Saturday, 8 December 2012

Zilla360's painting

This is what I'm painting next, minus the words. 

Its for someone very lovely who lives not too far away, so I'll be hand delivering it.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Journey is finished

Yes, really, it is finished!

This painting has been so much more simple to do than the last one - it's mainly blocks of colour for the background, with just a little detail. 

I'll be parcelling it up in the morning to send to Seattle in time for the Child's Play charity dinner/auction.

The whole thing:

Close-up left:

Close-up right:

 My next painting will be for my Secret Santee in Penny Arcade's Games and Technology - I won't be able to post images of that one, as they may guess it's for them, so I'll post abut another painting I've been working on.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Journey background completed

I've finished the background - all the sand dunes blocked in and I'm now ready to start on the detail of the foreground, and the detailed background bits. Here's what I've done:

I still have to do the light coming out of the top of the mountain, that will be the last thing I do I think:

Close-up left:

Close-up right:

I'm really enjoying doing this one!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Journey sky re-done, dust cloud done

I'm happier with it now - I think I'd not mixed enough of the paint at one time, so it was a bit uneven, and it just jarred when I looked at it. 

I've done the dust clouds as well, I'm quite pleased with how they look.

I'll do some more tomorrow.

 Whole thing:

Close-up left:

Close-up right:

Dust cloud close-up left:

Dust cloud close-up right:

I'll aim to get some more done tomorrow.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Journey background started

Oh I love this image! 

The colours are just beautiful, the game is excellent. My apologies if you ever find yourself playing alongside me - you'll be able to tell its me by my very slow progress!

Here's what I've done so far:

The sky started:

Sky and mountain done:

Close-up left: 

Close-up right:

On reflection, I'm not happy with this, I think I'll start again - bits of the sky are decidedly murky and uneven. I could have just not posted, but it's only when I've had some time to look at it that I've decided it's not good enough as it stands.

It will get better.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Journey for Child's Play auction in December

Every year I aim to do 3 paintings for Child's Play - Penny Arcade's charity that buys toys, consoles and video games for children's hospitals, including Manchester Children's Hospital, about 9 miles from where I live.

As a small child, I spent 6-7 weeks at a time in Newcastle City General hospital (sadly, closed down now) undergoing a range of surgeries aimed at giving me a usable thumb on my left hand. My family lived in West Cumbria; I only saw my parents at the weekend, when they would travel across country on my dad's BSA 650 Gold Star, and I didn't see my little brother for weeks and weeks.

I remember being sad, lonely and quite miserable at times; the high point of my week was when some school work would arrive in the post! When I found out about Child's Play, it just made sense for me to paint to raise money for it.

This year I took the Assassin's Creed painting with me to PAX, and handed it over to Kristen; I've also decided to paint an image from Journey - an incredibly beautiful game from ThatGameCompany,, who also made Flow and Flower, all games I love.

Here's the source image I'm using:

and here's the pencil outline:

I'll start painting it later on this week.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Guitaroo Man Lives finished!

At last I've finished it! This must go down as the longest time I've ever taken to complete a painting - a combination of holidays, trips to cons, illness and the detailed nature of this painting means its taken a super-long time!

Thank you to Jessie for putting up with the length of time it's taken me.

Here it is:

Close-up left: 

Close-up right:

Four years ago, I would never have attempted something this complicated and detailed, I'd have run away screaming! It just shows what you can do if you try and are given great support, encouragement and positive criticism. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to my development!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Guitaroo Man Lives almost there!!

Wooo! I've painted for most of today, and I've almost finished!!

I love it when a painting is almost there, I think I just need a couple of hours tomorrow and I may be saying the "F" word - as in "finished"!

Here's where I'm up to:

I've started the inking in on the left hand side - I've found I didn't draw all of the detail in, and so by inking in what I've done, I'm finding I can spot the missing bits more easily. (and I want to see what it looks like!

Guitaroo Man Lives! with a little more done

This painting is taking a loooong time to do - its very detailed, all over. 

I'm planning to spend another day on this, then I'm hoping it will be close to being finished. Once I have all the background painted in I'll start inking the outline in. If you've checked out my blog in the past  you'll know I prefer to use ink for any outlining, as I'm not steady enough to use a very fine paintbrush.

Once the ink has dried, I'll then colourwash the background with very dilute white paint, to tone the background back a bit.

Here's where I'm up to:

Friday, 9 November 2012

Guitaroo Man Lives blue done

I always forget to factor in the impact going to video games events has on me - a couple of weeks ago we went to GameCity in Nottingham - a week long games fest. Its excellent! While I was there I was taught how to build a level using GameMaker 8.1 - I'll make my Bee game one day!

I played lots of games; Mega GIRP, Just Like Real Life (shameless plug here, that's Lewie's game, available as a free download here, you should try it!), I watched an amazing mod of Proteus - Proteus Frog God Mod, where you travel around Proteus as a frog by bouncing on a trampoline; went to various talks - I had a really good time there.

I've spent today painting, and have got most of the blue painted now - I say most, as I've bound to have missed some of it. I also discovered I'd missed a knee off, so I'll fix than when I finish the faces off.

Here's where I'm up to:

It's taking longer than I expected because of all the detail, but I'm hoping to have it finished soon!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

At last! More Guitaroo Man Lives painted

The down-side of having ME is I get tired easily (no, really?).  Stuff you might take for granted causes me problems that I've talked a little about before. Since coming home from PAX I've been unwell. 

The effort going to a Con takes it out of me generally, never mind going to one that involves 17 hours of flying! Add into the mix working 3 days a week with a 40 mile round trip, travelling down to London for Eurogamer equals one very tired woman. 

That means I don't paint; I go to work, come home and rest.


I've had enough of all of that and have finally picked up my paintbrush and painted for a few hours today, and it feels good. Yes, I'm still tired, but I'VE PAINTED!!!!

Here it is:

I've painted lots of the grey tones in this picture.

Here, I've painted the green bits and some of the white/off white as well.

I'll probably do some more tomorrow, I'm going to make tea now.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Let's all go to Eurogamer and feel exploited and degraded

I've thought long and hard about writing this: it was reading this post on Eurogamer that made me decide to do so.

I've been to Eurogamer for 4 years now. The first year I went for all 3 days, I enjoyed myself - I met some lovely people, played lots of games and hung around with friends. At times I felt a little exposed/uncomfortable/vulnerable, but that goes with the territory - I'm not your typical gamer. For starters, I'm older than most attendees - old enough to be their mum, I'm also a woman and I'm disabled, noticeably so. I struggle to play lots of games, as the controllers can be too hard for me to use. Most of the time though, that's OK, I just get on with it, but occasionally I feel it, largely dependent on the environment I'm in and who I'm with. 

The second year I went, I did pretty much the same stuff - and interviewed a few devs with Lewie and Willeth - David Cage, Chet Faliszek, Terry Cavanagh and the Hello Games guys. I hung out with some very lovely people, played Rock Band in the basement and generally had a fun time. I also met some amazing blokes from Special Effects who were developing controllers for disabled people to use so we could play more games. They were impressive.

The fly in the ointment was Nvidia. Their booth consisted of two blokes in their late 20s/early 30s, clearly the PR blokes, plus two lycra clad, scantily dressed booth babes, both young, pretty, slim women with lots of flesh on view. They were promoting the Nvidia 3D graphics card. I've already commented publicly on the conversation we had with the blokes, and the follow-up conversation we had with Eurogamer. By Saturday morning, the booth babes had covered up: well done Eurogamer.

Last year, I could only go on the Sunday; Lewie had planned a route for me to minimise walking and maximise fun, and I really enjoyed myself.

At this point, I feel I should point out that I go to other gaming events - most recently PAX Prime. I'm a seasoned Con attendee. I know a cosplayer when I see one, in fact almost wore a Dalek dress to PAX, but ran out of time making it.

This year, again I could only attend on Sunday, but I was really looking forward to going, its fun playing games, talking to devs, meeting up with friends.

Almost the first thing I saw was the Virgin booth. I was appalled to see their booth babes.  Who at Eurogamer could not see that young women almost wearing hot pants with QR codes on their bums was offensive, demeaning and degrading to women? This was Sunday - Eurogamer had had Friday and Saturday to deal with this but had failed to. Then I went over to Hello Games for a chat and a play of Joe Danger 2: The Movie and then headed over to the indie section, and walked past another 3 young women dressed like the Virgin booth babes, but with slightly more fabric in their hot pants. Again, this was Sunday; had all the Eurogamer staff gone round the expo with their eyes shut? 

Rupert: you say you don't want booth babes at Eurogamer I have no evidence of this at all. You had the opportunity on day 1 of Eurogamer to say "This is wrong, take your promotional staff away until they are dressed appropriately". You failed to do so. You took action over the Nvidia booth babes, I absolutely do not understand why you failed to last weekend. Your lack of action actually condones the use of booth babes, and tells me that Eurogamer is a place where you're only welcome if you have a functioning penis that gets excited looking at semi naked women. Did you not notice the numbers of women attendees? How do you think we felt? How would your mum have felt if she had come to your show? 

You only have to read a few excellent blogs like Julie Horup's or look at a few websites to see the consequences of booth babes at conventions - E3 is particularly awful, and there have been many recent posts from women about how men feel they own us, can behave inappropriately towards us simply because we are women. Read here, or here or look for yourself. Or read John Walker's article on Tropes vs Women. Even the Guardian gets it.

The only redeeming thing I feel towards Eurogamer right now is that you've printed Rab's comment.

I don't know if I'll be back.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Managing post-PAX blues

Well, I've spent 2 weeks in Seattle, 3 days of those 2 weeks at PAX, 3 more of them at pre- or post-PAX events, and am now back home. I miss PAX.

What did I do?

My pre-PAX events included the Magical Mystery Tour of Seattle, featuring a Duck Boat ride, the EMP museum, an underground tour of Seattle and the Science Fiction Museum, as well as a Whisky tasting evening organised by my husband and the Pre PAX Dinner. My Post-PAX day was on the SchlitzKrieg - a tour of 12 microbreweries in 14 hours. I also went to the Girl's Brunch on the Sunday morning.

At PAX I played video games to my hearts content; went to the Keynote; asked Jerry and Mike to come to England; and played some table top. I had fun with Johann Sebastian Joust, Sonic and Journey. 

I also played Cards Against Humanity. I was quite good at it. No-one expected that!

I hung around with friends, played the Assassin's Ball - managed to kill one person, and survived this time! I gave away my Assassin's swag to a friend, as he likes Assassin's Creed.

We travelled all around the Seattle area, went to Boeing's Museum of Flight, almost to Canada, and on the ferries to the islands.

I got very little painting done, as I was too busy having a good time, but I did manage another Assassin's Creed character. When I find it, I'll post an image of it.

I had completely forgotten just how bad jet lag is - 8 hour time zone difference - and have been a bit ill since I returned home. 

I'm also missing hanging around with my friends, not having to explain to anyone that "Yes, I'm a gamer. Yes, I play games. No, not Angry Birds on my phone, proper games. Yes, I know I'm a woman. Yes, I'm old enough to be your mum. Yes, I'm disabled.". It's such good fun just being able to get on with it and play. It doesn't matter that I'm slow, that I can't manage all the buttons on the controller - shoulder buttons were made for people with normal sized fingers on both hands, not 1" long on one hand - I just get to play and have a brilliant time; to talk about levels in Limbo that I got stuck on, how amazing Shatter is, the stunning artwork of Journey ...

I'm almost better now, which is a good thing, as I'm off to Eurogamer in London next week. I'll be able to get a good dose of game playing - I'm travelling down on Thursday, but will only be at Eurogamer on Sunday. LewieP will plot a route for me to encompass all the games he knows I'd enjoy playing, fitting in chatting to the very lovely Devs I know who will be there, and showing me some games that I might manage to play at home with a bit of ingenuity - I play Wii games by taping the controller or nunchuck to my leg so I don't have to hold it as well as press buttons/move the stick! 

Then, I'll have to deal with post-Eurogamer blues.

If you're going, watch out for a woman with a stick and crutch, that will be me! If you spot me, come and say hello.

I'm going to try to get some more of Guitaroo Man Lives done before I go, I'll update as I do.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Another Ezio painted

I'm in Seattle for PAX and I decided to paint another Ezio, this one for my assassin,  as yet again I'm playing Assassins. I fully expect to die on the first day,  although last time I survived until the badge swap meet up.
I didn't want to risk packing Guitaroo Man Lives in case it got damaged in transit,  so have brought A4 canvas board and paper with me.
Kev went for a run this afternoon,  so I painted. Here it is finished:

Monday, 20 August 2012

Black started on Guitaroo Man Lives

I've been rather busy at the Olympics for 2 1/2 weeks - I came home a week ago and have been absolutely shattered and only just realised i needed to post an update. I've started the black as I've felt I've made little progress on this painting, and wanted to see some. I had started the blue while I was in London, but it was so hot the paint was drying as fast as I could use it, so I decided to paint the black as I could thin that down more than the blue.

I'm off to PAX on Saturday, I'll be taking something with me to paint, but may not have a lot of time to post, as I'm going to be in Seattle for 2 weeks - its a very belated 30th anniversary celebration - we've been married for 31 years on Wednesday!

Anyway, here it is:

Friday, 27 July 2012

Pink all done now!

I've sat in beautiful sunshine wearing my Olympic cap (the only time I ever intend to wear it, me and caps never happen!) to keep the sun out of my eyes. I've finished the pink parts of Guitaroo Man Lives now (apart from a couple of tiny bits). I've painted for about 6 hours now, so it's time to stop and get ready to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

I won't be painting tomorrow as I'll be doing my second shift at Greenwich Park - opening day for Equestrian, and if I have enough energy left I'll be going to the RPS Meet-up in a pub somewhere in London.

Here's where I'm up to:

Update on Guitaroo Man Lives

I'm in London as I'm volunteering at the Olympics, so I've brought this down to try to get some more done on my rest days. London 2012 have factored in rest days so I can cope with the work without making my ME unmanageable whilst still being able to do useful work. If you're in Greenwich Park look out for me!
I've finished the reds and oranges now, and am about to start the pinks. Apologies for the photo quality - its off my phone!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Guitaroo Man Lives update

While I waited for Kev to wake up this morning, I painted some more of Guitaroo Man Lives, this time painting some of the brown and orange shades. I had to stop cos it started to rain :( typical festival weather! I'm getting ready to go to see Athlete now!

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Altair finished

I painted again this morning and finished Altair:

Friday, 29 June 2012

Another Altair and Ezio

I'm at Hop Farm festival this weekend - just couldn't resist going; Athlete, Jose Gonzales, the Stranglers, Bob Dylan and I Am Kloot to name but a few! I've brought Guitaroo Man to paint, and 2 A4 Altair and Ezio to paint in the mornings while I wait for Kev to wake up. I started an Altair this morning:

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Welsh cave

I've just realised I've never posted about this painting. I'm currently not too well - ME flare-up due to doing far too much last week - so I've been just sitting for a few days, which is a bit boring.

I realised I'd missed posting this when I met my friend Rachael last night. She's a wonderful young woman whom I love very much, and is a helicopter pilot in the Navy. She's just come back from a war zone and will be returning there in a couple of months. Whilst she was away, she asked me if I'd paint something for her to remind her of home. her mum sent me some images of places in Wales where she loves, and I chose this image to paint:

Here's the pencil outline:

I decided to try a slightly different technique with this painting, and go for a more impressionistic style rather than my usual detailed style, as I thought the image would lend itself to it:

It proved quite challenging, as I kept wanting to use a teeny tiny brush and paint individual flakes of rock, but I wanted to finish it before she finished her tour of duty!

I finally let myself use the teeny tiny brush, to put in some detail in of the flakes and cracks in the rocks. here's the finished article, and the good news is that Rachael loves it:

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Altair and Ezio finished

I forget that small paintings don't take all that long - these took about 3 hours each from start to finish, less than the time it took me to draw out Guitaroo Man!

Here are the finished paintings - Danny received them yesterday and from the email photo I received, he's very happy with them!

If anyone is interested in ordering one of these, they are £30 each with postage and packing on top of that.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Altair and Ezio for Danny

Its someone called Danny's birthday today, I was asked to paint him something from Assassin's Creed for his birthday by someone who loves him.

We narrowed it down to a couple of screen shots, but when I cropped and enlarged the images, the quality was too poor to paint from. I had a think and decided to paint his two favourite characters instead.

Here are the source images:


I decided to paint them on A4 canvas board, so he could decide how he wanted to frame them.

Here's the pencil outlines:

Well, not quite accurate - I had started painting Altair before I remembered to take a photo!

I remembered with Ezio though!

I'll post some more pictures of them tomorrow, after I've painted some more of Guitaroo Man.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Key rings and zip pulls

I'm going to PAX PRIME this year, and as always, I'm part of the Buttoneering people amongst other things. I decided to make some key rings and zip pulls as well as the badges of my avatar, just for a change. 

I made them using shrinkles and permanent inks, then the connecting of the bits together made me really appreciate the skills of my friend Liger who makes chain maille available here

My hands are sore, but here's the results:

I might make some TARDIS ones as well, not decided if my fingers can cope!