Archive | May 2016

Celebrate The Small Things: 20 May

I discovered a new interest this week. The next dungeon master for our roleplaying group has been asking me to help them out by creating some artwork for them and I started to practice drawing maps as a result of this. I’ve always dreamt of being able to do good fantasy art, but had previously only focussed on figures and monsters. Creating fantasy maps is actually really fun and they look really attractive when finished. It makes the world feel more real. I found a book all about the creation of fantasy maps and hope to improve my skills at this. It’s really cool how this new hobby of ours has encouraged us all to spend more time writing and creating content. We also had a great session this week and I look forward to continuing our journey tomorrow.

I had to go to the dentist this week for a routine check up. I hate going because I expect to hear bad news, but everything is fine. So happy to get that over and done with. Treated myself to a luxury hot chocolate afterwards, with cream and marshmallows.

f5f01-vik-smallthings2

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here.

My Thoughts On Corpse Party

When I first came across this horror game I was instantly hooked on it (available on PSP.) I feel weird admitting to playing stuff like this because it most certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s not graphic in its imagery, but feels all the worse for it. The scenes are described from a character’s point of view and the dialogue is voice acted. Hearing the voices over a black screen during a moment of terror can be really shocking because of how it plays with your imagination. Despite the body horror, the story intrigued me enough to stick it out.

Read More…

How I Create New Characters?

I enjoy character design more than anything else. I feel like the characters are the most interesting part of a story because they are the driving force behind it. They shape the events that happen and can also grow as a result of those events. It’s usually the goals of the characters that become the focus point of a story. As well as this, I guess it’s just fascinating trying to figure out what makes people tick. A character might be unlikeable to begin with for instance, but actually has a very reasonable explanation for their behaviour that can quickly change our feelings towards them (Severus Snape is my favourite character in Harry Potter because of how complex they are.) It’s an amazing feeling if you manage to create a character that others then seem to invest in as if they were real people. I myself can think of several characters that I have connected with and even been inspired by. I feel like I can also express the different parts of my personality within the characters I create.

Read More…

Celebrate The Small Things: 13 May

Made some time for the cinema. Finally got to see the new Jungle Book film and absolutely loved it. I’ve been in a more creative mood this week, which I like to make the most of when it comes about. I’ve been writing and drawing more, and feeing quite proud of some of the ideas I’ve come up with. While the weather isn’t perfect, it’s starting to improve and we’re getting a few nice days to sit out on. I saw a couple of butterflies in the garden, a white one and a bright yellow one. The flowers I planted earlier in the year are finally starting to shoot up too. I’m glad it’s finally the weekend.

f5f01-vik-smallthings2

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here.

 

What is Zentangle?

In my last post I wrote about how adult colouring books were a good way to unwind and encourage creativity. In seeking out new books I also came across one about Zentangles. This is another interesting way to relax creatively without requiring any skills to have a go. A Zentangle is a pattern created on a square tile. A string is drawn through a space to break it up into sections. Different patterns (tangles) are drawn in each space. The final image looks incredibly intricate, but it really just involves a series of simple and easy steps. There are already a lot of examples of tangles out there that can be used to take inspiration from.

Zentangles usually come in a certain size, and on a larger scale it’s known as Zia, which stands for Zentangle inspired art. I haven’t had much practice with Zentangles yet, but I enjoyed creating this cat image and I am proud of the final result.

ZIA_Cat_small

The idea behind Zentangle is to focus on each stroke, rather than the overall goal. Something might look complicated, but when broken down into small steps it really isn’t. There’s a lesson that can be learnt from that when overcoming obstacles in our own lives. If we focus on following the process instead of the overall goal then we’ll eventually get to where we want to be anyway (as explained on James Clear’s blog, ‘Forget About Setting Goals.’) Learn more about Zentangles at https://www.zentangle.com/.

The Joy of Adult Colouring Books

fox1

Enchanted Colouring Book by Nina Tara.

Last year I noticed what looked like beautifully illustrated books for sale in the shop. The images drew me in to inspecting a bit closer (I always appreciate nice images) and I realized that they were colouring books for adults. I started to see more and more of them popping up and decided that I just really wanted to buy one. It wasn’t so much that I had a sudden urge to do some colouring in (I draw a lot in my spare time anyway,) but they seemed like really desirable things to buy. When I went in to buy my first one I was approached by a few people that were really keen to share their new found love for colouring books. It took me aback how much enthusiasm there seemed to be for them.

I think I started a bit too early as there wasn’t a lot of choice at the time, but the collection of books available has been rapidly increasing to encompass most of the shop. They seem to be available to buy from everywhere. It’s not just basic patterns or nature ones anymore either, but you can get a fair few fantasy ones. I have a Game of Thrones book and have also seen ones for Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter (Although I find the best ones are less realistic as they give you more freedom with colours.) It’s amazing how much this interest has taken off. I don’t always have the time to colour in, but I have to admit, it’s really addictive once I get started. Alongside this, the idea of mindfulness has become a more popular one and makes me wonder if we’re all just longing for that escape.

There is some doubt as to how effective colouring in can be. I get problems where my thoughts feel like they’re running too quickly. It can leave me feeling agitated and unable to concentrate, at such times I find it helps to get stuck into something creative as I’m able to do that without needing as much focus. Trying to fight it leads me to getting frustrated and pacing around. I think repetitive activities (such as the stroke of a pencil or running) can be relaxing for us because we can get into the flow of it more easily than if we were having to overcome new obstacles. Either way, I don’t think it matters so long as you enjoy it. I’ve noticed that many of us seem to carry this attitude around that something hasn’t been worthwhile if we didn’t make enough progress in the time spent doing it, but it doesn’t matter where we end up so long as the journey felt good. Other scepticism I’ve come across is in regards to how creative it really is compared to learning how to draw. Learning how to shade and work with colour requires practice in and of itself, and I’ve seen some amazing examples of colouring that I think only an experienced artist could have done. It’s also fun to compare pages as they can vary wildly despite having the same images on them. Not everybody has art skills, but they don’t need them to give colouring a go, making it a more accessible creative activity. If it leads to them wanting to pursue other creative activities then it’s a great stepping stone. Regardless, colouring in is a relaxing activity because there is no pressure to produce something that is perfect, and can be considered as a place for free experimentation.

My grandparents use to treat us to new colouring books when we were younger and getting back into them has brought fond memories back to the surface for us. My sister and I have developed a bond over colouring in. We’ve started to have sessions where we do it together and then share the results. I like to leave the door open too, so that I can hear the birds and fountain outside. It’s nice to feel, for that short while at least, like we don’t have to be rushing all over the place.

fox2

From Animorphia by Kerry Rosanes.

I’ve always enjoyed working with colouring pencils because of the textures you can create with them. I worked with them a few times before I started to use these colouring books (see my attempts for The Little Painting Challenge – https://myinnergeekblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/the-little-painting-challenge/.) I’ve found that it’s a good idea to shade colours together by pressing lightly, but building up the vibrancy by going over several times. Textures can be created using techniques such as cross-hatching (shading with intersecting parallel lines.) Create a sense of form by shading in the direction of the surface. I’ve also found that when shading large areas it’s a good idea not to do it all in the same direction or it creates too many strong lines instead of a smooth finish. Check out the colour wheel for ideas on how to put colours together effectively. Strong contrasts between brightness and temperature can also help an image to jump off the page.

Related Post: