No bike.

Today I took part in a karate competition. The low point of the day was that I had gotten a lift to Tallaght and had to I wait four hours after I had finished competing for same back home. The other passengers were a bit drunk and blaring every god-awful pop song they could find on the radio at ear-splitting level while I looked out the window and thought of England.

Wasting time.

Was meant to be drawing something else but I was at a lecture by Brenda Chapman yesterday and something she was talking about made me want to draw a lady based on a swan. An idea that's been done but too often with long hair and generally giving some delicate, whispy sort of impression. I hate that so here's my version. I dunno about you but in my experience swans are badass and kind of scary. If you've got some bread, you better hand that shit over bro.


I think one thing that I'm struggling with at the moment is a lot of the things I'm interested in are abstract ideas so nothing especially comes to mind when I have some free time with my sketchbook or photoshop. I'm also kind of weary of drawing characters. So here is a drawing of my winter hero: the beetroot. I got a lot from my dad (who knows not what to do with them beyond picking them in vinegar and putting them in jars, a tragedy for another day) and was struck by how great it is. They've got a very satisfying solid feel, the violent purple colour is amazing and because these are dirty great right-out-of-the-ground beets they have this nice rough brown part at the top that's all warty and interesting. The stalks/leaves which I didn't really draw here, can be eaten too and like the the beet, dye everything a really pleasing pinky red colour. (Though this can be not so great when being the Kitchen Goddess that I am: transferring them from sink to chopping board, ending up dropping them on the white tiles that I just cleaned.)

Anyway, Beetroot are great and with with River Cottage Veg as my guide, I've learned that there's loads you can do with them. They're good friends with dill and horseradish and make a very nice soup together. I've roasted loads of them with thyme and balsamic vinegar. Walnut and beetroot dip is delicious too. Being so sweet, they get on like a house on fire with chocolate apparently and can be worked into desserts to produce some interesting results.

This year if I can't plant my own, I'll definitely have to badger my dad into growing some other varieties like the ones in the second picture. So pretty!

I should draw something

I haven't been drawing lately. There are two reasons for this: One is that drawing is now basically my 9-5 job. It's not terribly exciting stuff to look at either. Two is when I'm not working all my non-drawing related other interests fight for my time. I don't know if you can tell from the spectrum of the reading material here, but I have a lot of interests and if I were to represent them with a pile of books like this, it would be about three times the size.

I miss drawing for myself sometimes but I seem to have lost the knack of making images that I actually like. Unless I get some thunderbolt inspiration, it'll take a long time to build back up a style and a direction to pursue I think. I don't want to bore people with shit guilt-doodles in the mean time so I'm going to stop posting them.

Steady on

I was in Tesco just after Christmas and was horrified to see they had already cleared their wall of Christmas confectionery in favour of, not Valentine's gifts as you might think but: Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies. WAT. It's (was at that point) FOUR MONTHS AWAY D:

I just wanted to share that fact. Having drawn this quickly as a sort of experiment seemed like a good opportunity to mention it.

Charatypes .01

During the summer I had a go at the 20 favourite characters meme. I found it really difficult because I realised, rather than have an affinity for a specific characters of specific shows, I just have a tendency to like character types; certain habits or idiosyncrasies or behaviours that I enjoy when they are apparent in any character in any setting. I don't think I could make an exhaustive list, and anyway sometimes these are only any good when combined with other characteristics. The other problem was that often I only liked characters as part of a pair. In the end, for the meme I ended up drawing characters that either stood out to me because they didn't fit inside my set perimeters of interest or characters that totally defined them.
The point of this post is to start to archive some of these character types.

01: Ridiculous, over the top villains who have a high opinion of themselves, are prone to dressing pompously and have a silly villain laugh. Often in series they 'happen' to show up wherever the heroes find themselves to compete with them. The cornier and more extravagant, the better.
A perfect example is Elena-san from Teppan-Shojo Akane. A daft drama about a girl traveling around Japan taking part in cook-offs in search of her father. Elena-san, her corporation people and fleet of five-star chefs would always be there attempting to buy out some poor cuisine-based family business. Of course, we all grew up on cartoon villains like this. The silliness just has more impact live-action, I think.

02: Bat-shit insane screaming monkeys. I don't mean the kind that spout meaningless garbage like say, GIR in Invader ZIM. Just characters that somehow seem to be oblivious to what is acceptable behaviour, a bit socially retarded and end up screaming their feelings out at everyone. Like above, ridiculous and silly. I know there are plenty of characters like this I have loved but they are all eclipsed in my mind by the one character who personified it down to a T.
Delicious Gakuin's Nangou-sempai. Most of his dialogue is screamed, he is over-dramatic, prone to cheesy posing, and half-assaulting people he wants to talk to but somehow still manages to guide his four kouhais through the mad cookery school. The whole school (drama) was mental. It was run by four teachers who called themselves the Delicious Kings. I still can't type that with a straight face. Incidentally, it was written by the same guy who wrote Teppan Shojo Akane. I admire him for sticking to what he knows: overblown nutter characters and cooking.

03: Smug, pretentious overzealous twats. The kind of character who has grand illusions about themselves and who or what they aspire to be though it is apparent to everyone else that their desired status is comically out of reach. They can never manage to hold the act.

Favourite examples (of different flavours of) this character would be Hidari Shoutarou of Kamen Rider W and Basil Fawlty. Shoutarou inherited a small P.I. agency and fancies himself as a hard-boiled detective like someone out of American 1930s crime fiction, dressing and posing the part, spouting silly monologues that are interrupted by other characters, typing up his exploits on an old-fashioned typewriter at the end of each episode filled with hackneyed phrases and drinking innumerable cups of black coffee. A running gag of the series is other characters 'mistakenly' calling him a 'half-boiled detective'. 


As you've noticed, there's a certain amount of overlap and variety. In addition to which there's an over-arching comedic theme going here. I'm definitely much more susceptible to comedic characters than tragic characters.