It’s fun to stay at the CMYK


It started with a simple question about what colours should be in my portable paint palate.

And now it has a life of it’s own! I can’t imagine that a similar investigation would have resulted in such diffuse meandering through physics and opthalmology in the days prior to the internet.

Not to mention the shock of discovery of possible misinformation from the common man’s Pantone: Crayola.

Admittedly, red, yellow and blue are mostly sold¬†as “bold”, rather than primary colours in the crayon and pen ranges, but they are still described as such in this modelling clay.

I should have realised it earlier, I’ve seen used colour cartridges kicking about for long enough.

Cyan, Magenta and Yellow.

The pigment primaries.

This has lead to some other lines of enquiry.

Each which will require it’s own post:

1) Why are these colours not then, the artist’s “limited” palette?

2) What is the relationship between the primary colours of light and of pigment?

3) What a headache, now I’m looking at photons…

3) and the nervous system and how it has INVENTED a colour

not necessarily in that order (my prediction is that the photons will give me some trouble… ūüėČ ¬†)

p.s. any practical thoughts on that paint palate appreciated

Gothic Horror in the Housing Association (part 1)


I debated whether I should finish my whole drawing/strip before uploading it to my page. I estimate that there are another two similar squares to come. Perfectionism and “Completionism” (hmm.. that doesn’t seem to be a word… I’m going with it for now) are the bedfellows of my good friend procrastination, and I decided to thwart this¬†frenemy by posting in instalments.

I started this for my “favourite TV show challenge”, although it is really one of my favourite comedy sketches, where the gothic world of HP Lovecraft collides with a local Scottish housing association (see also “Epiphany Continuum” Sketch where horrors of a biblical proportion meet TV dinners). I’ve never done this sort of strip before, and it’s fair to say the planning was poor. Additionally, it’s important to keep the character’s faces looking similar from one frame to the next (tricky ūüôā !), but given that I’ve found, and completed this third of the drawing, I’ll hopefully continue onto the others!

Scoffed: A Tribute


I would like to be clear: I have no shame about eating pizza.

The shame is threefold:

1. Eating the pizza (see in-image writing) prior to embarking on the drawing

2. Starting confidently in pen, getting it all wrong. Having to label items in the drawing such they they are recognisable (a major no no in the art world) and poorly planning the labels so they are obscured by other items.

3. Throwing out pizza box and contents before the drawing was finished.

How do you do it, sketch bookers, photographers? Holding out, while the food goes cold in front of your very eyes? Who am I kidding, even raw or ambient temperature prepared foodstuffs wouldn’t hold out for long in front of me. And I ask myself, who is the one who really loves the food here? Is my pizza box not a finer tribute to it’s irresistible contents than a mountain of arty sizzling mozzarella shots?

No. Probably not.

A Sign of the Times


I love this sign.

Small towns have fewer facelifts than their larger sisters.  The visual appeal of their storefronts and and advertising fall out of, and then, with the passing of forty years or more, back into favour. A dry Mediterranean climate helps no doubt.

The glory days for this luxury swiss watch sign were in the 70s, going on the colour. The style suggests (to me anyway) earlier in that decade rather than later.

Only two drawing options presented themselves this morning with my coffee, this view and a chain store bakery interior. Despite the more varied option of busy loaves and cakes, this old girl won out.

Day 5 (many days later than the 5th day)

A favourite TV programme is very tricky.

I started with some scenes from one of my all time favourite comedy sketches “An Unnamable Unimaginable thing in my basement” or the Lovecrafian sketch as it’s titled by this youtube video.

But I then lost the paper, and having invested a bit of time in it already spent rather too many days hoping it would show up before realising of the futility of the task.

The sketch is from “Burnistoun” comedy written inspired by the city of Glasgow and starring scots, Iain Connell and Robert Florence. I’m a fan overall, but I do think it has a few real stand out sketches.

So, as I still hold out hope of finding those scenes, I’ve stayed within the same show and done a quick drawing¬†of the silver tongued salesman in the “Denim Jayscuit” sketch (mislabelled – in my opinion by the uploader of this youtube video).


In the hope of getting back on track drawing wise…!

Day 4: A Quote You Like (this goes in a dark direction, avoid if squeamish)


This drawing task took me to some quite dark territory.

I even checked the WordPress FAQs to see what the community response might be to a drawing (albeit quite a stylised one) of what is effectively a young boy’s severed head.

I’m a big fan of Eleanor Roosevelt overall and she is very strong on pithy but common sense statements. In a few words she neatly exposes how very gruesome our very idea of a “war won” is.

I had the idea of drawing some tanks or military paraphernalia, but for some reason looked up “War” images for inspiration.

This, in it’s original photographic form is shocking in the true meaning of the word. It¬†physical representation of¬†what some many call victory and as such calls into question this very term. It is not a comment on this war specifically, as I have very little background in Korean history.

Today, the offices of the¬†French satirical paper “Charlie Hebdo”¬†were attacked by armed men. Journalists and policemen have been killed by men presumed to be Islamic extremists, in the name of a holy war. It is sad to think of these men and women who, far from being any real enemy of Islam, were essentially in the wrong place at the wrong time. Killing to warn, win or provoke takes us far from any religion, and far from any humanity.

Day 3: Favourite Character from a Book


I’m falling well behind on this!

I worry it’s going to reveal something psychopathic about my personality that I don’t really have a favourite character from a book.

And, odder still, it’s never occurred to me to think of a character out with the matrix of the story for which they were written.

Although I slightly favour non-fiction, I do read and enjoy novels and short stories, but I wouldn’t say that any of my favourite fiction¬†(The Glass Bead Game, Cloud Atlas, anything by Raymond Carver) pull one character to the fore, that is to say they are driven more by setting, or events than a personality per sae.

I pretty much always try to read fiction in my second or third language. It is one of my favourite experiences in language learning! Fiction in English feels quite crisp around the edges: in published authors ambiguity is most commonly an intentional device. Reading fiction without the immediacy of the total comprehension we all benefit from in our first language is to enter a less certain, dream like world where images and stories emerge more slowly, and at times remain hazy.

So I’ve drawn Raimund Gregorius from Pascal Mercier’s “Night Train to Lisbon”, which I am reading currently in the Spanish “Tren Nocturno a Lisboa” version. Raimund is a scholar who has lived his life within the security of the printed page, but an encounter, and a book lead him to abandon his life in Bern for the Portuguese capital, I’m not much further on than that, plot wise but I’m pretty certain that Raimund would wear tweed.

A shadow fell over this drawing as I took a photo of it. Somehow it seemed to suit Raimund, so I’ve left it as is.


Day 2: Favourite Animal for a day: Wasps


This was drawn close to midnight on the 2nd of January.

Wasps are not my favourite animals, usually.

I had woken on the 2nd of January wondering if the buzzing insect I had flapped and fanned out of under my duvet had been a dream, and concluding that it probably had been.

Returning to bed at the end of the day, a dusty looking, bulky wasp was dragging itself towards my wooden floor lamp. It certainly wasn’t in good shape. And¬†I couldn’t see how greater proximity to the bulb was going to change it’s overall outlook. It’s January¬†in Scotland, and really, I was surprised the wasp had made it this far.

This blog is quite the fascinating perspective on all things insect (although there is a bit more about bed bugs than I’d like to know about). It was the source of the discovery that wasps cannot fly “when chilled” (that would certainly include ambient Scottish winter temperatures). I wondered if other motor functions¬†would also be¬†impaired, accounting for it’s unusual gait. Was the 30 watt bulb the best potential source of heat in the room? (That wasn’t actively swatting it away).

I also read, on Reddit, a personal account that bees* can sometimes be revived with some sugar water. The usefulness of doing this on a bee-by-bee basis is debated – 172 comments, who knew?

It is a source of some personal disquiet (but, really not very much) that I continued to draw the wasp, and search for information on it rather than supplying it with some sugar water. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to have to try to remove a reinvigorated wasp from my room at 1am.

The struggle must have lasted some time into the night, but it was certainly over by the time I woke in the morning.

For this day, and the information gathering journey that my encounter with this creature took me on, I have instated “wasps” as my favourite animal**.




* I know bees are not wasps but an internet cross check revealed that while carnivorous in Springtime, come Autumn/Winter they are less fussy and less protein-centric, something that anyone who has tried to eat a jam sandwich in the park will already know.

**In no way related to the fact that this was the only animal I drew on the 2nd of January.