30 days of creativity – Day 7 – Ivy

30 day creativity challenge Day  7; Ivy

This didn’t take me half an hour. It took me as long as I had while my son was stressing about not being able to make himself go down the death slide at Fockin Trago aka Trago Mills. Fockin Trago is a place traditionally visited only if you are able to eat a pasty, smoke a fag, shout and smack your kids all at the same time. I lack some of those skills but they still let me in. At the Newton Abbot Trago £5 gets you unlimited rides on what we call the Train of Happiness (because it cheers up 10 year olds who feel crap because they didn’t do the death slide). It also gets you goes on bumper boats, racing boats, tiny trawlers, pedalo swans, go karts and a visit to a huge model railway. We love Fockin Trago.

day7This was done with a Stabilo fineliner and a Sharpie.

I was working on getting the actual shape of the ivy leaf accurate so I watched the shapes around it rather than the shapes it makes itself. I played around with flat planes around it too. Now I’m aware that astigmatism is cocking up my perspective I can watch for it and I feel a lot happier about my drawing ability. I just need to keep checking and re-checking what I am doing.

Over on Crackbook a bunch of us are going to be working through Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A Course in Enhancing Creativity and Artistic Confidence

The first exercises are to draw a self portrait, your hand and something else I can’t remember so you can see improvement. Then you move onto drawing a vase from a silhouette. You can see the vase exercise here – http://drawright.com/vaceface.htm.

The plan is to do an exercise every Sunday from the book. I’ve just spent 2 hours in traffic jams on the motorway getting back from Fockin Trago so I think I might start next week.










You can see the reason this started and the rest of the days here – http://www.ragbaby.co.uk/1120-2/

And if you want to join in we have a Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/154085144775381/



30 days of creativity – Day 6 – Bristol Drawing Club

30 day creativity challenge Day  6. Bristol Drawing Club Social.

Bristol Drawing Club is a group of people in Bristol who draw things. We meet occasionally and play drawing games. I’d advertised the event to the friend I dragged along as a social for people who are not sociable. The times I have been before it wasn’t terribly social, which suits me fine as I can sit in a room full of people, join in on things but not have to share any information about myself or bother to meet new people and have to remember their names. Last night there was a sociable wildcard who was chatty, which was a bit weird for some of us, who as adults still have a strong sense of stranger danger and basically don’t trust anyone ever.  My internal dialog bypasses the Van Halen earworm and whooshes down paranoid corridors, “Why do they want to know my name? Do they know someone I know? Are we related? Who do they work for? What will they do with this information?” I’ve probably been reading too many crime books recently and have delusions of underground grandeur because I don’t have anything to hide really.

Last night the social was at the Looking Glass which is my kind of pub. It’s dark and dingy, there are plenty of tables, people generally leave you alone, they often have cake, the beer is good and (here comes the best bit) they have a record player. There are about 100 albums all ordered in decade or you can drop in after going to one of the second hand vinyl shops in St Nicks Market and play your own record on it. That is, unless some munter wants to play the Beatles on a loop in which case you abscond quickly to the Crown where they play mostly metal, do good lunches and there is no risk whatsoever of the Beatles or jazz, both or which I despise with a passion that defies all logic. Last night I almost had to leave because of the jazz but I threatened to bite someone and the music changed pretty soon thereafter.


Anyway, this isn’t a review of my favorite Bristol pubs, it’s about day 6 of 30 days of creativity.

It was quiet at the social last night, the month before people had to sit on the floor but it’s Glastonbury weekend so I guess lots of people were there. We arranged the tables so we could sit opposite each other and started to play drawing games. The first one was to draw the person sitting opposite you in various ways, with the hand you don’t usually use (there is a stupid politically correct way to say this but that’s bollocks), then to draw them with a continuous line, pencil not leaving the paper, then to draw them not looking at the paper, then to draw them with your weak and rubbish hand (check me out being handist!) without looking at the paper…… all these games were timed and I was lucky enough to sit opposite someone with fantastic hair which was a joy to draw. We then went on to drawing other people for increasing lengths of time. When you get used to only having 60 seconds to draw, 4 minutes seems like a lifetime!. What I did notice was that I am not perceiving depth like I used to, my glasses prescription has changed and I suppose it’s because of that. I’m drawing everyone with skinny skulls. Now I’m aware of it I can do something about it.


There were other games after this – collaborative works drawing onto landscapes, drawing postcards being described by other people etc. Lots of fun.

There will probably be lots of pictures of the night on the Bristol Drawing Club Facebook page soon and if you are lucky you will be able to see the vast variety of styles and ideas that people bring to the socials.

I had fun, lots of it and I really appreciate the time and effort the volunteers who run the group put into keeping it going.  It’s open to all and there is a box for donations to cover materials which are all provided. If you are lucky enough to be in Bristol on a club night go, and I promise I won’t ask your name.








You can see the reason this started and the rest of the days here – http://www.ragbaby.co.uk/1120-2/

And if you want to join in we have a Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/154085144775381/



30 days of creativity – Day 5 – Bastard Fucking Apple Tree

30 day creativity challenge Day  5. I do battle with the fucking apple tree again.

I started off looking at the spaces between the leaves and drawing without taking my hand off the paper, or looking at the paper, the idea being this would free me up a bit.


This did help me to breathe and draw at the same time but I thought that maybe I was taking on too much with a whole tree. I got one leaf, one that was trimmed off in it’s recent prune and was going to die. By now I’m willing the fucking tree to die because I can’t draw it. Since I probably wouldn’t be happy with a drawing of a concrete yard this is a stupid wish, but anyway, by now I’m pissed off with myself, with the tree, with the birds tweeting and with the cats scuttling all over the place. I will win.

The next drawing I tried with the leaf balanced on my leg as I drew. I worked around it, getting more detail and rubbing out bits that were not quite right until I had a shape that looked not too far off the original. I started to go around again, checking dimensions, adding more detail, experimenting with shading then rubbing it out cos it was terrible, adding more detail, checking distances….. and then the wind blew it away.

Bastard Fucking Apple Tree.






You can see the reason this started and the rest of the days here – http://www.ragbaby.co.uk/1120-2/

And if you want to join in we have a Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/154085144775381/



30 days of creativity – Day 4 – Apple Tree Details

30 day creativity challenge Day  4. Today I am mostly stressing about going to look at a house and I’m finding it difficult to focus on anything.

This didn’t take me half an hour because I noticed that the garden needed watering urgently or everything was going to die. This may not matter to the next people who have the house, but for the moment I love my garden.

I especially love the Red Falstaff apple tree that produces large apples, red on one side, green on the other, perfect for poisoning princesses with. Curse you princesses, the prince is mine, and your little dog too, just you wait and see.

Day 4 apple tree

I started with a pencil drawing of the leaves then I realised that I was holding my breath trying to get it right. So I moved onto Sharpies, which you have to be confident with because any hesitation leaves blots on the paper. I love the pink blossoms next to the green of the leaves so I spent a little time looking at them more closely, first with Sharpies then with my Stabilo fineliner, which leads itself to meandering drawing. I can breathe when I draw like that. I ended up looking at the patterns in the leaves and getting lost in their little road maps.

I am totally unconfident in my ability to draw right now. I seem to have forgotton how to see properly. Judging distances and measuring by eye has got really hard, when it used to be something I could just do. I’m going to be tough in my 30 days challenge and actually do some drawing, even if it’s crap I’m not going to get better not drawing.





You can see the reason this started and the rest of the days here – http://www.ragbaby.co.uk/1120-2/

And if you want to join in we have a Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/154085144775381/



30 days of creativity – Day 3 – Cats and Bugs

30 day creativity challenge Day 3, I am not in the mood to do anything at all really.

It’s been a weird one where I had to cut the deformed bits of wings off one of my newly hatched beetles. I’ve never done it before, it’s a big beetle and he has lots of legs that kept getting in the way. Anyway, he is eating banana like there is no tomorrow so maybe he knows something I don’t. He may or may not live. All these ones are called Mr Newton, they are Eudicella schultzeorum pseudowoermani.


I tried to draw some beetles but they kept moving, then I tried to draw the cat but he has bits of him so black there is nothing to draw.

He is a black hole covered in fur with sharp bits and a stinky end. He is Scumspawn, and he is obsessed with bread. The other cat kills mice and birds, he kills crusts and baguettes. If you leave the bread bin open there will be no bread. He tries to climb into the oven whilst it is toasting toast. He can eat half a packet of crumpets and then it’s only the packaging that is stopping him from finishing them off. And bread makes him fart.

crap day, crap drawing

Anyway, it’s a crap drawing on a crap day, but at least I did something.

You can see the reason this started and the rest of the days here – http://www.ragbaby.co.uk/1120-2/

And if you want to join in we have a Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/154085144775381/



30 days of creativity – Day 1 – Plane Trees Collage

Inspired by the very talented and therefore somewhat hated by me Diana Powell, who is blogging a drawing every day for 30 days I’ve decided to get off my fat and lazy, binging on 30 Rock box sets arse and do something creative every day for 30 days.

I’m not a sticker, I’ll hate this by tomorrow but I thought it best to start today rather than wait.

So, here is day 1, it’s a collage of plane tree bark made from music manuscript, braille paper, wrapping paper and sugar paper. There is also bit of a book about the grand masters I liberated from a skip with the idea of printing on it. Plane trees are the ones with the camouflage trunks, and the ones with the pom pom seed heads. I’m using my Moleskine sketch book which is just under A6 size for the 30 day challenge.

plane tree collage

This is the image Photoshopped with just a filter – Stylize/Find Edges

Plane Tree Collage

Being me, I see loads of cocks in it.

Flexagon Tutorial – Moving paper toys

Flexagons are hexagons made of card or paper that you can turn inside out, so instead of the 2 sides you would normally get with a cut out hexagon, you have 4 sides!

You start with a strip of paper and mark out or fold a triangle with equal length sides. If you have a protractor handy you can mark out 60 degree angles all along the strip.


From the first triangle zig zag the paper back and forth.


You only need 9 triangle so cut off the others.


Now you need to fold it into the hexagon shape. The creases will help you here as you never need to go against an existing crease.

To help you see where the folds should go try to imagine a rhombus or kite shape on each section.














Tape the loose section on the edge

hex7Fold in and open out!


There are now 4 sides to a 2 dimensional shape. If you draw on the outside edge it will appear on the inside edge of the next rotation.


Crocheting a Binary Tree

If you have forgotton, a binary tree is what you get if you branch off two times from each branch, then again, then again – think of a tree trunk that divides into 2 main parts, then each main part divides into 2, then each of those divides into 2 etc. You can also get tertiary trees where all the ends divide into three but for the moment I’m playing with binary trees.

Image from web.cecs.pdx.edu
Image from web.cecs.pdx.edu

Anyway I was kept up all night wondering what happens if you crochet a binary tree.

Crocheted binary tree

I started off with a circle but discovered that if you keep adding 2 stitches to the stitch below you end up with a bigger circle.

So then I chained 5 and double crocheted twice into each stitch on the row below for 5 rows. This is what you get, it looks like coral to me!

crocheted binary treeI could have gone on but from the original 5 stitches I was now dealing with hundreds and you can see that it is just going to do the same thing only bigger.

It still makes a circle if you roll it up.

crocheted binary treeWatch this space for more adventures in maths and crochet!




Trees in Wales

I took my camera camping, in the country where you get to see proper trees.litche

I started off looking at trees from different angles, close up and from underneath. I took home some lichen for the beetles too.  I’ve always loved the different shades you get when you look up through the leaves of the tree to the sky so I took some photos of that. Then I discovered that my phone/camera does effects……



This twisty tree is how my mind felt before I spent a night on my own camping in blissful silence.


The cross section of a tree was one of the large logs in my camp site, there to be sat on or leant against.


More to come, I did actually take a sketch book too……