Holding on

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I haven’t combined a cartoon and a photograph for a while, but today while I was mulling over what to do for my 365 photography project I decided that the image needed something to fill the white space.

holding on

Stuck in a puddle

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I’m on day 68 of my 365 photo project!  Hooray!

I’ve been working on a cartoon commission for a friend these past few days, and while the pens were out I decided to do a photo/cartoon selfie.

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Inking

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26/365 - Draftsmanship

Photo 26 of my 365 project used my cartoons as the subject.   I have been dedicating quite some time to my photography challenge and haven’t missed a day yet – it is much less time consuming than drawing but it gives me the same creative gratification.

Michelle at The Green Study pointed out that I haven’t really shared my ‘process’ before, and someone else commented that they thought I drew everything directly into the computer.   In a previous post I briefly mentioned how I do things while I waxed lyrical about creating smooth lines in Illustrator but I’m happy to share a bit more.

My process is simple.  I sketch in pencil, biro or whatever writing implement I can get my hands on.  It’s usually a really rough sketch to get the positions/expressions right. I then trace over the originals on a fresh sheet of paper using black Indian ink and a fountain pen, or a simple black liner if I’m feeling lazy. I have a lightbox to make tracing easier.  I continue to redraw, tweak and redraw until I am mostly happy with the final image.  Sometimes if I’m feeling particularly self critical, this part can take an age.

Finally, I scan the line drawings into Photoshop and do a bit of touching up. For example I  might remove blemishes, erroneous lines or fill in some detail I think would add to it.  Then I colour and add texture.  Ta Da!   Of course there are all sorts of variations depending on my mood, but this is my preferred approach.

 

And so 2015 begins!

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A quick sketch to start the new year. I hope 2015 will have more cartoons and also a few photos as I’ve just embarked on a 365 project. I’ll be taking a photo a day for the whole of 2015. If you’d like to keep track, then follow me on Flickr.

Best wishes for a fabulous New Year everyone!

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Lens Envy

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Over the past few weeks I’ve been to France and back (twice), visited a seal colony on the East coast, watched the famous Lipizzaner Stallions perform, completed two commissions for a colleague’s fashion blog and a friend’s Christmas card, I’ve been to three theatre shows and much more beyond my powers of recall. Is it any wonder that I’ve been rather lax with my cartoons?

While in France, I met with family to visit the annual natural history photographic exhibition in Montier-en-Der. The five day event brings well over 30,000 visitors to – as a French man put it to us – the ‘butt end of nowhere’.  Thousands of awe inspiring photographs are displayed at exhibitions in and around Montier-en-Der – it was impossible to see everything in a single day.  But we tried. We spent eight hours driving from village to village, ducking in and out of tiny town halls, schools and church yards, oohing and aaahing over the images.  For the most part, I was green with envy and had a persistent nagging feeling that I should give up my job, travel the world and track musk ox, or penguins, or polar bears, or field mice, or macaques, or whales, or lynx…the list goes on.

It was, of course, compulsory to saunter around the optics, camera and accessories tent – a place for those who had a bit of spare cash and were hoping to pick up a lens or two for the cheap, cheap price of £15,000 each! The poorer photographers, myself included, were simply left drool over the 1200mm lens which would give you enough zoom to photograph the nose hairs of a red squirrel high in a tree. If you were feeling particularly masochistic, you could test the equipment on your own camera.  Rows and rows of predominately male photographers could be seen with lenses as long as your arm, testing their ‘zoominess’ on the banks of the lake where one of the exhibitions was taking place. Over their shoulders peered green-eyed paupers feeling inadequate with their shorter, less zoomy lenses. I couldn’t help noting the similarities between this, and other male displays of virility… Lens Envy

Deer! Deer! Deer!

I’ve spent a hefty portion of the weekend focusing my energy on photography.  On Saturday morning I was up early and raced to the moorlands nearby to watch the sun come up and photograph the herds of deer that are congregating in preparation for the autumn rut.  It was a clear, crisp morning and the sound of bellowing stags echoed around the heathland – what a great way to start the day.

In my good mood, I headed off in search of king fishers at my local nature reserve – I had it on good authority that a pair had been making a regular appearance and I drooled over some of the photographic evidence.  King fishers are on my list of ‘must photograph’ animals – needless to say, it didn’t show up.

Today I took part in a sponsored photography walk in aid of a local charity.   My photography group, I Just Wanna Tek Gud Photos, spent 2 hours on a historic tour of Sheffield, taking photos along the way.  The fruits of our labour will be displayed in an exhibition come November and the money from any sales will go directly to the charity.

So for today’s post, I thought I’d forego the cartoon and share a photograph or two.

Deer's looking at you!

Call of the wild

Dawn breaks on the moor

 

 

January Canadian Scenes

 

These colours are completely natural.  I haven't tampered with the image at all!

Lake Minnewanka

Lake Minnewanka

Lake Louise

Snow covered trees

Lake Louise

Birch Trees

Banff

View from Bow River, Banff

Castle Mountain

View of the Rockies from 1A

I’ve just returned from a week in Canada and am suffering from a colossal case of jetlag.  Our ten hour prison sentence, ahem, I mean flight, was marred by the seemingly unbreakable vocal cords of a small, unhappy child.  That, and being squeezed into a space more suited to a cat than a human, meant sleep was unattainable for over 24hours!  On the plus side, we did manage to see the fabulous Northern Lights through the airplane window, which I’d have missed if my eye were shut!  Why thank you small, screaming devil child!

On arrival in the UK, all the stories of heavy snowfall were confirmed and although the flight wasn’t delayed, the plane’s hold doors froze shut so it took an hour and a half for our bags to arrive!  Surely they must be prepared for this type of scenario? It took so long that I started to have visions of baggage handling crew frantically licking the hold doors in a desperate attempt to free our bags!   I’m sure there’s a cartoon there somewhere.

Anyway,  apart from that, the holiday was fantastic.  The food was more than ample (as per North American quotas) and the scenery was breathtaking.  I have a few cartoons that I’m mulling over, but before I put pen to paper, I thought I’d share a few travel snapshots.