Monday, August 31, 2009

Digital Pin Board Frenzy

I decided to have another day of novel writing, to rest my foot (which is hurting) and because it's going well.
I got a bit annoyed with the confusing mess of text files that have accumulated, too many different versions of files containing bits of text I'm not sure I will need... I've tried Celtx and liked it for script-writing, but not as much for novel-writing (although it really is not bad at all) for the simple and slightly silly reason that it won't let me write in white type on a blue background. I just don't feel like it's really going to be a novel if it's not white on blue. And OpenOffice lets me do that, so that's what I've been using.

So today I downloaded Scrivener. All I knew about it was that that it promised to allow me to pour all sorts of disorganised bits and bobs into it, make them look as silly as I want on-screen (white on blue, yes) and yet extract neat text files eventually.
So far it seems brilliant! For the first five minutes I was a bit annoyed about the idea of having a fake digital pin board instead of, well, a real one. I love pin boards. Then I reminded myself what size my cork board would have to be to accommodate all the projects I am trying to do at the moment, and that I do have a cork covered wall at the studio which is already taken up by picture books. And I discovered that Scrivener gives me not only one pin board, but a pin board view of every level of the project - that's even a board for every paragraph if I feel like it. Whoah!!! I went into a cork board frenzy migrating all the scattered text files into one neat scrivener file, and now I am b) gazing at all the impossible neatness feeling c) a sense of achievement and d) really hungry because I forgot to have a) breakfast (or lunch). Argh. Good thing there's a barbecue supposed to be going on in... argh, quarter of an hour ago, byeeee!

P.S. I also tried out Jer's Novel Writer - somehow I like that program even better, especially because you can make notes in the margin, which is something I like to do. But it's not quite as well suited for accommodating heaps of pictures and ramblings transferred from some portable device, which is what I need at the moment... would be ideal if I only had one computer.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Writing Mood

I've started writing the novel again, and consequently am in my writing mood. To celebrate, I framed up a portrait Alexis drew of me.

tubular drawing

That's about right. Anything that interferes with my writing space is likely to get annihilated. And I am spending hours not writing, but trying to just get into the right mood to write, which is slightly less cranky than the mood writing puts me in. It's not pretty. - This is why I don't write full-time. I would have no friends if I did.

Incidentally, it's going quite well. If this cup of tea calms me down enough I might manage to wrap up the first three chapters today.

I wonder why drawing makes me so much less cross. Probably because I care more about words than about pictures.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

E-paper evangelising, and other things I did today

What a lovely Saturday I had... Alexia visited and we went to the studio to have a look at the dummy I made for the picture book she wrote, and she picked an artwork that I'll finish to present it with. We had a look at the room that I'm going to rent for life-drawing sessions as well, and talked about all the possibilities of having a space like that easily available for exhibitions and shows. - And I am thinking about making some picture books for e-readers. Just because I'm in love with one suddenly. I've not even met it yet... huh... I'm completely obsessed with the new Sony e-reader, the one with the touch-screen that is actually compatible with normal everyday text files - so I could read unpublished stories written by friends, finally read all the classic novels I can't face buying and putting on my too-small shelf space - and it looks like I could even annotate the texts with a stylus, so at last I could proof-read my own novel drafts without being glued to a computer all day, and without using up all my ink and paper to print YET ANOTHER VERSION only to mix it up with an earlier version and have to print it all over again... there's basically no way I won't be buying one as soon as they are out, whether I can afford it or not. I actually physically can't shut up about it. I have turned into an e-paper evangelist. I am in love. I want one now. OK I'm turning the computer off so I can't gaze at reviews any more....

Weekend Projects

Here are some projects I'm leisurely working on this week-end:

wooly project

This guy needs me making more granny squares to go towards his ambition of becoming the size of a bed-spread. Flatmate was making him do stretching exercises to "Eye of the Tiger" the other day, which reminded me that I really should be crocheting new parts for him on the bus.

papery project

These guys are part of a new book and need a nest collaged for them. But I forgot to take the artwork positional back home from the studio, so I won't really do all that much about it until Monday.

wordy project

Instead I'll be working on the novel. It's mostly laid out in that orange notebook. At the moment I'm trying to decide if I should be getting on with writing part one which is all plotted out, or properly plan part two first. I think I might change my mind about part two while writing part one, which might be a good thing. Mind you though, the only reason there are two parts in the first place is that I got hungry at some point while planning the plot and when I came back to it after lunch I wasn't quite in the groove any more and decided to just write END OF PART ONE and get on with something else instead. Hm. But I find trusting your stomach is mostly a good thing in art and such.

Anyway, typing up a list of chapters for that novel now, then I can write one every week-end or so... for starters...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Some Silly Things I Drew

It'll all be very useful eventually, honestly so.

Real coffee, and an almost new newspaper... wow...

I had a lovely day yesterday, and now I'm reading the newspaper and drinking coffee to start this day, which makes it potentially even more lovely already. Alexis has drawn a portrait of me in the newspaper margin, it's reminding me that I'll go to work and draw some adventurous things today... that is actually the brief, "draw adventurous things", doesn't strictly matter what, it's to tear up and collage an adventurous background in the hamster book.


in the style of Fletcher Hanks, this. We've become slightly obsessed with Fletcher Hanks lately.

Oh by the way, if you're the sort of person who still doesn't believe that flocks of parakeets are living wild in London, go to Crystal Palace. I watched them fly from three to tree at head-height there yesterday.

Friday, August 21, 2009


This weekend I shall spend at home, novel-writing. I've been meaning to do that for a while but didn't get around to it, what with all the studio moving and such.

I almost finished the inks for one book, next week I'll re-do all the bits that aren't quite right. There are a few spares which I'll maybe colour in and sell, like this one:

hamster heap

My balcony plants dried out in the heat, I forgot to water them for a couple of days or rather longer probably. I harvested all the beans and tomatoes off them this morning and shall have a bean salad and pasta with tomato sauce, and when I've eaten that I'll start cleaning and tidying the whole house - it's not in a bad state but I feel like making it lovely. I've neglected the place a bit lately. In fact, I can't even remember the last time I cooked a proper meal here.

balcony harvest

Monday, August 17, 2009

Some Views

The house boat that my friend Alexia is living in is moored behind Paddington station at the moment, so I went to visit her... I was very impressed. Everything on it is tiny and adventurous, especially the harpsichord.

london canal

I also went to have my hair cut. While I was waiting I watched a lady with a short backed bob cut another short backed bob, then it was my turn and I asked for a bob but not too short at the back. She frowned, pointed at her head and said "if it's a bob it will be like this". "Um, ok then" I said. She cut the back, showed it to me and asked: "Like that?" "Yes, that's good" I said and she cut off some more. Then she moved my side parting to the other side and cut the front. I figured better just let her do her thing...
Came out quite nice, I think, if unexpected.

Then I went home, and for quite a stretch of the way I walked behind a lady who I couldn't help noticing had the most beautiful legs I've seen on a woman. I wondered if she looked nice from the front, too, but she didn't turn around. Then she passed a little boy and his dad walking the other way, and the boy stopped and did an excited whooping dance, jumping up and down and pointing at her back. The dad said in an educational sort of a voice: Yes son, she is hot. - She disappeared down the road still without turning as I unlocked the door. I noticed that cars and bikes driving by were moving erratically as they passed her. I really wonder what she looked like from the front now.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

All the World is Green

Yesterday I was invited to Wiltshire for a birthday in a sculpture garden.

Golden Nose

Sharp Ends

Red SHoes

Gormley feet


Countryside Foot

In the evening, I went to the South bank again to see one of Matthew's shows, featuring knitted dinosaurs... I didn't manage to take good photographs though.

Walther Knitty

I think it's a great idea to ask the audience to bring puppets - it was so satisfying when we all saw our creations projected huge onto the wall. Gary's dinosaur got the most laughs. Mine got some friendly applause.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dinosaur Finished!

Boring Event Of The Day:woolysaurus

I shall take this guy to the South Bank tomorrow night for Matthew's show...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Flat Packed.

Got up early. Had delivery of studio furniture. Hours later: everything shelved and tidied. Now tired.
Blurry mobile phone snaps here:


Am especially pleased with the metal unit. Can't remember what its IKEA name was but I renamed it Chester Drawers and filled it with felt tip pens and ink sticks and set squares and passport pictures and crochet hooks.

Better pictures and such here.

And tomatoes here:

studio tomato

studio tomato

Noises and Quietnesses

Today I went to the studio early to re-pot and stake my tomato plants... it's a lovely mini-garden now, I'll take some photos tomorrow. I sat by them for a while and enjoyed the morning peace.

Then I went to the Roundhouse to have a look at the "Playing the Building" installation, which was interesting... people were queuing up very politely to have a go at the re-purposed pump organ that is wired up to parts of the building, making them clank and whistle and hum. Somehow hardly anyone dared to play a rhythm or look for a melody, I think because it was strangely intimidating to try and make the whole building do anything specific, like making a blue whale dance. - The worst-sounding efforts were by people who seemed to try and play it like a piano, I enjoyed watching them get cross with it not responding to their skills. - I had a go and didn't quite work it out neither, I wish I could play around with it for an hour or so...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Beautiful Things

Yesterday I went to see another Double Feature by Matthew, this time there was a sad story featuring a giant robot cat abduction, and a string quartet to accompany it. Loads of people came to see it - there really should be puppet theatre projected onto buildings all the time at night. No photos, but I hope he'll post a video soon.

Then I got a parcel from Austria full of lovely fabric scraps and buttons, I'll make something from them very soon...

lovely scraps

At the moment I'm busy rearranging my room, now that all the studio stuff is gone I have loads of space for things like books and myself and tea pots. I've spent all day moving and dusting things, and it's beginning to look good. Inbetween-times I kept going to our neighborhood clothes shop and eyeing this handbag...


I really really want it. Even though it's impractically made of silk and obviously wants to be owned by a tidy person who has a car to keep it safe and won't drag it around sticky public transport. I only buy sturdy bags that like to travel on trains. But look, it looks like a knitted alien might spring from it and do a dance and spew out pretty portions of raspberry jelly for everybody...

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Here's a surprise re-appearance of my very first book, "The Adventures of a Nose":


It seems that on his wanderings the Nose has arrived in Japan.

Studio Pinboard


Wahey! I covered everything in cork tiles and paint.
Up left is a small Frida Kahlo by Alexis, she seemed like a good first thing to pin up.
Oh, this is too brilliant. I always wanted a cork board this size.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Matthew Robins: Science Fiction Double Feature

Last Saturday night I sat with friends on top of the BFI on South Bank, watching Matthew project beautiful things on to the Flytower. It was the best sort of summer night I can imagine having.
I had the job of filming the show with a little camcorder, and did so in a somewhat wobbly way because I was watching at the same time and laughing a lot. So now you can watch some of it too, although you won't likely be sitting in a deck-chair seeing it flicker across a bit of London Skyline. So if you wish you were, come along tomorrow night to the next instalment of the show - there will be another double feature of different little shows, and (I am told) a string quartet for accompaniment, besides the band.

First, there was a Flyboy adventure featuring a lovely giant robot. I don't have a video of that. But then there was the sad tale of the Wicker Cat, here it is.

And then: Nosferatu and Me.

So tomorrow, there will be the story of Flyboy and the Haunted Horse. And next Saturday we're all invited to bring knitted dinosaurs to become part of the show...
More information here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Moving Things

I've almost finished moving stuff to the studio.
Today I took a tomato plant from the balcony to grow up the metal staircase by the door. A nice lady carried it for me from New Cross Gate, where she'd got lost on her way to Deptford. I pointed her the right way and she carried the plant until the next useful bus turned up. She said the plant smelled nice, which I'm glad to hear, after that mean cold in May I still can't smell most things except for traffic, garlic and carpet shops (so far).

tomato bus

There's only small things that still want to go there now...
I'm checking through my artist books and mini comics, and my boxes of important things... I found a book I made on my MA years ago (using photocopies of details of a giant picture all the students drew together on the first day) and forgot about. It's about a winter day in Germany.

I read it and could still imagine it exactly, which made me happy.

I'm also going to take my smile in a box which someone nice gave me ten years ago or so and told me to keep it on a shelf to look at, which I have done, mostly. Looking at my work schedule for the next few months I think it'll be most useful in the studio.

a smile

So tomorrow I can start drawing! Yay.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Quick Bit of Tourism

My sister is visiting - we had a stroll through London today.




Tomorrow I'll go to IKEA and buy some shelves for the studio.

Other thoughts: I wonder why I don't have swine flu yet. And: Gah, am tired.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Moving into the Studio, day 1

Today we got the keys to the new studio, and Sarah bought her desk at Deptford Market.




It'll all be VERY GOOD. We already painted the disease-coloured walls... and the guys did get Sarah's table through the door eventually... Gary will move in tomorrow, and I'll pack up this week, after I've covered one whole wall in cork tiles (very important)

...oh, and Sarah has put up a much better post as usual, ha ha...

Moonpie and other cats

For those of you that are fans of Moonpie, the blue cat in "There are Cats in this Book" (I know you're there, that cat is getting more fam mail than I do) here's a picture of the real world Moonpie warming her belly.

I met up with her owner in town and went to see some concrete poetry at the ICA, which was just the thing to do - I'd just mailed off that script I'd been hammering out all month and liked to see words floating about making new shapes and meanings instead of crawling past on my tiny screen.

I was also a bit dazed because I'd just found out that my intrepid uncle has died rather suddenly, not falling off something while exploring abroad as I'd always expected but at home in his flat. Most of my memories of him are being intensely annoyed by him as a child - I remember going looking for fossils and amber and such and never finding anything while he was picking up some treasure every few minutes saying "You have no excuse, being that much closer to the ground you should have found this first!"
I got so cross that as soon as I'd halfway learned to write I made a card file of all insults I knew (not many, that's why I made cards rather than a list, more bulk you see) and gave it to him on his birthday, "in case he ever got really angry and needed something to say", but really I just wanted to insult him a lot. He was really pleased with it.
I'll miss him rather, actually.

So when I heard he was dead I went to Hyde Park, where I haven't properly been in a long time... I meat up with Alexia at the Peter Pan statue and realised I'd not seen that in maybe 15 years or so. It was a surprisingly warm day and the park wasn't too crowded, and I drew cats all over an old typescript with a bunch of felt tip pens, remembering what it was like to be little. I'd forgotten how much fun felt tip pens are.

space cat doodle