First Post

Hello and thank you for visiting my site.

This is my very first attempt at a blog and, I hope, the first of many more posts to come.  Please feel free to pass on your comments, pointers or feedback or sign up for regular alerts to new posts.

My name is Ralph and I’m a free-lance mixed media artist, educated in the U.K and now living in Sydney, Australia. I have a day job in the financial services sector and in my spare time I like to create artwork in one form or another.

I live a fairly hectic lifestyle, as many of us do these days, and over the years I’ve gradually lost touch with my creative side. By that, I mean that I’ve almost completely stopped producing art for myself. Most of the artwork I create these days is in the form of paid commissions, which generally involves working to a specific brief with tight guidelines. I really miss just sitting down with a blank sheet of paper and sketching the first thing that comes into my head. I believe that creative people need some ‘time-out’ to just be alone and experiment with their craft. It’s part of how we grow.

So, for years I’ve been blaming my lack of personal creativity on my lack of time. My wife is always begging me to make some new paintings for the lounge or do some portraits of our own kids instead of other peoples. I always manage to find some other priority or excuse to avoid doing what, at one stage in my life, I loved to do and couldn’t help but do. My problem is that, without a specific project or commitment, I’m always going to find some kind of excuse to put my personal work on hold until I have that highly sought after ‘free time’.

Someone I met at a barbeque on Christmas day, now a good friend of the family, introduced me to WordPress. I wasn’t particularly familiar with blogging and, to be honest, probably associated it more with spamming than a useful communication tool. Having sifted through many pages and sites I now recognize that WordPress has a diverse and talented community and I came up with the idea of starting a blog of my own to act as the project I need to get back to creating my own artwork again.

I am hoping that my blog will provide the motivation and inspiration for me to set aside some time to explore various different avenues of art and design, to get creative again and to share what I’ve learned and created.

For my first post I’m going to start with a scrapbook I created many years ago whilst working at a telemarketing company in Wales. I’d just finished my Animation degree and jumped into the first job that came along with the intention of saving up some cash to get myself out to Australia. Each day I’d take extra copies of the various shopping surveys and begin to scribble on the backs of them with an ordinary biro pen whilst conducting my telephone interviews. As I grew more confident with the surveys my scribbles would get more and more detailed and they gradually evolved into characters for animation ideas that I’d had in my head for a long time. By the time I’d left the company I had a whole book full of characters and ideas.

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I’ve scanned in some of the images and put them onto white backgrounds to make them easier to view. To be honest, the drawings aren’t great and they were only ever intended to be ideas for development or reference later on down the track. What I love about this book though is that is reminds me that, no matter how busy I am, I can always find the time to be productive in some form or another. Perhaps I needed this diversion to get myself through the mundane work.

Another thing I learned whilst scribbling on the backs of these surveys was the technique of drawing in biro. With biro you don’t have the luxury of erasing any mistakes so you have to turn the errors into something else. I found that this introduced a somewhat random factor into the designs which allowed them to grow in unexpected ways and give them a life of their own. I now use biro fairly often in my work and even won an art competition a couple of years ago sketching the CEO of the company I work at entirely in biro on white A3 office paper.

I probably won’t be delving into character design for a while on my blog as I really want to explore other forms of art that have captured my attention over the years but I’m sure I’ll pay it a visit at some point.

If you have any ideas about art or subject matter that you’d like to see on my site or have any questions please leave a comment or drop me a line.

Cheers,

Ralph.

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