Archive | May 2014

Celebrate The Small Things: 30 May

f5f01-vik-smallthings2

  • Bank holidays are always fun. Had a relaxing day and then stayed up till around 3 in the morning playing Civilization V with my friends.
  • My boyfriend decided to treat me to a new game for my 3DS – HomeTown Story; He spoils me way too much. Can’t wait to start playing.
  • Went out for a meal last night and got to meet my friend’s new partner. I tend to be shy when meeting new people but he was lovely and very easy to get on with. I had a good time, although I probably drank too much and I’m starting to regret it. 😛
  • Finally started teaching myself more about WordPress and I managed to successfully run it locally on my computer (it was quite easy actually.) I’m keen to learn how to create my own themes, but it looks like it won’t be too difficult to get started.

Recommended Book – Drawing Basics and Video Game Art

feet studyIt’s my dream to be able to one day learn how to create my own characters and draw fantasy art. I can happily draw what I see, but making things up that look right is another challenge altogether. Fortunately I found the book ‘Drawing Basics and Video Game Art‘ which I feel has improved my drawing skills quite a lot. I still need a lot more practice to be able to create my own fantasy art, but it’s a step up from where I was.

‘Video Game Art’ may look like a book that is just geared towards people who are interested in video games, but I reckon that anyone could learn useful drawing skills from it (especially if you’re interested in drawing people.) Out of the many drawing books I own it is definitively one of my favourites, the reason being that the book covers classical art and techniques. I was never a big fan of the art classes I took at college because they didn’t seem to teach you any techniques or encourage life drawing. Many people who attended the class didn’t understand things like colour, composition, lighting, shape… etc… We were always encouraged to go down the route of modern art, which is fine if you’re interested in this area, but these classes aren’t an ideal solution for all of us.

I own many other books about drawing people, but they are either too simple or too complicated. For example I always knew that understanding anatomy could help, but the books I bought covering the topic include complicated diagrams of skeletons and muscle groups with all the labels; I wasn’t sure how to utilize this knowledge correctly. On the other side of the scale you may get a book that shows you the basic shapes that make up the form, but not enough knowledge on how to make the figure look believable. ‘Video Game Art’ is in the middle ground in that it includes anatomy but also helps to guide you on where to look, such as skeletal landmarks that can be seen on the surface and how gravity effects the weight of a figure.

The book includes a number of tasks, images of classical art and examples from video games. The text is also really easy to read and the ideas well explained. I recommend this book for anybody who wants to improve their drawing skills, whether you are a beginner or intermediate.

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How to Deal with the Loss of a Pet

So its been about a year now since my feline companion passed away. When we make the decision to own a pet we know that chances are we will probably outlive them, and yet when the time comes this knowledge doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. The situation is often made harder by the fact that it can also be difficult to know how to mourn such a loss; Not everybody understands what it is like to allow an animal to enter your family, and it can seem strange to them that you would need time to grieve when you could just go out and buy another pet (for example I was asked too soon afterwards “so are you getting another cat then?”)

For some people having the opportunity to spend your energy on a new animal can help, but it could also make things worse because you’ll constantly be comparing them to the one you just lost as if you’re replacing them. Just like people, no two animals are the same. My cat was very affectionate and didn’t like being left alone, whereas many other cats are more independent. When I lost her it was so upsetting that I actually declared that I wouldn’t ever want another pet because I couldn’t bare to go through the hurt again; I’m an animal lover though and now that I’ve had the time to deal with it I would actually really like to be able to share my life with a cat again. When you are ready to make this move it is a good idea to not think of this as replacing the previous animal, but to instead thank them for offering you such wonderful companionship that you would once again like to share your life with another.

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Start Writing Fiction Course – Week 4

A lot of this week was focussed on how to use your wiring journal, research and plot development. During the first week of the course I actually went out and bought a notebook for my writing, but I have to admit it has not yet become a habit for me; I suppose I feel a bit strange going out and writing about my observations in public. I do tend to start writing my ideas down by hand first before moving to the computer though; a friend told me that typing on a computer can feel very different to writing by hand and that it can help to start away from the screen.

We were encouraged to take an observation, perform some research to try and enrich it and then to use questions such as ‘what if?’ to guide our imaginations and add a story behind the character. I had seen some girls in school uniforms out of hours walking in the park and so I thought it would be interesting to imagine why they were out of school and what they were doing. I had also watched a video recently (http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity#t-461845) about how creative children sometimes struggle more at school as the system doesn’t suit them. I wondered if these girls had possibly skipped school because they too were very creative and the classroom environment turned them off.

Lilly tugged on her customary school tie so that it hung loose over her unbuttoned blouse. Her fluted skirt had been rolled up over her bare knees. She was accompanied by her two best friends Jessica and Laura, who had also customised their own attire. The modifications made them feel more comfortable in the warm weather but they also had the added bonus of giving them that ‘hot chick’ look.

The thought of being stuck in a stifling classroom practising maths sums made Lilly squirm. She didn’t seem to have much patience for school and had trouble sitting still. The three of them had decided to escape through the metallic prison like gates and were now strolling contiguous to each other by a lake. Tunes were blasting from their mp3 players. Startled ducks sprawled from their grassy banks towards the shimmering water; an echo of the clear blue atmosphere above. Lilly gazed longingly at the refreshing pool and she suddenly became aware of how parched she felt.

“What sound should we have?” Jessica asked enthusiastically. “I prefer pop to R&B”, Lilly said while licking her dry lips. She arched her neck forward trying to judge the distance to the oncoming café. Her two friends looked uncertain but then seemed to nod their heads in unison. Together they were hoping to form a band and quit school. The teachers were going to freak when they finally walked out of that door for good.

We also discussed our own interests and concerns as these could become influential factors in what we choose to write about. I listed a few:

  • Love of animals and concerned about species dying out

  • Likes computers and video games

  • Enjoys being creative (photography, art)

  • Life long learner

  • Have an interest in psychology

  • Concerned about bullying and group mentality

  • Concerned about the obsession people have with beauty and how it lowers self-esteem

  • Concerned about the increase in cases such as depression and anxiety and the fact that they still carry a stigma

  • Concerned about the education system

Related Posts

Do you let reviews effect your own opinions?

A few weeks ago the film Pompeii hit the cinemas. I’d been waiting for a few months eager to see it, but even during the first week the number of cinema showings were really limited and it was difficult to catch it at a suitable time (even harder if you’re not a fan of 3D). I was later informed that the reason for this was that the film had received really bad reviews. I knew a few people who had seen and enjoyed the film though so I was still interested. I also prefer to have the chance to judge things for myself as I have previously enjoyed things with bad reviews and hated things that have had amazing reviews. Still, it did effect how I felt about seeing the film as my initial enthusiasm faded and I kept putting it off. I did eventually go to see the film last week but even then I found myself analysing it more looking for things to criticise.

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Celebrate The Small Things: 23 May

Gosling

  • I went out to take some photos despite the dull weather, but then the sky started to brighten up as the day progressed. I managed to capture some gorgeous Goslings and Ducklings; I’ve uploaded a few photos to Flickr and Redbubble.

  • My mum took me clothes shopping and treated me to a few things including a new Gothic handbag.

  • Managed to complete a decent chunk of programming for a website I’m currently working on. It’s a task that I’ve been putting off so I feel quite relieved to have gotten most of it done now.

Tibia on Steam Greenlight

Tibia

Tibia is a retro style MMORPG that is over 17 years old by the developers CIPSoft. I’ve been playing it on and off for a fair few years myself, but have recently started to grow concerned over how much life the game has left in it. I think the community mostly consists of the really dedicated while many others have left and new players tend to be deterred. I can understand why many people dislike the game: it has botting issues, power abuse, very repetitive grindy gameplay and is lacking visually. Yet despite this there is something about Tibia that continues to lure me back in. There is something that Tibia gives me that I haven’t yet managed to find in another MMORPG. Tibia is my guilty pleasure.

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Discussing Video Games (The Positive and the Negative)

Video games still harbour a negative image for some people; they’re addictive and encourage violence. While I can understand the concerns, I dislike how a divide is often created between people who seem to absolutely hate games and those who defend them vigorously. Opposing viewpoints can both feel correct from the perspective of each person and I often wish we were more willing to listen with an open mind. I can actually understand why to some people it can seem a bit rude to walk into a room and be ignored by the person fully engaged in a game, but on the other side of the argument it can also seem rude to have people interrupt you and talk over your cut scenes (like insistently talking to someone who is trying to read a book – a pet peeve of mine). I do try to drop what I’m doing to acknowledge the people who enter my room, but if I’m in the middle of a game that I can’t pause or I’m socialising through an MMO I do expect some consideration. Looking back over my life I suppose there are some things that I do regret about the investment I’ve put into games, but I wouldn’t change my hobby either.

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Start Writing Fiction Course – Week 3

Week 3 was about how to edit your work and how to give and receive feedback. To help us to practice editing we were given a very long paragraph and asked to shorten it down, leaving behind only the stuff that mattered.

Original:

The heavy black and blue winter sky groaned awfully with rain clouds that at any moment were really about to fall crashing heavily down upon the street where, because it was rush hour, so many people, wearing all manner of different clothes, hats, shoes, boots, some of them carrying bags, suitcases, briefcases, scampered and strolled about the place as though oblivious to what was just about to happen over their very heads. One of these people was called Hilary and concealed inside her voluminous coat she carried the loaded, snub-nosed gun, and she also seemed to be the only one looking upwards into the tempestuous thundery heavens.

Edited Version:

The dark clouds began to roll over the busy street. The only person looking upwards was Hillary as she made her way down the street; the loaded gun hidden within her coat.

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Vulpix and Me (Pokemon Art)

Vulpix Quick Sketches

Vulpix Drawing (Pokemon)Vulpix Outline (Pokemon)Vulpix Colour (Pokemon)

Vulpix (Pokemon)

As it develops, its single white tail gains color and splits into six. It is quite warm and cuddly.