Diorama Project Update; I finished it ages ago, I just didn’t tell you

Hi all 🙂

So, this project, you may or may not know, is done! I finished it a couple of months ago, because I needed to get it done before I started my new job at Rare, where I am currently based. I’ve been at Rare for about 6 weeks now, and I’m having an awesome time! However, I am currently living out of hotels and until my living situation stabilises I’m struggling to find myself in a mindset where I can work on more personal work, or the often promised Youtube videos and Gumroad project release.

After work I usually get home, and after awkwardly talking about my day with my AirBnB hosts (I’m currently on AirBnB number 3, so that’s discussing the ins-and-outs of my life with random strangers 3 seperate times), cooking dinner (normally a ready meal because I’m too awkward to cook in other people’s kitchens), and getting some much needed bird-love time (I have a bird)- let’s just say personal work isn’t happening. It’s been really a very stressful few weeks, with house hunting, having a house agreement fall through, dealing with lots of new people, new job, a trip to Malta and THU thrown in there too, being ill, and to top it off my mum is moving house too so I’ve got to change all my registered addresses. Tears have been shed, my friends. Many tears.

But! I think I’m getting there. I have a house in the works and should be there in a couple weeks (assuming all works out there, I’m not holding my breath just yet), and I’m starting to feel more than the need to just veg out when I get home. I want to get this Gumroad project cleaned up and available for you guys, and I want to start recording again! AND, I want to start making stuff again. Not just 3D art, or digi paints, but oil painting, crochet, sewing, dying fabric, urbex photography. The stuff that’s all good for the soul! I’m feeling super satisfied with my work life at the moment, which just fuels my desire to be creative more.

Anyway. The project. It’s done!

Unnervingly silent Youtube turnaround (to be replaced); https://youtu.be/2TmoXbbgB74

I’m glad to get it finished. I wouldn’t say I’m, like, overwhelmingly happy with it, but such is life. I’m pleased I finished it, and that I have a new piece in my portfolio so I don’t have to worry about doing anything ‘big’ for another couple of years. I want to start doing more experimental stuff again, and painting. I have an idea for my next 3D personal project, but I plan on it being much more expressive and fun, about colour and materials and storytelling. 🙂 Let’s take a look at some shots from this project and have a little talk about them, though if you follow me already you probably have seen them. It’s worth mentioning that I do intend on doing a video talking about this piece, kinda similar to this video I did, in addition to videos about the water shader, etc. Let me know if you want me to cover anything in particular. I will do them… eventually.

The biggest thing I learned from my last larger 3D project was that I can get things a bit too noisy in my need to include lots of fun foliage stuff, so I decided to dial back the amount of detail I paint into my textures and keep them quite simple. Almost flat colours. Combined with sculpting, it meant I could let the normal map do the talking in a lot of instances where I needed some detail. Honestly stuff still got a little noisy, but it was fun. I like to think it was a somewhat.. controlled… noisy? Maybe? Whatever.

The addition of gold elements was purely because I’m a filthy hipster who likes gold and copper elements in interior design. I love the contrast in particular of black and white with gold or copper, so I’d like to play with that more in future projects. In context of this project, the gold adds a little bit of material variation with out me having to go all out adding various roughnesses to different elements  in the scene. It also subtly changes colour as it reflects and you move about the scene, which just adds a little something, and it breaks up the red on the building too.

I’m probably most happy with the feel of the water. The combinations of the water shader, the colours, the floating leaves and flowers, fish moving under the surface and the caustics too… It just makes me want to go on holiday and go swimming immediately. That’s the feel I want to instil in all my work- I want it to be a place I want to chill out with a book in.

The patterned stonework and chequered floor are mostly things I like to do for fun, but also I think they work nicely with the flat green of the surrounding foliage- if the stone were all completely white (like the building), the scene would quickly become flat and boring as all the surfaces would have a similar flat surface property. The patterning adds contrast, so there are busy areas, and then softer areas to rest at.

I added in some little plant pots right at the end of the project, as I felt like the scene was lacking some sort of props, but as I don’t consider myself a prop artist I didn’t want to spend forever working on lots of tiny things for the scene that may serve to clutter it. I had in my head an idea of having a book, and some shoes and maybe a blanket where someone had been reading. But maybe that would have taken from the fantasy element of the scene? Or maybe it would have added to the believability, and people could have imagined themself there, sitting on that blanket with their shoes kicked off and a book in hand. I don’t know. In any case, I couldn’t be bothered to make such finicky props and opted instead for plain pots that would sit inoffensively in the scene. I’m a sucker for terracotta pots. Also lazy.

The back of the scene started out as something of an afterthought (as usual) and I re-did it quite a few times to get the depth of the water to feel right, then to add in a similar chequer-tiled element as in the front to tie it together some… it also meant I didn’t have to paint all of the underwater ground round the back, but let’s pretend it was for the artistry (lazy). I even played with removing the fountain entirely because I thought it made the back too noisy- I like having clear archways in my projects- but I opted to keep it in the end. The addition of the waterfalls coming off the scene was also a late one. The plan was to not have falling water except from the fountain at first, as I always seem to default to waterfalls, but I like the look too much. I made a falling water shader and the back felt like much less of a static, boring forgotten area of the scene. Also, learned tonnes more about water shaders!

Colour-wise, I can’t decide whether I’m happy or not with this scene… It’s successful in that I very naturally found myself matching the colours of the concept I produced months ago, and I do like the colours… I think because I like playing with colour schemes a lot, I quickly fall out of love with the colour palette I choose and want to try new ones. That’s the big reason I want to focus more on fun with colour in my next personal project. I’ll cover a bit more about my colour choices in the future. Overall, I think the colours are about right and sit well together in the overall composition. I actually quite heavily plan my scene compositions around colour, so they play together nicely.

Anyway, thanks for reading! There’s really too much for me to say in a typed post unless I’m there typing for days, which isn’t really my style. In a video, I can go into way more detail and I express myself far better when the words can flow unfettered from my mouth (but I can still self-censor when I say really really stupid shit). I’ll update here when I have any new content to share, which should hopefully be soon 🙂 Take care of yourselves, go make fun art that makes you happy!


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Lil’ Project Update

Hello, time for an update 🙂

I’ve been having more time recently to work on this, so I’m really hoping to get it done this month. I’ve been on it on and off since March and I’m very ready for a new project, or to focus on some smaller projects and painting.

The main things I’ve done recently are to re-do the palm trees, finalise the texture under the water, and start adding small things like rubble falling down and more ivy. Just lots of little tweaks really. I’m trying to make a start on texturing the building properly too, but it’s hard to motivate myself on such a large object!

The other big thing is the water, specifically around the back of the diorama where I wasn’t really liking how it looked… it felt a bit empty and boring. So since last time I’ve added some more rocks into the water to balance it some, and then I’ve added some tiles like around the front of the scene. It just adds a bit of consistency and interest. The waterfalls are made using a modified version of the shader I was initially using for the waterfall at the front of the diorama. I’ve made it so that it has more ‘foam’ which is generated based on the normal map of the water, and the proximity of the water to other meshes. It’s not perfect but if I compare it to water on other projects I’ve done, I’ve definitely improved!

There are some ambient particles floating around now too- one set is just slow moving small orbs with lights on to give a magical feel. The other is more like a falling leaf, but currently it just has an orb texture like the floating lights. I kind of like how understated it is, so I may just make some small modifications to that for the final thing.

The big things that really need doing now are the building texture and fountain. I’d also like to work on the shader that moves the foliage to look more natural- it currently uses SimpleGrassWind which has a weird back-and-forth rotation thing going on. Then it’ll just be polish (mostly to textures) other optional bits to add to the scene… vines, maybe some moving fish… props if I want, though I tend to leave those out. I will see.

Feels good to look at my list of stuff to do and feel like the end is somewhat in sight. Sometimes projects feel like that will go on forever. The solution I suppose is to make smaller personal projects… but that presents its own problems- I find it easier to abandon projects if they’re small, and then I’d never get anything done!

Anyway, just got to keep at it! Cheers for reading 🙂

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Another one real quick so I’m up to date with Artstation! You lucky people!

Hi there, just thought I would share some updates on my diorama. Sculpted a lot of bits, started working into the textures, and most importantly playing about with colour. I still have a lot to do such as the palm trees, more foliage, finish the building, fountain, ground… But I’m liking where the project is going! I was stuck for a while but I think I’m out of that rut.

At the moment I’m having a small crisis about what to do about the background colour and fog. If I add fog the background will be lighter, and I tend to prefer black backgrounds. But I really like the fog. So I may have so see if I can hack it or make a shader.

Almost decided on the building colours, then I can finalise the textures. I’m not super happy with the tile colours yet.

Steps area is not finished texture-wise yet, but it’s getting there.

Back area needs a lot of work still. I want to add greenery and vines to the underside, and some on the front underside too. Water looks weird from a distance too, which is annoying.

Generally lots of little things to do. I really don’t like how the water behaves at a distance but I’m not sure what I can do about that. I think the underside arches will look nice with some subtle greenery- there was ivy there for a while but it was a bit distracting.

Crappy gif to finish;

I still plan to make a water breakdown video too, but I’m too busy right now.

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Hello WordPress, it’s been a few years :)

Hi guys!

I used to be very good and disciplined at keeping a blog, but it’s been a couple of years and often I find that I don’t have the time to write one anymore. I thought I would try and share updates on my current personal project where I can. I mostly post on Artstation now, and have been trying to revive my blogging habits (throwback to 2017 when I already tried this and got one whole post in) as well as hopefully diving back into Youtubing and more in the coming few months.

So, while I am primarily going to post on Artstation as that’s where the art shit goes down, I will copy-paste and maybe modify a little the same post here to my old WordPress too 🙂 I will also share links to any future youtube videos etc. here. I hope you’ll be glad to see me back! I know a lot of students use my blog as a resource so shout out to you lot and sorry for all my weird university-day ranting way back in 2013-16.

So, I suppose I’d better get this blog up to date!

This project began when I was asked in February to teach a 10 week class for Game Art Institute, so I decided this was going to be a good chance to create a new diorama scene in UE4. In my first class I demo’d how I create blockouts for concepting, experimenting with lighting/composition/design etc.

I did an initial blockout, overpainted that, and then revisited the blockout until I had something I was happier with.

At this point I create a sketch over the blockout to get a feel for the scale of objects and designs I might use for decoration.

I created a back view too… that’s the nice thing about working with a 3D blockout- you can experiment with all sorts of angles… and lighting, colour, and quick compositions too.

Working with a 3D blockout is great for so many other reasons too. Working with a blockout means I wont run into any weird issues down the line where the 2D scene doesn’t translate into 3D. I also can use the blockout to build my 3D scene around, meaning I already have a frame work to work with, and that saves me a ton of time.

I’m also toying with the idea of cranking up the saturation on my concept, but I’ll see what happens. I quite like how it looks, but I like the desaturated version too. Colour stuff tends to happen a bit more naturally over the course of working inside UE4. I’ll show what I mean below.

So once I’ve got a colour palette, lighting scenario, and design in mind, I take my initial concept blockout and start a more solid blockout with colours. They’re just quick messy meshes with an unwrap and a painted texture. Now I can see what the colours do in a 3D space.

I’m currently at the stage where I’m making the more finalised sculpts and applying quick blockout materials, and I’ve been working on the water shader. I’m going to make a separate post about that another day and I’ll show what I’ve been sculpting and so on. But in the meantime here’s a gif 🙂 I may also make a quick Youtube video talking through my water shader, though I may yet tweak it. It’s been a while since I made a Youtube video, should get back on that!

So much to do! It feels good to have a project again. If I leave it too long between big UE4 projects (sketching, painting, sewing, etcetc instead) I feel like I’m not an environment artist any more!

Hope you found this post interesting, I look forward to sharing more- hopefully a bit more in depth as I catch these posts up to where I am on the project.

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Time for a new project!

It’s been over 4 months since my last blog LOL I have absolutely no excuse.

This blog is very much a thing for me, as it doesn’t really have any followers. So if I don’t feel like writing stuff for it, or have nothing to write about, there’s not really any point for me. Especially because I’m so busy all the time. I don’t want to force myself to do it for continuity’s sake, I have way too much stuff to do!


I have a reason now!

I’ve begun work on a new personal 3D project, the kind of thing I can blog semi-regularly about with updates for, unlike the comparatively quick paintings I usually do.

Speaking of, I’ve done a fair bit of painting lately, so here’s a small selection, and you can see the rest here on my Facebook since that’s the main place I post my art shenanigans;

But about that 3D project.

It’s taken me roughly 10 months of trying to start projects and promptly abandoning them to come to this point. In fact, it was a year 5 days ago since I handed in my university Final Major Project. Which is just weird, and a little bit alarming really. However, I haven’t just monged around doing nothing since I started working at Creative Assembly. The project idea didn’t come to me in an instant and easy moment of realisation. It’s been a very frustrating process.


Proof… cute_workspace up there in the left corner is attempt #5! (and has a temporary name please believe me)

I’m here now and feeling good about where my new project is going, which is great, so without further ado, here is the concept for it;

3- concepting

I worked the concept over a very basic blockout lit in UE4, and I quite enjoyed creating a concept for something rather than just creating random paintings like I have been. I struggle to paint in details at the moment, but I’m happy with the overall feel of the concept and it works for what I need it for.

The idea for this project came about when I started thinking about stupid over the top ideas for adorable painting workspaces I’d like, such as on the top of a mountain under a giant parasol or in a huge Studio Ghibli style field of waving grass under a blue sky. I decided I wanted to make something small and manageable in the form of a (you guessed it) diorama, and I found myself really excited about the potential of this idea as something personal to me which I could make into a portfolio piece for fun.

In my Pinterest inspiration-hunting travels I came across the Palladian Bridge in Prior Park, Bath, and I really liked the design of it. I also like things surrounded by water so it seemed like a good place to start.


I had to shrink it down and down until it made a small diorama, however, so I lost a lot of the awesome forms of the bridge. But I still like where it’s going.

I’m going to be fully hand-painting the scene without Zbrush to stress me out, as I really want to focus on my handpainting skills and just have as much fun with it as possible… sometimes the technicalities of Zbrush, 3D Coat and so on can get a bit frustrating.

Unlike past projects I’ve done, I’ve put quite a lot more consideration into the early planning, such as what plants exactly will be in the scene. I’m glad I did this, as it gives me less to worry about later and I can get it all really cohesive now.

5- close up plans

I’ve also done my usual thing of making an exhaustive list of assets I plan on having in the scene, but I’m keeping this open to change in the future as I go. It’s mostly just to help get my feet off the ground.

Where this project will go I’m not 100% sure… there are a lot of things to consider, such as how I’ll tackle that big rhododendron tree in the background or how everything will actually look once it’s all put together. But that’s a lot of the fun of it for me, and I’m excited to see how it will turn out.

Mostly I’m just happy to be back on my game and doing a more long-term portfolio piece again. I was a bit worried I’d never feel like doing personal 3D work ever again!

Until next time 🙂

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Christmas Sketching (from Life)

Christmas is gone. I am sad. I don’t know how it happened. 😦

Back to life and reality and eugh.

Over the course of my Christmas I made every effort to power through my new sketchbook, since it took me almost 2 years to finish my previous one. I’m about a third of the way through it now, and considering I bought it in November I’m pretty happy with that. The sketches, doodles, and drawings I have produced in that time are a mixed bag of failures and successes. Though I’ve shared many of them on my social media profiles such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, I thought I’d show them here and talk through my process (or lack thereof) and what I’ve learned.


Firstly for this post, major comfortzone-ing; I’ll talk about working from life. Since I have zero confidence in my ability to work imaginatively, I will almost always opt to draw what’s infront of me over that cool idea floating in my head. In fact, I’ll often sit there for up to an hour at a time trying to find a cool item or place to draw, only to decide that today is not a good day for art and eating copious amounts of biscuits is a much better idea.


Bad drawings

I’ll usually find that my ability to draw what is infront of me comes and goes with seemingly little to no pattern. Sometimes I try to be fluid and relaxed, and what I draw is just an awful over-flamboyant mess with no form or decency of line or accuracy. Other times I just tense up and what I draw is at the other end of the spectrum; I overthink every line and the drawing just begins to look like something I would have drawn years ago. The lines become feathery, I overthink line weight, and again I lose sight of what I’m trying to draw- perspective becomes totally off and the drawing just doesn’t feel right (see above).


I was happy with this one, but felt really tense before starting it

Less often, but I feel it’s becoming more common as I improve, I get it just right. I’m not sure what the secret formula is. Sometimes I feel really excited to draw and I’m like YEAH LET’S DRAW, and it all goes to shit. Or it all goes right. Sometimes I’m really tense and nervous about creating another failure, and again it can go either way. Most likely I’ll start off a drawing pretty well, get a little over-zealous, and then go in with a bit too much line-weight or get a bit carried away with shading and ruin it. Such is life.


Before and after I got carried away. I liked how it was, but felt I could take it further with caution. I took a photo beforehand because I was worried about ruining it…


A mixed bag

This selection of bird drawings, all done in one sitting, is a good example of both failed and successful sketches. The top left sketch was done without expectation and went really well, and then the following ones were a real mix. At the bottom of the image you can see where I’ve cut off even more pretty awful sketches. In all the drawings I would consider ‘failed’, I can see that my lines become soft, unconfident, and scribbly. The image doesn’t look like the subject matter and they are abandoned. Perhaps the subject (in this case) moves, or I just can’t enjoy the drawing when I know it’s all gone wrong already.

Here’s a few more sketches from life. I wouldn’t say I’m happy with them, but they’re ok.


I did this one in the grounds outside my flat. I’d just abandoned another piece which I had wanted to be a longer piece and I was cold and annoyed, but it was good to finish on a positive note before I went indoors. I did a lot of simplifying what was in front of me; there were many more trees in the background and leaves on the grass. I feel like I’m beginning to get the hang of simplifying what I see for the sake of creating a nicer piece of art. I used to draw word-for-word what I saw, but unfortunately real life is never perfectly composed and you have to learn how to modify it, within reason.


Some flowers in a vase were the least-intensive option for me when I was feeling a bit meh about sketching. For this one, I found that taking the time to shade in a darker background made a crap drawing look less crap even though I altered nothing else. The dark shading makes the flowers pop more and appear more three dimensional. Doesn’t change the fact that drawing cylindrical objects is ridiculously difficult though. Part of the reason I found this sketch so difficult was that there was no particularly directional lighting falling on the subject. This makes it very hard to give the sketch dimensionality; the subject as a still image lacks it in the first place, particularly a complex and colourful subject like flowers. It’s hard to not just make your ‘shading’ match the value of the hues you see (in this case I think it was bright yellow and dark red), rather than the lighting.


I decided to draw my whole view of the room I was in here, since I’ve not done that in a while. I didn’t really dedicate myself to trying to get the perspective correct or anything, hence why it’s a little wonky. That curved radiator at the back was a pain. Mostly when I’m drawing full rooms like this, especially when items of furniture are places at different angles, I realise just how different angles will appear from first glance. Trying to translate the angles of the walls and furniture from around you in 3D space to a small 2D rectangle is much harder than it would seem. It’s one of the few instances in which I’ll use my pen held up in front of me as a horizontal line of comparison. I move the pen around myself in an arc (with myself as the centre of the circle), and make an effort not to move my head far from looking straight ahead at the centre of my image to avoid messing up the perspective. That’s my method anyway, but I’m sure there are loads of better ways of doing it.


My mum’s dog Charlie is a gangly lurcher who gets himself into the weirdest and most awesome positions to draw. He never seems to be comfy though, so he moves a lot and I have to draw him fast. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ll usually start with the feet/legs or back line first and work out from there. Foreshortening is usually the hardest thing to deal with when drawing him but it’s a fun challenge.

That covers all of my life drawing for the Christmas period. I forced myself to do a few imaginative sketches recently, and I was going to bring those up in this post too but this got way longer than I thought. I’ll write up a separate post for those and share soon. I’ll also see about trying to make a sort-of reflection on the year, and my art over that time. 🙂


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Trying to keep up

I last wrote a blog at the end of September (when I said I would write another blog soon lol), and now here I am in mid November. Finally, I’m feeling that my life is a bit more settled and I can start doing stuff outside of work rather than just sleeping. I’ve booked myself on a crocheting course for beginners where I can make adorable things, and I’m trying to hype myself up to book horse riding lessons again so I actually get some exercise. I do life drawing after work on Wednesdays and am beginning to find the time, energy, and will to do personal work too (mostly 2D but some 3D).


I wouldn’t say my work-life balance is perfect, but I’m feeling like I’m beginning to sort myself out a bit. Maybe it’s just because I’m so tired when I come home that I am forced to relax and physically cannot stress over stupid stuff. Not to mention that every weekend since I’ve moved down south has been busy with one thing or another such as family visits or visits around the area. It’s nice to feel busy and like I’m living my life.


Considering my how busy and/or sleepy I’ve felt outside work, I’ve been quite happy with how much art I’ve had time to do, and I feel that I’ve been making a bit of progress. I probably have too much to share here at once, and I’ve not been super active on social media, but you can see some updates Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’ll endeavour to post more in the future; one of my goals is to not get too behind on my social media presence/blogging so I can keep trying to build up a following online (‘what following?’ I hear you say. Yeah. I’m trying).

So my plan for the immediate future is mostly to keep doing what I’m doing on the work-life balance side of things. It means I don’t get as much work done as I have in the past, but I’m mostly content. I would, however, like to get a bit more drawing/painting on location done- something which is difficult with the onset of winter- and some more 3D work. I’m very conscious of potentially falling behind with the most up-to-date technologies which you by default learn about at uni but can easily lose sight of in industry. I’ve just started a personal hand-painted asset project but my next 3D project I’d like to be a more UE4 based environment/diorama project like I’ve done before. It looks like there have been some exciting updates to UE4 since I last used it in May.

I find blogging is nice for recording my intentions, thoughts and feelings, so though I don’t have the time to blog like I used to, I’ll try to make semi-regular posts where I can. Right now I can’t think of what my next post would be, but perhaps I’ll start making more topical posts than just ‘this is what my life is like right now’. I’d like to create more informative and interesting posts.

In the mean time, I’ve just got to try and keep up with what’s important and not let myself get lost in a 9-5 work life.


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Where did all that time go.

In mid July I was like woooo I’m going to start blogging again, I am so organised! Then it was the end of September and I was like WHAT YEAR IS IT and I haven’t written any blogs. But look, I’m here again and about to give it another go.

Honestly I’ve avoided writing blogs because way too much is going on, and then obviously as more and more happens in my life the prospect of writing about it becomes ever more alarming. It does, however, force me to write a much more condensed retelling which I think for your sake is probably much easier to handle. Nevertheless I’ll endeavor to write a little more regularly in the future despite time constraints. In fact, I reckon I’ll break this blog into a couple of bits so I don’t go too crazy-overboard. I’ll revise that idea if I suddenly realise that actually my life was way less action-packed than I originally thought (which is always the case).

So. From the beginning. I have my last blog open so I can see where I left off last time.

I graduated! Look at this sickening photo of my face. Try-hard.



Got my degree and stuff. And then I had a busy busy summer (of absolutely no art, before you get excited). I went to the Maldives. Ah man, it was so pretty.


In true adult-female style, I avoided swimming in the sea mostly, because it made me feel gross and ruined my make-up. However I gave up my poncy bullshit to jump in and go snorkeling here and there which was just insane and dreamlike. When you swim to the ‘drop-off’ point and the seabed just falls away into darkness… it’s incredible.

Then you see a shark appear from the shadowy depths and you remember that to your horror humans have explored more of the moon than the sea bed and nope nope nope I want out. I suffer from a bit of thallassophobia and submechanophobia (probably a made up word from the internet but it’s totally a thing), and even the sight of the anchor point for the buoyancy ring where you could hang out and rest made me uncomfortable. It’s hard to explain. But it here’s a photo. Does this make you uncomfortable? It’s not meant to be there, man.


I still regularly visit the submechanophobia subReddit to look at pictures to scare myself though *shrug*. And I love the idea of shipwrecks and all that jazz. But I think I’d die if I was thrown in the sea with one.

But yeah. Snorkelling. It’s all well and good until one of these chases you;



The teeth are the first thing you notice as it comes up from the seabed to take a chunk out of your leg. You flee in your mammalian, flailing grace, and then spend the rest of your trip on high alert for these guys who just wanna ruin your day.

Snorkelling is fun, I swear.

Aaaanyway I loved it all, up until that bit where you have to get on a tube with wings and fly home. We went via Dubai, and it just so happened that we were in Dubai airport when this happened;



So there I was, chilling out at the gate, and suddenly alllll the planes are cancelled or delayed by like 6 hours. Cue me looking out the window to see A PLANE ON FIRE OUTSIDE. I’m not the happiest flier on the planet. I wasn’t impressed. But I spent the delay time befriending fellow Redditors who were also trapped in Dubai airport. It’s a small world!

We got home. We didn’t die. Mum and I drove to Devon in my new car (yaaaaay) to see my boyfriend Jonah and his family. It was nice. I learned to shoot an air rifle. We ‘camped’ in a fancy yurt. We went for a walk in the nicest wood I’ve ever seen. Lots of inspiration!


This photo is actually a test to see if mum really reads my blog or not. It’ll make her really angry if she knows I posted a picture of her online. It’s funny.

There’s definitely been a lot of inspiration on my travels this summer. Lincoln antiques fair where I went with my dad was packed with amazing oddities to look at… things I wouldn’t even dream of, and Totnes town in Devon just has so much weird and wonderful stuff going on.

I did actually do one drawing in Devon. Jonah’s dad lives in a shepherd’s hut. They’re gorgeous, very cosy. And great to draw!


I wasn’t very happy with the drawing and I had to rush as it got dark, but I felt at least a little bit productive for doing it.

Most recently, I went to Industry Workshops 2016, an art event in London which brings together concept and 3D artists mostly for networking, socialising, and lectures. It’s a relatively local event compared to things like THU and also affordable, so I make an effort to go so I can meet all my favourite artists and make new friends. I didn’t watch a huge number of lectures this year. Mostly I felt inclined to talk to people and also feel sad about being too scared to talk to people. Overall I enjoyed the event and I’ll probably go again next year. I love meeting people and seeing all their art.

IW got me back onto drawing again a little bit, so I started playing about on my iPad Pro here and there. But I think I’ll share that stuff on my next blog post because this one is getting too long and boring. My next post will be much more exciting, I just needed to get all that summer stuff out my system before talking about more recent events.

Cool, bye. Sorry for being boring. Until next time!

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It’s all good.

I haven’t been particularly busy since my last post. In fact I’ve been very, very lazy. I suppose it’s good to be lazy sometimes but it doesn’t stop the guilt plaguing me! I’ve been trying to do at least a little bit of sketching or whatever each day, to varying degrees of success. I’m trying to force myself to post every little piece of crap or gold I produce, so feast your eyes on this mixed bag.


Beverley Bandstand (Abandoned)

I really enjoyed where the linework was going with the above piece. I worked on an A5 piece of thick watercolour paper, and the unyielding nature of the paper meant I got the finest line possible with my pen. However, I got the scale wrong on the page, meaning the decorative roof is falling off the top and I ended up squashing the overall image to try and fit it on the paper. Also, I forgot how to perspective.

This piece came about because I was trying to create some art for an art shop in Beverley which had asked to potentially stock my work (woo hoo!). But when this went wrong I decided to leave it for a bit and try again another time (a time which is yet to come up). I’m even tempted to work at home from photos to save myself the time and stress of always getting things wrong on location.

I’ve lost my confidence a little as a result of too many consecutive failures and I’m not sure whether I’ll get in contact with the shop any time soon because I don’t think I’m consistent enough yet to sell. I think my work is pretty good. But only when it is good! And that’s not often. Consistence is key.

On the bright side, I ended up going for coffee with a complete stranger who approached me as I was working (you can do that in non-murdery places like Beverley), and it was lovely and refreshing to meet a new interesting person with uncannily similar interests to my mother and I. I’m not much of a believer in fate, but this was as close as any experience I’ve had.

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Caffe Nero on location

The following day I retired to the relative safety of a cafe after my blunder in town. I’m finding over time I’m getting more and more nervous of people approaching me to see my work. It’s mainly for 2 reasons; 1) my work is always going wrong and it’s embarassing, and 2) when people ask what I do, I can’t hide behind the title of student anymore! I hate it! When I say I’m an artist, people expect you’re a professional. And then we’re both disappointed with what we see on the page in my hands.

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Sad doodles.

Over the course of the week I’ve been getting more and more unsettled and angry about my art ability. So I went and sat on my own in the garden to be angry and angrily draw a wheelbarrow and plants. You can tell I was angry because I didn’t try very hard and they suck. Angry angry.



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Mum’s 8-year-old lurcher Charlie has the most hilarious and adorable proportions and is really fun to draw. It’s both a blessing and a curse that he shuffles around as much as he does. Sometimes when I catch him still for a few minutes though, I can get a decently rendered sketch. Feel free to laugh at the more failed sketches.



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Flowers in the garden (failure/rain not permitting edition).

It is one of my greatest goals in life to become an accomplished oil painter outside of becoming a respectable artist in the game industry. I have boundless levels of respect and awe for painters. As such, I’ve been reading Alla Prima by Richard Schmid. It’s absolutely brilliant (and I may be slightly regretting loaning it to an artist friend for two weeks haha). It also makes me feel suitably useless at life, especially when I don’t understand what I’m reading (often).

At the very least it’s inspired me to start painting again, but every stroke I paint often leaves me more frustrated than the last. I just can’t articulate the amazing things I want to paint onto paper. That won’t stop me though. I’m hoping when I move down south to my new job to get involved as much as possible in whatever art community is down there, and perhaps look into seeking someone to mentor me in painting when I’m not working. In my dreams, I fantasise about studying at SARA. *sigh* But that will never happen, I can’t afford it. 😦 So I’ll have to find the next best thing. I’ve already started stockpiling plein-air equipment and more oil painting things ready for my weekends to practise.

If anyone has oil painting advice and critique as I share more oil stuff in the future, whoever you may be, then please impart your wisdom!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s edition of Anya’s Moaning. In happier news;

I will be graduating with a first class degree! It appears from my grade sheet online that I got a 95% mark on my Final Major Project, which is insane. I’m still waiting to see if this is an incorrect assumption, but I’ve been reassured it’s not and I see no evidence stating otherwise (it only says ’95’ on my sheet, but not what the 95 is out of).

I also found out today that on top of my first I will be receiving the DMU Media Production Best Final Year Student award! This made me so happy, and made me feel like my hard work and tears and just crazy hard work ethic had been recognised. It really made my day.

I’m feeling guilty for writing this blog at my computer now, so I should probably go draw to make myself feel better. Maybe I have a problem?

Art is hard, and it makes me want to cry and stomp and throttle people like a large toddler.

But it’s all good.


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All my plans have changed!

Oh hey.

I’m back. I’m going to try and continue blogging regularly again, like I used to. I find that it encourages me to create art much more than if I’m just keeping it to myself. Now that I have too much time to handle (at least temporarily), I thought I’d put an update about my life since university to get the ball rolling.

Where have I been?

I’ve been lost in the world of final-year university. It’s been pretty absorbing. I see I haven’t posted here since January, but I haven’t completely forgotten to blog. I’ve been working on my university Final Major Project, and you can get caught up with what I’ve been up to here in a separate blog I created.

Basically, I made this;

So that project pretty much took over my life since January. But it’s done now! My deadline was at the end of May, and since then I’ve been winding down from university work, moving away from Leicester, and just trying to take my life back a little.

I certainly feel like I’ve got the worst of my laze-around-do-nothing urges out of my system. Now I’m back in Beverley, I’m feeling the need to get back into a routine and create art again. Which is why I’m here.

I don’t really know where to start after abandoning this blog for so long.


I have a job?

Yeah. I’ll start there.

I have a job!

I have a position at UK studio The Creative Assembly as a Trainee Campaign Map Artist. I’ll be working on Total War: Warhammer and learning the tricks of the trade as I go. I start September 1st and will be moving all the way down south to Horsham. It’s a long way from home!


So yeah, there goes my plan of ‘taking time off’ out the window…

It’s great though, because there already quite a few DMU alumni working at CA, so it won’t be a completely unknown group of people. Also Horsham seems to be very close by to other big towns for game development. I’m hoping to be able to attend some meet-ups.

Almost unbelievably fortunately, my boyfriend landed a job in the same area, and we’ll be living together down south. We got crazy lucky there. Since he starts a month earlier than me, he’s having to deal with things like flat viewings and stuff while I just sit here. I’ll waltz over when it’s time to start my new job.

So that’s good. I also get my results for university tomorrow… ha… I know it literally affects nothing in my life, since I’ve already got somewhere to go, but I’m still a bit nervous. I’d like to achieve the grade I’ve been aiming for. We shall see. My graduation ceremony is on the 21st, so Jonah and I are combining our birthdays and graduation as an excuse to meet in Leicester and also go to visit London together before we reconvene at our new home in the south.


Drawing in the garden.

Between now and starting at Creative Assembly, I have quite a lot of holiday plans and such to get excited about. I also get a new car on Thursday so I imagine I’ll be driving around to try and get used to driving and not crashing again. But between all that stuff, and hopefully during as well (not the driving bit), I want to get back into creating art. I’ve started out slow with some pen work in my sketchbook, but I intend on getting back into oil painting with some commissions for my mum, digital painting, and eventually 3D work.


Drawing in the garden.

As I start creating art again, I will of course share it all here. 🙂 Pictures are much more exciting than all these words I’m throwing at you.


Drawing my uncle’s car.

Hopefully each new blog post will have some pretty pictures to look at. I’m excited to start producing new art again, even if it’s a bit less than I used to make, what with working around a job and all. I hope my blog proves as interesting as it was in its university heyday. I’ll try not to be too boring…

Thanks for reading!

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