Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Dog Portrait

Here's one of my pet portraits I produced using Illustrator and Photoshop. For this dog portrait, I had a photograph to work from and started off re-drawing it all in vectors and filled all the sections with the correct colours using the colour selector tool. Once completed I exported the file into Photoshop to blend all the colours together to give it a digitally painted look.

If you've been looking for a pet portraits artist, I'm open for commissions, just go to my Contact page, fill in your requirements on the form and I will reply within 7 days.

Monday, 30 January 2012

R.I.P Annie The Astra

After nearly a month, of my 'Annie the Astra' being in the garage (Yes I am one of those sad people who name their cars), I finally resolved the situation at the weekend. Not what you need at the start of the year, but the resolution has been good all round. 

Basically, after the engine misfire incident on the way to work back at the start of January, the burnt valve was fixed, but only to create a new problem. After the garage completed the job and rebuilt the engine, there was a load of white smoke coming out and when I say alot, I mean alot! 

This was caused by pure bad luck as a tiny piece of the burnt valve had dropped into the engine cylinder and damaged one of the piston rings. It was undriveable and the only solution was a new engine! 

Great! I'd only had the car 3 months and spent half of last year saving for it and the work carried out already was quoted at the start of costing round about £500! So, after alot of to and throwing, we've reached an amicable decision with the garage of my bill being wiped and they keep the car! 

So long, Annie the Astra, you have been a lovely car to drive but a royal pain in the butt! Farewell!

R.I.P Annie the Astra.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Some Good Music

Absolutely loving this song - He has a beautiful voice! (Just listen up to the chorus, he sounds very much like a young Sting from the Police) The video is also brilliant, so artistic, I'm a sucker for stop motion film, it's too good to not share:-
Gotye- Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra)- official film clip (HD)

Monday, 16 January 2012

Personalised Fairy Portraits

I thought I'd share one of my Personalised Fairy Portraits that I've done. As you can see they look great printed on a personalised ceramic mug. They can also be printed on canvas or a large framed print.  

They make a lovely whimsical gift and really capture the child's imagination and look great proudly hanging on their bedroom wall. 

If you like what you see, I'm open for commissions, just go to my Contact page, fill in your requirements on the form and I will reply within 7 days.

Sunday, 15 January 2012


I've discovered Pinterest and it is so addictive, once I started pinning I couldn't stop!

What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows you to organize and share all the things that you love in life. I suppose it's a bit like an online mood board which proves very handy for pinning all of your image research from the web in your very own themed board.

What attracted me to pinterest was the fact that when I start a new project, be it arts, craft or design, I spend a good while before hand searching the web for inspiration and ideas. This has proved very time consuming as I save all the images to my computer in a folder for a mood board, which takes up alot of memory!

When I first heard about Pinterest I thought it was a really clever idea which would save me alot of time. It's so easy to use and it's great to have a place where I can easily store all of my different themed boards by simply browsing the web and clicking the 'Pin It' tab.

The mission statement of Pinterest is to connect everyone in the world through shared tastes and the “things” they find interesting, giving Internet users another way to discover and explore visual content. Pinterest is fast becoming one of the new top social networking sites and I have to say after using it, I can see why!

Here's some boards of interest I've created so far:

Friday, 13 January 2012

Nappy Cakes Tutorial

A selection of Nappy Cakes I've made in the past. 

I thought I'd share some Nappy Cakes that I have made for various family and friends for their new born bundles of joy. These are so simple to make and not too pricey. They make a lovely maternity gift and are great for baby showers. 

It's entirely up to you on what you want to include in one. As you can see in the picture above, the large sized blue nappy tier cake included a fleecy blanket, bibs, dummies and a teddy bear, using approximately 50 nappies. As with the medium sized pink nappy cake, this one was quite complex to make and involved using cardboard circular templates and lots of ribbon to hold the separate layers of tiered nappies together. 

The most simple and cheapest one to make was the small red nappy cake. Here's a brief overview of what you need, where to buy and how to make a nappy cake. You can get as colourful, creative or simple as you like. A lovely handmade gift!

You will need:
  1. Nappies. (I found Asda to be the cheapest - pack of 36 nappies for approximately £5).
  2. A Fleecey Blanket. (Costs £2.99p from any bargain shop).
  3. 2 Metres of Cellophane. (Costs about a quid from any flower shop or florist).
  4. A Teddy Bear. (Once again, any bargain shop is best I usually budget £3 for one).
  5. Ribbons. (Any sewing store will sell these at about 50p a metre).

  6. How to make a Nappy Cake:
  1. Lay out the cellophane and place the fleecy blanket at the bottom.
  2. Simply stack the nappies up forming a pyramid shape, starting with layers of four, layers of two, then one.
  3. Place you chosen teddy at the top and wrap the cellophane up to the top. 
  4. Secure in place with bits of sellotape, before neatly trimming the top to be straight.
  5. Now the fun part wrap around your chosen colour scheme of ribbon and tie into fanciful bows or knots.
  6. Voulé, your nappy cake is complete and cheap!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Personalised Ben 10 Print

What a week I've had, It's been so hectic I've not had a chance to keep my new Blog updated!

The week started off positive on my last Blog post and then it was all down hill from there. Let's start with last Monday. I hit the shops in a hunt for an A2 picture frame for Ethan's Personalised Ben10 picture, a simple task or so I thought.

Absolutely nowhere, seemed to sell A2 Frames!  A1, A3, A4. Yes! I possibly saw every size but A2. I tried Homebase, Argos, B&Q, Boots, TK Maxx, Wilkinsons, Home Bargains, B & M Bargains, Asda Living and countless others. Now I wasn't prepared to spend a fortune as was running on a tight budget, so I was pleased to find an A2 sized print in Dunelm Mill on sale for £14.99p. "Great!" I thought, "I'll get that, take the print out and use the frame. Sorted!" That was until I got home....

In an excited mood, I unwrapped the cellophane, to find that the sodding back was stapled on. "That's OK, I will pull the staples out and tape back up." Bloody hell, what a mission, it was as if they didn't want you to use the frame for anything other than the print it was bought with! I persisted to pull each one out with the first sharp object I found (a pair of wire cutters) then using my hand to assist in pulling the back off until SNAP!

Bollocks! The bloody glass broke. Well I tell you something of nothing, I wasn't prepared to go out and waste another £15! So botch job it was involving double sided sticky tape and some masking tape. Here's the result....

Finally, after hours of hardship, I have an A2 Picture Frame! 

Now onto Wednesday, after one day back at work my car breaks. I have a 2002 Vauxhall Astra which I bought at the end of October for a good price. I have had some problems with the engine management light coming on. First of all it happened and a full service cleared it with a new spark plug. A month passes by light comes on, take it back to the garage, computer plugged in no fault code, so they clear it. That's all fine until a couple of weeks pass and it comes on again. I paid £30 to have the EGR cleaned, all fine until one week later it comes on again. Back to the garage, fault cleared on the computer once more, but they inform me if it happens again I may need a new EGR valve. 

Well driving to work on Wednesday it comes on again! This time it is chugging due to engine misfire. I ring work to tell them my car trouble and that I'm going to take it straight to the garage and it's been in there ever since. They had to take the head off to find the problem and it turns out that it's a burnt valve. So that's bye bye to 500 smackeroonies, which is just not what you need straight after Christmas at the beginning of the year.

So basically, it's been a bit of a shitty week. But with the bad comes the good, so hopefully my bad luck is out the way to make way for all the good things that are going to come of this year. 

I like to remain positive so here's to hoping :O)

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year Resolutions

Well, that's annoying, I just typed a really long Blog post and bloody lost it. That was a great start to my new blogging  era. Arrgh! OK lets try again and this time type into Notepad before pasting into Blogger...

So, it's 2012 and I know it's a cliché but I made a few new years resolutions that I think will be easily achievable. In fact, I've already accomplished two of them today. The first was to start my blog, which I did and I lost it and now I try and type it again (Déjà vu) and the second was to get back into mountain biking.

I cycled a measly 4.8 miles today and Oh my God, I was so out of breath it nearly killed me. I blame my heavy mountain bike (not the fact that I'm simply unfit!) I must get my old bike with a nice ultra light frame fixed so I don't have to be put to shame by my better half again. 
"They say slow and steady wins the race, but Nicky looked like she was going to fall dead before the finish line!"

James locking up the bikes ready for a pit-stop lemonade at a country pub.

Now onto a creative note, I finished a personalised picture the other day for my friend's 8 year old son. He's an avid Ben 10 fan, so my friend requested that I produce a Ben 10 picture for his bedroom wall. He suffers from autism, so she requested that Ethan be portrayed as the character of Ben 10 as he would relate more to the image. It took me approximately 15 hours to complete. Here's a JPEG of the final artwork file and a brief explanation of how it was done.

First of all I scanned a photograph of Ethan's face and imported it into Adobe Illustrator, I started off by using the Vector pen tool to redraw on separate layers all of his facial features.

To achieve the right skin tone, I used the paint dipper tool to select the colours from the photograph. This gave it a great cartoon effect.

Once the face was complete it was just a case of drawing in the rest around. I produced a mood board for inspiration before I began so I could develop the colour scheme, characters and shapes from there.

After much research I found a close matching Ben 10 style type font for his name. If you are planning on producing some Ben 10 style art work I highly recommend the 'Agent Orange' type font. If you Google it, there will be some free downloadable links. 

I had it printed A2 poster size yesterday and I'm really pleased with the outcome. It's so rewarding when you produce work on screen and then see the results in their printed format.

I'm planning on getting it framed tomorrow and can't wait to see his reaction when he see's it. I'll try and get some photographs of it once framed and hung on the wall.