Art, reviews and thoughts from a young artist in Plymouth, UK.

Archive for the ‘Kit’ Category

100 Ways To (be) Home Ed

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About Me

I am Kitty and I am a young artist in Plymouth.  I am also home educated and I am writing this post about myself and about what it is like to be a home educated young person for the #100waystohomeed bloghop.  The last post was at Never The Same Two Days Running and the next post will be by @thepndmonster.

I have never been to school but most of my friends do go to school and we have lots in common.  We like a lot of the same things, like going into town, chatting to each other, and watching Netflix together.  We also study some of the same subjects, like English and Art.  We all have to work and study and do housework at home, the main difference in our lives is that in school my friends have to do specific subjects according to a set timetable, whereas I have a choice of what I want to study and my timetable is quite flexible.  So for example while they go to school every Monday to Friday (in term time) from early morning to late afternoon, some days I don’t do a lot of study and instead I play games or go to events and exhibitions or maybe just hang out with other home ed friends.  However, on busy days I might work from the morning until late evening, I often have work to do at weekends, and for me school holidays are usually even busier than term time!

Another thing I have in common with young people who go to school is that we all have goals in our lives, like going to college or university, having a career we enjoy, and growing up to be happy and satisfied adults.  My own goals are to study Graphics, Illustration and Game Arts at Plymouth College of Art, to sell my artwork and meet lots of other artists and illustrators, and to find work in concept and character design in the video games industry.  Just like young people in schools, I have to work hard so that I can achieve my goals, but instead of focussing on GCSE exams in lots of different subjects, as a home educated person I can focus my time on building the skills I enjoy and I know I will definitely need.

I don’t tend to study different subjects every day, but I do have things that I do most days.  On a typical day, for example, I start with working on my art skills.  Starting with drawing helps me warm up to the day and to relax.  Usually I will do a 30 minute character sketch in pencil from my imagination or following a prompt (I like using artprompts.org), or I work on a previous sketch, inking it or colouring it.  After that, I work hard on my English Language study, because I have an assessment coming up at the Art college.  This is quite hard because although I think I have okay English skills (I read and write a lot!) I am not used to working towards an exam or having to answer those sorts of questions.

I spend quite a bit of the rest of my day doing art things, for example I work on projects to learn new techniques like printing, linocutting and costume making.  I do a lot of sketching in my sketchbooks (I have several which I use for different purposes), and I follow online courses and books full of tutorials.  The online courses I am following at the moment include one on drawing backgrounds, one on pixel art, and another on figure drawing and human anatomy.  The art books I work from and study include Keys To Drawing, Making Comics, and Urban Watercolor Sketching.  I think I probably spend a few hours most days either doing art or reading about art, and I follow other artists and illustrators on Twitter and Instagram to see what they are doing and to participate in online projects like #inktober and #dailysketch.  Studying art includes studying history, culture, anatomy, technical skills with different materials and software, psychology, and all sorts of other subjects.

I also try and keep track of current events and read articles especially anything to do with art and games, and especially local things like what the college is doing, or exhibitions and events that are happening.  I like to take part in things that are happening in Plymouth and its important to me to support local artists and to be part of the community.  I write about some of the events and places which I go to on this blog but I go to so much more than I have time to write about!  In the past few weeks I’ve been to a contemporary music concert, a performance by a folk band, an Open Day at the arts college, an exhibition of ‘upcycled’ skateboards, an exhibition about the Titanic, the Eden Project, a vintage toys exhibition, an exhibition about plastic dumped at sea, and more.  Today is Sunday and later I am going to a research performance where the audience will influence the soundtrack.  Going to all these different events expands my view on the world and what is possible as an artist.

Most days I also read fiction, at the moment mostly I am reading comics and manga but I do enjoy novels as well, especially funny ones.  I listen to music (all sorts, from game soundtracks to Britpop to Japanese pop and metal) and I practice playing my guitar.  I chat to my friends and if I can’t see them in person we talk online using Skype and Whatsapp.  At the end of the day I try to always write a bit in my journal and sometimes I read or draw in bed, or watch a film.  My About Me illustration at the top of this post gives more details about the things I enjoy.

As well as all this, every week I go to kickboxing twice (I have earned my Junior Black Belt!), I have either a guitar or a drum lesson, and I go to a local coding/tech club for young people.  I also go every week to a home ed activity group and a home ed social group, I’m a member of the National Art & Design Saturday Club and I go to two Youth Clubs.  I’m quite busy most days!  I don’t see myself just as a student but I also think of myself as a working artist and blogger and I hope to help the organisations and adults I meet to take young artists and writers seriously and see how we are part of the community too.  Although I do work hard at art and writing this part of my life can be really difficult as I am quite shy in person and often I am the only (or one of a small number) of young people at an event.  I can struggle with what to say as I worry about saying something that will be embarrassing    whereas when I am blogging or tweeting I have time to think and edit before I say something.  I take a sketchbook everywhere I go and that helps because if I’m nervous I can draw and that comforts me.

I could write so much more about the things I do as a home educated young person.  For example I also am learning to make games using Scratch, I am learning about electronics and coding using my Shrimp and Raspberry Pi, and I am trying to start a band!  I participate in game jams and create and publish video games with my brother.  I go to comics and science fiction conventions and I like to do cosplay.  I play with my little sister and sometimes we draw together, and I am used to spending time with kids of all different ages in our home ed groups.  My life is so full, but I do make time to relax and see my friends.

I hope that reading this has helped give an insight on what it is like to be home educated.  In some ways of course it is different to going to school but that doesn’t mean that we don’t study or have social lives.  We all have goals and worries just like any other young people, and we all have interests and are passionate about them.  If any other home ed young people are reading, please add me on Twitter or Instagram, and if you are a young artist in Devon or Cornwall add me too and maybe we can meet up sometime!

THANK YOU FOR READING!  Please remember to check out the other blogs on this bloghop and learn more about how different families do home education.

Craft Foam Hairclip/Badge Tutorial

I’ve been making badges and hairclips from craft foam today. It is a quick and easy way to make a unique accessory which shows the kind of things I like, for example videogames and manga.  I thought I’d write a tutorial in case anyone else wanted to try it.  These are good for cosplay and everyday wear.

Splatoon Hairclip by Midnakit.png

Splatoon Hairclip inspired by an unlockable accessory in the game

You need:

  • Craft foam sheets – I got mine from The Range, A5 size, 40 sheets in different colours for £2.99.
  • Cold glue gun – again from The Range, £6.99 plus £1.99 for 12 refills.
  • Scissors and/or Craft Knife and Cutting Board.
  • To make hairclips – Hairclips (mine were 6 for £1 from Wilkinsons), embroidery thread and needle, and small pieces of felt sheet.
  • To make badges – I used some left over blanks from a broken old Badge-It machine.
  • Ideas and a pencil and paper!

Step 1: Draw your idea with pencil and paper. Research online or on DVD, book covers etc.  This example is the symbol from Fairy Tail.  When you are happy with your picture (make sure it’s the size you want) copy it onto a sheet of craft foam and use scissors or a craft knife to cut it out.

foam shape

Step 2: Your shape will likely be quite flimsy on its own so reinforce it with a contrasting background.  Choose another sheet of craft foam and cut out a background.

foam background

Step 3: Carefully follow the instructions on your glue gun and stick the two pieces together.

glue shape to background

Step 4: Attach a hairclip or badge to the back.

FOR HAIRCLIPS: I found that the metal hairclip didn’t glue well to the craft foam so I used embroidery thread to sew the clip to a piece of felt, then glue the felt to the craft foam.  Make sure to check it is facing the right way if you prefer to wear clips on one side.

FOR BADGES: I used leftover blanks from an old broken Badge-It.  I filled the back of the badge with a couple of layers of craft foam and made sure they were all glued securely together.

clips and badges

Below are a couple more examples that I made today, a pokeball hairclip and a Korosensei badge to which I added a small tassle, with a bit of fabric paint to define the teeth:

This is a really easy project and I hope somebody else finds my tutorial useful to make something perfect for them! :3

New things!

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New things!

Here are some of the new things that I have got recently:

Pearson Student Planner & Academic Diary – This planner is aimed at university students but it has lots of useful advice for all types of independent learners.  I looked at several different planners and chose this one because the planner section is simple and has lots of space for everything I need, with Monthly, Weekly and To Do pages, and every week there is a good study Tip which gives directions to more thorough advice in a numbered section at the back.

Sharpie pocket highlighters – four different colours for my planner which haven’t smeared my writing or the print in the book.

Pentel refillable brush pen – I was recommended this by a friend for drawing and sketching.  The ink is black and waterproof.

NEO Magazine Issue 163 – arrived this morning!  This is a different size than usual and has an article about Godzilla in it with a really cool photo of actors on set in their kaiju costumes.  I always look forward to the cosplay and art sections most and I have a six month subscription.

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Kuretake DAW100-6 “Practice Japanese Character Set That You Can Practice Many Times With The Water” bought from KMZ-tradings via Amazon.

Kuretake Practice Japanese Character set – in this set is a writing mat, a waterbrush and a pipette to help fill it (but mine filled under the tap easily), an instruction book (in Japanese), and a little folder to hold everything together.  You fill the cartridge in the pen with water then practice hiragana with the pen on the writing mat. The water shows up black as you write but fades away in thirty seconds or so, so you can practice without using up paper and ink.  The mat has guideline squares to write in and the whole set is really cute and useful.  KMZ-tradings included an origami crane which was a sweet surprise!

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Inside the DK visual dictionary

DK Japanese English Bilingual Visual Dictionary – I have been learning Japanese for a few months now and needed a Japanese-English dictionary to learn more everyday vocabulary relevant to the things I do.  This visual dictionary is thick and heavy and is really easy to use to find groups of words which all relate to the same topic, like household items, or sweets.  Its a great help but it would be good if there was a lighter pocket size version for carrying around!

 

 

Keys to Drawing Chapter 1

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Keys to Drawing and my sketchbooks for the projects

Late last year I began to work on my observational skills using the book Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson.  He says in the introduction that “drawing is primarily a process of seeing”, and each chapter has several projects with ‘keys’ to practice that are basically guidelines or rules to help improve drawing. The first chapter is about the drawing process and an important thing I learned was to have a rhythm in my head to ‘look, hold, and draw’.  Here are some of the drawings I made during this chapter:

The Keys covered in Chapter 1 are:

  • “Use practical dialogue” – talk to yourself about the lines and shapes you see, e.g. ‘the line is this long’, ‘this shape touches that one’ etc.
  • “Use triggering words” – repeat words to yourself that make you think about the subject e.g. ‘soft, soft’ or ‘sharp’.
  • “Draw blind” – practice drawing while looking at the subject instead of the paper for short bursts of time.
  • “Restate” – when you feel out forms by making more accurate lines alongside first attempts instead of erasing.
  • “Choose seeing over knowing” – ignore your mental image of what you think something should look like and instead draw EXACTLY what you see.
  • “Individualise” – be curious about everything you draw as if you have never seen it before, appreciate that each subject is unique.
  • “Simplify shapes” – draw in ‘the language of shapes’, not things.  Squint to simplify shapes.
  • “Look for shapes” – Bert Dodson gives four rules to identify shapes:
    • draw large shapes first, then small ones.
    • look for ‘enrichment shapes’ like highlights, shadows, textures..
    • tie shapes together (merge or connect shapes).
    • draw ‘trapped shapes’ (negative spaces).
  • “Focus” – concentrate on interesting areas and feel free to leave some areas unfinished.

Before I started, I hadn’t done much observational work, but this first chapter really helped me to get going.  The writing is very relaxed and easy to understand, and Bert Dodson has a kind approach.  Each project built my skills a little bit more and they were mostly enjoyable.

Watercolour drawings

I’ve just finished my sketch of Link from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.  I watched gameplay videos of it at E3 online and I HAD to draw a picture:

Link Watercolour

I used Kuretake Mangaka fineliners and Sakura Koi watercolours.  Here is a picture of my watercolour kit:

From left: Seawhite A5 Sketchbook, Sakura Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box, Uni Kura Toga pencils, Pentel Water Brush, Sakura White Gelly Roll pen, Zig Millennium 005, Zig Mangaka pens, Sakura Pigma brush pen, Tombow Spray Mister, Staedtler Mars plastic eraser, Koh-I-Noor Kneadable Eraser

From left: Seawhite A5 Sketchbook, Sakura Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box, Uni Kuru Toga pencils, Pentel Water Brush, Sakura White Gelly Roll pen, Zig Millennium 005, Zig Mangaka pens, Sakura Pigma brush pen, Tombow Spray Mister, Staedtler Mars plastic eraser, Koh-I-Noor Kneadable Eraser

I’ve had my Koi sketch box since early May and my Seawhite sketchbook for a fortnight and got them both from The Art Side.   Some of the other things here I got for my birthday, and some of them have been in my art kit for a long time.  I have three Kuru Toga pencils, all with different leads in them.  My silver one is HB and my most used pencil.  The green holds 4B lead and I have a blue one (not pictured) which holds non-photocopy blue lead.  I like to use water brushes because they are easier to take out and about.  I use the spray mister to make my paints damp before I use them.  The white gelly roll pen is great for highlights and covering mistakes so I have it with me constantly.  I have a wide variety of black fineliners and brush pens and at the moment I prefer using small fineliners so I can be really detailed in my work, and i’ve been testing different types of crosshatching with them.  I’ve also been learning to use dip pens and ink.

I’ve only been working in watercolour for the past two months and I think it’s really fun to do.  It’s slightly harder to work in than pencils and pens because you need to be careful about how much water you put on the paper.  Here are some examples of my work so far:

Ellie and Joel from The Last Of Us

Ellie and Joel from The Last Of Us

I just completed The Last Of Us (on easy..) and have been drawing Ellie and Joel a lot.

Girl and Fox

Girl and Fox

I invented the girl.  I sketched the fox on a visit to Delamore House’s annual arts exhibition at the end of May.  The original is a giant sculpture made from recycled materials (car bumpers!) by Ptolomy Elrington.

Ellie in Winter

Ellie in Winter

Another picture of Ellie.  I worked on this last week.  She is a really fun character to draw.

 

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