Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A Drawing A Day #4 - Cats

Wanted to do more animals, but wanted to do first hand. Ended up trying to draw our two cats. The challenge was to catch the essence of cat whilst they were on the move (restless because they wanted to go out). I got the outlines and then filled them quickly. Quite like how the full cat outline/silhouette turned out and wouldn't mind trying the cat outline combined with a patterned (wood grain? Paisley?) fill.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A Drawing A Day #3 - Jekyll/Hyde

I've recently listened to a BBC abridgment of 'Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, partly due to a desire to discover/rediscover some Sci-Fi/Fiction classics and partly because of one of my favourite Lego Minifigures 'Mr. Good and Evil'.

I couldn't keep away from the Lego for long, so here's a drawing of some. It was actually quite a challenge because if you get the proportions wrong, it doesn't look like a Lego man anymore - we're all so familiar that we almost 'know' the correct proportions. Anyway, there are definitely some incorrect proportions here but...

Colour next...

Monday, 28 January 2013

A Drawing A Day #2 - Cassettes

Less of a drawing, more of a scribble-sketch. I was going for that sort of look as to me it fits the cassettes - it reminds me of the times when tapes used to get chewed up and they'd get all messy - like this drawing.

To be honest although I love the aesthetics of the cassette tape, and piles thereof, the repetitiveness bored me quickly - my main problem when creating. I would definitely prefer to work on producing an image like this digitally.

Here's the box after I put the tapes back all nice and orderly. This represent my musical tastes in the second half of the 90s:

The tracklists to my mixtapes were perhaps even more eclectic. This cassette (check out the name I gave it!) also boasted tracks from Feeder, Terris, Idlewild, EZ Rollers, Animalhouse and Freddy Fresh:

The Admiral Wants You

A quick bit of necessary creativity here. A job advert to inspire the children to write a job application letter tomorrow on our 'Steampunk Day' (kids are getting dressed up in their own outfits!).

Should go and do my drawing now...

Sunday, 27 January 2013

A Drawing A Day #1: Springbok

OK, time to stop messing around with Lego; time to get my drawing skills bettered. A Drawing A Day for at least one week is the plan - got to be disciplined.

Have been watching Attenborough Africa on the BBC and have always loved drawing animals; what better place to start could there be?

You'll have to ignore the attempts to draw pronking Springbok - that's probably a challenge for another day!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Snow Day

Took my class out to build igloos for some outdoor learning/literacy stimulus. Also took some photos.

Monday, 21 January 2013


New phone; better photos? We'll see.

I've been interested in the micro scale Lego models that some folk make. I thought with a minuscule amount of Lego it would be easy to do some builds of my own. Turns out you actually need a wide selection of bricks to choose from to do it well. I definitely took my vast childhood Lego collection for granted!

Anyway, I had a little play last night and made some sort of evil jungle lair.

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Just for some release I faffed on GIMP tonight with a photo I took a few years ago at an airfield in North Yorkshire somewhere. I had Brian Cook's stuff in my mind when doing this. As usual, not that happy with the result, especially the text box, but here it is - I was being creative regardless of how the end product looks!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Blast From The Past - Chopped Cars


...from this:

I did a few of these Photoshop chops (back when I had Photoshop on my work's licence) for some competitions on a forum.


...from this:

Vicious Circle

Well, this week has been pretty un-creative. I suppose I've been very productive in other ways though - at work and with my family. It's also been a pretty rubbish week; I'm feeling fed up and a bit glum.

Is the lack of creativity a result of that, or is that a result of a lack of creativity? A vicious circle I suppose.

The only thing I have done really is a quick flyer for a church event but didn't have as much time to spend on it as I usually would spend:

Monday, 14 January 2013

K'nex O'clock

Oops, been a bit un-creative lately, but I've been pretty busy with this and that. Now for more kids' toys tomfoolery/creativity:

 Today, with a group of kids, I made a K'nex clock. I had no idea if we could make it work when I set the task, but we were determined and worked through the problems we encountered. What we ended up with is a clock that, with the turn of one handle, sets the hour and minute hand in motion simultaneously.

 The only problem is that a 12 hour cycle only takes 11 rotations of the minute hand! Obviously, the main problem here is the size of the gears available, although I dare say with many more standard K'nex gears linking in various ways the mechanism could be made to work correctly.

When the orange handle on the back is turned, the green gear turns which meshes with the red gear which directly drives the red minute hand. As the orange handle is turned the grey gear on the front of the clock turns the yellow gear which has the hour hand attached to it (with the aid of blu-tac to allow the minute hand to turn freely within the hour hand's gear!). The combination of a very small and a very large gear makes the hour hand turn slowly, whereas the two different but medium-sized gears produce a much faster turn for the minute hand.

Next step: to connect a motor to it!

Saturday, 12 January 2013


Meant to post this last night but accidentally posted it to the steampunk blog I created for school purposes!

Had a little pre-bedtime Lego session with Isla (the two and a half year old) and I made this and she named it - 'It's a Geckoon'.

Haven't been very creative today but have had a nice day anyway.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Acting the Admiral

So today, creativity of a total different sort: role play! I've never been much of an actor but when I dress up and get into role (especially at school in front of the kids), I really do go for it! The kids loved interviewing me in character of Admiral Codrington Prissick and hopefully they've already learnt a lot about biography as a genre of writing.

I also created a new blog as a kids' web resource for Steampunk as any google search about the subject throws up some pretty saucy images - not what I want to be showing them at school. Anyway, hopefully they'll be able to use the site to create their own Steampunk character who they will then go onto write a creative biography of.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Traction City

Here's my quick pen sketch of a Traction City inspired by Philip Reeve's book 'Mortal Engines' which today I decided to begin reading to my class. The first 'comprehension' activity I did was to get them to draw how London is described in the book (the fact that some of them misinterpreted caterpillar tracks made some of their drawings quite funny!).

I had to ensure that they knew what a Traction City should look like or else they'd be confused for the rest of the book! Anyway, whilst not a work of art, I enjoyed picturing the book's description and may well use this as a preparatory sketch for more futuristic Sci-Fi goodness.

Inspiration of the Day #3

An excellent (kids') book which I've not yet finished (although have already started reading again...). This is by Philip Reeve who apparently did the some of the cartoons for the Horrible Histories books. It's an adventure set in an imagined future where cities have long since been built into tiered, caterpillar-tracked vehicles who prey on one another. It involves all sorts of airships, half-human half-robots and the like and is pretty gripping in its plot-line.

Click to read the Wikipedia page about it.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Blast From The Past - Abe Lincoln Motivational Poster

Maybe to make myself feel better (see previous post for my moaning) I thought I'd post a past creation. I did a few of these posters (which can be found here: ) in September and they are all currently up in my classroom.

Creative Frustrations

Well, I have been creative today, did some drawings inspired by the fictional biography I wrote and posted yesterday, but am not happy enough with the results to show them.

Doing this has been great but it's made me realise that although I have quite a lot of creative ideas, I lack the skill, patience and time to remove them from my head on to the page, or into reality. I know that part of the reason I'm doing this is to learn and hone skills but it's frustrating, especially when there seem to be folk out there who can just so easily knock out quality pieces without trying!

Creativity is fun, but it ain't easy. Perhaps I need to stick to one technique for a while instead of flitting around, flirting with whatever I desire, but then, would that become stifling and would it stem my creativity?

Monday, 7 January 2013

Inspiration of the Day #2

Not sure what this is inspires me to do, but maybe one day it'll come in handy. It's part of the roof of the Corn Exchange in Leeds - a truly beautiful building.

Mallard Poster Update

Second post of the day, but the last post chronicled yesterday's creativity really (although the Biography was written, or created, today). Anyway, just had a quick idea for something to add to the Mallard poster so thought I'd report on its progress. I added the quote from Joe Duddington, driver on the event of the Mallard achieving world steam speed record:


Here they are. Here I am. 'Finished' yesterday for today's big start!

Had to write a short biography for some further work in Literacy:
Do you recognise any of my influences? The names and time frames and some events are based on my actual family history. The 17th Century ship under the WTC site is real, although not The Arrow. The Time Travelling aspects are taken from 'The Time Traveller' by H.G. Wells (obviously). The rest all has some basis in actual times and events.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

'Create Your Own Minifigure' Box

Probably prematurely, I've been getting my two and a half year old into Lego. This afternoon I created this 'Create Your Own Minifigure' activity for her. She really enjoys making the minifigures but doesn't really play with them in any way yet, so once the figures are made, what is there to do? Well, this:

It is simply a box with five compartments containing heads, torsos, legs, hats and hair and accessories. It's a simple thing which will bring new life to old minifigures (or Lego men as they were in my day). You could even extend it into a fun-for-all-game; something along the lines of Minifigure consequences with each player adding something extra to the figure?

 Below is one of my daughter's creations - a hideous Uruk Hai/Businessman/Victorian Lady combination.

Friday, 4 January 2013


Made thank you cards with my two and a half year old today. Potato and hand printing. Possibly another text print to go on each card. Fun!

Thursday, 3 January 2013


Bought a fake leather handbag from a charity shop today and have hacked it up already for the side parts of the goggles which can't be seen in the picture.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013


Just finished this.

Wish I could claim that the misspelled word was intentional but it wasn't, although I think it fits with the theme. Tempted to redo it but not sure if that contradicts the mantra?

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


Awesome Lego session with various members of my family with our old Lego today. Started with the front grille and was inspired to go from that.

The challenge I set myself was to only use parts from the one box out of six that we had out.