February already! Where does the time go? Seems no time since I was sitting with my feet up, stuffing my face with jaffa cakes but I suppose I had to get back to the real world eventually. Well, as close to the real world as I need to. To be honest, I tend to keep it at arm’s length, it’s better for all concerned that way.
I have a few interesting things on the go at the moment but I decided, before I get stuck into commissioned work I’d get some long term plans rolling of my own. I have ideas for paintings and illustrations all the time. Usually I can’t work on them straight away as I’m in the middle of a job for someone else so I draw a quick sketch of write a short description in my notebook to refer back to later. Last year, that later never arrived. I just couldn’t find the time to work on anything long enough to see results. Now, I’m not complaining because I was busy, I’d be worried if I had too much time on my hands but it would have been nice to have struck a balance. I planned to use January to get a head start on some of those ideas before getting snowed under with orders. It’s a quiet time after Christmas anyway so was my best chance to make a dent in it.
The first thing I tackled was some illustrative work that has been on the back burner for way too long. I have recently started making some of my more “cartoony” artwork available on clothes and gifts as well as my usual prints. Some of my existing pieces suit being printed on T-shirts and hoodies etc but most of it only really works in the form it was originally intended. This means I had a fairly limited range of images suitable for clothes so I wanted to create some specifically for that job. With a notebook full of ideas I didn’t have to waste time thinking, except maybe, which one to start with.
I chose one of my favourites that I had been itching to do and got stuck in. I was working on photoshop and it always takes a while to get into the rhythm of using a drawing tablet. I’m at home with canvas and a paint brush so a little out of my comfort zone working digitally but I soon fell back into it. I ended up getting half a dozen new designs completed or almost completed so I’m well on my way.
While that was going on it was time to start a project that has been on the horizon for a while. Almost two years ago I was involved in a project that came my way through Sliabh Beagh Arts. Together with a group of creative characters, I helped bring a story to life in the form of shadow puppetry in the middle of a woods. We built a stage, seats, puppet box and screen, paths and a magical environment for our audience. We had music, narration and lighting effects to help bring the story that was being played out on the screen to life. There were so many cogs that had to work together and it was really hard work to click them all into place but we pulled it off and even had the weather on our side. Everyone who came to see it loved it so of course there was talk of, “Let’s do it again” and “We can’t just leave it there.” How quickly we forget the sleepless nights!
Now, with the benefit of rose tinted glasses we have decided it is indeed time to do it again. Not exactly the same obviously, we’re writing a new story and have been brainstorming different ways of making it come alive. We’ve all been given our individual jobs and are beavering away. When the time comes, we’ll bring everything to the table and set about making it work. All very exciting and good craic. It’s very much a case of ‘getting the band back together’.
I’ll keep you posted on that!
Ok, I’ve run out of space and didn’t even get half of what I wanted to say down but it’s probably for the best, I’ll stop writing before you get fed up reading.
Till next time, stay off the beaten track.