food - Filmed for Your Pleasure
Here's a simple little cartoon I drew and thought I'd make a short film of it being inked. The  film is sped-up considerably - in real time it took about thirty-two minutes to complete the figure, but that might be far too dull to watch.
I inked it on a piece of Canson Bristol paper, using Talons ink and a Winsor & Newton brush (Cotman series, 222, size "0" - it's a fairly cheap synthetic brush and I really like them).
Here's the finished picture:
And the little video (with some bluesy-ragtime tunes I made up last summer for fun):

zaterdag 19 juli 2014

Well then, let's hear you play, Lester Burton!
His first selection was "The Wheels on the Bus - Will They Never Stop?", quickly followed by a languid rendition of  "Every Breath Mint You Take". Near dawn he left us, the strains of "He Ain't Heavy, but I Still Can't Lift Him" fading as dew before the sun on the soft summer morn.
Lester Burton in Kingston, Jamaica, 1934

vrijdag 18 juli 2014

How Do You Do..?
The past three years or so I've changed the way in which I make my drawings. I still draw with a pencil (a technical drawing pencil - handy not to have to sharpen it) and ink with a brush, but I've added a few extra steps, which have really helped to improve my work. I'm happier with it, in any event. I obviously have lots of room for more improvement - and practicing all the time is probably more the reason I'm happier with my work, of course - but there are a couple little things I've been doing that seem to help, too.
- When I draw, I'm always holding my paper up to the light and looking at the reverse. Like when I was a teenager and my art teacher told me to hold a picture up to the mirror. I found the mirror-thing a little distorted to be of much use, but perhaps I just didn't know what I was looking for. It's just amazing how the mistakes - poor proportions, slanting, crookedness -how obvious they can become when viewing a sketch in reverse.
- I correct what I see is wrong and finish the sketch. Well, almost - some things I'll leave, even though I know they're wrong. Things like a hand that's too big, but drawn perhaps nicely enough. Or a finished head that's not quite resting straight on the neck. Or that the entire figure is slanted to the left or right. For these large alterations, I use the computer.
- Scanning the sketch, the first thing I do is reverse it. Even more so than viewing the paper in reverse, seeing it mirrored on the computer screen seems to make mistakes even more obvious. And then things like reducing a hand or two, or straightening a head or figure - these things are very simple to remedy in your graphic program. And I learn from it, too, of course. I see what's wrong and how to fix it - and try not to make that mistake again. I often do repeat it, though, but gradually my sketches are improving.
- An example. Here is a sketch I've scanned, with the reverse to the right:
Looking at the mirror-image, I wasn't too displeased with the drawing. The fellow's head is a little off centre, maybe, and his eyes are a tad un-level. His one shoulder bothers me a bit.  And for my taste, the head of the pike is too close to the man's body, the "5" on his sweatshirt is too near his knee and his rear leg is too close to his bum. These tangents, as they are called, make things look a little busy, they detract from the total image and form shapes/connections that were not intended. I also didn't like the speed-line behind him.
- Using Corel Photopaint I adjusted the sketch. I should have maybe fixed a hand too - they're not quite the same size, but I have actually just noticed it now (and in a week I'll probably see lots more I should have changed that I just don't notice now). Here is a Gif showing the changes:
I then print out the sketch, slightly bigger and in cyan, on Bristol paper and ink it with my brush. Scanning it in, I then colour it nice and simple and, for the fun, add a little "aging-effect":
In a day or two, I'd like to show another example, and perhaps talk about my ideas about colouring and even make a quick film of a cartoon being inked. Sounds like a grand time! Yes, just grand.

donderdag 17 juli 2014

Stump's Summer Stroll, Self-Propelled
When studying the artist's engraving of John Stump (below), the great flexibility of both wrists will at once be noted. The apparent surprise worn by the subject is also likely to be recognized by the astute observer, as well as the remarkable red shirt in which Mr. Stump is clad.
However, it is only through deductive reasoning and a thorough grasp of the local geography of Swingleton upon Barnmere, that the pupil can ascertain the exact location that this striking summer's walk has taken place. Assuming one is familiar with Barry's "Streets and Alley's of the Midlands - a Treatise in Macadam" (and who's volume remains un-thumbed..?) the solution will be perfectly obvious. For those who need perhaps a little push - it would be wise to refer to page 517 of the stated work, and note similarities between figures 9.17 to 9.23 and the image below.

woensdag 16 juli 2014

The Orator
Mister Gimp likes to read aloud, certainly when he finds himself up against the wall, (perhaps) in an area of one-point perspective. But he's been known to orate in places with up to four vanishing points. He was made that way and this is how he's drawn:
The great Mister Gimp

dinsdag 15 juli 2014

Chilling Tales...
I love to read and most evenings I try to spend at least an hour or two before bed with a good novel or a short story or two. I love a good visual story - the kind when I can shut my eyes before going off to sleep and re-enact what I just read in my mind. I like stories in which things happen and the past year or so I've been really enjoying old ghost stories - and something always happens in a ghost story.
There's some great collections out there. One of the first I read was a rather nice volume of "Irish Ghost Stories", a varied collection of tales from the Victorian period. Sheridan Le Fanu has several spooky tales in it, "An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street" and "Passage in the History of an Irish Countess" (later re-worked as the novel "Uncle Silas" I believe) are two that I really enjoyed. "The Judge's House" by Bram Stoker is quite good - full of atmosphere and all the creepy things you'd expect from a horror story. There are also tales which draw on the folklore of Ireland - featuring the well-known "good people", the Leprechauns, and are really fun to read. This picture is a humble tribute to some of those stories:
Oliver Onions is another writer I really enjoy. "The Beckoning Fair One" is perhaps his best known story, but "The Painted Face" and "The Rosewood Door" are great, too - his collection of ghost stories is one of my favourites so far.
"Scottish Ghost Stories", like it's Irish counterpart, has quite a collection of well-known authors and some superb tales. Robert Louis Stevenson is perhaps the best-known (or Sir Walter Scott, perhaps?), and Stevenson's "Olalla" is a great story. Not actually a ghost story, but quite a nice tale about a rather odd family living in Spain. His "Thawn Janet" is a more of a ghost story, and very good. I came across his tale "The Merry Men" in another collection and it is perhaps my favourite thing I've read from him. Shipwrecks, insanity and a silent visitation - all set against a small Scottish island, with some of the best and atmospheric descriptions of a stormy sea and rocky coast I've yet read. Margaret Oliphant's "The Open Door" and "Library Window" are two other classics from "Scottish Ghost Stories" that really stick out in my mind, I thoroughly enjoyed them.
M. R. James is another well-known author I read with pleasure - he has a fun, easy style and interesting characters. Charlotte Riddell has a nice collection - her humour gives a nice touch to her writing, it gives her stories a somewhat more personal feeling. And Willie Collins is quite a pleasure to read. Perhaps better known for his detectives and mysteries, but "The Dream Woman" and in particular "Mrs. Zant and the Ghost" are two very fine supernatural tales.
Ah, there's many more I really like. A nice collection of those old ghost stories - it's a pleasure I look foreword to each evening. Especially if there's rain against the bedchamber window and the ominous rumble of approaching thunder fills the summer night. It's great fun.
Two more homages I made for my personal amusement. I love ghost stories. 


maandag 14 juli 2014

Episode 6: The Face Behind Indoor Agriculture
This south-facing sitting-room yields a fine crop, which is gathered in on Midsummer's eve by Constance Picklejar, pictured here in her new outfit.
"Mrs. Picklejar a muckin' 't birdle-coo"

zondag 13 juli 2014

The Man with Five Fingers (and five more and one additional finger, portraying his head)
There are few ailments of the mind and body that cannot be at least somewhat alleviated or, more often, altogether remedied, by taking generous helpings of fresh air, sunshine and vigorous exercise. Crispin St. John (pictured below in plate 5 ) illustrates this point marvellously. Accompanied by his finely carved walking stick of exotic tropical hard woods, his gout is held at bay due to his bracing evening constitutionals and the balmy, soothing summer air.
plate 5
 Crispin St. John posing before Olgrove Downs Cottage

zaterdag 12 juli 2014

Chapter Four: Ballads of Courtship and Seduction
Miss Isobel ó Cuinn, of the Mayo ó Cuinns, had had many suitors, as one might very well expect, given her comely appearance and good-naturedly disposition.  None of the fine young men, however, had met with the approval of the matron of the family, Mrs. Helene ó Cuinn (nee O'Connell), who had rather insisted that her daughter wed a man well suited to their own station in life and position in Dublin society. Both mother and daughter were one day happily surprised, if not thoroughly enchanted, when young master Riddell, of the noted London lineage of antiquity and celebration, came calling upon the young Irish maiden. 
"Daguerreotype of Miss ó Cuinn and Mister Riddell in their early days of courtship".

vrijdag 11 juli 2014

Three is for Friday, the eleventh of July
 I love drawing tiled floors and what's more - I love drawing people enjoying a cigarette or two whilst standing (in a manner of speaking) on tiled floors. And this fellow is certainly enjoying his smoke. It helps take his mind off the fact that if he tries to tie his shoes, he'll probably fall over. The irony.
"Peter puffing profusely in the parlour."

donderdag 10 juli 2014

Wait, a Second!

This cheerful chap (fig. 2) was sadly beaten daily while growing up. Beaten by friends, family, neighbours - even teachers and the parish priest joined in on occasion. But did it get him down, extinguish his joie de vivre? No, not fig. 2! He was beaten, but never gave up - that's how much he enjoyed chess, even though he never won a game. Now his wife and kiddies beat him when they play. He's a nut - a cheerful, chess-playing nut, this fig. 2.

fig. 2

woensdag 9 juli 2014

Funny Pic-a-tures
(or grey if that looks nicer).

Ain't summer swell? Sure seems it to me. The clear blue skies, fresh green grass, the flowering trees and ripening fruit... ah, lovely. So I thought I'd spend the evenings in a pleasant way, sketching a few odd fellows and fellowettes, and place one a day for the rest of July. Maybe longer, but you got to start somewhere. So here is number one:

"Where there's a worm, there's a way".