Friday, 29 March 2013

Foals at the Royal Albert Hall: 28/03/13

Hey all,

So I thought I'd write up a quick post about my day yesterday, as it was very impromptu and really fun! A couple of days ago my friend texted asking if I wanted a free ticket to go see Foals live, and of course I said yes. They're also headlining Latitude Festival, and as I may well be going to that too, this was a great excuse to get into them properly before the festival.

I'd heard 'Cassius' from their first album loads before, as well as 'My Number' more recently, but I hadn't really listened to any of their other music. They were being supported by Efterklang, too, another band who are playing Latitude Festival, so it was definitely worth going to see them.

For 3.30 on a Thursday afternoon, the Royal Albert Hall was surprisingly packed. I don't think (festivals excluded) I've ever gone to a 'Matinee' Concert, which felt a little bizarre but in the end it didn't make much of a difference (And we probably got to watch them when they were slightly less tired, which is a plus-side). I'd never been to the Royal Albert Hall before, and on the inside, it seemed a lot smaller than the huge stadium-size venue I'd been expecting. However, the acoustics in that room were incredible. We were sitting at the front of the seated-section, behind the standing area and the techno-geeks with their laptops, but we could still hear everything as clearly as if we had been right up at the front.

Efterklang were really good, I hadn't heard of them before, but they're clearly making a name for themselves in the indie circles, and quite rightly. I think the highlight of their set for me was the final song, called 'Modern Drift' where Katinka and Casper synchronised vocals, and harmonised over the top of one another. I found a video via YouTube, if any of you would like to watch:

I can confidently say I'm looking forward to seeing them again at Latitude. They were really sweet, smooth and their music worked fantastically in the Royal Albert, where the acoustic was ten times the level of any other venue I've ever been to. Katinka's operatic backing vocals sounded incredible in the Albert Hall.

Foals, too, were great. I recognised more songs than I thought I knew, highlights being 'Inhaler', which they played during the encore, and 'My Number' which they played after their first song to get the crowd going. I was hoping they'd play 'Cassius', a favourite from about four years ago but sadly they didn't. However, it was a great gig altogether, and the Royal Albert was the last place I expected to watch anyone crowd-surfing. But Yannis managed it, clearly not satisfied with staying put in one place for too long, and there was a moment where he surged into the seating area, had a bit of a skip around and then fought his way back to the front. I'm not sure the RAH is the most rock-and-roll place to do that, but each to their own.

Foals, musically were really really great. I'd never expected their sound to carry so well, but I can now completely see why they've been made headliners for Latitude 2013. They have a sound that could easily fill a whole stadium, coupled with light and laser shows to rival Muse. I can't wait to see them again in July!

That's all for now, more art updates soon hopefully!


Thursday, 28 March 2013

A spot of tea and girling

So it's been a slightly more sociable last couple of days, which has meant less drawing and more contact with the outside world, thankfully. I was turning into a bit of a night troll.

Anyhoo, so my friend came round and I decided to show her a picture I'd started for her but never finished (I'm a great, consistent friend, obviously) and then decided to start finishing it in front of her (I'm also really good at hosting.)

So here's the finished product:

Playing around with textures is fun, I feel like it really enhances the drawing (and obviously there's a tea theme with this one.) It's also got an Alice in Wonderland theme because my friend is (quite rightly) obsessed with those books. I'm happy to say it's now her profile picture on Facebook, so clearly I haven't done too badly.

In terms of Photoshop, I used the same soft texture brush from the ImagineFX set I recieved, and then after colouring/shading etc. found this brilliant tea-stained paper texture on deviantart (which you can download here), played around with the opacity settings and the Contrast Levels until this emerged. I'm quite happy with it despite some obvious anatomy issues, but I drew the sketch quite a while ago so I've possibly improved since then.

As an endnote, here is a picture that Emma drew for me in return which I think is much better:

Anyway, off to bed (It's 00:52 and I'm supposed to be getting up tomorrow for Foals!)


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

What I Wore (Sketch Edition)

So whilst scouring the web for blogs to follow, I found a little project called What I Wore Drawings, which is adorable. They've even got a book out now, which I'm tempted by but have no money to fund, sadly. Basically loads of really talented illustrators/artists post up a little sketch of what they wore that day, so I decided, naturally at about 2am, to do the same. I know the hand is rubbish but I think i got bored of drawing at that point and just decided to scribble.

So here's mine, with annotations (excuse the handwriting):

Also an excuse to play around with some of my new brushes from ImagineFX, they had loads of pencil/sketchy brushes that I thought I'd briefly experiment with. I don't pretend to be good at matching clothes up/wearing exciting things but I thought it'd be something fun to do while I'm working on my dissertation, which is loong.

Thanks for reading, I've got another pic in the works so check back soon!


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Look who's still up!

Fortunately for me, blogger likes to post in american time so no one can see how late up I am (though I've probably ruined the mystique of that now...)

I just thought I'd post quickly to show you all what hours of not sleeping have produced!

After hours of playing around with my new brushes, I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. I usually paint underneath lines I've already drawn, but this time I drew on top of the sketch - it takes a lot longer but I think the product is as good if not better! The brush I used was a soft texture brush from the M Brushes packet I got in my ImagineFX CD, I think it'll be a new favourite!

Anyway, I should really really go to bed, g'night all!


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ImagineFX and some new brushes!

Man is it cold. We had a bit of a nightmare with the heating earlier that has thankfully fixed itself. I had to sit and draw next to a fan heater for a few hours which was delightful.

Sooo, for my birthday I got a subscription to ImagineFX Magazine, which is (well, they say it is anyway) one of the No.1 publications for digital fantasy/sci-fi artists. And I'd been waiting for ages for an issue, (since the 19th of February, at least), and one finally came. It's their May 2013 issue, which is annoying because i really wanted to get the paper copy of the back issues, but I'm sure I can shed a couple of quid extra.

(Excuse bad-quality webcam image/backwards writing/unshowered hair)

Anyhoo, what I really like about the way they produce it is that you get a CD with downloadable Photoshop brushes and video tutorials on it, so I've obviously been nerding out at my finest and experimenting with them. I took one of the sketches I did yesterday and painted all over it with one of the sketchy charcoal brushes, and I quite like the effect it has. Obviously this is just me playing about and I may never finish it, but here's a snapshot anyway for proof:

Either way, it's pretty exciting (well, for me anyway). I'm going to keep practicing and reading all of the artist features, I'm thinking of doing a few of my own in the upcoming weeks. I'll post up the finished image if I ever get to it!

That's all folks, stay tuned!


Sunday, 24 March 2013

My First Sketch Blog!

So I felt like doing some sketches today, and just went where my stylus took me. I haven't got loads and loads to show, but I thought, on a cold winter evening with not much to do, I'd best actually put some art on this art blog!

Generally I like doing figure drawing and experimenting with poses/hair/clothing when I'm drawing, and especially when I'm drawing girls. I know my proportions aren't anywhere near realistic, but I've always preferred that graceful, fluid style of drawing figures, as opposed to harsh blocks and forced-looking poses.

I'll generally start off with a very very basic figure drawing, like this:

And then it'll be a case of slowly sanding down the lines to make them neater, and adding details like hair, facial features and clothes. My sketches generally end up looking a bit like this:

As for inspiration/intention, I usually don't have any. I'll just start drawing and someone or something will appear. If i'm going to make a full-coloured, refined image out of a sketch, I'll neaten it up a little past where these two are, enlarge the sketch by about 200-300%, and line over the top of it. I don't know whether I'll turn either of these into complete images, I'm happy with them as sketches for now.

More updates soon!



Snow, Coffee and Fan Heaters

Hey all!

So it's been a pretty dismal few days in terms of the weather here. The UK just can't get enough of the snow, and to be quite honest it's getting a bit boring now. Also, after discovering that it was no less than 21 degrees this time last year, it's no surprise that my Facebook News Feed is turning into an angry weather channel.

So, I've had to keep myself occupied as best I possibly can. How to do that? Nail art!

I never really take much time with my nails, mainly because if they're not chipping off themselves I'm usually absent-mindedly peeling the polish off myself, which I don't even notice myself doing...

But my toes were in dire need of pretty-ing up, and don't worry, I won't go into detail. So I decided to whack out the pink nail polish. Unfortunately I only had red left, and no very tiny brushes, so I wasn't sure how I was going to go about making them look better. Then I stumbled across a Youtube video, which talked about using liquid eyeliner for nail art. It sounds daft, but it actually works pretty well, as long as you slap a few coats of clear polish on top (excuse my weird-shaped feet) :

Obviously that didn't take very long, so I then decided to be even more creative and do some baking. We had loads of chocolate icing and sprinkles left over from a few weeks ago that needed using up, so I decided to be a good Samaritan and bake for my family. That's my mum reaching for one, by the way (I'm such a great cook.)

I'm currently chomping on one as I type. They're pretty damn tasty (if I do say so myself), and I'm not even going to think about how much sugar I put in them, but hey ho - what's life without chocolate?

Anyway, its time to finish this cake and get on with some dissertation work (ugh). I'll hopefully be updating with some sketch blogs/art some time soon, as for an art blog this page is looking pretty empty haha...

Back soon!


The About Me TAG!

So I think blogger/youtube tags are a really great, easy way to get information out that you'd otherwise ramble on and on about. I found these questions via whatorlidid, who has a gorgeous blog, you should all definitely check it out! I'm not great at writing about myself, but if someone asks it's a lot easier to work out an answer.

So let's get cracking...

1. Do you have a middle name?

Yuhuh! It's Giulia. My friends like to jokily pronounce it as Gwee-lee-ah, but it's actually just Julia, with a fancy Italian spelling. I was named after my grandmother, and I like it when I'm not being teased!

2. What was your favourite subject at school?

I'm not sure I really had a favourite FAVOURITE subject, but I definitely had some that I preferred over others. Art was definitely a highlight, though I only took it up to GCSE, because it's not that academic and I figured I could keep it up as a hobby besides my other subjects. English was another, though that was because it had some room for creativity, and I knew I was good at it, so I didn't find it too difficult. Oddly, I also really began to enjoy German when I took it to A-Level, weil es interessant war (you can Google Translate that if you're really keen). I wish I could remember it better...

3. What's your favourite drink?

Tea. Definitely tea. Milk, no sugar. I don't think I'd be able to survive if there wasn't tea in the world.
If we're talking alcoholic, then I'm pretty girly, I really like Strawberry Daiquiris, there's a pub near me that makes the most amazing frosted ones. I haven't yet found anyone who does it better!

4. Favourite song at the moment?

Oh god, don't ask me this - it's so difficult! I guess I'm really loving Bastille's 'Icarus'. Go on, join me in my obsession:

5. What would you name your children?

I am definitely too young to be answering this question. But if I really really had to pick right now, I quite like the name Lily for a girl, and Jamie for a boy.

6. Do you participate in any sports?

Nope. Nuh-uh. Team sports have been my nemesis for as long as I can remember. I think being a chubby child doesn't really help. I try and get to the gym when I can, and I walk a lot too, but I stay as far away from the playing field as possible. There's too much pressure on you, if you lose, the team loses, and you get dirty looks from all sides. Also, hockey sticks really hurt.

7. Favourite book?

Hmm. You'd think, being an english student, that I'd have an endless list of books that I love. Unfortunately not. I mean, I've enjoyed some more than others, but generally doing a course dedicated to books will sap your interest in them forever. I remember really loving Trudi Canavan's Black Magician Trilogy when I was younger, and I thought Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho was disgusting, but the way it was written was really interesting.

8. Favourite Colour?

Deep blue, definitely.

9. Favourite Animal?

I've always loved cats, and especially kittens. White tigers are pretty amazing too, though not sure they're as friendly.

10. Favourite perfume?

I got the Ghost Deep Night perfume for my birthday about a month ago - it smells amazing, and the crescent-moon-shaped bottle looks really pretty on my desk!

11. Have you finished secondary school?

Yep, I finished my GCSEs in 2008, and left school in 2010. I'm now at University, and only a few months away from finishing - thinking about the real world is scary!

12. Have you ever been out of the country?

Loads of times, though never really that far out of Europe...I've been to Germany 5 times now, sometimes with my school, and a couple of times for fun. I've also been to America twice, and apparently Bermuda when I was about 2, though don't remember that too well. My parents put me in a baby-bouncer on a boat and they tell me I had a whale of a time!

13. Do you speak any other languages?

I used to speak German pretty well when I studied it for A-Level, but can't say that I do now. I did French to GCSE but my knowledge is now restricted to 'parlais vous anglais?' and 'ou est la gare?'. Impressive, I know.

14. Do you have any other siblings?

Yes, I have two younger brothers, who are now 17 and 19. Though I still see them as 10 and 12.

15. What is your favourite shop?

I'm not sure I have one. I generally shop in New Look, though I really like Forever21 when I can get to London, and Boots is obviously a god-send!

16. Favourite restaurant?

Hmm...Wagamamas is great, though not necessarily authentic. I also really like Pizza Express, though its a bit pricy for my budget...

17. Do you like school?

Well, University can be up and down. Some days I'll love my course, other days I just want to take a strike, curl up in my duvet and ignore all of my deadlines. It generally depends how close to a deadline I am.

18. Favourite YouTubers?

I have so many I can't even...I'll list a few that I remember though. For beauty, I love watching the pixiwoo sisters and lisaeldridge, but as they can often be a bit pricy with their products I also think Zoella, Fleurdeforce, beautycrush and MissBudgetBeauty are all fantastic. Outside of beauty, I love watching danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil, as well as Nerimon and Toby Turner. I've recently gotten into watching the Yogscast, as their game commentaries are pretty amusing and it's fun to have on in the background.

19. Favourite Movie?

Maaan, no one told me this would be so difficult. To name a few, I really like Fight Club and Se7en, plus anything Lord of the Rings. Recently, I really enjoyed the new Bond movie, Skyfall, plus god knows how many others!

20. Favourite TV Show?

Game of Thrones. Hands down. It's got the American budget, quality and episode quantity, with some great British acting, humour, gorgeous sets and costumes, and a plot that keeps you annoyingly hooked. It's coming back in a few weeks and I literally can't wait. Alongside that, I'm currently obsessed with New Girl, and more recently, Castle.

21. PC or Mac?

As I've never owned a mac, going to have to opt for a PC. Sorry Apple fans!

22. What phone do you have?

A Samsung Galaxy Ace. It's about 2 years old now so it's a little slow, but it's served me well so far!

23. How tall are you?

5"4.5. Yeah, I measured. I'm pretty short but I have tall friends who can reach shelves for me.

...Aaaand that's it! Yeah, I should go to bed now, it's pretty late. Thanks for reading!


First Impressions: Rimmel's Wake Me Up Foundation

So I ran out of my go-to foundation, Bourjois' Healthy Mix, which has always got the job done, has good coverage, not too much of a scent and is generally a godsend. Unfortunately I'm in a bit of a money rut at the moment and I'm beginning to see the depths of my overdraft. And as Healthy Mix generally retails at about £.11.00 (it is good though, fair enough.), I was on the hunt for something a few quid cheaper that would meet the Bourjois standard.

Now I'd tried Rimmel's other best-seller, the True Match, which was fine except for the fact that it seemed to clog my pores, and the finish was a bit sticky/greasy, even if I put powder over the top. I'd gone for the lightest shade, but annoyingly it was just a bit orange. I went through the bottle, but won't be re-purchasing. On those grounds, I'd decided to rule out Rimmel's foundation range, assuming the others would be similar.

However, after researching what UK Youtube Guru and Beauty blogger Zoella recommends, it seems that Rimmel was worth giving another go. I've been following Zoe for a couple of months now, and she's really easy-watching, her blog is a great read, and besides being absolutely gorgeous she seems to be a lovely, friendly person. In addition to all that, her skin always seems to look great. Whilst this might be partially to do with lighting and camera quality, she highly recommends Rimmel's foundation, and so I thought it might be worth a shot. 

I purchased Wake Me Up for £.7.99, it is definitely more affordable than its counterpart, but it left me wondering whether that was for a reason. It has a slightly more liquid-y consistency than the True Match, which I like as it seems less heavy and sticky. It does, however, have a light scent, which I'm slightly apprehensive about as I have quite sensitive skin. I bought it in the second-from-lightest shade, Ivory.

I applied it this morning, and as I've recently had a bout of dry skin around my eyes and cheeks (British weather to blame), I'm in need of something that's going to cover me up without drying me out even more. As it's now 1am, I'd say it's had enough time to fester. My skin is no drier than it was this morning, which is a plus, though I did have to apply some moisturizer at midday on a particularly dry area. I'm pretty de-hydrated at the moment, so I'm not going to blame that on the foundation just yet. As for colour, I find it's (ironically) a better fit to my skin colour than True Match. It's a tad lighter, but as you can build up colour with powder, blusher and bronzer, that's better than getting a darker shade. As for staying-power, it is most definitely still in place, though obviously the darker patches on my face have started to appear as its been over 14 hours.

Overall, I'd say that for a first impression it seems to be a fantastic cheaper alternative to Healthy Mix, and the coverage is good enough that I don't need to add too much concealer. As for how it's going to interact with my problem-skin, we'll have to wait and see. If there are any problems, I'll definitely update. But for now, I think this may be one of my new favourite drug-store foundations.


Saturday, 23 March 2013

A Quick Hello


So I'm not very good at introductions; Never have been, never will, but here goes!

My name is Annie; I'm 21, I'm a creative, I'm studying English at Southampton University (though not for much longer, eep!) and I dabble in and out of digital art and graphic design. I have massive curly hair and moderate insomnia, and I'm quite short. Either that, or I just have tall friends.

I guess this blog will be a place for me to post arty things, life and nerdiness, bands and artists I like, things I've made or want to make, as well as a place to post updates on the Graphic Novel I'm working on for my dissertation. It was an ambitious decision, god forbid, but fingers crossed I'll get it done and some of you are interested enough to watch my journey into either crippling failure or magnificent success!

I'll also be putting up reviews of cosmetics, as I've tried my fair share of products and definitely have some opinions!

I've wanted to start something like this for a while, with many failed attempts resulting in an array of abandoned blogs scattered all over blogspot (sorry, blogspot.) This easter is hopefully going to be the beginning of a motivational epiphany which I'll be aiming to keep up. Who knows, someone may actually read this!

If anyone is interested, my online portfolio is at, and my casual art profile is (excuse the username, I've had it for going on six years now...)

See you all soon!