Archive for August, 2010


Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

We have just got back from a week away in Cornwall. I’m not going to say exactly where because it is a lovely quiet village and I would like to keep it that way ;)

It was a quiet holiday, we have been there a couple of times before so don’t feel much of a need to go out and see other places in the area. Just a great opportunity to relax and unwind. However this year was a little different as I did get out and do a few sketches around the village and the cliffs.

My headphones…They saved my life

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

I have had a go at detailed drawing using Layers Pro on the iPad. I was quite impressed at the level of detail possible with this app especially using a stylus. The stylus I use is basically a thin tube of metal with a bit of conductive foam stuffed into one end. It is not as precise as an ordinary stylus is on a resistive touch screen. With the capacitive touch screen on the iPad you have to use a fair bit of pressure for it to register contact and you have to zoom right in when you need to position lines precisely.

The result is that I found it difficult to get the shape of my headphones correct. The shape still isn’t right but I got it as close as I could.

I decided to draw my headphones as they are my favourite pair and I spend so much of my time wearing them. Lovely and comfy, though they are a little warm for this time of year, also lovely sound quality and noise isolation. The title btw is a song lyric but I doubt many people would know the song. Feel free to guess.

Floaty Boats

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I took a wander to St Katherine’s Dock near Tower Bridge. It is quite a pretty area but was far busier than I had expected and I felt quite nervous that I wouldn’t find anywhere I would feel comfortable to sketch from, but I managed to find a comfy bench and settled down to draw. There is quite a lot of money in that part of town and I saw at least one boat for sale that was worth a lot more than our flat.

I quite like the fact that I left a fair bit of paper untouched in this sketch as I have a bad habit of overworking my drawings. I never know when to stop. Quite often Mat will mutter at me ‘I thought you finished that half an hour ago!’.

There are so many lines in this drawing that it was hard to see if it would work until I started to add the colour.

While I was sketching a family walked past and asked if their children could watch me work for a while and at the same time another chap sat down on the other side of me to watch. I was just about to pack up as they arrived so I ended up needing to stretch it out a little longer. The family didn’t stay for long though and when they left I had a nice long chat with the other chap as he explained that he also likes to draw.


Friday, August 13th, 2010

I’ve never really like the results when I try to draw skies. Somehow I can never get them down on paper the right way. I saw a couple of examples that someone had drawn on their iPad using the smudging tool on Layers and I thought I could see how it was done so I gave it a try.

This one is drawn from a photo I took in Prague last year…

This one I drew looking out of our bedroom window yesterday evening as there was a spectacular sunset. I think it is noticeable that my main problem with the sky is drawing it fast enough to capture it accurately. I am really not good at drawing from memory and by the time I finished this, the sun had set, there was just a bit of an orange glow left on the horizon.

This week has felt a bit rubbish so far. Hopefully today’s date will bring me luck ;) I might even buy myself a lottery ticket.

Welcome to Your New Home

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

First of all some obvious news…With help from Mat I have finally got around to to setting up a permanent home for my blog. I have also found a theme that I like and customised it a bit with some of my drawings. (although I did not know how to do a lot of what Mat showed me I was a little perturbed by how much I understood. I think over the years I have absorbed a lot more geekyness through proximity to Mat than I had thought! ;)

This is quite a boring post so I decided to decorate it with the original scans used for my blog banner:

Sketching kit drawn with materials shown

I have also been thinking about what else I want to keep on this blog. A couple of years ago I found a book cataloguing service through Facebook called Visual Bookshelf (provided by Living Social). I found this a very useful way of keeping track of the books I had been reading and keeping a note of books I wanted to read when I couldn’t afford to buy them straight away. It was also a great source for reviews etc. Unfortunately since I started to use it, Visual bookshelf has actually got more difficult to use and has lost functionality (iPhone app and blog widgets are no longer available).

Although I started this blog mainly to make sure I don’t stop sketching, I dare say I will probably use it to talk about books now and then as what I am reading, just like the music I listen to has such an effect on my mood.

Camera – pen and ink and watercolour and white gel pen

I really wanted to add some kind of widget to my blog showing what I am reading and the favourite books that I will read again and again. As visual Bookshelf no longer let’s you do this I decided to export my collection to a new service. But which one to choose? I had a look around and found that LibraryThing and Goodreads seem to do what I want (ability to import and export my collection, a customisable non-flash based widget to use on my blog, a facebook app and an iPhone app). I couldn’t find out much more from their websites so I decided I would test Goodreads for a bit and see how it goes as that seems to be more widely used.

Importing my collection was really easy and I quite like that you can add custom bookshelves as well as the standard, read, reading and want to read. I’m not convinced by the Javascript widget yet, it seemed to be broken when I first put it in, but it is now working (after I fiddled with it a bit and then gave up and asked Mat to sort the rest out for me) and I think it looks OK.

Headphones – Zig real brush pens and water brush and white gel pen

Vector Orchids

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Orchids are my favorite flower. When I was in Singapore several years ago I visited the orchid gardens on Sentosa island. Mat and I spent a lot of time walking around the gardens and as I didn’t have a camera of my own in those days Mat kindly leant me his so that I could take some photos. If I had been allowed to I’m sure I could have spent the rest of our holiday in those gardens alone!

I decided to have a go at converting one of my favourite photos that I took that day into a vector drawing using the iPad app iDraw by Indeeo. I was quite pleased with the result.

The reference photo:

My vector drawing:

Unfortunately there are bugs in iDraw and for this drawing I had to keep remembering to close and reopen it to save each tiny change to avoid the frustration of loosing a significant chunk of work. However there is a new update just out and hopefully this will fix these issues.

Drawing on iPad

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

I guess I am behind the times somewhat here but I have to share links to something Mat showed me a little while ago. An American artist David Kassan has been busy creating these amazing portraits using the Brushes app on his iPad.

There is also a time-lapse video showing him ‘painting the first of the portraits in the gallery.

Hmm I need to get practising…a lot! ;)

I have been playing around a bit more with Sketchbook Pro:

Yes I know Mat’s head is not that flat! ;)

and with Layers Pro:

Layers has a lovely smudge tool which I think could be very interesting to play with. I just need to find time and something to draw now.


Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Another one from my doodle book.

I have to admit I do like a bit of sic-fi / fantasy and I particularly like the concept of mythical creatures. I have always wanted to draw a dragon but until recently I would not have had the confidence to try. I am easily frustrated when I cannot translate a concept into an image which I feel adequately represents it. However for some reason I recently started to feel this might not be beyond me after all so I decided to give it a go. I am quite pleased with the result. He looks a little like he needs a pee but otherwise alright for a first attempt.

Brush Pen Doodle

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

I have been wanting some brush pens for a little while. I wanted some water based non-permanent brush pens which unlike Faber Castel Pitt brush pens and a lot of other brands actually have a bristle brush tip rather than a long flexible felt tip. I had really wanted to get something like Pentel colour brushes or Art Kure Watercolour System pens but these are very expensive and I think they will have to wait (in favour of having a finished kitchen amongst other things).

After shopping around on line for quite a while I managed to find Zig clean colour real brushes by Kuretake. These are available in 48 colours, are water based, have a bristle tip and are nearly a third of the price of the other 2 brands I mentioned above. I started with a selection of 15 colours hoping that I would be able to blend these with a water brush pen to obtain lighter shades. I have seen a few videos on YouTube of people using the Art Kure and Pentel brush pens and these seem very easy to blend and rework. I wasn’t expecting the Zig pens to perform as flexibly given their much cheaper price and I was right. Unfortunately most of the colours I have are the darker shades and these do not seem to blend well with either each other or with a water brush. However they do blend well with the lighter shades. Overall I don’t think I will be carrying these pens around with me regularly but I do think I will buy some more of the lighter shades as they do produce some interesting strokes and will be good for fun little doodles like this one from my doodle book…

Unfortunately these pens easily bleed through the paper so I will have to be careful when I use them in my Moleskine again.

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Amy Stace published on is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ
The Little Stranger
Thinking In Pictures and Other Reports from My Life with Autism
What Alice Forgot
Favorite Books
Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1
The Gargoyle
The Girl Who Played With Fire
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Gentlemen and Players
Breaking Dawn
Midnight Sun
New Moon
The Hobbit
The Book Thief
The Matchmaker of Perigord
The Lollipop Shoes
The Day of the Triffids
The Subtle Knife
The Kraken Wakes