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Who Am I

No, this isn’t an existential question. To sum me up – I’m a designer from Brisbane, Australia. I love illustrations, gaming, eclectic music and dinosaurs. This is my site with insights into my creative outputs, tips and advice from my experiences freelancing, and info of how I use various design programs and tools. Follow along…

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Nominated for the Liebster Award

So this is a really different post from my usual ones, but stick with it, and you may find out more about me than you even wanted to know.


I received an email recently that a fellow blogger had nominated me for the Liebster Award.

I have to be honest, I’d never heard of this before, so I had to do a bit of investigation work to check it out. It’s a great idea, and it’s nice that it’s targeted to those blogs with lower followings (200 and less), to really help the smaller blogs get some more recognition. I know I follow some blogs that are great inspirations to me personally, but don’t have the biggest followings. And personally, I want to grow organically, not just get followers for the sake of numbers.


I was nominated by tejaswiniaura and you can see their post on the Liebster Awards here. Thanks to Tejaswinjaura (may I never have to try to pronounce your name, as I’d fail miserably) for the nomination. They write short stories/poetry, and have just released a book (with really nice cover art) called Of Silhouette Words and Moonflowers.


This blog is about my illustrations and other various attempts at trying to be more creative in my life. When I grow up (I just turned 33, but you know, I could still grow up), I want to be an illustrator/graphic designer, but in my 9-5 I’m usually employed as a reporting officer/analyst/project coordinator. I love Excel, even designing in it when I can, and that often leads me to new jobs. I’m just about to embark on a major life change and move from Brisbane to Hobart in Australia (finally some cold weather!!), and hope not to have to move again for at least 12 months.

Below are some of my design/recreation stuff done 100% in Excel:

Pixel art using borders and fill to recreate the characters from Code Monkeys.
Musical roadmap showing my favourite artists and how they are interlinked using a google map styling in Excel. Uses shapes, fill and hyperlinks.
Recreation of Pacman using shapes and fill.
Recreation of one of the maps for the game Eye of the Beholder. Uses borders and fill.

My design style is cartoonish, immature, and not so serious. I have a child’s mind but really don’t like children at all. I like bright colours. I often hand draw and then scan in my stuff to Illustrator. But I do dabble a bit in purely digital design too.

The below is a flatpack of a kid’s goggle packaging design I did at college which has both hand drawn and digitally drawn elements:

I like to try all types of things art/craft wise, and often will post really average work, just because it’s still an achievement to finish something. And at the end of the day, you aren’t always going to be the greatest at every type of style or technique, and it’s the journey that counts, not the end point. Also, as someone who starts lots of stuff and doesn’t always finish, anything finished is an accomplishment in of itself. Plus, everything you do, you try and put effort into, so even if it doesn’t work out exactly as imagined, it’s still a learning for your next project.


One of my favourite blogs to read is Myf Draws Apparently. She does brilliant visuals of her life – drawing her holidays, her child’s stocking fillers and just aspects and adventures in her everyday life. I love her illustrative style, the easiness to it, the colours she uses and way she incorporates different fonts seamlessly into the single story without it looking cluttered or conflicting.

The entry in particular I’m going to highlight is one of her holiday visual diaries – Totnes & Lyme Regis holiday diary part 6. The cats part is great. And I really want a treacle tart right now. It’s a great example of her writing style, her humour, her relatability, and her engaging artwork.

Just in general though, her work is colourful, entertaining, with a touch of relatable humour and offering an insight into her life. It’s easy to read, to follow, and the artistic flair she uses keeps it fun and engaging. Sometimes blogs just have way too much text, and as a visual person, I love a good piccy. Also, it’s great to see someone else is cursed with so much casual bad luck as I am.


10 random facts about me:

  1. I mostly listen to metal/rock music (favourites being anything with Chino Moreno, Devin Townsend, Mikael Akerfeldt or Jonas Renkse on vocals, Ayreon, Seether, Arcane/Caligula’s Horse, Opus of a Machine, and some of the classic oldies like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, The Eagles, The Doors etc), but am a huge fan of Jeff Buckley, Sufjan Stevens and the Bee Gees/Andy Gibb.
  2. I love Excel – I even created a t-shirt to exhibit my love for it that I’ve worn to work on casual Fridays. I’m a huge formula nerd and will avoid macros like the plague if I can formula around them.
  3. I prefer my work hours to be 8-4 so I can get home by 4.30pm in time for Bold & the Beautiful. I really need a life!
  4. I love to draw random stuff. I don’t think I’m that great of an artist, but I like what I do for what it is. One of my favourite pieces I’ve done recently is this.
  5. I’m addicted to Baldur’s Gate. It’s my favourite game ever. I think BGII SoA is my favourite within the series, just because it’s so much more expansive in what you can do quest wise and isn’t so linear in progression. But also the characters in it – Jan is hilarious, Minsc when you give Lilarcor is amazing banterwise, and then you have some of the modded NPCs, like Kido and Adrian.
  6. I never finished high school. I got 3/4 of the way through year 11, and lied to the Principal that I had a job to go to, and left, and then a few days later my parents found out, and sent me off to my Nanny (paternal grandmother) to stay with her for a while whilst my dad calmed down. Even though I didn’t finish, I’ve had a really good career, have worked consistently since I was 16 (well even beforehand as our parents made us go work on the bananas on the weekends since we hit teenager status), and have held APS5 jobs with the Federal Government, and senior roles at well regarded national companies.
  7. I lost my partner Phil to cancer (brain tumour) in 2011, and it pretty much broke me, and I’m still in the rebuilding process nearly 6 years on. He was my best friend, my partner/fiance, my rock, the person who could turn my mood around in a second, and there’s not a single day that goes by that I don’t miss him. If you’ve lost someone, listen to this song – it’ll help you.
  8. I’m moving to Hobart, after more than 10 years of wanting to do this, as I hate the heat, and Queensland is nothing but heat. I have 3-4 weeks to get down there before my new job starts, and my place is a hot mess of decluttering piles, packing stacks and just general “wtf am i doing”. But it’s something I’m super excited about too. Just need to get over this hump.
  9. I participated in the LOTE (Languages Other Than English) olympics at school, representing Indonesian. (So lame, but it’s kinda funny, plus it’s the closest I’ll ever get to the olympics).
  10. I have size 12 feet, extra wide, and I hate shoes. They are impossible to find where they are comfortable, stylish, and functional. I really wish slippers were acceptable at work.

Questions from my nominator:

 

  • Why do you write?

I write to help get my feelings out, to share without having to share with people around as I often feel like I’m burdening them or just being depressing – so it gives me an outlet.

  • What is your favourite comfort food?

Potato! Well potato scallops that have been freshly cooked, crispy batter, soft potatoey inside with loads of chicken salt.

  • Do you have a bucket list of things to do?

No. I just don’t have that much forethought, and I get travel sick so I don’t enjoy that.

  • Who is the youth icon you look up to?

Does Daria Morgendorffer count?

  • What would you do for climate change?

Maybe take the bus more?

  • Do you volunteer?

Rarely – I have in the past, when it’s been to help a friend who already is doing something, but generally I’m very jaded about how much the charities actually use their monies for good or are transparent about their actions.

  • Where do you get your inspiration from?

Variety of places – tv shows, dreams, random thoughts in the shower or at 2am, other people, a lot from music.

  • Which is your favourite book?

Imajica by Clive Barker. It’s a bit of effort to follow along with in some places, but it’s totally worth it.

  • What is your hobby?

All things Baldur’s Gate. I’ve started building my own game of Monopoly based on it. I’ve made card games for it. I’ve made my own NPCs in Photoshop. I even trawled through lego minis to build all the NPCs for BGEE, BG2EE, but haven’t yet updated it for SoD.

  • Which is your favourite song?

That’s a hard one because I don’t just have one. But, I’d say Anathema’s One Last Goodbye is a song that has really stuck with me, I never tire of, and is always there when I feel emotionally blocked and really need a good cry. It’s beyond beautiful and if you ever lose someone, it’s the penultimate song to express what you may not be able to.

 


The blogs I’m nominating are:

Siege of Dragonspear

As I mentioned above I’m addicted to Baldur’s Gate, and the latest release in the series is Siege of Dragonspear. And this blog, entitled the same, goes through the walkthrough of this game, and other stuff related to the series. SoD is not getting enough love in general, so when I saw this blog I knew I had to follow it, and thusly encourage others to too.

Recommended read: Korlasz Family Crypt (why, because it’s the start). I really like that it shows the different paths you can take with encounters and what you’ll get for each. Also, the fact that you can see the detail/picture of the inventory items you can collect throughout the game too.

 

Seeking Fitness

As a fat person with PCOS and dealing with insulin resistance/blood sugar issues pretty much no matter what I eat, I like to follow other blogs dealing with similar things. It gives me knowledge I’m not alone, and often they’ll talk about stuff that I haven’t thought about or tried. The only main difference between myself and Seeking Fitness is that they want a baby, and I couldn’t want one less if I tried.

Recommended read: HBA1C. It’s a story I can totally relate to, you’re trying your best to eat right, do what you’re told by the doctors and look after yourself in general but the results keep going in the downwards direction. It’s frustrating, it’s upsetting, and it’s confusing.

 

The Makeup Moth

I’m useless with makeup, it rolls off in a sweaty mess within seconds of applying it, so generally except for some moisturiser and powder I just have stopped bothering. But I still really enjoy looking at what others do, and occasionally I’ll even buy a new product in the hope of hopes that it’ll stay where it’s placed. This is one of a handful of makeup blogs I follow for inspiration and envy.

Recommended read: Green Eyes and Lips. So it’s probably not a look I could pull off, but I do love colour, and how she’s done it looks great. It does help she’s pretty too, but also it’s cool that she’s willing to experiment with different colours too. I really like that it’s not just a “here’s my look”, but she lists out the products.

 

Cooking Dairy Free

In the last few months I’ve had to change my lifestyle – dairy free, gluten free, egg free, honey free – basically taste free. So finding blogs like this one have really helped with ideas and finding things I can actually eat! I also like that there’s reviews of readily available items too, not just cook from scratch recipes as I’m not the most enthusiastic cook.

Recommended read: Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes. Oh I have a potato addiction too. So going to restaurants and seeing mash on the menu and knowing it’ll be laden with cream, butter and milk and totally off the menu for me, almost makes me want to cry in public. So this was a great find. And best of all, it’s super easy to follow.

 

SHLM Arts Collaborative

Of course this is a creative blog, because, that’s what you probably expected them all to be (but the 200 followers limit, really killed a lot of the ones I follow and would have loved to share). Just their background when you first get to their site alone, makes it worthwhile checking this blog out – those seahorses look like they are going to the best masked party ever. So pretty. I just really like the colours that are used, and that things aren’t perfect, they are raw and expressive.

(SHLM = Soul Healing Love Magic)

Recommended read: Live Shared Canvas Collaborative. So this is just an awesome idea. Of course the negativo in me thinks you could get tools who want to ruin the experience, but that aside, I know for me personally, I’d love to do something like this with some of my graphic design college mates.


My questions to those blogs I’ve nominated are:

  1. What is one skill you wish you had?
  2. Why did you start your blog?
  3. How do you deal with writer’s blog/lack of inspiration?
  4. Have you ever played Baldur’s Gate, if not, why not, what’s your favourite colour?
  5. What is your favourite swear word and why?
  6. Apple, Windows or other?
  7. What does this formula do in Excel “=CONCATENATE(“Baldur’s Gate “,SUM(1+1),”:SoA was released in “,SUM(20*100))”?
  8. If you could bring one fantasy creature into existence what would it be and why?
  9. What musical artist are you secretly a fan of?
  10. What season do you think The Simpsons lost the spark?
  11. Listen to Sufjan Steven’s Impossible Soul in its entirety – what do you think?

For the rules on the Liebster award, check out the original post here at the Global Aussie. (And huge thanks to them for this whole thing too.)

Being Child Friendly When You’re Anything But

I’m not a kid person. I’m not maternal in any way, state, form. I hear a child crying, and I think “geesus set fire to it already” (I just had two 3 hour flights where I was inundated by kids – one where I got repeatedly kicked in the back by one, and one where there were multiple screaming ones). Kids just irritate and gross me out. But show me a puppy, different story.

Continue reading “Being Child Friendly When You’re Anything But”

A-Z Drawing Project (or How I kept sane during an insane time)

It’s been a while since I posted, and long story short, I was between homes thanks to a sewerage pipe bursting in the unit above and leaking into my unit. All sorted now, two months, and a lot of issues and headaches later.

Today’s post though is about projects. During my month in a hotel, I had very little to do, and without my pc or even my tablet and with just very basic cable channels (basically the only watchable ones were Arena, Showcase and MusicMax), I needed something to keep me sane, so I started (and for once) completed a project, an A-Z of things.

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Everything You Create Is Great (language warning)

Everything you create has taken time, effort, possibly sweat, blood and tears too, and regardless of how you feel about the end result, it deserves recognition of the little piece of you that birthed it. (I may be repeating myself, but it kinda needs to be repeated, especially to myself.)

And sometimes whilst things don’t turn out how you thought or hoped, you sorta like them all the same.

Continue reading “Everything You Create Is Great (language warning)”

Youtube Tutorials – Daffodils by TheFrugralCrafter

I find myself often looking for different formats, different teachers, different tutorials to try new things. Sure you could just go in and have a crack, but it’s nice to learn some basic techniques and understanding of what you’re about to tackle.

I watched some videos on Youtube recently on using water colour pencils and I really liked what Lindsay Weirich, aka The Frugal Crafter did. So once I got the right paper for water colours, I decided to give her daffodils video a go myself.

Continue reading “Youtube Tutorials – Daffodils by TheFrugralCrafter”

Red Bubble – Purchasing Your Own Designs

In College we were given a brief to design our own debut album cover (apparently we were all awesome, all fantastic musicians and deserving of albums), I chose to do a doom metal inspired cover.

On the day, I was busy helping some classmates with how to do masks in Photoshop and I left myself very little time to actually complete my own design. I showed it to my dad anyway and he liked it, so when I had some free time recently, I redid the design and decided as his birthday was coming up, I’d throw it on a t-shirt and get one printed up for him.

Continue reading “Red Bubble – Purchasing Your Own Designs”

Inspired by Doodle Art

I love looking at doodle art pictures, and always convince myself I can’t do that, they must knock it out in mere minutes, and they probably all just put ink direct to paper and it’s perfect.

I have started a number of sketch pad pages with the intent to put something doodle artish on there, but 1 of 2 things usually happens – I have zero inspiration left in me as I’m too tired from work, or I rush it to finish it as I hate what I’m doing.

Being on leave for a week and a bit finally gave me some breathing space and I’ve done a bit of work I like. Even more, I got a doodle art page together that I like. It’s not the interconnecting type, but it’s still something I’m pretty happy with.

And best of all, it started with a drawing of a knife, a sword and an axe.

Continue reading “Inspired by Doodle Art”

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