Sunday, 26 July 2015

I am the drummer in a rock 'n' roll band

I'm a huge fan of Roger Taylor. He's the drummer from Queen and he also released some really fab solo work which I love just as much as Queen. Anyhoo, today Roger is 66! So in honour of that, I spent my spare time last week drawing this portrait of him.

It's the first real portrait I've done since I broke my arm, I've been kind of scared of trying in case I couldn't because of pain, etc. So I'm especially pleased with it! It's all graphite with a little bit of Posca pen for his pretty blue eyes. I then ran it through Photoshop because I can. I took some progress shots because I love seeing them from other artists. You might have to squint a bit for some of them though, graphite is a beast to try and capture under the lens due to it's reflective nature.

Happy birthday Roger!

One of my favourite versions of his songs ♥ Please don't watch the Man on Fire music video though. As much as I love Roger, his videos are kind of embarrassing.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Get that sunny feeling and you're on your way

I thought I'd post about traveling solo, something I do a lot which often surprises just about every single person who's ever met me. I'm a meek, anxiety ridden individual, and honestly it's those reasons why I love traveling alone. I don't have to constantly worry about who I'm with, if they're having fun, what they'd rather be doing, and exhausting myself from too much interaction. If you travel to somewhere they don't speak your language, you don't have to talk to anyone at all and can be even more anti social, bonus!

In all seriousness though: I've traveled to several places around the UK, including staying in the South West for a few days and spending long weekends in London (which always includes visiting the theatre alone). I've visited Tokyo and California solo. I prefer visiting Disneyland Paris by myself and have done so 4 times, usually for a week at a stretch. It's bliss.

It should be obvious that for this type of thing, you have to enjoy your own company. I love people, but I'm a natural introvert so I'm very happy to while away weeks by myself without feeling slightly bored. Honestly, I don't even know the meaning of bored as I always have little projects on the go, and failing that I'm very happy to just sit with my imagination.

Traveling by myself is the biggest adventure. For some reason, my anxieties mostly melt away when I travel and I stop caring about all of the silly little social cues that drive me mad. If I look weird, hey I'm foreign! It's like a free pass to be as eccentric as you want. Think of all the times you've seen a tourist and shook your head to yourself because they clearly haven't got a clue. Well you can be that tourist! And it's so exhilarating!

The only persons schedule you have to adhere to is your own, and mine was so fleeting I almost plain forgot to visit Tokyo Disney! I ended up spending 3 days wandering about Harajuku because I was free to do everything at my own pace and only decide what I wanted to do on a whim as I woke up that morning. When I go to Disneyland Paris I can ride my beloved Phantom Manor several times a day without giving a single worry about boring the pants off of anyone else. I'll often sit and sketch because I'm not in the same mad rush everyone else is, I'm free to just sit and take it all in.

Traveling as a lone woman, I've honestly never felt unsafe. And I accidentally wandered into some real sketchy areas of LA I can tell you! Just keep your wits about you the same as you do at home and you'll be fine, you're in no greater danger than anyone else anywhere else.

I'm not going to lie, there are some drawbacks to traveling alone. The only person you have to reminisce with is yourself, and you'll quickly sense those around you becoming bored as you try and involve them in a memory that isn't theirs. Also, eating can be awkward. I don't have a problem with sitting in a restaurant alone (take something to read!), but it's simply a case of being too scared to try and fumble my way through a menu in a language I don't understand, so I miss out on a lot of culinary treats. Food isn't an interest area of mine though so I'm often not bothered (plus I'm picky about food which adds its own difficulties), but if you have similar anxieties it might be something to bare in mind. Personally, I usually have a nice lunch at a cafe where I can point at what I want and then just snack throughout the evening which works for me just fine (and saves pennies!)

I really do recommend traveling alone to anyone, it isn't even half as scary as you think and your experiences will be so worth it. I wouldn't of had the opportunity to travel to the places I have if I hadn't taken that plunge, and they've turned into the best experiences of my life.

I adore Disney's Duffy bear. His back story is that Minnie made him to keep Mickey company on his travels around the world by himself, so I can relate on an emotional level!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

I get by with a little help from my friends

I don't know what's happening but 2015 really seems to be shaping up to be the year of poor health for me! I'm just starting to recover from a bout of salmonella which left me completely incapacitated this past week, I've been struggling a lot with my mental health this year, and earlier in April I was in a serious car accident and had to have surgery to put me back together again - and am still recovering from this as I'm sure you can imagine.

I've been reminded of the absolute kindness of people throughout all of this though, the kindest gesture being from Jessica at Chronically Vintage. When she learnt of the car accident she sent me a heartfelt email wishing me well, and went further to put together a sweet little package of gifts which she sent to me all the way from Canada (and I'm aware of how insane Canadian shipping prices are!) It was really overwhelming receiving it, so much thought had clearly been put in as each item had been carefully selected and individually wrapped. And she knows me so well!

She sent me two scarves, several pieces of jewellery, a gold vintage clutch bag, vintage blue tights, vintage rick-rack (I sew and rick rack is my favourite trim), a notepad with a Paris theme (I'm kind of obsessed with France), with a lovely little card. I felt spoilt rotten. I've never had vintage tights before and admit I feel a bit sentimental about taking them out of the packet they've happily lived in for the last 40 or so years (but they're such a perfect colour I most certainly will!) I also feel it's high time I learnt how to wear a scarf beyond tying it around my neck, I now own 5 lovely scarves which deserve to be shown off much more than they are.

Thank you so much again Jessica! x

Friday, 10 July 2015

I am old but still a child

The 8th just past marked my birthday, it feels very surreal to be in in my late 20s. I guess I feel like someone of this age is supposed to be a certain way, a way in which I'm certainly not - whatever way that is. I had quite a lovely day, catching the train into the city with my mum for a shopping trip and lunch at Frankie & Benny's.

I took the opportunity to just wear a bunch of my current favourite things. The dress I made myself from a 1967 pattern using West African Java fabric I picked up from the thrift shop. I had hoped to line the print up properly and have the circles meeting perfectly either side of the centre pleat, but unfortunately I didn't have enough fabric to be so finicky. I think it still looks OK though! The sandals are my current summer staple, the bangle I picked up on my trip to Cornwall earlier in the year (I do love when items remind of special times such as holidays), the necklace is a 1964 original and my bag was a recent purchase from Jump From Paper. I've wanted one of these bags for a long time, they're so fun and I love the pop art feel it gives. I decorated my nails in a cartoon pattern to match.

I was lucky enough to receive all of the above, as well as an external hard drive and a fancy coffee machine - now I can have proper Costa coffee in the comfort of my own home, what bliss! I also bought myself some sunflowers because they never fail to bring a smile to my face (and they remind me of one of my favourite artists, Vincent van Gogh)

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

They say it's your birthday...

They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you

I really love Ringo Starr, and today he is 75! Wow! I had wanted to take the time to draw something specifically for today to mark the occasion, but unfortunately I've been a bit too busy and it kind of sneaked up on me this year so here's the most recent portrait I drew of him based on a photo from when he was recording Fool on the Hill in 1967.

Peace and love.

Friday, 3 July 2015

I know a little town

I had a lazy sort of day today, where I finished my work shift at 2pm and found myself with no plans. So on a whim I decided to pay a visit my favourite town which lies half an hour away. It's a quaint little country town renowned for it's antiques with barely a high street name to be seen. Bliss! I always enjoy taking a few hours to have a good dig through the huge selection of vintage and antiques on offer. Most of the stores are about 50% junk, 25% over priced, and 25% pure treasure with many things stacked up high above my head, I always have the time of my life sorting through it all. There are also a few dealers that specialise in '60s and '70s clothing and home wares, as well as a few record vendors and it's in these areas that I can mostly be found.

I managed to find a few things of interest. A vintage clothing dealer had everything marked at a 50% discount and I managed to find this lovely dress. It was marked as being from the 1940s and I'm certainly no expert on '40s fashion but from the construction I judge this is more likely to be an '80s-does-'40s dress but I could be wrong. I don't care either way, it won me over with it's scalloped hems and dusky blue colour. It nips in at the waist before flaring out again to fall just below the knee. Call me crazy, but it gave me Alice in Wonderland vibes and I'm such a fan of Alice that that reason alone meant I had to snap it up!

I also found a couple of records, I almost always lucky on this front each time I visit.
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