Zombie Christmas

Wow. It’s the 18th of December already? Only a week away now before the birthday of the most famous zombie in history.

Sheesh… I’m in a rut. The flat is an absolute tip and I haven’t been into the gym in ages. I’m also smoking far too much (a bad habit that I reacquired whilst on the psych ward during the summer – a habit that I’ve had some difficulty shaking off).

Though, on the upside, I managed to finish off my Xena homage for my friend Edie:

“Edie: Warrior Princess”. Pencil on A3 watercolour paper.

As regular readers of this site will recall, I started this piece just before my recent trip to London and showed off an earlier work-in-progress photo of it HERE.

So what do I think of it now?

…I think it’s okay, though the face (specifically the eyes) are a bit too asymmetrical, so I may have a bit of a further tinker with it before I post it off to Edie. Sadly, even if I post it off as is now she’s not going to get it before Christmas because of the distance it needs to travel (Edie lives in Brooklyn) and the fact that the international mailing system comes to a bit of a standstill at about this precise time of year.

But it’s not bad; not the best drawing I’ve ever done, but not the worst either. It might work quite well as the basis for a colour painting, actually. I think it would look quite nice in acrylics and I think that what I’d probably do is add a mist effect to give better separation between the figure and the castle in the background.

So – anyway – what else have I been doing?

Well, continuing the zombie theme, I’ve been playing Dead Island: Definitive Edition on my PS4 – trying to finish the game; but I’ve reached a point over three quarters of the way in where I’m a bit stuck, so I’ll need to look up a walkthrough on YouTube most likely.

God, zombies are brilliant fictional monsters, aren’t they? They really are the best fictional creation of the last century (RIP George A Romero, bless him) They’re sort of like the new nazis – ideal go-to monsters for any fiction writers that need completely disposable antagonists for a movie or a book or a videogame or whatever.

As for the rest of the week…

Well, through Facebook I caught up with a cousin who I haven’t spoken to in years. Which was fun – she now lives in Vancouver, Canada and runs a wedding planning business.

I must say, I quite admire the life she’s made for herself; I admire her can-do spirit. Like me, she sees the world beyond the self-limiting prism (or should that be “prison”) that many people from our hometown seem to view the world through.

What can I say… it’s great that Nikki’s made something of herself and it was lovely to hear from her. A really nice surprise.


A gut-busting “Munch box” from Chippizza served in a 16″ pizza box, containing a pizza, donner meat, a parmesan and chips.

It was also nice to spend some time with my brother last night, with the two of us pigging out on a massive “munch box” from a local takeaway called Chippizza and watching old episodes of The IT Crowd.

It was fun. We should do it more often.

Andrew’s an interesting character, actually. Like me, he’s quite creative… an excellent draughtsman… except that whereas my focus is more on art with an occasional bit of writing, he’s quite full-on as a writer… self-publishing three novels and contributing to scores of horror anthologies

It’s a shame that we don’t get to hang out more often. Alas, not only does he slave away on all of these books every day, but he also works full-time as a quality and control inspector at a local factory… talk about having a busy life.

One of the many small press horror anthologies – Fearful Fathoms – that my brother Andrew Bell has contributed a short story to.

…As for what else I’ve been up to, there’s not much else to report.

I’m still researching the Krampus legend… my hope is to bang out another piece of artwork before Christmas and I think Krampus would be quite a fun theme to have a crack at; I could see myself doing a whole series of artworks just on Krampus, actually… which could be potentially lucrative if I decided to sell any prints of my work.

Other than that I’m just ticking over, still acting as an administrator on the Your Choice, Your Recovery Facebook page – a role which I quite enjoy; it’s good to be part of something that really helps people with drinking problems. Especially at this time of year. It’s nice to use my experience with The Sinclair Method to benefit others.

And on that note, I think I’ll sign off for now.

Thanks for reading, it’s been a blast.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

 

 

Zen, art & recovery: How I “sculpt” my blog

A Xena/Red Sonja homage that I’m doing as a present for my friend Edie:

…Still needs a lot of work doing to it; there are also certain aspects that need to be fixed – such as the fact that I seem to have given Edie Bell’s palsey! haha – but it’s getting there.

It’s nice to be back into a little bit of drawing.

My approach with drawing these days is to just say “fuck it and do it”. I used to be such a perfectionist; a complete detail-nazi, taking foreeeever on things – either that or saying “I’ll finish it once I have more inspiration” – but, having learned that procrastination is the enemy of success, I now consciously just throw myself into it and say perfection be damned.

What I guess I’m trying to say is that when it comes to drawing your own critical faculties can be your worst enemy sometimes… hence why I guess I’m more zen when it comes to my art nowadays.

Interestingly enough, my approach to writing my blog is similar. I scribble down a “thumbnail” of sorts (usually a bullet list which acts as a rough sketch) and then I sculpt paragraphs on WordPress, typing away like a madman. My approach is one of “more is better” to begin with (ha! I declare war on brevity!) and then, upon seeing the completed shape, I use my delete/backspace keys much like an eraser or a a palette knife or a chisel to give it a better crafted, prettier shape.

Sounds odd when explained like that, I know – but that’s my process.

As I mentioned in a previous article, I’m going to also have a crack at doing a Krampus-themed piece of art before Christmas (as much as anything because I think it could cool to have my own custom-designed Krampuskarten as a new Facebook cover).

It depends upon how much time I have after my upcoming trip to London.

But given that I’m going to cannibalise the composition of an old piece of artwork (see below), it probably won’t take too long.

An old design that I did for an evil tooth fairy. Since I’m not above referencing my own work, I’m going to rip off the composition for this for my own Krampuskarten design.

Barbara’s Elegant Aphorisms Website

From the Oxford Online dictionary:

aphorism

NOUN

 1. A pithy observation which contains a general truth.
‘the old aphorism ‘the child is father to the man’’
[mass noun]‘the debate begins and ends at the level of aphorism, with commentators saying that something must be done’
1.1 A concise statement of a scientific principle, typically by a classical author.
‘the opening sentence of the first aphorism of Hippocrates’
Origin
Early 16th century: from French aphorisme or late Latin aphorismus, from Greek aphorismos ‘definition’, from aphorizein ‘define’.

…So, for the benefit of any readers unfamiliar with what an aphorism is, there you go. I point it out because I recently became acquainted with a WordPress blog that has a really neat concept – a blog called myaphorisms.com.

It’s a great idea: what the author of this blog does is pen an aphorism a day… which sounds so simple, right? But that’s exactly the point… the genius of it, i think, lies in the simplicity of its design and execution. It’s actually a really smart idea for the format of a blog; I really dig it.

And what I like about Barbara’s blog is the way how she interacts with people in the comments section… in fact, that’s where the main action takes place, you could say.

Another thing that’s quite cool about it is the fact that the purpose-built brevity of the format she’s chosen would feed really well into Twitter and Facebook.

What can I say? I like it! It really appeals to my sense of design.

Something like this would work quite well done around a recovery theme, actually – an AA aphorism a day, for example.


…Which neatly leads onto my next subject:

The Welcome Return of Nicky Katz

Click on image to open link in a new tab

After an absence of some time and some hardship, is really nice to see my old friend Nicky Katz back on the horse with the social media scene, rebooting his Facebook and Twitter presence.

What can I say? He’s been missed. My hope is that he’ll also get back into the swing with his blog too… just because I was always a big fan of his website and I miss seeing his articles. Check out Nicky’s blog here: http://nickykatz.org/

Note to self: I really need to give Nicky a guest writer spot on The Free Pigeon Press because I’m fascinated with how he’s combining The Sinclair Method with Alcoholics Anonymous meetings – how he’s reconciling the two (a subject that I wrote a piece about HERE).

As much as anything I think that it’s important that Nicky does write because so many people can learn from his experiences – and yes – his own admitted mistakes too.

But the measure of a man is how he deals with adversity, not success – so I for one am grateful that he’s back.


…Okaaay, well I’m about done for this article, but before I go I’ll leave you with a couple of words of worldly wisdom from my favourite demented, scat-fixated octogenarian AA super-sponsor and wiener pioneer, the legend that is Morris Rosenbaum-Benda:

Hahahahaha. Love it.

I think this is better, though, just for sheer brevity (an art I’ve never mastered):

(!)

Hahaha!


…And on that note:

Peace and love,

GARY