Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Cereal box doll houses, the Desperados Dojo Mansion, and zombie survival simulators.

So here's the story.

Yesterday, I heard something post through the door after I had already been down once and signed for a parcel for one of the guys living downstairs. I don't know why I thought this second thing would be anything interesting, but lo and behold, there was a brand new Ikea catalogue, addressed to no one in particular.

I nicked it.

Mine now.

I spent the rest of the day thinking about how when I was little I liked making little environments for woodlice out of sand, and a paper house with an amazing special thread operated lift for my Polly Pocket figures [I surprise myself with this memory. Perhaps I'm remembering it better than it was... no, it was definitely as wicked as I remember it], and totally loved watching Art Attack and Blue Peter when they made little rooms and models for toys to live and play in.

And then I wondered. Now that I'm adult enough to use a pair of scissors without a guardian present and childish enough to still love this stuff... Why haven't I actually made a sturdier one out of cardboard yet?

In my second year of Computer Game Design I thought about modelling my bedroom in Maya for practice, and got part of the way there. Ever since, I've been thinking about recreating the main areas I liked to spend my time. Didn't quite happen. And now I have five empty cereal boxes beginning to clutter up my bedroom floor because I haven't decided what to do with them yet.

My original plan for this cardboard was to go around measuring my room to recreate it to scale out of the cardboard, and do the lounge and kitchen and bathroom after that. Even make little mini-us's to live in it.

Except while I was measuring I had the idea to recreate our flat in Unity 3D, and add zombies or monsters and turn the flat into an FPS. Or a zombie survival simulator. Exciting idea.

In the end I decided to use the cardboard to make a Desperados Dojo Mansion for my Lego Man. I got about this far before I decided I wanted to make the FPS/zombie survival sim of my house more.

Three walls, a floor and a bridge to fight on. But nobody to fight. Hmm.

I think maybe if I had done some solid pre-pro on it, I might have been more focused. Oh well. It's currently sat on my windowsill, along with my purple should-sort-through-but-haven't-yet folder of.. stuff, and green bag of old journals dating from as far back as a decade ago [probably].

I haven't decided if I'm going to keep working on it or dismantle it for the cardboard to make the cardboard version of my room. Although I am going to finish another box of Maple Pecan Crisp by tomorrow, so the Desperados Dojo Mansion is probably safe for now.
Unless it falls out of my window.
It's not going to fall out of my window.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

My scientific study of responses to Facebook and it's changes: 21st Sept 2011.

Here's my highly scientific review of the response to the latest changes that seemed to have occurred on the social site I love to be nosy on. It's short and sweet, factual, and I'd like to think fairly accurate in terms of the constructive criticism it presents. Written in true this-is-what-I-remember-of-science-class-experiment-write-ups-in-school fashion.

It took me some time to find out some of these things [I searched for the term "facebook" in my friends posts to find out how many were talking about the most recent changes and it only brought up two posts - LIES! - one of which was in a language I kind of can't be bothered to Google-translate...]. I have also included the status update I'll post with a link to this blog post in the count.


Number of statuses found today referencing recent changes: At least 20. 
>:( - Number of those consisting of definite complaints: 15. That's 75%.
 :? - Number of those that might be complaints hidden in dumbfoundedness: 3. 15%
:) - Number of those consisting of an "I can deal with this" attitude: 1. Bless you, Kozlik the Easygoing. 5%
:D - Number of those praising the changes: 1. But I'm pretty sure he was being sarcastic...
["I personally like the new Facebook page, but then again I like unnecessary, complicated, pointless things."]. 5%

I haven't got figures for the comments posted on those statuses. There were a fair few of them, many complaints, but I'm not concerned about being highly thorough about those replies.

So, with 75% of statuses about the changes on my feed being definite complaints*, and only 5% praising the changes - sarcastically at that - I think it's safe to say:


*While typing up this informative report, another person posted a status complaining at Facebook for "fucking changing my Facebook!", bring the total up to 16 out of 21 posts being definite complaints; or 76.1905%. There was also a complaint about all the complaints, but it included no praise for FB so was ignored by the study.

Cyfarthfa Street, Plasnewydd, Roath, Cardiff

Here are two photos of Cyfarthfa Street, looking very different in both. The second one here is from the day of the previous post about colours, when the pink/orange cloud reflected warm light onto the shiny wet roof tops. The first one was taken today to show you just how different the place looked a few days ago compared to today's ordinary cloudyness. I will paint this street one day.

21st September 2011 - A typical grey cloudy day, with street looking fairly dark and subdued.

17th September 2011 - With shiny pink rooftops and deep dark clouds further away, the street itself looks brighter.

Side by side. I flipped one to make the comparison a little easier on the eyes.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Colours - Do you see what I see?

I just saw a very interesting episode of Horizon on BBC iPlayer all about colour and the perception of colour. I found it particularly interesting how the colour terms we learn can affect how easily we perceive different shades of a colour, quite drastically in some cases...

I also finished my second page of colour mixing experiments the other day:

And before that I was reading all about fashion and the colours that suit a person. Haha. I can't quite figure out if I'm a Deep Autumn or a Deep Winter. I suspect I'm somewhere between the two, like Miss Kardashian in the example on the page linked.

And wow. There was some crazy beautiful lighting going on outside just now. It has been on and off showering today, so the rooftops are shiny, reflecting pink light coming from a big cloud that was just above. I took some time out from typing this to attempt to take some pics.

The rainbow from earlier.
This is a different rainbow picture; the first rainbow I saw after moving to Cardiff, shown here for the contrast with today's pictures.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

White Tiger

Nearly done! I think I just want to add a glaze or two of colour to the black scriveners ink of the background, blue or maybe green, and add a little more of the ink here or there.

Pencil grid, pencil & black biro line work.

Black biro line work with watercolor shading added.

With the black scriveners ink added.

I'm really surprised with how well the underwater parts turned out in the photo of the painting. For a split second I thought I'd uploaded the wrong image until I noticed the splodgy reflections in the background. When I look at the actual painting I can't help but see biro squiggles!

Playing with watercolour / watercolor triads.

Instead of doing any more work on the white tiger last night, I spent nearly the whole day doing this instead:

I went through my entire Daler Rowney [Aquafine ?] 12 half-pan pocket set, sorted them into some experimental triads [using the yellow-green as a yellow in some and the bluer-green as a blue, and the oranges as reds] to see what different colours I could make.

The whole process took me so much longer than I thought it would - literally all day - but it was worth it. It forced me to mix colours I wouldn't ordinarily think of mixing, not to mention use colours I don't normally like using. For example, I always thought of R2 [the fifth colour across the top of the first image, or the middle one below] as far too bright to be used for anything that wasn't going to be super bright. Rookie mistake! It actually makes a really nice peachy kind of colour when watered down. And I've had these watercolour paints how long?*

Silly Char; the clue is in the name.

So in doing an exercise like this, you learn so much about what your paints can do for you. Now I know how to get a pretty peach colour, a dark bluey grey, and which blues and reds/oranges/browns to mix to get different purples and greens and browns and greys. I also realised that the bluer green of the two I have [third from the right in the first image] can probably be used as a blue by itself in some pictures quite happily. See the last two columns in the first image - they feel almost fruity to me, sunny, warm, and maybe even Mediterranean. I can't be sure about that last bit though; I've never been to the Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, the left-hand columns using the colder blue feel like they can be used to represent colder climates and northern areas quite easily.

Top and bottom of the left column: I can't not see a forest by a mountain.

One thing I haven't experimented with yet is the black colour in my set. I want to see how it reacts when mixed with each of the other colours in the set, and also what kind of feelings I can get out of it if I replace a colour in a triad with the black. I'd really like to try recreating some of the colour combinations I saw while watching 300 with my flatmates last night. But before I start on that, I really should finish the line work of my tiger!

* Years. Possibly a decade. I don't even know the names of any of my colours; I lost the little tint chart telling me their names a while ago. I'm sure it's lurking around in my stuff somewhere...

Monday, 5 September 2011

W H Smith: 5 Oil & Acrylic Painting Boards

A while ago I went out and bought a set of five 12x9inch white painting boards from the W H Smiths in Cardiff. Two of these I gave to friends to draw on to decorate the flat we've just moved into in Roath, while the rest I kept for myself to think of something to do with. Here's what I've done - excuse the quality of the photos, I took them using my phone camera. I'm thinking I might join the Canon club soon, but we'll see.


A tracing of a belly dancer, lined with biro and metallic gel pens, the background and floor coloured in with watercolour, spattered lightly with orange paint. She's still there on my desk, standing in the lamplight while it's on. I still need to finish reading that copy of House of Leaves.


A self portrait; pictured resting on an empty Lucky beer bottle I acquired from the Prince of Wales in Cardiff during a little post-gym pint night a year or two ago, she's now stuck to my bedroom door - on the living room side. For this image I used a photo of myself and added grid lines to assist me in getting the proportions right. Drawn in pencil first, then with biro outlines, added some metallic gel pen and then painted in the hair with scriveners ink that I bought from a museum somewhere.

The symbols at the top of the image show my "Four Pillars of Destiny" based on my date of birth, while the clock pendant is the same one I'm currently wearing. I bought the necklace at a car boot sale in Saundersfoot with my mum, for the low low price of 50p! It was originally £1, but I got to have it for 50p because the clock itself didn't work. It now hangs around my neck set to the time I was born - ten to noon. You know, just in case I ever forget...


A white tiger, again from a photo [this one found via the wonders of the internet] using grid lines to help me get the proportions and details right. My flatmate says using grid lines is cheating, but he's a monkey. This one is a work in progress, using pencil and black biro, and I will possibly use more scriveners ink to fill in the background of dark water. I was intending to finish it today but it will probably be done by tomorrow instead.