Monday, 28 November 2016

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Teenage artwork redrawn

Thought I'd redraw one of my children through history. Good to see I've improved in 23 years!

Ye Olde Artwork: Children through the ages

A series of pictures I drew when I was 16. I started in the present and went back a generation each time.

Interesting to see:
  • Interest in historical costume (though I'm now more into ancient history).
  • Drawing children - still do kids' stuff.
  • Attention to detail and historical accuracy - I looked up likely names for the children at each period.
  • Abandonning projects half-finished - yep, still do that... 
Click pics to see bigger.

I got the 1919 clothes out of an old book of my Grandma's

Small boy in a dress :-)

Interesting that in 1845 both little boys and girls wore dresses and trousers, though there are a few minor style differences (minor to us, but probably glaringly obvious to them, just as we can tell a girl's and boy's T-shirt at a glance).

Youngest 1720 child is also a boy!!!

Obviously getting a bit bored by now...

Right pic above and left pic below were from the same period, but Roundheads and Cavaliers respectively.

Another boy in a skirt in right pic.

And then I decided to go back to prehistory! More interesting.

Based on Danish bronze age burial mounds.

Right pic from Spanish cave paintings (reconstruction of clothes from History of Everyday Things by Giovanni Caselli); left pic just how I imagined cave people!

And my imagination of the future! Just need to wait a couple of years now...

I remember someone querying whether they would still wear skirts in the future. My argument was that, since we are not obliged to wear skirts now (i.e. 1993), but people still do, they are just as likely to do so in the future.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Symmetry tool, rulers, & digital inking

The symmetry tool in Clip Studio is useful!

You set a line of symmetry, and then everything you draw on one side appears mirrored on the other. I thought of it just as a fun gimmick, but have just discovered its use for pencilling a symmetrical picture. Don't think it would be good to ink with it, but ideal for sketching.

And I also inked this picture digitally! First time I've done this. Really nice, controllable tools. Including rulers you can draw along - I used the straight ruler for the sceptre, and (after much trial and error) set curved rulers for the big sweep of the throne's arms.

Colouring was still done in Corel Photo Paint, as I can do it in my sleep! May switch some time, but no need at present.


He becomes the human that we're made to be, and then, through him, we become the humans that we were made to be.


"Promise me you'll keep safe."
"I'll try." Her smile was sorrowful. "But I have to do what's right." She raised a fine eyebrow. "And in the end, that's safe."
Perena in The Dark Foundations, Chris Walley

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Amusing disclaimer

"No trees were destroyed in sending this message; however, a significant number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced"

Terms & Conditions

Do companies actually want people to read their terms & conditions?

Seems like they go out of their way to use formatting which is difficult to read. Often it's ALL CAPS, DESPITE THE FACT THAT A MIXTURE OF UPPER AND LOWER CASE is far nicer and easier to read.

I've just been looking at PayPal's T&Cs. They are in proper sentence case, but in lines about 25 words long - despite the fact that 9-12 words is what you should use for legibility. And shrinking the window doesn't help, as the lines don't wrap.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Mrs Sigma & Mr Omega

The final two of my Greek maths characters redrawn. These ones were adults, because they're capital letters.

This has been a very fun thing to do. It also has enabled me to create much more interesting characters than I would if you just gave me a sheet of paper and said, "Draw 9 children and two teachers."

As Jake Parker said, "Creativity thrives on constraint" - in this instance having to echo the shape of a character designed from a Greek letter, representing particular maths/science functions (pretty tenuously, I admit)

And here are all they all are. Please ignore the fact that they were drawn separately and the proportions and style don't always match!

Why I'm not a major fan of competition in Sunday School

First - I'm not one of these people who thinks children should be shielded from competition - that races should have no winners, and that everyone should get a prize. There is a place for competition.

But I'm not sure that that place is Sunday School. At least, not as a general rule.

Typically in Sunday School, children get rewarded for things like learning memory verses. They may gain a point for attendance or bringing a Bible. Maybe there's a 'best boy' or 'best girl' for the day - or even the year.

Of course, the reason for this is incentive - to encourage the children to learn verses (a good thing in its own right), or behave well (necessary for the teacher's sanity and a good learning experience).

5 Gold Stars

But what is reward and competition actually teaching the children - especially if a big emphasis is put on it?

Is it teaching them that Christianity is about moral performance? About being a good church kid who ticks all the right boxes? Does the same child always win the best boy/girl prize? Does it make them feel spiritually superior? Or the others feel inferior?

Is it teaching them that what matters is outward appearance? I once read an article by a woman who got the 'Godliest Girl' prize in a church club (how can you possibly judge that?!?). She is now an atheist.

Is it teaching them that if their parents chose not to bring them often, and therefore they can never get an attendance prize, they are a second-class citizen in church? What if they spend alternate weeks at another parent's house?

Is it teaching them that what is important is academic ability? So some children find that what they are struggling with in school is what matters in church too - and they can't measure up. Do they think that being academic and intellectual makes you a better Christian?

5 Gold Stars

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying you should never give incentives. But I think these should be low key and not about comparing themselves with others.

For example, we used to give the children tasks to do at home, for which they earned points. If they did it, they got a point; after three points they got a prize*. After three points you were back at zero - it wasn't a competition with the others, simply an incentive to do the thing.

Recently we have been learning verses. Learning them over several weeks, in order to get them into long term memory - I see no point in learning a verse each week, keeping it in your short term memory to get a sweet next week, and then forgetting it to learn a new one!

So after they all know the verse well, I then offer a prize*. But I don't want to test them until I know they all can do it**. Why are we teaching verses? Not so that some children get glory by displaying feats of memory, but so that all the children learn God's word.

In Sunday School, I really like games with elements of chance - like board games, which anyone can win. It puts all the children - able and less able - on an equal footing. Actually, I remember a very bright kid getting so frustrated, because he was used to winning everything, and now he wasn't! Good life lesson

5 Gold Stars

In conclusion, we need to make sure that any prizes or competition we have don't make some children feel superior or inferior, or put too much emphasis on outward performance. Christianity is about grace, after all - we're not trying to raise Pharisees :-)

5 Gold Stars

This post was inspired by what I was reading this morning:

The Lord says:
‘These people come near to me with their mouth
    and honour me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
    is based on merely human rules they have been taught [...]

Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord;
    the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 29 v 13, 19
It was also not meant to be so long :-)

* A choice of a small prize, like a pencil, a bouncy ball, a cocktail umbrella (this last one surprisingly popular - with the boys!!!)

** Which is why this term we haven't yet done memory verse prizes. One of our new younger children has barely spoken a word. How would he feel if all the others got a prize except him? Would that encourage him to feel part of the group?

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Perspective ruler drawing practice

Manga Studio* has this really cool function - perspective rulers!

You set  your perspective, and then you can constrain your lines to the correct perspective. I'm sure this will be very useful. Though will need a bit of practice.

I hadn't yet calibrated my pen pressure, so  I found it really hard to get decent thicks & thins.

Thought I'd try to do some basic lighting as well.

Yes, it would look better with stuff on the shelves.

*Now called Clip Studio, but that's not as nice a name.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Dancing person finger puppet

We made these in Sunday School the other week.

Yes, the adults all coloured one too :-)


The last of the kids (just the adults to do now).

I never felt Zeta was that interesting a character, despite being the mascot. Or perhaps because of that -  he didn't really have any other meaning.

But I'm quite pleased with the real boy.

Click to see bigger.
I've never tried to draw skinny jeans before. Worked out OK.

Previous characters:
Alpha & Beta (half way down)

Monday, 7 November 2016


This one was quite tricky - to at least in some way echo his body shape and pose.

Click to see bigger

Previous characters:
Alpha & Beta (half way down)

Remony at the fremony at the library

Was chuffed to come across this online. Had seen it before in a book of funny misprints, but this is the real thing, unabridged.

I do wonder how this could happen...

Click to view bigger

Friday, 4 November 2016

When people hark back to the 'good old days'

 We can’t get back to where we were before everything fell apart, because that’s Genesis 3
Russell Moore

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Lecture hall of Tyrannus 2


The good thing about getting it all wrong twice, is that I ended up with a much better picture than I would have if I'd just done it once.

I decided I really liked the symmetrical layout of the original. But I used my sketchup model to get more perspective.

Because Paul is so small and wearing clothes that don't stand out much, I've used the colours of the (greatly simplified) roman wall decor to draw attention to him. Also he's the only one who has much contrast in his clothes. And the perspective points roughly to him.

Still not the best picture in the world, but does the job.

Not actually sure when I'll finish this PowerPoint, as I'm wondering about doing some Christmas prophecies - not least because I would find it useful myself this year!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

I officially hate historical accuracy >:-( *

I'm illustrating Paul holding discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

So I searched, and finally found ruins of 2nd century lecture halls from Alexandria, which seemed a good enough basis for an illustration of a 1st century lecture hall in Ephesus.

By isawnyu [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

After a bit of trial and error, I managed to trace a photo (another one) with nice clear computer lines. And worked out the layout of people. Something I read said the block was a podium for the speaker, so I put Paul there.

And then I inked it (twice, because the first one wasn't good) and coloured it...

Not quite finished.
And realised I'd been so concerned with the historical accuracy side that I hadn't bothered to check if it actually made a good picture. Which it doesn't. Paul's head almost disappears against the fussy steps behind it. Grrrr.

So I decided to make a Sketchup model. Which did take a wee bit of time, because I'm not over-familiar with how to do anything that's not really basic. Those steps confused me! But anyway, I got it done, and slotted in a few wee figures to get a rough idea while I played about with viewpoints. 

Still wasn't quite happy with the steps, so Googled to see if I could get some better pictures. Which I did. I also, however, found a detailed article which described the step thing at the end as the seat for the teacher. This makes a lot of sense. Back to the drawing board again...

It's not even that important a picture. I could have just shown a talking head or something, but I wanted to add a bit of interest.

Now I'll go and amuse myself with some nice futuristic science fiction before I go to sleep :-)

[Edit: Here's what I ended up with.]

*Which is, being interpreted, I'm obsessed by it. But they say there's a fine between love and hate.