Tag Archives: leicester

This is the end.



I’m writing this post and then packing my computer and having pizza and OH MY GOD I MOVE TO LEICESTER TOMORROW. I’m excited. But also nervous. 3rd year of uni is almost upon me. OH GOD.

I’m going to die.

This is it.

This is the end.

So, before I inconvenience my family with my death, I’ve been working on my mum’s website (which is still incomplete but go look at it, she gets so excited when she gets views), leaflets and business cards. It’s for this therapist thing she’s got going. I’m going to be a graphic designer when I grow up! And a photographer. And an interior designer. Oh, and a game artist. I guess.


Yeah, you know it. You want stuff as funky as this. Hopefully it’ll be easier on the eye when it’s printed/folded properly.

Man, I had so much fun arranging the room and holding my breath for inconceivable amounts of time while the camera shutter fretted about the low lighting. The softness on the photo of the stones? Unintentional. My hands were shaky. Seriously though, it was nice. I definitely bonded with my mum over it. I like doing nice things for her.

Apart from that… I’ve been in France. That was also nice. More camera fun;


Chateau de Chambord. The most beautiful building I’ve ever seen.

And I did a painting at another Chateau.


Pff photo quality.

I went kayaking and in true British style got hilariously sunburnt!


And ate Toblerone.

I doodled a bit, and I’m starting to find that I have more confidence to sketch imaginatively, on the train or what have you.

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I briefly gained confidence in my painting skills, and then screwed it all up again with some dismal attempts a few days later.


So I made myself feel better by buying matching stuff for my bedroom. I’m such a girl.


Long story very short; I’ve been busy, and not just doing art for a change. Which will change, again, as I settle back into university. I’m extremely apprehensive about this year. It’s all I can really say until the ball starts rolling and I see what the year has to offer. I’m still clueless on my FMP, and I’m terrified. Doubtless I’ll start posting regularly again, because I’ll be back into a stressy arty routine and I’ll want to assimilate my week every Friday when I should be boozing. So, here I go.

This is the end! 3rd year, here I come.

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I’m writing this while procrastinating by doing my hair in my window reflection.


Lately I’ve been really forcing myself to do arty stuff. Not because I don’t want to, but because it’s not going very well and I’m dreading it. Doing art just increases my stress levels right now, and so I don’t enjoy it. It’s feeling like work. My productivity level has fallen and I’m just generally feeling a little sad and disappointed in myself. To be honest I’m not entirely sure why, and I’m not entirely sure why I’m blaming myself. I think I had better get used to this see-saw though. The life of an art student/artist is a rollercoaster;

Sooo yeah having a hard time at the moment. I’m trying to do little fun things in my comfort zone to keep myself happy;

I ran into some old guy I’d met months ago while doing the above drawing in the park. We had a nice chat about all sorts; life, religion, spirituality, relationships, jobs, card-making. And he tried to get me to try his fruit flavoured e-cigarette. Like that would ever happen. I enjoy meeting people while I draw. Getting out of my room to practise the art of speech is always good too.

The painting that started my downward spiral was this one;


I enjoyed and hated this painting, and ended up leaving it unfinished and moving on to prevent a mental breakdown. It’s strange. My happy-sad cycles seem to happen within days of eachother, rather than weeks or months like what seems to be normal. I’m like a pre-pubescent mood-swingy teen all over again. My mind is just racing waaaay ahead of my current ability. I need to chill out. Someone help me chill out. Plz.

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Getting Stuff Done.

I have a week left in Leicester before I head home for summer, and I’ve been working pretty hard on my horse. Since I last posted I’ve learned how to create a custom rig as opposed to using an existing biped, how to animate, and how to render videos. You know what that means? Yeah, here’s a video of my horse doing horsey things!


There are some things I definitely need to fix like that less-than-realistic tail swish, the weird tack deformation at the front, and some of the movements looking funny, but I’ve been told how to fix those so I’ll crack on as soon as I can stand the sight of him again. Will probably end up re-doing the whole thing. Was surprisingly fun to animate though, and although it was a really frustrating process, nothing went horribly wrong.

I also did some drawings recently which I thought I would share;


I need to start working in pencil again I think… super rusty!

Next on my list of things to-do is to take a break from 3D to do some personal art, and also start concepting the next part of my summer project; a gypsy caravan. 🙂

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Life is good.

It’s been a long day at work. I’m a sales assistant in a shop called Red5, which sells a lot of random gadgety stuff that no-one really needs but people buy anyway. I’m the one that stands in the door and flies RC helicopters while I try to not look grumpy, say hello and goodbye to everyone passing by, talk to whoever may ask me rather obvious questions, and try and avoid taking your heads off as you walk in the door without looking where you’re going. There’s something called spacial awareness, folks.

I do enjoy my job though. 🙂 My last few days have been really nice and chill, mainly thanks to the weather. I’ve had a chance to get out and draw a bit which has been lovely. I was on my way to uni the other day, with a plan of UDK and digital painting lined up. My 3 minute journey there involves walking through a park with a pond and beautiful greenery all running alongside the canal. It was a gorgeous day and I was carrying my drawing equipment with me as I always do, so I stopped, scrapped my plan for the day, and started drawing. It made a great change to my usual attitude of ‘I must do my work for the day or I shall have a mental breakdown’, and it was really quite therapeutic. Not to mention I’ve been getting very pale lately.




Days like this that break up my routine are very important, and few and far between. It seemed to throw me into a new mental gear though, because now I feel much more like I can take breaks from work and do something for me, not just university. I also found myself heading down to the Guild Hall on Friday to do an on-location watercolour (the first on-location painting I’ve done) but it wasn’t because I felt obliged to, with it being something on my to-do list. It was because I wanted to. A fantastic day for it too. I stayed out there for about two hours and got into conversations with a local artist, a writer, a Big Issue seller, a GCSE art student, a dude that (I think) works at the Hall, and various other friendlies. It’s a really nice way to meet strange people. I’d like to go back there and do more painting, partially because I’m not too pleased with my piece, but mainly because I had loads of fun doing it.



I painted slightly differently to how I usually would, because lately I’ve been reading James Gurney’s Colour and Light so I was thinking a little differently about colour and trying to remember some of that theory I had learned with regards to shadow colours. I think that’s one of the reasons I screwed up, but it’s all part of the learning process. I should also have done the drawing from more of a distance to get a nicer composition; I knew it as soon as I started drawing but was too lazy to move. Plus the sky makes me cry a little. Can’t wait to give this another shot though!

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UDK and Visual Design Update

It’s the Easter holidays now but that doesn’t mean I get three weeks to sit around and eat chocolate, which is basically what I did all weekend. Well. There’ll be a decent amount of sitting and chocolate eating.

I’m taking a bit of a break from visual design (although I still have my Guild Hall final to finish), but hopefully I’ll be throwing some personal work into the mix, and maybe re-doing one or two more finals if I can bring myself to. So far for the Guild Hall project I’ve completed some thumbs on location, and a digipaint;


Guild Hall Sketch

I’m hoping the weather will improve at some point in Easter when I’m not back home so I can do an on-location watercolour piece. I would like that.

Moving on to my 3D work, I’ve managed to finish my dynamic UDK skybox. It involved a lot of tutorial following so I don’t quite understand the theory of all the shaders yet but I have a vague idea. I’m pretty happy with the final result though, considering it’s my first skybox. I just need to work on little things like Photoshopping the sky image better and choosing more suitable images; the current skybox looks a little odd because the clouds are too big.


Today I’ve been making another tree to accompany my old old ones from a past project (it’s currently running through NormalThief to make it look pretty), which should hopefully make my scene look more diverse. There’s still a helluva lot of assets to make though if I want to make it look how I imagine it. I’m really enjoying it so far. Very rewarding.

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Getting overexcited about things no-one should get overexcited about…

I had 3D tutoring today and hung about in labs from about 10am-7pm chatting to my tutor about skyboxes, water fountains, general UDk craziness, and doing work. I’m really excited about out UDK scene project! I’ve decided that I’m going to abandon the scene I started last week (see previous post for screenshot) and do a new one entirely, putting extra effort into creating new assets I’ve never attempted before and re-jigging existing ones. My aim is to be a bit ambitious and hopefully pull it off, meaning I’ll probably push back learning Zbrush and re-doing my 3D character to Summer.

Today to start off, I did some extra work on my old architecture project, hailing ‘fuck the tri budget I cried over for 5 weeks!’ and going mental modelling in every window pane I could see. Already it looks entirely different to my first iteration that had hard lines and horrible normal maps for the window panes;


There’s still a few things to sort but I’ll be moving on to re-texturing it shortly… once I sort out the entirely destroyed UV map… I’m really hoping my scene goes well overall, so excited! (Wait until my next post which will be a) a stream of curses, b) me changing my mind about how excited I am, c) a stream of curses.)

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I literally have too much work to talk about.

Since last Monday I’ve been on a productivity rampage and I can feel a crash looming. Like, this is unhealthy to the point that I’m forgetting to eat… I’m going to keep this concise, more of a visual post than anything so you can see what I’ve been up to. Then I’m going home and I’m eating a massive pie-and-mash dinner. OMG yum.

Last week’s project;



Alongside this I’ve started teaching myself UDK and created a modular road system and terrain.

This week’s project (baring in mind we got set this yesterday);


I also drew some feet today, mmmmmmmm! It’s for my mum, for her massage room. (I reckon she actually has a foot fetish but I keep that to myself, you know how it is.)

ImageI’ll update my blog at the end of this week with UDK screenshots and more art. I’ll maybe talk more (if you’re lucky!)  if I’m feeling less light-headed. 😀

Have a good week all.

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New projects everywhere!

This Monday and Tuesday marked the end of my gladiator and reef character project. I spent Sunday night after work feeling slightly lost and alone without any uni major uni work to do and panic over.

Gladiator project;


 My gladiator project was a huge learning curve and I made a hell of a lot of mistakes that I didn’t really have time to rectify. It is my intention to go back and do another character project of my own to improve my character modelling skills, and also learn Zbrush in the process. Texturing is something I really want to work on, as well as lighting and taking renders. I feel like I hit the nail on the head with rigging but practise makes perfect and to go back and do everything again will help a lot. Overall I feel a bit rubbish about my final outcome, but it’s only my first character and part of it is coming about from lack of knowledge and access to shaders and all that other crazy stuff I don’t know about that makes stuff look better. Hopefully I’ll have time over Easter for research into such witchcraft.

Alsooooo we’re starting to learn about UDK for our next project. I’m moving up in the world!

Reef Character;


 Last Monday we were set a project to model our reef character designs. At this point I had no Sculpey to use, and the knowledge that it would only arrive on Friday led me to do some extra environment artwork for the project as this is something I really need to work on and enjoy. I did this piece in Painter as I find it satisfies my traditional background better, and then did some post processing in Photoshop. I’m starting to understand better how to use reference and colour effectively, and how to work in a way that produces nicer looking pieces. I’m still far from where I want to be, but maybe I’ll get there eventually… right?



 So finally after much complaining my Sculpey arrived. Armed with greater confidence than I had for my first character model, I worked onto the wire and foil armature I had made earlier in the week with the intention of adding more detail and prettiness than my previous. I was also slightly nervous about modelling a male figure as anatomy is entirely beyond me, but I think I did it ok. The spines were a bit of a pain as I couldn’t get them as sharp and curved as I wanted, and getting some of the detail was difficult, but I’m pleased with how it all turned out in the end. Sculpey makes me happy.



In the realm of now we are revisiting the National Space Centre that we visited earlier in the course to look at our improvements since we started. It was closed yesterday however, so I took a load of photos and then went adventuring around the ruins of some sort of factory with some friends in the sun;


 Oh so many texture photos! It has been a good start to the week.

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More Character Designs and More Fun!

Really loving my projects at the moment, particularly our new Visual Design one; design a character… deja-vu, right? This time, our starting word was ‘reef’, and we were allowed to take this where we wanted. We’ve had this project since Monday so only have a few days left. I’m really happy with where I’m at at the moment, and can definitely see my progression from our last character project. I still need to go and finish my last character’s 3rd iteration, but I’m making a list of things I need to do and re-do over the weeks leading up to Summer so that’ll fit in there somewhere for sure.


I’m really pleased with both the design idea of this piece and the way I executed it. I have another day tomorrow to hopefully get a drawing done in-situ too… I’d really like to but I actually have no idea what environment I’d but him in. I chose to do a male character because I always find myself gravitating towards doing female characters, but actually I found this way more fun. I also wanted to create a lot more patterns and textures to look at, as it’s much more a style I’d like to pursue and lordy was it fun. I also think the use of many different fabrics and shapes draws away from the obviousness of ‘reef’ just enough as to not make it super cliche, though I still feel it is present in the colours, forms and some of the textures/patterns I used.

My main nit-pick with this piece is I’ve relied far too much on the linework to do a lot of the hard work for me, something I’d like to go back to and work on addressing fully with this piece and others in the future; I need to work on using tone, not line, to get definition. On the other hand however, I do like the style of this piece and could also like to try more pieces with this kind of style. I’m feeling more and more like I may have at least some creative talent that goes beyond just copying what I see.

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I need another break. Projects, Productivity and Panic!

I need to get on top of blogging at regular intervals. There are a lot of things I need to get on top of really, like drinking more water… time management… not being an ass to people… sorting my life out… blogging at regular intervals… One thing at a time.

An update on my progress is in order. There were no slow introductions back into uni work, oh no. First week back, and we were set a project to run over 2 weeks in which we were expected to produce 12 hour-long finals, each with about 12 prep sketches (no lol). I set myself a schedule of producing one a day, with 2 days in which I did 2 due to my job taking up available days. I managed to do it successfully, but ruined my life and liking for the course in the process. I’m still trying to recover from that killer of a project, but it definitely did me good, being under so much pressure as it showed me how bad I am at handling that much work. I need to learn to chill out a bit more, but I was pushing myself way too hard with doing studies and my 3D project alongside those, and my social life went entirely out the window. I’m learning the very hard way. It goes without saying that my studies aren’t happening right now. In a way I’ve lost the motivation that I had when we just came back. I find it hard to get out of bed and actually do work, and my drive has gone. It’s just a phase, mom.

Here’s a taste of the work I did for the project. The rest you can find on my Facebook account;



Such a great workload forced me to work quickly and not get attached to work, while still producing pieces I can say I’m happy with. It was also good for discipline, going out every day without fail, sitting out in the cold and drawing until I was happy with what I’d produced. 4 indoor pieces were also mandatory- something that I really hated drawing because I thought I was shit at it. Perspective in an enclosed environment has always daunted me, and there’s something really tough about trying to draw a room and make it feel like you’re actually in there; I guess because of the way our eyes see. We have peripheral vision; the lines of the ceiling and walls go past us and we can see it in the corner of our eyes. We know it’s there but paper is flat- we can’t portray that. If you try to draw everything you see above your head and to your sides, it looks distorted and wrong. You have to be selective about what you draw. That’s the toughest part of drawing from life. Either way, it turns out I’m not shit at it, and I actually really like drawing interiors now.

While that bastard of a project was going on, we were also set a new 3D project; the almighty Ford Transit Van. That’s all there is to it. Go out there, find yourself a lovely van, photograph the crap out of it, and model the interior (seats, dashboard etc. Something makes me want to say ‘cockpit’ but I know there’s a real word for it) and exterior. On the day this project was set I was straight out there getting photos. A few of us went to the local Ford dealership and batted our eyelashes, and a van was put out for us in the shade with the doors unlocked. It really was a great start to the project, which is still ongoing, and I’m hoping the end result will reflect that. So far I’ve modeled the lot, meaning I need to unwrap my van and then texture it.

The deadline for our van project has actually been pushed back due to workshops being run on our course. There are two workshops, each lasting a week each in which tutoring in either 2D or 3D takes place. Currently I’m on the 2D workshop which I’m finding really interesting. It’s been our first chance to do something creative, with the brief being to create a vehicle, starting out with silhouettes from books and an object of our choice. Deadline is Friday, and although I know I’m working at the ‘expected’ pace I really don’t like the fact that it’s Wednesday and I haven’t even finalised my design properly yet, let alone started the final piece.

I’m sure it will work out fine though… and well, if it doesn’t, sorry Chris! (It will, I swears.)

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