Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Isle of Harris

So, you've just read another of The Mysterious Mr Pepper Corn's instalments and are probably wondering to yourself how you can become just as awesome. Well the answer to that is to copy everything he does - I can assure you that all the stunts performed by him have been tested by professionals beforehand and they managed it so I'm pretty sure you can too. Of course, I have my own format of awesomeness so I don't need to copy him and if you feel the same way about yourself then forget about following in the footsteps of The Mysterious Mr Pepper Corn, he should be following in yours. 

Anyway, I'm getting side tracked, what I should be telling you is that The Mysterious Mr Pepper Corn isn't the only one who travels around. It was only a week ago that I got back from a ten day trip to the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides. I left on the 25th of July and travelled over three days. 

Our first stop took us to the North Pennines (beautiful) where we stayed at a youth hostel which we had previously given the name Lindsey Land Resort (not so beautiful). It was a very interesting building (old school building) with a bowing roof just over the living space and random unmounted-mounted rams heads which had a funny habit of finding their way into people's beds "ahem". There we did a range of activities for which my favourite was gorge walking. All you did was chuck yourself off of rocks into the river so that proves that my awesomeness does exist, my theory that stunts can be carried out by anybody and that the simplest things can be fun.

Now after that it was another day's travel up to Glen Coe in Scotland. It was disappointing that we didn't hear as much of the accent as we liked and from what I saw, it appears that Scotland is inhabited by more Irish and Australian folk then it is by actual Scottish people but hey ho, everyone there was friendly. It was the third day into our travels when we did the high ropes activity, now I'm not one for heights but I decided that I would suck it up and have ago. It turned out that only me and mate in my group actually did it (and the only peeps in our whole explorer group to do it three times). Then it was on the road again (as well as the sea) until we got to the Isle of Harris.

Leverburgh (this here town) was lovely, with the exception to the kamikaze lamb which attempted to knock my friend off his bike when going down a steep hill - well only in the Outer Hebrides folks. I was ready for the sheep, I was prepared for the odd cow but not for the lone horse which popped up randomly outside the youth hostel, or for the dog which continuously infiltrated our walls just so it could get attention. We spent five days there with two lazy days at the beach and around Leverburgh which was a nice rest from the activities that we did, sea kayaking and sailing included. We then returned to Glen Coe and Lindsey Land Resort before getting home at 10 o'clock in the evening.

All in all a very exciting trip thanks to Gemma and Steve. I should be writing another post soon.

Bye Y'all

P.S that blogger who I've got breathing down my neck as I write these posts tells me that I shouldn't encourage people to do outrageous things so of course think before you do things, don't copy anything that could cause harm to yourself or someone else, don't blah, blah, blah...the list is endless, just be careful, at least until your old enough for me not to care.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Unicorns?! Oh and Printmaking

So I've just created a Facebook page ( for the facebookies among you) and all is going great. I've had many likes which makes me jump up with excitement every time I see someone new has entered my midst and a fair few people are interested in what I'm doing. Of course I advertise new posts on Twitter and Facebook so people can read these little insights of my life and many people have come up to me in the past few days and informed me that they've read my blog and thought it was funny. Many people have said they'll comment and haven't "ahem" but don't you worry, I'm patient and the likes on my page are a brilliant substitute.

Anyway this post isn't focusing on my Facebook page, brilliant as it is no, this post is kinda focused on unicorns and printing. You may be wondering why unicorns, well I'll explain. Today someone came up to me and said they had read my blog...are you with me so far...good, so anyhow they also said that it would be more interesting if I involved unicorns so here you go L.W. here's your unicorns.

This is an amazing video I have watch countless times made by the also amazing SecretAgentBob. So now that I've got the unicorns out of the way I can start on what's really important.

I have just started my D of E (Duke of Edinburgh award) and in my skills section I chose "Relief Printing" as I enjoy it and admire the work of printers more than any of the other art forms. Doing this has given me a reason to explore different forms of relief printing, one of which is linocut. This requires you carving a corky material called linoleum with a range of different sized knives, U and V tools to create a raised surface that will pick up the ink and transfer it to paper. I will describe the process of producing the block now and the inking stage later.

For this I first mapped out my design in pencil on the lino block to give me a guideline as to where I should and shouldn't carve.

This is of one of my chicken which had been scratching around in the daffodils last weekend and I always thought of April has having daffodils so there's the link.
Next I started to carve and so I have to be serious here and inform you of the risks - knives are sharp - there's my safety reminder so I may continue. I carefully cut the design so that what is left is what will print. I do this by using the V tool to mark out the edges and clearing the smallest of spaces while I use the U tool to clear away the large spaces. I push the tools away from me and at the same angle to slice off a clean strip. If you apply different amounts of pressure to the tool it will go deeper into the lino and consequently the slice will become wider. I do this until my design is the only surface raised from the cleared areas.
 And this is what you get as well as this:
A load of sliced lino but you don't need to worry about that as long as you remove it before you start to print you know, just to stop it from ruining everything.
Okay so that's all I've got for you in this post but there should be a new one on soon so in the meantime, feel free to comment, I look forward hearing from you.
See ya.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Hay, I'm Back.

So recently got back from Cornwall with my folks and it went well, we did what you would normally do when you visit Cornwall, except of course body boarding, way too cold to do that...I see you judging me but I'd like to see you try it. Anyway we visited Mousehole which for those of you who don't know is this coastal town close to Penzance where the Penlee Lifeboat Disaster occured and it is full of shops which sold the same things so it was a case of "once you've seen one, you've seen them all". But despite the constant feeling of deja vu you start to admire how lovely it is. The narrow streets and tall houses with uneven roofs begin to play with your mind and you can come up with all sorts of ideas. Plus there were a few galleries which featured lots of prints!

Of course every holiday has its ups and downs, we certainly had our share but, I wont go into that, it's all very boring but I have to say that our holiday let, just outside Porthtowan, was brilliant. The bathroom or wet room as it was known was massive and the shower heated up instantly. But the best thing was that the beds, not only comfy but adjustable so you can tell how I spent my spare time.

So while in Cornwall I remembered this illustration I did of a Murrough (a sort of mermaid thing) and since I spent five days among the sea I thought that it would be appropriate to include it in this post. So here it is:

Now, of course this is just my interpretation of what a Murrough would look like. You may have your own image of what one is but I like the idea of it looking less mermaid typical and more "fishy". So anyhow for this illustration I mapped out my design in pencil with just lines and cross hatching. I used my good old Winsor & Newton sketch book for this. By that point I had a plain line drawing with no colour or shading.
Once I had the design looking the way I wanted it to, I bulked it up with the Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens I mentioned in my last post. Once I had finished I cleaned it up by erasing all of pencil marks so it looked less hairy and sharper.
Next came the colour. I used Daler Rowney watercolours for this. I had the idea of using blues and greens to give it a deep sea look. I started with the lightest colour and then built it up using a wide range of soft and hard edges. By the end I had a coloured illustration of my Murrough.
Many people have asked "how do I do the hard edged shading?" Well I paint on the lightest colour and allow it to dry completely and then add the darker colour over the top in the area I want dark and that should get you the sharp colour change. 
If you have any other questions then feel free to drop me a line.
Bye Y'all    

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Getting Out the Portfolio

I would like to introduce a good friend of mine, she's very shy and so would like to remain nameless (for the time being, I'm sure when the fame gets to her head she'll reveal herself). Anyway I started drawing her just to encourage my cousin to do his own drawing but I grew quite attached to this character and carried it until the very end. She has that mannerism that you just can't help but admire. This is her:

This was also drawn on cartridge paper and I used water colours which gave me that blotchy texture similar to velvet. I didn't use a dip pen or bottled ink though simply because I thought I'd try something different. You can probably see how it's bled, damn that pen if only I had known it wasn't water proof! (I'm sure there's a lesson to be learnt somewhere in that fable.) I didn't use a light box either, I just drew a draft in pencil and then marked over it. Of course you need to make sure that your rub any showing pencil marks before you start to add colour otherwise they'll still be visible at the end. If you want to try it then make sure that you use a good pen such as a Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen
If you have a question or just feel quite chatty then please feel free to leave a comment.

Bye for now.

Lets Get This Blog on the Road

Now, I've never written a blog in my life and I've only just gotten Twitter (that's for any of you who are interested). But luckily I have two avid bloggers and tweeters who live in my house and I can assure you, they're on standby should this whole thing collapse under itself. The pair of them have been looking over my shoulders as I write these past few days (they don't trust me), not only telling me how to do things but what things to do as well. Telling me not to be too harsh on you so you owe them a lot. Come on let me hear you say thank you... Good.

This post will be the first proper post on the subject of illustrations and more to the point, some work that I did a while back for a community group called Clare Christmas Lights. They organise fundraisers to raise money for the yearly Christmas Switch on (also organised by them). Well one of these fundraisers was a Barn Dance in the town hall and they asked me to illustrate the posters and tickets for them. Here they are;


So anyhow, you may not be that interested but I will babble on about how I made it so listen up.

It's drawn on cartridge paper but watercolour paper I heard will work well too. I also used water proof ink which is black and red ink which didn't need to be.  I first drew the design on some plain paper and then placed it onto a light box. You could use a clean window if you don't have one.

I then used a dip pen and drew the design and some of the text in the black ink.The variation of pressure I put on the dip pen gave me the different line thicknesses.

Once the ink had dried I painted on the colour not worrying about being neat as the whole point of this style is to be relaxed and free.

And that's what gives me these two appealing and colourful designs.

Thank Y'all

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

What Gets the Ball Rolling?

"Where do you get your ideas from?" This is that question that those with the gift of imagination are always asked. Do you ever get asked that?...I thought so. Its a difficult one, the reason we hate it is because we can never answer it. You kinda say "well you know, it's just err, there in my head."

I have thought long and hard about what I should say, planning my cunning answer but I don't know whether I should go for the sarcastic approach - you know, "the idea shop of course." Or the immoderate - "I smash my head against a wall until an idea finds its way into my mind."
I realise that now I have this video from Riverheadbook (thank you) that I could just show them to answer the question for me:

But now I say it doesn't matter where ideas come from, no two people can have the same idea (coincidentally) if you do find someone who has exactly the same idea, well done you've just mastered the power of telepathy. It's not like there's a special technique to having amazing ideas. All ideas are the same (in terms of "amazingness") it's what you do with these ideas which counts.

I may not be able to answer that question but what I can do is tell you what has influenced me strongly over my lifetime. So I'll start with books. The books I have read are obviously one thing that has gotten my mind to where it is today and they will continue to do this for as long as I read them.

The Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy are by far one of the best book series I've ever read and they have along with Harry Potter, Edge Chronicles, Spiderwick Chronicles and the Far Flung Adventure books influenced me to be creative with my own work.

The amazing art work from Chris Riddle has inspired me to draw many times and I've always been keen to try different styles of drawing to influence my characters. Tove Jansson and Quentin Blake are two other illustrators I strongly admire.

If you have as much imagination as boiled cabbage than I say get off that chair your sitting on... yes you! I see you sitting there engrossed in this post, stop reading not now, when I'm finished and go outside. Find those things you find influential because you can't get an idea from just sitting there.
Okay, I'm finished now, you can go.

Now that the rabble's gone I suppose I just want to know if there's anything specific that you want me to mention in my next post. I will be posting up some stuff over the next few weeks to share with you but in  the meantime, if you have any questions or need some advise, get in touch.

Bye y'all

So What is the Point of this Blog?

Greetings, oh no that makes me sound like an alien, I'm not if you're wondering, I will just never know how to start a post on this blog. Maybe I should start them with - oh never mind anyway since I've mentioned the word post I might as well seize this chance to dive into this post without having to introduce myself too much (it says it all in the "About Will" box).

You may be wondering what this blog is actually about, the name doesn't give much away does it?... Oh but the subtitle, now that does so I will give you a moment to read it... done, good so I'll continue. It's about me, in the most simplest terms, It will get my work such as art, drawings maybe a bit of exciting news should it come my way, out there into that amazing world that some people call the Internet. It won't give away too much about me like what I had for breakfast, what lessons I've had today, and anything like that because frankly no one wants to know that "ahem".  I will probably tell you what interesting books that have found their way into my favourites as well as some films and programmes that have too. It is going to take some time for me to get used to this so please be patient and forgive me if I make a mess of it. I will try to write a post as often as I can so try not to gnaw your legs of in anticipation for my next post. (You now might be glancing over at the amount of followers I have and thinking "this guy isn't as popular as his post implies) well I try to be optimistic. It gives me huge satisfaction to think that someone out there is gnawing their legs off over me.

Anyway if that doesn't please you than here is a little picture that should make your day:

Have a nice one.