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All Posts in Fun

28th April 2020

Desk mate

Plywood model of a character called I made to accompany me whilst I work from home

Ever since I first started sketching Peblo, I had this idea of how he might look in 3D. Rather than a round and soft shape, I always imagined him being faceted. That way he had a very distinct silhouette and could allow me to sit him on different sides when it came to animation.

A physical version could be made from all sorts of materials. A block of wood sanded down in an assortment of angles to make a faceted shape or cast in concrete. I never liked the idea of creating a cgi version of him. Yet, the biggest issue I had was tooling up. Sanding a block of wood would look great but getting access to a standup sander was tricky. Sadly I wouldn’t be able to achieve the same effect doing it by hand.

Early sketches and inspiration

So to keep things simple, I toyed with the idea of making him out of concrete or resin. In order to do that, I’d need a mould which meant making a model of him first out of Balsa wood. Balsa wood because it’s cheap to buy and easy to cut with a fine saw.

It was actually quite difficult to sculpt because I didn’t realise how brittle balsa is. So achieving clean lines proved pretty challenging. After a couple iterations, I’m happy with the texture but might try sculpting a potato (yep I said potato) to achieve sharper lines. Then I can cover it in silicone to make a reusable mould.

Sculpting a block of balsa wood

The many incarnations of Peblo!

How he looks nowadays

I love these types of projects because you just need to get stuck in to find your way. Often you make mistakes, but that’s all part of it! Just playing it by ear is so much fun. It’s refreshing and such a contrast to my day job where you only have so much time. Deadline-free, I thought: as long as there was a similar texture and charm to the illustrated version then I’m happy. Otherwise it’s not a Peblo.

So when I had set aside some leftover plywood for my van, thinking I’d make a table out of it....I thought how often am I really going to use it?! Instead let’s make 2x huge versions of Peblo. That way I could experiment a bit, choose the best and maybe sell/gift the other one. Who wouldn’t want to be greeted by that face every day - especially during lockdown!

Getting started

I did some loose sketches by hand. I’d not drawn Peblo this big before and wasn’t too precious about him looking exactly like the illustration. So did some rough planning in pencil before cutting.

Cut once. Measure twice.

I don’t own a work bench so I have to make do with this ledge in the garden. I’ve cut everything this way. It can a bit laborious! So maybe I’ll indulge in a proper work bench later down the line. I’m sure the neighbours would appreciate something less echoey!

Coarse Sand. Fine sand.

After some sought after advice from a chippy, I used a coarse grit sand first then finished in a finer grit. I’d never really paid much attention to grit level before - but it makes a hell of a difference when you’re painting wood.

White wash

I was keen to find a way to paint the wood but not fully cover the grain because there was some really nice texture coming through. A white wash was the answer. You just water down the paint your using, and use a cloth to rub into the wood. Also it doesn’t have to be white paint, it can be any colour you like. I used some scraps to test the paint colours I bought along with ways to apply it such as a cloth, toothbrush, wire wool and brushes.

The real deal

Then it was time to get stuck in. I masked off shapes so I could make it look faceted. You couldn’t keep the tape on there for too long - otherwise you created quite strange borders. I took my time to build up the layers of colours. Switching between the light and darker colours to add depth and mimic the illustration. I added texture with a toothbrush - either flicking it to make specks or dragging it across the surface.

Painted edges

The edges looked a little odd left natural, so I finished them in the dark paint.

Finishing touch

Equally the most important aspect was Peblo’s face. I used a couple penny’s to map out where the eyes should go. 1p size so I could paint circles larger and not leave any pencil marks behind. Painting his smile and eyes was absolutely nerve racking. I haven’t got a steady hand! But I’m quite happy with how one of them turned out. It’s the circles that are a struggle, with a paint brush you ended up making so many mistakes you have keep going back over what you’ve done.

Sure enough since making him, I’ve had my photograph taken with Peblo - a neighbour is taking portraits of self isolators in Southville as part of a photography project. Interested to see how that turns out!

19th April 2020

Meribel Pre lock-in

Now that we're well and truly in the thick of a global lockdown, it's given me some time to think 'how the heck did we manage to sneak in a snowboarding holiday a month ago?'. I think we've all felt it's been a wake up call from how quickly things have had to shift in response to the pandemic.

I flew to Geneva on the 7th March to spend a week in Meribel (part of the three valleys ski resort) with my good friend Matt. It was one of those last minute deals that we bagged just in time. Both of us had been snowboarding before, and of a similar ability which helped. But this was the first trip we had done together and the most we had hung out for in years since working together.

White waves and selfies

The trip

I think we rode 5 out of those 7 days we were there. It was a great mix of downtime, adventure and childplay. I won't go into detail about each day we spent there as I won't do it justice. That said, Matt did create several youtube videos to impress his daughters. I think they capture the non stop goofing around and pure excitement throwing ourselves down the mountain perfectly. So take a look if you're interested.

The apartment. Note: the chair drying rack - a godsend!

I mention 'downtime' because whilst the trip was exhausting: gearing up, hiking, riding etc - it had relaxing moments too. Luckily we're both quite similar, we like our own space, don't always need to talk and are happy to do our own thing sometimes. For instance, most evenings we were in the front room, Matt video editing whilst I spent time drawing and writing.

In general, France was pretty casual about the whole coronavirus thing. I was really surprised but then again, we were also part of the problem! We flew back on 14th March - the same day France announced all resorts will close. Literally sneaked it in!

All freehand using a BIC pen. Fuelled with wheat beer!

9th February 2020

New year, new 35mm prints

Sat out the back of the van, eating some porridge with my best friend Josh in rainy Pembrokeshire.

Back in November, me and Josh went on a little road trip around South Wales. This was our breakfast in the car park.

A narrow view of the Tenby coastline in Wales

Wandering around Tenby, we spotted this little slither of paradise.

Punk Goats

These little fella's were so funny! Kept getting in our way wherever we walked. Plus they look like punk rockers.

Coastal path walk in Pembrokeshire

The best dogs can be found on coastal paths. Shame about some of the walkers.

A brief stop off in Rossilli, The Gower

Before the storm, we tucked into this tidy little place in Rossilli, The Gower.

An unusual up close photo of my dad. He's going to hate this one!

Dad's going to hate this one. But I took a unusually up close shot of him on the train from Corfe Castle to Swanage. I love the amount of detail that came through on this shot.

A break from all the walking. Me and dad watch the sunset.

Sweaty, damp and tired. We had a little light left to guide us to Kimmeridge Bay. It was a beautiful view though.

Josh caught contemplating life

Sometimes you don't have to talk.

Victoria Rooms, Bristol

I feel incredibly lucky that is part of my commute to work. The light always shines real good here.

28th January 2020

Blue Monday

In light of Blue Monday last week - considered the most depressing day of the year by those heads of consumerism - I thought I'd inject a little fun into my day. I've been obsessed with watching tutorials on how to dance the Lindyhop recently (a late 20's swing type dance that was huge in America). It's such a joyful thing to watch and listen to. Wish me luck with the dancing!

Illustration_LindyHop

It was refreshing to draw people like this. I'd usually stay clear of anything that involves people. I found some great imagery online to use as reference - otherwise the people would have looked a little more blob like.

23rd December 2019

Top 3 of 2019

With 2019 coming to a close very shortly, I thought I'd look back on the year and challenge myself to do some sort of write up without getting too spiritual or pretentious. For me, this years been a little different and there's been some highs and lows but overall I can't be happier going forward into 2020. I went back through my photo's and video's and picked out my top 3.

017_17

1.

Back in summer, we put on a surprise party for my best friend's partner at their flat in London. It was sweltering! So much so I thought the leaves were melting. Sadly this was down to our poor, merry state of where to put the bbq, which eventually scorched the leaves that hung above. A weekend full of silly dancing, good music, food and company.

2.

2019 was the year I thought I'd try my luck with owning a van. It's seen a lot of use in it's time so I was a bit weary of how good it would be or whether it would pack up on me. But touch wood, it's been brilliant! Just the ability to go somewhere new with the bike and a hammock in the back has been really fun. Driving to Dungeness was pretty great for a week off. I took this video in Teignmouth after staying the night in the van. Just by luck, there was a skatepark a minute's walk down the beach from here. Since then, the van has offered plenty more trips to Wales, Cornwall and any other skatepark I can find.

35mm-snow7

3.

Lastly, this photo made the list because it felt like a proper fluke. My uncle and I were in Austria on a snowboard trip - my very first snowboard trip which was very exciting. On the last day, we had a look around Innsbruck. Up until this, I'd only really shot bits of us snowboarding, an odd bit of architecture and of course loads of cars and curious looking motorbikes. We were doing a lot of walking. We walked past this wall and with the light, it felt like a great set up - even if no-one was in the photo, which is usually the case with my photo's. But in the spare of the moment, I cut my uncle off mid sentence and forced him to be in there. Awkwardness and how squinty his face is aside, I really love how it turned out. Plus it's a great reminder of how incredible snowboarding was which wouldn't of happened without this guy.

So there you go, there's my top 3. Until next year, thank you, Merry Christmas and Happy new year!