Sunday, 12 February 2017

Back from the Dead

It's been the longest time since I've done this thing. I barely remember HOW to do this thing. You know, words.

You do sort-of ask yourself "Why bother?"

A lot of the blogs I used to follow now seem like empty vessels for advertisers, or forced-positive scrapbooks of people's lives that only show you the idyllic 10%. Same with Youtube. I used to watch a lot of it, but now can't bear the toxic self-absorbed, social-climber nature of a large portion of Youtubers. I now watch it scarcely, save a few who will put more into a video than their last trip to Tesco. It's really funny reading some of my old posts from 2 years ago because I can see that I was desperately trying to emulate that.

I guess really what needs to happen is that I need to do something, if I'm going to be this opinionated about it, and create the content I would want to read, and share with everyone the content creators that I currently love to read and watch. Apart from the odd art post or vain Tweet, I really have lost my connection to the online world and any kind of long-form writing. Though that's not necessarily a bad thing; I have fantastic friends and an excellent life, but I've missed committing to something creative and on some kind of schedule.

Bear in mind I am promising zero. This might be the post to end all posts. This might be the beginning of something beautiful (HA). Fuck it, let's go for it. It's mental that my last post was about 2 years ago and so much has happened since then:


In no particular order:

  • I've visited Paris and Japan. Though v keen to travel more this year.
  • My jaw has completely healed.
  • I have become a Twitch-er. Is that what they're called? Like a Witcher but less rugged and most battles happen in chatrooms. I even Creative streamed a bit. Sadly my new place doesn't have the Internet to support that anymore, but hoping to upgrade soon.
  • I can now cook over 3 meals.
  • I've started a bullet journal, and have kept it up for about 30 days. I'll do a post on this eventually.
  • I dyed my hair red. It's okay. I'll roll with it.
  • I filed 2 tax returns. I know.
  • I turned 24, though I'm now a week away from 25, so that's irrelevant.
  • I went to my first Comic Con.
  • I've moved to London, properly. Like an adult.
  • Though I'm in the same job, I've worked on many fab projects and now have almost 3 years of VFX experience.
  • Still don't have a showreel, though.
  • I've been to about 4 music festivals, and 10+ concerts.
  • I have enough copies of ImagineFX & 3D Artist to start a WHSmith.
  • I've met a wealth of brilliant and diverse people from all over the world.
  • I still can't commit to anything. Art schedules, fitness routines, deadlines, you name it.
  • I'm happier. More confident. More grounded. But also ready to explore new horizons and improve on being a well-rounded human.
  • I've also become infinitely more bitter and cynical and can't take myself seriously when I write these things. Any posts from me will now be an exercise in online identity crisis. I'll also swear more.


In an effort to make this more colourful, I'll include that I jumped on an art meme a few weeks back. It's probably the closest thing I have to an up-to-date self-portrait. A bunch of people and artists I follow have made these and I think they're adorable.

What I'll be posting with yet I haven't decided. Some art, some life, some writing, maybe even some cooking (god forbid.) I still haven't mastered the art of presenting food nicely.

If any of you (I'm pretending I have any kind of following still, feel free to play along.) have any suggestions, feel free to comment. One thing I'd like to set up is a formal commissions list so people are able to see what I charge/if I'm available. I'm not right now, but if I need to save for things in the future then it's something I'm going to try to be more organized with!

That's all from me right now.

The next one may never come. We just don't know. It is in the hands of the Gods. Whether or not I'll stick with Blogger or find another host is undecided. I'm also going to be doing a cleanup of old posts, as some are just too awful for me to deal with.

If you have made it this far, thank you, and please hit me up with a follow!


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Cabin Fever & February Art Dump!


My jaw is finally beginning to look more human and less Mr. Incredible, so this is what I currently look like 
(excuse shitty quality and crazy expressions):
So I thought, as I've had some time away from work and more time to do some painting, I'd share the stuff I've been working on/starting over the past month or so. I was hoping to get more done but unfortunately jaw surgery really does take it out of you for 2 weeks!

Below includes a painting of Maddie Ziegler (aka mini Sia from the Elastic Heart/Chandelier videos), a female re-imagining of Khal Drogo inspired by the lovely miss Emma Pickles (who you can check out here), some face sketches, and the development of a female elf character. Why? Because elves.
I drew the first elf sketch during my night on the ward before surgery - she turned out to be an excellent way to distract myself! I've been trying to find some good clothing refs so I can make her outfit more convincing, obviously she's still very much a WIP but watch this space!

I recently bought a Canon 700D with some savings & birthday money, so prepare to see some higher quality snaps once I get the hang of it. Might do a separate post on it if I have anything worth showing.

I am, however, very much looking forward to getting back to work and seeing my colleagues again. I mean, doing nothing and painting all day is all well and good but now that I'm able I'm keen to get out and do things!

Until next time!


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Rhinos, Birthdays and Surgery, Oh My!

W'ello there.

It has been a while, has it not? It's a rule that if you admit that you're doing well with blogging in the post, that will then be your last post for at least a month. You get cocky and then life happens! Life meaning life not interesting enough to blog about.

Well, actually, there has been quite a lot going on this month. Since I last posted, I have up until recently been working full-time as a Junior 3D Artist. And we worked on this spot for 3 Mobile, who are sponsoring the Irish Rugby Team:

Specifically I worked on modelling/texturing for the butterflies, and textures on Mr. Rhino there. Pretty chuffed with how it came out - well done team! When this went out Ireland won their Six Nations match so clearly we helped!


In other news, I've had to take a few weeks off work due to jaw surgery, which seemed to creep up on me very fast since I found out the date in November! As I'm writing this, it's been almost 2 weeks since I had the surgery (mandibular osteotomy, i think?) so I'm still feeling a little sorry for myself, but I'm already feeling a lot better than last week.

When I came out of hospital I was very VERY swollen (no, no pictures for you) but fairly cheerful (as your entire face is numb so it's not actually THAT painful). But then they put me on antibiotics for 5 days and everything went steadily downhill, I felt nauseous after every meal, got a lovely skin rash, and generally felt completely out of it. However, I think the majority of that was down to the antibiotics, because now I feel much more human, and I've even managed some scrambled eggs in with the very exciting diet of soups and smoothies I've had recently.

My face now looks pretty normal to those that don't know me, so I can go out and about to do little errands and things, but I'm waiting till Monday to brave the morning commute again (and I'm going to be forever anxious about angry commuters whacking my jaw out of place on the tube!). I think the only thing that is really bothering me right now is the nerve pain (as jaw surgery bruises the nerve that runs through your lower jaw), so I am completely numb from my lower lip down to the base of my chin. A bit like a ventriloquist doll.

There has been continuous 'pins and needles' in that area for the last week, so I'm hoping in the next month or so I'll be getting some feeling back (I'm starting to get a little on the right side! WOO!). This does mean I absent-mindedly prod my chin when I'm not thinking about it, so I'll be the crazy on public transport for a while.


Aaand finally, last Thursday I turned 23! Though I'll admit, my ideal birthday situation probably wouldn't be a hospital visit, face prodding, x-rays and early wake-ups. But I have the most darling mother in the world, who resourcefully made me a birthday cake out of jelly. My brother and I then made a very calorific smoothie to make up for the week before. I also got a new baby, (not really) in the form of a Canon EOS 700D. I've been wanting a mid-range DSLR for video/stills for ages, and now I can video to my heart's content. And then put loads of dragons into all my shots. Yeah.

 Perhaps I'll even Youtube one day. Haha. Ha.


That's all for now! Hopefully I'll have some more art for you soon :)



Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Braces and Pretty Faces


Doing rather well, aren't I? Clearly this is some sort of new-year-buzz that I'm still riding, similar to that gym membership you pay for in January and forget to cancel until April.

First update, and I don't think I've written about this before, but I've had lingual braces for almost 3 years now. Well, until yesterday. I got the lingual braces behind my top teeth about a year into University, and then bottom braces (the normal kind) on my bottom teeth about 6 months afterwards.

It's been a long, slow process, but finally I'm beginning to reach the end game, which sadly involves some fairly scary jaw surgery that should be happening mid-February. So yesterday, I had to have my linguals removed, and replaced with some rather uncomfortable, chunky ceramic ones on the front of my top teeth. All I can say is I am not a fan and it's making me fairly miserable, and when I'm miserable I like to paint! (Though the painkillers are probably helping as well.)

So tonight I decided to finish a painting I started a few months ago of a blogger/fashion vlogger that I follow called Helen Anderson. I'm not really a 'girly' girl in that I don't spend hours watching clothes hauls/make-up tutorials, but I like her as she's a little bit more interesting than your average beauty blogger, and her videos make me laugh. She's also in a very good band which you can check out here!

She is also obviously very pretty, and so I thought I'd have a go at a face study, which resulted in this:

Though it's fairly sketchy, I really enjoyed painting it! I was experimenting with different textures for the skin and I quite like how it came out. Could have spent more time on the hair maybe, and it's not 100% accurate but I'm no portrait artist yet haha, always on the lookout to improve.

Anyhoo, time for bed. And then work, and then bed and then work and then bed and then.... Haha. Hopefully I'll be able to do some more painting soon :)


Monday, 5 January 2015

Art Dump: 2014

Well, Hello!

So this is a great big pile of some of the things I created last year, and failed to blog about. So what better way to present them than dumping them all at once into one post so no one has to do any complicated clicking. As you can see I went from doodling to actually trying to create finished digital paintings and more detailed work. My head is perpetually full of beautiful fantasy women and Game of Thrones/Lord of the Rings references, which I think this proves.

In order of Oldest to Newest, from top to bottom:

Still have a long way to go in terms of my art, but it's not been a bad year at all!
I do think I'm improving slowly, but having been so busy it's not been as easy to practice. I can see a definite improvement, but comment and let me know if you do too!

Back to the grind now,

Speak soon!


Sunday, 4 January 2015


Long time no see. Haha. Aha. ha...

I HAVE REASONS. Genuinely. Hear me out!

So the last you heard from me, I was diving head-first into the wild world of VFX, and learning from my wonderful tutors at Escape Studios, who I cannot thank enough. I would also like to give an honorary mention to Mr. Liam WOTO (not his real surname, rumour has it), who is a very talented artist and all-round-nice-guy, for recommending Escape to me. Go check him out, he draws good.

Realising that this was almost exactly a year ago makes my head spin a little. I need to sit down, hang on. Deep breaths.

Right, so for those that are interested, I completed my 18-week-course at Escape, (and yes, it was very intensive indeed!) and then, two weeks afterwards, somehow managed to land myself a job as a Freelance Junior in Soho with a very up-and-coming company in VFX, working primarily in ads and music videos.

Since then, I have been lucky enough to have worked on a bunch of fantastic projects, including a music video for Alt-J, a Freeview ad involving some charming, if not slightly creepy, singing toys, and some upcoming promos/ads that I am very much enjoying being a part of. I'll plug myself horribly below so you can check these out if you fancy! I'm getting to do all sorts of work from modelling & texturing to sculpting, lighting, rendering, you name it! We won an award about a month ago for Best VFX on Alt-J's Hunger of the Pine at the UK MVAs, which is absolutely mental.

So it's been a pretty darn busy year. I've also met loads of great, nerdy and extremely talented people, and made some amazing friends and colleagues along the way. And hence, this blog has been very neglected, which is why I am giving it a make-over!

Other things that have happened include going to Latitude & Boomtown Festivals over the summer, working with a friend on a Youtube video, going the farthest north I've gone so far (not that far, in all honesty, not even Scotland), Christmas, New Year and overall not having a huge amount of time to blog ;)

But hey, let's start the new year optimistically.

I'll be updating later this week with some recent digital paintings/sketches and doodles I've been doing, but for now, I will leave you with lots of super fun links to click on. G'wan.

Alt J - 'Hunger of the Pine', Directed by Nabil.

Freeview - 'The Left-Behinds'

King - 'Release the Magic' spots for Candy Crush Soda, Pet Rescue, Bubble Witch and Farm Heroes.

Aaand the Youtube Video I helped out on, which now has a crazy crazy amount of views, directed and mostly created by the very talented Mr. Mat Hill, who definitely deserves all the praise he can get. But those rocks tho.

More soon, I promise, but for now this is getting far too long and everyone needs a KitKat. I hope you are all having a brilliant start to the year, but now I desperately have to go to bed in preparation for work in the morning. More arty things coming your way soon!



Sunday, 23 February 2014

Escape Studios: Weeks 5, 6 & Final Project!

Hi all!

So thought I'd update you on where I am with my course so far! I've completed the final part of my 6 week Maya Core and have to say I feel like I've learnt a mammoth amount of knowledge in such a short space of time! I am now in possession of a laptop that will actually deal with all the things I want to do, which means much more experimentation and perhaps even some personal projects at some point :)

So first of all, we moved onto slightly more advanced texturing, which meant creating a texture from scratch, adding stickers and giving some age to the object. Our tutor had already created a model of a WW2 Canister, and it was our job to create a texture, add some details like rust and scratches, and then adding pre-made stickers and roughing them away. See above for a screenshot of this in progress!

I have to say, I felt a lot more confident with this part of the course, as I've already used Photoshop in my own time for a number of years and didn't feel quite as lost with the software. Texturing is something I enjoy due to the fact you can add a lot of character to your model just by adding tiny details. It sort of creates a story, and you have to think about it a lot harder than say, just colouring in!

We also touched on some of the more complicated parts of texturing, playing with shadow samples, transparency, bump and specular maps in order to create a number of surfaces.

Finally, we moved onto mia shaders, with which you have a lot more control of the product! They also interact a lot more with your light sources to create a realistic finished image. We used a few different objects which we applied different shader presets to, and experimented with the sliders to get a variety of effects. Here are a few examples:

I have to say, i was very impressed with the mia shaders, and we're recommended to use them from now on instead of the Maya default Blinns and Lamberts. You get so much more control over your textures, and I'm not going to lie, it's pretty addictive experimenting with all of the values to see what you can make from it! It does take hours of trial and error, but the finished effect can be really satisfying :)

Finally, throughout the last four weeks we have been working on our projects, and I'm pleased to present my finished still from this:

We had our presentations on the Friday of the sixth week, and I was very nervous about it. Apart from the obvious mistakes (some of the shadows and specularity etc. etc.) I'm really pleased with my work so far and I can't wait to get on with the next project!

Would love to hear any feedback, as I can always improve. I think I might come back to this at a later stage and have a play around to get it perfect :)

Thank you for reading!